Ugly From the Outset: Hong Kong’s Day of Widespread Violence

A police officer shot a young protester, while a man arguing with protesters was set on fire. Both were fighting for their lives.

Comments: 235

  1. The HK people are being cornered by a repressive government and any American who believes they'd keep their decorum in the same situation needs a dose of reality.

  2. If no one is allowed to voice their dissent without being beaten or set alight, whose Freedom and whose Democracy? The press needs to stop supporting these people, and Western governments need to stop encouraging them.

  3. Violence begets violence. And this violence being committed by all sides is merely a symptom of the failure by politicians to do their duty in acting in accordance with the demands of the populace. The failure to note protester activities as acts of politics and merely to say it is a riot or the like is an abrogation of the duties of the state to its people. The police have a duty to enforce the law and keep the peace. But the government has a duty to also keep the peace by being responsive to the wishes of the people. Whilst the actions by protestors have become extremely rowdy, offensive and needlessly personal, and certainly there are elements which are extremely concerning, it is time for the government to own up to the fact that HK perceives themselves has having an unique identity that respects the will of the people. The government must honestly respond to these claims. It also seems to need reminding that acts of liberty have not always been made peacefully. I am not trying to make a stand on whether it is right or not to use violence to seek liberties. That is a matter of conviction. But it does seem prudent to remind that not all revolutions were by the methods of Ghandi or Mandela which were peaceful, but some performed revolution to seek liberties, such as Washington and the American Revolution more generally. It is not up to us to disparage these people. What is desperately needed is the space to make that honest conversation for all HKers.

  4. @J M In the American Revolution, the revolutionaries attacked occupying British soldiers. They didn't set random British-supporting civilians on fire. We should absolutely disparage people who set others on fire for disagreeing with them politically.

  5. Actually, you are completely wrong. Many supporters of remaining a British colony were driven from their homes and some were killed. A large percentage eventually fled to Canada or England. The Revolution was, in fact, a civil war.

  6. @HO no the revolutionaries only “tarred and feathered” loyalists not just British soldiers. When conversation ceases revolution runs rampart we cease to see the “other” as human therefore violent acts seem appropriate actions. It’s an old tale repeated time and again. I’m not certain where this chaos is ending but I wonder why any of us, country or corporation, feels confident signing an accord or business contract with China.

  7. To quote the article, "...the shooting was only the third time the police have shot a protester since the demonstrations began in June." "Only" the third time? Really?

  8. @Kent: Yes. All in self-defence by the police - and none fatally. Perhaps US forces should come for lessons. Meanwhile rioters have assaulted police, doxxed and persecuted their children, set fire to police, silenced opposition, trashed public transport, vandalised shops... the list goes on and on. And all for nothing... really. We (Hong Kong) have one of the freest systems in the world. The extradition bill was withdrawn, and yet the anger continued? This is a MAGA Brexit situation. Maybe you are next in 2020...

  9. Andrew, give us all a break. HK’s government is a rigged system controlled by the CCP and HK oligarchs. The CCP has worked for years to strip away the promises of the turnover treaty. The protesters and the huge majority of HK citizens who support them are doing what is necessary to protect their rights and to ensure freedom for future generations. It bears no relation to Trump’s MAGA populism, which is about demonizing minorities.

  10. All this violence on both sides is short sighted and pointless. One country, two systems comes to an end in 2047. There will be nothing to prevent the Chinese government from taking over completely after that happens. But more importantly, the rising seas will flood not only Hong Kong, but almost all heavily populated coastal cities including New York within the lifetimes of several of the people alive today. Where will the 7.5 million population of Hong Kong go when their former island has become part of the sea bed? Is the US going to give refuge to 7.5 million climate refugees of Asian origin? Why should the Chinese mainland give refuge to traitors who are marching in the streets waving the American flag, the flag of a foreign, hostile nation? A logical response from the Chinese government would be to let the Hong Kongers have their democracy, and then let them drown with it.

  11. @A Cynic: “Both sides” - sounds like Trump. Remember that police are authorised to use force to control illegal actions. These rioters however are setting people on fire, stabbing police and clubbing people who disagree with them. There really is no comparison. You make some good points, but like many others you miss the fact that we already have a level of democracy, and we already have rule of law and free speech (based on a western model). All you US commentators should take a look at the flaws in your system, which are numerous. Please, please work on eliminating voter suppression and gerrymandering and don’t judge us while we work on ours (and don’t condone violence by malcontents). Oh, and please stop destroying the climate. We are actually on rocky islands, so we do have somewhere to go, but our downtown will flood increasingly.

  12. @Andrew Oh,”USA please stop destroying the climate”. What about PRC and India? We’re not going to destroy our economy by draconian cuts in energy. It will take vastly improved technology to replace fossil fuels. A lot of the people crying about climate change have blocked the building of new and vastly safer nuclear power plants and deep storage facilities.

  13. @pere: I was echoing the OP. We all need to work on reversing (or mitigating) climate change. Glad to hear you are up for it

  14. Unfortunately, unless both sides begin to compromise, this will end badly both for the people of Hong Kong and for mainland China.

  15. @Michael Richter Protesters are increasingly desperate because they are aware that the Chinese Communist Party never compromises, never yields an inch. Not ever. It's a terrible situation, created, expanded, and made utterly toxic entirely through the CCP's intransigence.

  16. District council elections in HK are scheduled for November 24. Why doesn’t the opposition party Pan-democrats, who support the protest/riots, call for truce in the fighting until then? The only person disqualified for the election is Joshua Wong. All other Pan-dems have been allowed to run. But you can’t hold an election if conditions are as violent as on Monday. LET the People Speak!

  17. @Joe -(ex-HK) more than 7 pan-Democrat’s candidates being arrested, and at least 1 candidates being attacked and his ear is bites down. Well, on the other side, one supporting government candidates also be attacked. So people are not sure if the vote can hold as usual.

  18. @King The 7 Pan-Dems arrested haven’t been disqualified for running in the upcoming election. Though HK is going through a turbulent period now, let the people speak through the ballot box.

  19. I lived in Hong Kong and have strong bonds with the people and culture. Both sides need to abandon extremes. Negotiation and compromise is the pathway to future. Confrontation is seeding radical ideas and actions that leads nowhere.

  20. @Ricardo Machado Reasonable sentiments, except that the Chinese Communist Party does not do negotiation, much less compromise. Not ever. This is one of the major underlying issues leading to protracted protests and the escalation of violence. The people are increasingly desperate and infuriated.

  21. Fair enough Ricardo- can you tell me where Lam has shown compromise short of finally-after months of protest by vast majority of Hong mongers-withdraw extradition legislation? I completely grasp why protestors have grown weary of Beijing patting itself on the back for not having invaded the city and killed hundreds. Beijing has quietly Been violating the treaty terms with UK and trying to accelerate the complete takeover of the city. HK simply want to elect their own leaders as is called for under the treaty.

  22. @Ricardo Machado It sounds like trusting the communist government to hold up the rule of law in China. So Xi Jinping will sit down with protesters to allow negotiation about HK's freedom, right?

  23. Hong Kong protesters understand one thing clearly. Freedom is not free.

  24. @New World I don't think you get the irony of "freedom is not free", but ok.

  25. I'm grateful for the journalists who continue to cover the chaos with professionalism. They have been the heroes throughout.

  26. @Matt Agreed, especially given that journalists have suffered repeated physical attacks and illegal arrests by the Hong Kong police.

  27. Personally I have a lot of sympathy for protestors, especially ones who use peaceful civil disobedience to disrupt the daily lives of citizens to draw attention to an issue. However, the protests are leaderless and increasingly violent and seem to have no off ramp or willingness/ability to negotiate. If you view the government as completely illegitimate, then I suppose you try to overthrow it but first need to build broad support. The current protest movement seems unfocused and unable to bring about the changes they wish to see. Sad, Hope HK isn’t crushed by mainland a la 1989.

  28. @Will what do you mean " be crushed by mainland"? do you really know the history of HK?

  29. Carrie Lam condemned the pro-Beijing man’s burning, emphasising that the government “would not be pressured into making concessions to the protesters,” dismissing such expectations as “wishful thinking.” Yet in September she said she had caused “unforgivable havoc” by igniting the political crisis engulfing Hong Kong and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording she made to a group of businesspeople. She admitted her “very limited” room to resolve the crisis because the unrest has become a national security and sovereignty issue for China amid rising tensions with the US. “If I have a choice,” she said, “the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology.” Of course she could resign if she wanted. A week ago she met Xi Jinping in Shanghai and dispelled the speculation – at least for now – that she quit or be replaced. However he made it clear that her government must quell the protests that have roiled the city for five months. Although she now has Xi’s backing, standing firm is not an option, because it stokes only more resentment and violence. It's time for her to quit. She surely doesn't want more blood on her hands.

  30. You cannot equate the police shooting with the burning incident. Every society regulates and reserves the legitimate use of deadly violence. Especially so in HK, which does not allow private gun ownership. When deadly violence is reserved to the security services (i.e. police) then commensurate responsibility is implied. An officer may not simply claim self-defense. He must be willing to get pummeled in a street scuffle before using deadly force against an unarmed child who is not threatening imminent violence to other innocents. Deadly violence by police cannot be merely a last resort. In most cases, it should be no resort at all. (And let's face it. Most police are bruisers who go into the field because they enjoy a good romp.) There is no equivalence between the police and the citizenry. It's a Trumpian false argument to claim "both sides." When the police swear to protect the citizens, that includes angry citizens. How did this scuffle begin? Not important. It is the duty of the police to de-escalate even if it means walking away. If the kid wants to kick over a trash can, let him. The burning incident does not equate because it occurred between equal actors, equally hotheaded and agitated who both made the poor decision to confront each other face-to-face. The police responsibility lies here, in keeping these equal citizens separated. Not in enforcing Beijing policies on some megalomaniacal and archaic idea of pan-Sinoism.

  31. The violence and police brutality escalated after President Xi met Carrie Lam. Instead of solving the problem by having a dialog and creation of an Independent Commission, Hong Kong Government chooses to use the police to subdue the people. However, for every action, there is a reaction. It's going to be worse. Hate to see that Hong Kong is destroyed by the incompetence and misjudgment of Chief Executive, Carrie Lam.

  32. it is also “wishful thinking" if she thinks hardline tactics would work. it has not work for 4+ months. But as Chairman Mao said when he and his communist gangs were fighting against the unjust world of capitalism in China, in order to revolt and overthrow a corrupt government and its police state, there will be a lot of sacrifices in the line

  33. This had to happen. As always with authoritarian regimes there comes the day when those who rebel against it must be disarmed; disenfranchised. No argument is older: L'etat? "Apres moi, c'est deluge." The citizens of China owe fealty to the authoritarian government not the reverse. They may soon be taught this lesson with a vengeance.

  34. The cop was wrestled by 2 guys while the guy in black kept moving forward, most law enforcement wouldn’t even let you get that close before firing.

  35. This is going to end badly. When the protesters achieved their initial goal the protesters should have stopped, taken a breath, and waited for another issue warranting protest. When you have a leaderless protest fueled by social media there is no way to negotiate so on it will go until the might of Communist China comes down and crushes you. Don't these protestors remember the Arab Spring? That turned out really well for the freedom fighters. The protestors will never earn the freedom they so desperately want, China is too powerful and America will rightly never help.

  36. I was surprised that you gave so much room in the article to the police shooting and almost none to the man set on fire. Compared to the killing of protestors in Iraq, Chile and Ecuador the Hong Kong police seem relatively restrained. If this level of disruption was happening in DC the government would be unleashing its full power of repression.

  37. This looks like it could turn into a fight for their own country. It's an amazing situation where they could build above the Hong Kong Model and create a more democratic ideal without a heavy handed arm of government police force, with free market with equal rights.

  38. "a young protester found himself staring at the end of an angry police officer’s handgun. He was shot." Watch the video. The cop was not so much "angry" as scared. He was struggling with one protestor as another protestor, the one he shot, came at him. I'm no fan of cop shootings, but this one was legitimate. The officer was just protecting himself. It's sad to watch angry (male) teenagers take over the Hong Kong protests and turn them violent. It makes you understand Dr. King's profound wisdom that non-violence is not only the most moral but most politically effective way to protest in the streets for social change.

  39. @Barry Schreibman we're so quick to accept that its ok to shoot at someone. The protestor was unarmed. The police should be too.

  40. @Ivehadit Sorry, Ivehadit, but that's a really arrogant thing to say. First of all, the protestors are not unarmed. They're tossing Molotov cocktails. Secondly, you try doing a cop's job for a single day in the midst of riots and then see how you feel about doing this job "unarmed." I'm going to take a wild guess that you've never been in a street fight, let alone a riot. Cops are working stiffs who do a very dangerous job for very little money. They just want to -- and deserve to -- go home at night in one piece.

  41. @Barry Schreibman Hong Kong doesn't allow regular HK citizens to buy, to sell or to own guns. Hongkongers don't have guns, general speaking. Unlike Americans, having guns are their rights. The gun law in HK is completely different than in America. Being a cop in America is very different than being a cop in Hong Kong. According to the law in HK, the cops need to show their badge numbers —visibly—when they're on duty. The cops have broken the law by hiding their badge numbers so Hongkongers can't make complaints anymore. The cops also wear masks to hide their faces in order to avoid being video for who they are and what they do. Are these police behaviors? No numbers to complaint, no responsibilities to kill and to hurt unarmed people. Are you okay with that? What do you do if this is the cops in America?

  42. The police have been dripped in from the mainland " black and tan" style over the years. They have little regard for private citizens and property. We are greatly concerned for aging family members caught in their abusive strategies. Today the terrible news of inhuman actions was followed swiftly by the Chinese State bailout of British Steel story : saving hundreds of local jobs. Is this a trade worth making ? Did our forefathers accept funding from Nazi Germany during the depression?

  43. I do not endorse violence by protestors or, except in very rare and clearly necessary cases, by police. However, I find it troubling to see how different the sustained, mass movement in Hong Kong and others around the world are from the lack of any mass movements against brutal oppression and blatant illegality in America today. I recognize some, as in Egypt, fail and result in new authoritarian governments. However, perhaps as will be the case currently in Ecuador, many prevailed against undemocratic repressive regimes in Chile, Poland, and Tunisia among others. And as did the American civil rights movement to a significant degree.

  44. I think Beijing could move troops into Hong Kong, the power brokers and money makers would breath a very quiet sigh of relief, the world would loudly shout tsk tsk for 6 months, then everything would return to its oligarchic normal. I'm thinking Jamal Khashoggi , amongst many other examples.

  45. It's easy as an American to blame the Chinese government for the escalating police violence against protestors. I'm old enough to remember Kent State and the police brutality and murders during the Detroit riots. Based on the length and the simmering tension, I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been much more violence on both sides. Based on my American experience the Hong Kong uprising and the Chinese response has been surprisingly tame. I suspect if a major American city was virtually shut down for months there would be an overwhelming police response which would include a body count and mass arrests.

  46. The evidence suggests that every reasonable person knows that 45 supports the Chinese government in this matter. Indeed he will never support the Hong Kong protesters simply because by so doing, he would jeopardize his “trade deal.” Arguments to the contrary have no basis in fact.

  47. I am no fan of repressive regimes. That said, I find the NYT articles about the situation in HK to be quite unbalanced. These are not "protesters", they are at best rioters, and at worse terrorists and insurgents. Come on, property destruction, gasoline bombs, assaults on police and private citizens are not "protest". HK law enforcement has shown incredible restraint. Restraint that would be difficult to imagine in any Western democracy in light of such violence.

  48. If you don’t understand that democracy is worth dying for, you don’t understand the alternative.

  49. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. “ Hong Kong is its own culture, separate and apart from China. I’m not saying HK is not Chinese, it is in many ways but it’s also something very different. I see this as one of integration vs. assimilation.

  50. @The F.A.D. A little history lesson is important here, remember Tianemen Square? They have been fighting for democracy, something YOU or other Americans will be doing If this President gets re-elected.

  51. From the article: "[Carrie Lam] called those who had set the man on fire 'enemies of the people.' " 1) Lam is Beijing's representative in Hong Kong. One should assume that anything she says comes from the Party. Accordingly, her use of the phrase "enemies of the people" is quite ominous. The spectrum of Communist accusations begins with the mildest ones like "anti-social element" or "parasite". The penalties for these are comparatively light. The claimed offenses then increase in consequences through various charges. The most serious accusations are "counterrevolutionary" and "enemy of the people". In a Stalinist state, of which China is the main exemplar, if a slick one, the punishment for these "offenses" is almost always death. 2) The alleged ghastly action of setting the man afire runs counter to the behavior of the protestors up to now. Accordingly, the accusation should be scrutinized with care before it is accepted as fact. That is, the various sides should wait a couple days before reacting to the claim. If it is shown to be true, then the freedom movement has a choice of either denouncing it, and expelling the thugs in its midst, or it can look on them as mistaken, but still members of the movement. Virtually all revolutionary experience has shown that the latter choice, accepting the presence of murderous comrades in a nascent uprising, is suicidal.

  52. @alyosha Alyosha—never discount the possibility of inside, hired agitators. “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.” —John Lennon

  53. "Those who make political revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

  54. It’s pitchforks and guillotines time here too. Most just don’t look to see it.

  55. I am an American living in the US. I have been visiting Hong Kong for the last 25 years for business and pleasure. I have been to 78 countries worldwide during my life and Hong Kong is one of my favorite places. I just returned from 4 days in HKG...walking around...riding the MTR...visiting neighborhoods in Kowloon and Hong Kong, just to try to form an impression of the current situation in a place that I truly love. My heart lies with the protestors. However, it appears that the government has shown great restraint. The police in my country would not allow such violent or even peaceful protests to continue as long as the authorities in HKG have. I look at how Israel slaughters the protestors in Gaza and the high number of deaths currently occurring in Chile as well as how many other governments around the world would not allow the protests to continue. Hong Kong is a special place to me. I consider myself a neutral party although the current leadership in Beijing frightens me. But then, the current leadership in my own country frightens me. One thing though is for certain; HKG will change dramatically and quickly. It seems as though Beijing doesn't care what Taiwan will think about this situation. Or frankly, what the world thinks. All Beijing had to do was wait about another 30 years and per the handover agreement they could do with HKG as they please. But they were unable to wait even for that. Hubris!

  56. @Robert For the love of Christ, can we STOP comparing the US police to the mainland/PLA-trained "HK police"? It's complete tunnel vision to ignore the decades of HK's erosion of rights free speech and press and only look at a couple of instances of confrontation. Completely lazy and myopic. Also if you're "neutral" to the direction of this facial recognition/fingerprint-required for internet access/social credit score counting democracy activists smearing elite and western education/real-estate/buying money-laundering Uighur/Tibetan genocidal nation, then you're not really "neutral". The word is "complacent". Which easily evolves to "complicit" when one turns a blind eye enough times to these atrocities.

  57. Violence is a bad strategy. There are better ways to earn supports from the international communities. But for those who criticize how HK people protest, most of them have not gotten their rights and freedom away from them. I grew up in HK and enjoyed the golden days of British rules in the 80s and 90s. It is unbearable to see HK people loses their hope of self governing, basic rights, democracy and freedom. And for those who have chosen to be a bystander, the disease of Chinese Nationalism and self-righteousness could affect your country. Chinese lock up at least tens of thousands of Uighur, nationalize the theft of intellectual properties, build artificial islands and seize South China Sea, exercise unfair trade practices and totally ignore WTO agreement. Asian countries know that a powerful China is bad news to them historically. With globalization and modern technology a powerful China is bad news for the whole world. Today is HK/Xinjiang, tomorrow could be your country.

  58. @Chihang Lin- I'm sure during the "golden days" of British rule you thought you were an actual citizen of Great Britain rather than a subject of Great Britian.

  59. @HL You have your right to judge. HK people experience being judged by Chinese of not Chinese enough from everyday. Something I do not understand about you is your "I'm sure" statement. How could you be sure about someone else's thought/state-of-mind? People may ask what the difference is between ruled by Great Britain and China. The difference is huge. I hope I do not have to educate you on this. Most HK people do not believe in Chinese Nationalism. Most of them do not considered themselves Chinese. Being rules by China is a harsh reality. During the Golden Days of British rule we had governors, such as Sir Murray MacLehose, Sir Edward Youde, and Chris Patten to count a few. Tell me which HK Chief Executive from 1997 deserves respect from HK people.

  60. @Chihang Lin -I have no doubt HK was much better off as a colony of the British Crown. I'm just pointing out that because that colonial power was benevolent at the end of the day the HK people were not free people with all the rights of British citizens. They were Colonial subjects who's rights were given up without a shot being fired.

  61. In what city in the U.S. could several masked men surround a police officer, reach for his gun and put their hands on him without getting shot? Reporting that situation (watch the full video) in tandem with an unarmed unmasked man being set on fire by a masked thug (again watch the video) is exactly why Western media is playing a role in the violence roiling HK streets.

  62. @john John, people in the U.S. haven’t rioted in the streets because of an overbearing federal government. And people in Hong Kong weren’t rioting yesterday, either. They were protesting. The police shot a protestor, not a rioter. And yes. I watched the video. If China’s government wasn’t acting to repress freedom I’m Hong Kong, there would be no need for police to shoot people. So I think the people of Hong Kong should not be blamed for the actions - in this case committed by the police - caused by their would-be overlords in Beijing.

  63. @Dave Wyman Riots are simple: violence, fires, bombs, destruction. Behavior. I don't blame the HK people. I blame the thugs.

  64. Americans who criticize the protesters or what is happening in other places around the world, clearly, ignore what is happening in America now and if push comes to shove, and this excuse for a President gets re-elected, as in Hong Kong, the fight for what will be left of democracy in America will start and whining about it on the internet won't be enough.

  65. freedom is never free. It must be paid in blood.

  66. Why “must”

  67. The world is at a watershed. I see more protest soon, in many lands. Civil riots = the police against the people. And yes. The police are well-paid. We are going to need to concentrate on the police. The day the police turn around and join protestors is the day real change begins. What are their thoughts.

  68. China will do the same to the rest of the world if they are not stopped. As crazy as it sounds to most Americans, China feels its rightful place is as sole world superpower. It is telling it’s people we are evil for wanting to deny them their rightful place. It’s impossible to understand just how much control a national propaganda machine can have for Americans... until you realize every time we consider voting for an oligarch or the representative of the oligarchs’ advantaged interests, like Clinton, Biden, Bloomberg, Trump...

  69. One citizen, one vote. Remember, no one should have more power based on wealth in a democracy.

  70. You are kidding me

  71. @Lilly A big nation like China does have legitimate self-interests, just like the US and any other nation has. We have no right to impose our values on their national culture.

  72. It is important to understand that this was inevitable: China was always going to attempt to take over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and any other democracy in the region. The TPP was the best means of defending these small places. We would never go to war with China over them, but if we joined economically with all the little countries around China, we could force China to stop their authoritarian attacks on them. Instead, Trump single-handedly destroyed any chance for a peaceful transition to democracy in China, and insured decades of suffering for anyone that is near China. This is the legacy of the Trump voter: millions imprisoned and dead. Nice job, supposed Christians.

  73. @J c No. No. The answer is not more 'free' trade. The answer is an economic policy that puts human rights front and center. We need to end PNTR. We need to end it today. We are paying for the bullets in those guns. We pay for them every time we buy cheap goods from China.

  74. @J c China is a country of 1.4 billion people, what right do we, a nation of 320 million, have to tell them how to govern their country? Obviously the demonstrations are influenced by the outside. One extradition is not enough to start weeks and weeks of demonstrations. That requires real organization. We do have plenty of problems of our own and of our own making and we do not demonstrate.

  75. Mob can burn a innocent man, police can’t shoot a mob who want to snatch police’s gun. What a “free” media!

  76. @Liyuan Song both of those things happened, and both were wrong.

  77. I’m not sure the mob actually did burn that man. It suspect it was a stunt designed to turn public sentiment against the protesters. I also suspect the escalation in violence has been the handiwork of government infiltrators.

  78. The footage clearly shows the man who got shot tried to grab the officer's gun, he's only shot once and wounded, I do not know what U.S. officer would do in this situation, but an adequately-trained officer in Paris would have emptied the bullets in the mag and the mob would be long dead. People in HK were on the right path to fight against authoritarianism, but these easily-instigated young people are making the movement impossible, do not commit vandalism, storm government building, and literally set the people who disagree with you on fire, the more violence you people are doing, the less international support HK democracy would receive.

  79. Glorifying these RIOTERs as protestors is unprofessional and biased western media reporting on what's going on in Hong Kong. As someone who just visited there, I witnessed the lawlessness of those masked rioters who throw petrol bombs at public buildings, attack verbally and physically at anyone who speak Mandarin, barricade train stations..... The once peaceful and prosperous city is now undergoing a self destruction. The Hong Kong police is the most disciplined and peaceful force I have ever seen. In the US and Canada, these riots would have long been put down by bullets and dead bodies.

  80. @Agostini If we did that the NG would have been used to stop the protests a long time ago, and not in the nicest way either. We have reasons to protest and demonstrate too, but there are no organizers to begin with.

  81. @Amit C. Yes, fighting for freedom of speech in the traditional manner, that is, beating and burning people who espouse different views.

  82. Have you yourself visited HK lately? You don’t know there are people enjoying vandalism in the name of fighting for democracy?

  83. They were unarmed. He should have manned up instead of cowardly shooting at them.

  84. @David Wong Thats right, just putting more oil in the fire, the deaths are wanted by the instigators...

  85. Imagine the same thing happened in New York. What would all these commentators have to say?

  86. Friend who just returned from a trip to Hong Kong says those are not regular cops but Red Army units dressed in police uniforms. China is playing hardball.

  87. Are you sure about that?

  88. @Frank The friend in question is a Chinese-American with elderly relatives there who cannot endanger their lives by speaking openly. But let's say there are family contacts within the local government.

  89. We need facts, not heresy. Thank you very much.

  90. I greatly admire the protestors but am fearful for them. This isn’t Lexington and Concord in 1775. I fear this will come to a bad end.

  91. Hong Kong was and still is the only place in China where a massive civil disobedience movement is possible. Imagine in an alternative universe where one million HKers sit in front of the HK government HQ and completely shutdown the goverment operation. They would be arrested one by one, but the sheer number would totally paralyze the HK legal and justice system, forcing the government to compromise. Imagine the powerful image that would send to mainlaind China and the world - the people of Hong Kong exercise civil disobedience to bring down tyranny, or at least their puppet in Hong Kong. All that is fantasy. Here are the problems with the violent protest - 1) it defeats the very purpose of the movement - to defend the rule of law in Hong Kong ; 2) it makes the movement lose moral high ground; 3) the image of Hong Kong protesters setting property on fire, destroying subway stations, has united mainland people with the Chinese government. The mainland Chinese don't want civil unrest. They've gone through cultural revolution and many destructive political movements since 1949. The last thing they want is violence on the street. With mainland people's backing, the Chinese government will not give in. Have the Hong Kong protesters taken a completely peaceful approach, it could have upended the status quo, it could have sent a powerful message to Beijing and it could have unite the people of mainland with their idea. Now this opportunity has been missed. Tragedy is coming.

  92. @David The completely peaceful approach you are suggesting happened 5 years ago. It lasted for months. The failure of that protest has nothing to do with the protestors who were lauded internationally for their responsibility, respect, organisation, etc. The government failed to listen and react 5 years ago. They failed again this summer after the peaceful march of 2 million people. Now the police are cowardly shooting kids in the street and people are here writing about 'both sides' and violent protestors. It is absurd. The police should act like the adults they claim to be and make an effort to deescalate violence instead of bringing loaded lethal weapons to a shouting match.

  93. Your analysis is good point; however, the months or even peaceful demonstrations have been ignored since 1997. Recently, the peaceful, rational and non violent organizers were attacked and arrested by the police. What has happened in HKG today, would happen to elsewhere of the world while the CCP with its growing economic power and the billions brainwashed people. Take a look WWII. Today is Remembrance Day NOV 11 while the mainland China takes this date as crazy shopping day for the money. What a new world order they want to set up

  94. @David I totally agree with you. I once met a guy from Beijing. He said the government there was so afraid of Falun Gong, because after their protest, the place was clean. They picked up every shred of paper. They were well-organized. Disorderly behavior is what Beijing hope to see the protest turn into.

  95. Where are all these pro-China comments coming from? Are these real people with real opinions, or bots? Seems worth looking into

  96. @Mark So there can't be any different voices? LOL guess what's worth looking into? the story itself... If u really care u should look up the full video, and u might start to wonder if the protestors have the full right to do all the things they were doing... in the name of democracy and you might stop taking in everything mainstream media is feeding you

  97. @Mark Yes, Mark, those are real people with real concerns over the actions of protesters in HK.

  98. I wonder how hard it is to move to Hong Kong now

  99. As indicated by moi years back ... China will implode .. Hong Kong is not the only area of concern for Red leadership.

  100. Coverage of events in HK is becoming reminiscent of events in Beijing during the Maoist Cultural Revolution. There seems to be strain in Chinese political thought-especially attractive to the very young-that only violence and brutal acts can get a minority force or party the handhold on events it needs to "seize the day" and overcome their foes. This was admitted by many who also were at the 1989 Tian An Men demonstrations that ended in bloodhsed.

  101. I am fed up with these protests and the handling of said protests by the government. First of all this whole episode was utterly self inflicted - Carrie Lam - apparently having nothing better to do - decided that fooling around with an extradition bill was a good idea, knowing full well the history of recent protest in HK. When multiple sectors of society expressed their opposition, she did nothing. Now the situation is out of everyone's control. I was sympathetic to the cause of the demonstrators before but it is clear that the character of the "protests" has changed to that of generalized insurrection against the government. Videos, including those analyzed by the NYT, show protestors initiating attacks on the police, who themselves are hardly without blame in this tragedy. Carrie Lam needs to resign. Whatever your views on the issue it is clear that her "leadership" has been wholly inadequate. Why Beijing wants her to stick around is a mystery to me. At the same time the government needs to set up a commission of inquiry of police actions. Yet this disorder cannot burn on. Call in the manpower needed, via the military or the police, equip them with non-lethal weapons and staff every MTR station with adequate security personnel. Once order is restored perhaps Beijing and Government House can figure out how to govern HK's distinct society properly.

  102. I agree with what you write except to make one point. Carrie Lam is chief executive in name only. She follows the orders of the Party/State représentative who heads Peking’s Liaison Office in HK. She wouldn’t have introduced the extradition bill without Peking’s say so, encouragement and almost certainly their direction. In short, she is a cipher as will be her replacement in due course.

  103. The current discontent in HK is not particularly Chinese problem but global. I see potentially same uprisings and violences happening in NY, SF, LA, Paris London Seoul,’s about petulant income inequalities, people feeling ignored by public institutions owned by oligarchs and billionaires and just general bleakness people feel about the future

  104. Alas...

  105. Who is organizing all that, who are the leaders? It takes a lot to organize any demonstration, including money.

  106. Hong Kong has now become the most compelling case study of why non-violent social protest is the only way to initiate social change. Resorting to violence ensures that violence grabs all the headlines with no room left for substantive policy discussion. After so much destruction and mayhem, who can even cogently articulate what the protestors want? I dare say that at this point, the protestors themselves are at a loss when it comes to identifying realistic outcomes that will stop the protests. As a pointed exercise of politics, the Hong Kong Protests of 2019 has been an unmitigated failure with no vision and even less leadership. At this point, it has all become protest for protest's sake.

  107. @UC Graduate After what happened to the leader of the Umbrella Movement a few years ago, they have learned not to have a recognizable leader up front.

  108. @UC Graduate I don’t think you quite understand the dynamics at play in China as opposed to protest movements in other developed countries. It all starts with one basic question; how many people does the Chinese government kill every year? ... The answer is, no one knows for sure. Heck the Chinese government probably doesn’t even know. In non-violent protest movements like that in India or in the United States, the oppressed rely on the visibility of their oppression to incite change. But that doesn’t work when the oppressors have no qualms about running you over. If you try to use non-violent protest against a force of oppression that quite literally would not lose sleep if you and you’re family are erased from existence, then the only thing that happens is exactly that, and business continues on as usual. I applaud the people of Hong Kong for refusing to take China’s brutality laying down, and fighting for their rights.

  109. The thing is non violence was tried and it failed utterly a few years ago with the Umbrella Movement. Protestors got nothing except their leaders jailed. Violence got results when the extradition bill was withdrawn. If we like it or not violence has been key to the success of many Independence and liberation struggles but it's not pretty and often leads to decades of extreme violence and lingering wounds even when successful. The thirty years of war in Vietnam and the unhappy history of Ireland come to mind.

  110. The protests in Hong Kong are not much different from anti immigration movements in many parts of the world, including the US. Hong Kongers used to have a sense of superiority to their poorer neighbors in China's mainland. But after several decades of development, Hong Kong's next door neighbor, Shenzhen, has grown from a fishing village to a metropolis that is at the forefront of technology and has surpassed Hong Kong in GDP. With more and more mainland Chinese coming, some people in Hong Kong feel they are left behind by the new economy and their way of life is threatened, even by mainland tourists' supposedly rude manners. It happens that the mainland has a communist government, so the movement against the mainland becomes democracy protests.

  111. @Tom I think this is right. I have read that man that Hong Kong protestors are attacking businessmen and tourists from the Mainland, and even non-Chinese foreign workers. If they were just against the Chinese government, their attacks would be strictly limited to Chinese government targets and they would not be attacking civilians. As it is, it does look like the protest fits in the mold of the xenophobic protests we are seeing in some other first-world countries that feel entitled to lord it over the developing world indefinitely.

  112. „Yet the clashes between protesters and the police were intense by any measure; the shooting was only the third time the police have shot a protester since the demonstrations began in June.“ —> What a strange perception does the author have? Not every country in the world is as much in love with shooting guns like the United States. The word “only” is completely false in this sentence.

  113. This is what communism/ Socialism looks like folks. College kids take note on what you are seeing here when the government suppresses free speech and takes away other freedoms from the people it is supposed to serve. Once Hong Kong tasted freedom for 100 years it's hard to take it away.

  114. What we who support Bernie are fingering for is democracy. FDR democracy. FDR, the most beloved president in history. Fighting for democracy, not oligarchy, seems radical to you?

  115. Capitalism-socialism dichotomy is independent from the democracy-autocracy axis. You can have a Democratic socialist state, or an autocratic one. Don’t confuse.

  116. Xi Jinping is probably smart enough to understand that what the millennials in Hong Kong are doing is to try to ignite a people’s peaceful “Revolution Against Empire” — [Justin du Rivage’s title to his definitive history of our own First American “Revolution Against Empire”] — and he must know that his previously “promised” goal at the annual CRP conference of “Socialism With Chinese Characteristics” certainly does not mean another Tiananmen Square Massacre, any more than it means another “Boston Massacre” by the British Empire, another “Wounded Knee” massacre, another Kent State massacre, or any more BLM massacres by a professed democracy that sometimes acts more like a Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire which fires on its own First World War of Empire veterans in a DC park, or Rockefeller’s own Standard Oil directly firing on the tents of striking workers in Colorado. On a global basis in our now 21st century “Globalized World”, as Thomas Friedman writes, there are now only two real choices of either Global Empire or global political/economic & social(ist) democracy — which applies as much in America as China — surely Xi Jinping, if not Emperor Trump, is smart enough to recognize this global truth.

  117. America created by Revolution 1776 French created by Revolution 1789 Russia created by Revolution 1917 China created by Revolution 1949 Europe created by Revolution 1937 ANY questions???

  118. @ndv, yes, 1937?

  119. @ndv Yes, ndv, and all Revolutions are Against Empire. I’ll assume that by that “Revolution of 1937” you meant that that particular Revolution within the Second World War of Empires with the focus of that “Revolution Against Empire” was more of an M&A Revolution at the end of WWIIE and by 1947, to begin an attempted consolidation (or “conglomeration”, to use a ‘70s term as Hal Geneen invented at ITT) aiming at the first truly integrated Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire. BTW, nvd, it is “Only in America” that a poor boy like me can wake-up and start a Revolution Against Global Empire.

  120. Rioting is not a form of protest, neither is shooting or setting people on fire. It doesn't appear as though there is actual repression of the population in Hong Kong and solving differences never come about as a result of molotov cocktails or the use of firepower. Our government is very clear about the direction of our nation and it appears the Chinese government is as well, but we don't have to riot in order to be shot.

  121. The sad fact is that China will never tolerate true democracy and freedom in HK. Doing so would encourage the rest of the country to throw off the yoke of repression, and then the Communist Party elites would have to find real jobs. We should nevertheless encourage the pro-democracy movement in HK, and everywhere else it arises. One day all might be free.

  122. The videos of these incidents of violence are widely available on twitter. I have viewed videos of the shooting and the aftermath, the police officer on motorcycle ramming repeatedly at first speed into protestors, and the argument where a man was doused in alcohol or paraffin and set on fire and the aftermath. The protestor who was shot point blank in the chest collapsed to the ground and then his body was dragged roughly by the police to hand cuff him. The man who was set on fire was quickly extinguished, his shirt burned off, and he the left the scene walking away, apparently into a subway stop. There are a lot of rumors going around about the latter incident. I am curious how the authors if this article verified their information.

  123. @Dee Bandts if you indeed watched the video carefully, you should see that the guy got shot tried to grab the policeman's gun... and he was not hand-cuffed... I could clearly see it because when the ambulance came, he got up and tried to escape... I really doubt if you watched the full video

  124. The image just before the policeman shot the protestor seems to indicate that deadly force was not justified. And I believe it wasn't justified and was criminal. Having lived through the protests against the war in Viet nam I feel for these kids. The 1960s were a dark time for the youth of my generation. These kids need to be resolute but they need to lead clean lives and pursue truth and knowledge. Because the strength of Hong Kong is the character of these kids. And if they turn into thugs they will become like their Chinese masters. But having said that I support these kids totally and completely.

  125. I watched the video, everyone commenting on here needs to see the video before commenting. Then form an opinion. I hate to think of the Times as slanted but after reading the article and then seeing the video, it appears the police used extraordinary restraint.

  126. @Jim Yes, and Rodney King had it coming, too.

  127. Government of Hong Kong has shown lot of restraint in five months of protests.Contrast this with Iraq, our project to bring democracy, where scores have died. Same is true in chile, another democracy. Kashmir has experienced many deaths of the protesters. However, news coverage portray Hong Kong as the most troubled place. News clearly shows the protester wearing black moving menacingly toward the police officer who was tackling another protester. Police officer feared attack. These protests started against the extradition legislation which would have sent "wanted criminals" to China. That bill has been withdrawn. Emboldened the protesters have escalated their demand for democracy. Rule of law, freedom of speech, two important features of democracy, exist in HK. Beijing chooses the candidate who could run. In the next election, vote against the candidate chosen by Beijing and send a message.

  128. The restraint of the Hong Kong police and government is admirable. The protesters' behavior would not have been tolerated in any western democracy. What started as peaceful protest against a proposed extradition law has been escalated by the protesters into violent riots, even though the extradition law was withdrawn by the HK government. There's much to dislike about the authoritarian Chinese regime, but I'm not even sure what the protesters demands are! Asking the US for help, as some protesters did, is far worse than trump asking Ukraine for help with his reelection. It's no less than treason. At the end of the day, Hong Kong an inseparable part of China. Expecting anything else is a fool's errand. More people will unnecessarily die.

  129. Anyone who says they aren’t sure what the demands are is not worth listening to. They have been clear and repeated.

  130. @Alpha111 Either you haven't been paying attention, or you have an odd understanding of the meaning of "restraint."

  131. @Alpha111 That's a pathetic false equivalence. Civilians asking democratic countries for support is NOT the same thing as phoning an individual asking for quid pro quo. Shame on you for dismissing those who want the same rights you already have. If you're too lazy to look up what the simple 5-demands are, then you're just seeking information that reinforces your preexisting beliefs because their demands are published everywhere. Or maybe you only jump the firewall to defend the Chinese government and ignore everything else.

  132. I think HK police should learn from American police how to handle these situation.

  133. Seems they actually have learned from American police to shoot first

  134. The last of the five demands is universal suffrage. Very few countries actually have that. Perhaps the closest to universal suffrage is the ROC (Taiwan), where recent presidents have all won a majority (although just a plurality is needed). And France, were runoffs are held until one wins a majority. In the US, within my lifetime, we've had two men become president even when they've lost the popular vote. In the UK, the Prime Minister doesn't even have to come from a party that won a majority of the vote. Likewise for the Chancellor of Germany. In Republic of Korea, which does rely on a popular vote, the current president only won 41.08% of the vote. While I'm sympathetic with the protesters' yearning for democracy, I think they need to set a more achievable goal.

  135. @William Fang I think you are missing the point

  136. In simplest terms and as other letters have addressed, I do not see why the fine students and others protesting, think that this will in any way, any single way, gain benefits from China. Totally against the heart of their ideology and the requirements of governing billions of people that they have to deal with.China will respond on its terms when its international relations and image allow.

  137. Remember this when you shop for Christmas gifts that most of the toys and clothing you buy prop up this murderous regime. Also don't forget to thank the Benedict Arnold CEOs like Tim Cook who want more American jobs to go to China helping them to compete against US companies. And give a big shout-out to Universities which encourage Chinese students to come and study STEM subjects so they can be better trained to take over American jobs.

  138. I don’t think how the last point is at all relevant. Everyday citizens are just trying to better the condition of their own lives totally independent of the government that they live in. This type of sentiment only breeds a divisive (us vs them) mentality, and privileged complacency— that somehow we deserve these jobs regardless of how hard we work towards them simply because we were born here.

  139. Exactly

  140. President Xi, I get you do not want your country of several billion divided up. I get that but this going into Hong Kong and Tiawan for that matter-you might be over reaching? Maybe involve yourself with Chinese ports that keep blowing up and can be seen by the NASA Space Station?

  141. President Xi, you don't have to do this. Yes, England and the United States are a confusing bunch now. But they will pass. You have to wake up the next morning to what you did to the residents of Hong Kong. Tread carefully.

  142. I appreciate the cause of the demonstrators in Hong Kong, even though outcome is always hard to predict. In this country, at our onset, we rebelled not so peacefully to claim our freedom, and lives were lost, but freedom gained. This truly is what is happening in Hong Kong, as they fight for independence and freedom.

  143. If these protests continue without any end in sight as they are now, some demonstrators will die simply as a result of old age. Imagine the headlines then.

  144. It is ironic to see that those who claim to be freedom fighters do not allow freedom of speech in Hong Kong. If you don’t agree with them, they beat you up. If you are from the Mainland and don’t speak Cantonese, they beat you up. If you take a photo of them during the riot, they beat you up. These youngsters have become the Irish Republican Army in Britain during the 20th century. They are not the protesters; they are the mobs and criminals. How are they different from the terrorists? They do not allow the average citizens live a normal life. They complain about the police violence. They never asked why they vandalize the Starbucks, the department stores and restaurants that they think are linked to China? We in the western world need to condemn what these mobs have done.

  145. I wish President Obama were still here , to take a moral stand on behalf of these people ! No one in America is speaking out for them.

  146. @paul I'm sure President Obama would have made a wonderful speech. And done nothing.

  147. People who yearn for democracy will seek political change, and any government that attempts to resist the will of the masses will, inevitably, face violence. Blaming the people for violent protest is like blaming the ocean for a storm. Let us remember that famous quote from Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" Unfortunately for the people of Hong Kong, the tree of liberty may be so damaged that it withers despite their efforts.

  148. The protestors know this is all or nothing. If they allow China to rule Hong Kong, their lives, and freedoms, will be over. Their backs are against the wall.

  149. Hong Kong has a strange and convoluted history. It fits comfortably with neither China not the Western world. In many ways is seems it would be best off if it were like Singapore, but the PRC would never allow this. This city will always be betwixt and between

  150. Violence is clearly wrong. so are many police tactics... As it is now, with the sentiment of people in HK, and the sentiment of China people towards HK people, it is looking more and more like an occupation of a enemy territory. Not a united country.

  151. Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong has not really appreciated just how precarious its relative independence is; either historically as a British colony or currently as a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. Strategically, China has not identified Hong Kong as a key part of its one belt one road, China 2025 or other national strategies. Regionally, the Great Bay Area initiative would serve to further equalize the status of HK with Shenzhen and Zhuhai. The prolonged violent protests in Hong Kong do not serve the interest of HK people. Financial services, trading, tourism and professional services are all industries that are easy to move. Many mainland and foreign companies are already moving out of Hong Kong. This may be the beginning of a long and irreversible decline for Hong Kong.

  152. The unrest in Hong Kong is going to come to a bad end. It started in the wrong, to save from extradition an obnoxious and notorious murderer of a young woman. Now they gave him up, but the fight goes on. The real basis of the fight is the autonomy of Hong Kong bargained for by the British as they departed. That was always ambiguous, as a deal so often tends to be. It was a work in progress. This extradition law sparked by really bad facts was a bad place from which to defend autonomy. The protesters should take their win of a withdrawn law and a disappeared villain, and go home to fight another day on better facts. They certainly will have to fight. China agreed not to kill the golden goose of Hong Kong, if it could have nominal sovereignty. That goose is now a lot less golden, in comparison to a booming China. Meanwhile, that goose has been going out of its way to annoy that booming China. It shelters a lot of people who spend their lives infuriating the powers just across the line. That can't end well. Hong Kong no longer has the % to total money in trade that it once had, nor the banking influence. It can't push this as far as it once did. But instead it is pushing harder and further, as if it were invincible. It isn't. Hong Kong will need to get real about its prospects, and trim its coat to its cloth, or it is going to get hammered. Then it will look back and wish it had been more modest in behavior.

  153. Hong Kong is over. But that was clear back when the British handed it back to China. It’s just taken a while for the reality to sink in.

  154. Counterpoint, Xi is a weak leader who has grabbed more power than he can handle. He has proved conclusively that the CCP is absolutely unable to rule any population other than mainland Han. Taiwan will never be ruled by the CCP. The idea that Communist China will be the same at 2049 as it is now is unlikely. The time is probably right to push back and the outcome is still far from certain.

  155. @Hunter S. -- This is about Hong Kong, not Taiwan. They are very different. "Push back?" Is that what our hawks imagine is happening in Hong Kong? If so, then Hong Kong is in more trouble, and sooner, as it taunts that trouble.

  156. China is waiting patiently for public opinion turn against the rioters. When the day comes, the iron fist will come down as no ones have seen before.

  157. Live ammunition does not signal patience to me.

  158. We failed Tibet. We failed the Uighur in Xinjiang. Lets not fail Hong Kong.

  159. "But neither side seems to agree on what the future should look like under Chinese rule..." Also: "But neither the turkey nor the butcher seem to agree on how the turkey should be stuffed."

  160. Hong Kong elders want assimilation with China. Hong Kong youth want more democracy and cheaper living standards. Wealth from the mainland into HK has pushed housing prices to unaffordable levels. Jobs may also be scarce as mainlanders migrate. China can do one of two things: 1) keep beating heads, or 2) make living in HK more affordable to quell dissent. Economic prosperity tends to make people satisfied with the status quo. Hong Kong protesters can do one of two things: 1) keep getting your heads beat, or 2) make this protest multifaceted. HK protesters can do several things, most in parallel: A. Resolve this through political means. Eject Carrie Lam, make HK separate politically from the mainland (unlikely). B. Keep protesting in the streets. C. Use computers. Hack everything governmental. Take down or manipulate websites. Interrupt China’s social media message. Cripple digital infrastructure. Bend it to your message. D. Ferment instability elsewhere. Have protests arise in other parts of the country, like among the Uyghur’s or other politically displaced people. Make China’s problems multiply. Remove attention from yourselves. E. Get help. Ask other nations for assistance. Regardless, democracy, or anything else desirable is not free. You must work hard for it and stay persistent. And if the opposition crushes your movement, you must keep these ideals in your head because another time, a better time, might be around the next corner.

  161. Freedom of speech definition in the 21st century: you have the freedom to agree to what I say. If you don’t, you are brainwashed. Most of the media in current time no longer report news or speak truth, but opinions. They speak the language which can help them sell more. They don’t report the granny who removed the roadblocks made by protesters so that people can go home after work. When she was moving those heavy fences, she was pointed by the laser pens by the protesters. They don’t report the children, whose parents are police, were bullied at school. There are many other stories like the above, but are not exposed to the public. I guess it is because these stories will make people think if the protesters also conducted some behaviors which are not morally acceptable. And if a news agency reports this type of news, they are “brainwashed” by the CCP and no longer trustworthy. Vice versa, news in China only reports how protesters turned into rioters and destroying HK people’s daily lives. If people argue, they are traitors.

  162. There is a difference between the two incidents: the police shot when that protester made a grab towards officer's piece while two other protesters were grappling with the same officer. Otoh, that counter protester was set on fire by a by-standing black-shirt who douse the victim with prepared gasoline and lit on purpose. That's attempted murder (if the victim survives.)

  163. @Tim Teng I hope you have seen the whole footage before the incident. The policeman turned around, pulled out his pistol, and grabbed a protester. It should not have happened in the first place. HK is not a city where regular citizen can bear arm. Just research the statistics of policeman getting hurt by protesters. Last time when a police was killed in Hong Kong was done by another police. It was the police who push the civilians to the edge, and yet the police violence is a total abusive of force/power considered the disparity of their force.

  164. @Chihang Lin I have seen the whole footage. Your logic does not make sense. Prior to the protests when HK was at peace and its citizens unarmed, HK polices were issued sidearms for the same reason as all other police forces- to uphold the law. Furthermore, in this case if you watch the footage, as the police turned around several protesters (especially the one on left side of the screen was carrying a long rod) weren't backing down. And lastly, he only shot after the guy went for his piece and kept trying. At most, the police was overly aggressive but the shooting wasn't premeditated. Otoh, the men set on fire was actually done by two black-shirts who weren't arguing with the victim in the first place. One doused the fuel, and the other lit with a lighter. That's team work: planned, practiced, and carried out with deadly intention, not against the establishment, but on an unarmed HK citizen. Just google 'Hong Kong man set on fire', you'll see the footage.

  165. The communists should be very worried. Nothing is more powerful than a young person who is not afraid to die for their beliefs

  166. This will not end well for the protesters. When you keep poking the lion, it will eventually fight back. Assuming they have access to Tianamen Square history, they would be well served to read it. There is no white knight riding to the rescue. There wasn't then and there won't be now. Looking to our Oval Office for a solution is an exercise in futility. Trust that 65% of Americans already know that.

  167. all the people defending police here and claiming there's no place for violence regarding the protesters are the same people who vote for endless wars to push america's "freedom" on the world. Apparently only US run violence is okay.

  168. While one can sympathize with the protests in Hong Kong, perhaps, and other global hot spots currently in the news, I see an urgency and opportunity for US government officials (especially Congress and the POTUS) to strengthened our immigration system so as to have a reliable system in place to capture illegitimate asylum claims that will soon surge as a result of these global conflicts. And land recaptured by the ocean from the effects of global warming will drive mass exoduses from these conflicted nations. For example, though Hong Kong is 6x the size of Washington DC with 7 million inhabitants, it has <25% undeveloped land, and itself, lies in low-lying land region (easily swamped in storm surges). The result of global warming, and now combined with the current political unrest will result, in a massive movement of people in the next few years. As such, the American immigration system including our borders should be reformed in a hurry to meet these impending society altering challenges.

  169. A former diplomat and neighbor of mine having served decades in HK under the Brit mandate and helped drafting the 1997 agreement recently told me that the Mainland would never, never, never, EVER give up on Hong Kong. I believe the protester’s intimate awareness of such a gloomy perspective explains their desperation. They know HK will die as it is, whatever time it takes for China to retake control, unless a powerful revolution takes place now, which is less than certain considering the global unwillingness to challenge China. I feel sad and sorry for these youngsters and I strongly wish my guesses prove wrong.

  170. @Sygar, I agree. China will never let Hong Kong go. I think Xi is trying the ‘hammer in velvet glove’ approach. Eventually the gloves will come off. Question is, will the youth leave HK for greener pastures? I’m sure China does not want them and passports will be freely given without worry of causing the same repercussions in the Mainland. Economic prosperity is a Godsend. But when the money spigot turns off....maybe greater unrest?

  171. @Sygar Mainland China is like the cat pondering the mouse of HK. If the Mainland strikes, they do risk weakening their economic future, with predictable boycotts from other countries. China is not fully solvent right now, and likely cannot risk the expenditure. HK may have a chance.

  172. @Sygar I think one needs to know the Chinese history of losing the Opium Wars to Britain, which resulted in part of China (Hong Kong/Kowloon/New Territory) being fallen into British hands, in order to understand why China will never let this ugly shameful history to be forgotten, and to ever lose its sovereignty over Hong Kong. On the other hand, with almost half a year of violent riots and disruptions, HK has totally lost all its touristic lure, and financial/nusiness/tourism values for China and the rest of the world, as it quickly turns from a World Class City to a tribal village.

  173. After reading the many posts here calling the brave young people fighting democracy "rioters" I have to ask myself if the NYT is being targeted by a pro-Beijing troll army.

  174. @DanInTheDesert Very clearly yes. They hardly make a secret of it.

  175. I would like to ask who can give positive suggestions in this months movement while 1) hundreds of thousands peaceful protests to protect their rights that have been recorded in BASIC LAW developed from an international treaty filed in UN since 2003 to Jun 9 2019. ( the responses from the HKSAR government were to ignore the requests from the people ; more worse, the Beijing Government changed basic law in its favor that even declared the treaty is a historic document)! 2) ONE MILLION people peacefully went to the Victoria Park 3) TWO MILLION people PEACEFULLY demonstration again in July ( the responses from the government of HKSAR : triad gang and Yuen Long police worked together to attack the passengers in train station JULY 21 ; police rushed to Prince Edward station to beat passengers again. Since then, more than unusual " suicide cases" and corpses in the sea appeared more often. I do not support any violences but if million people protest happened in democratic counties, the government must have a say or even resign. Actually, the months movement is the result from years of corruptions both in government and business since 1997. Political and economic issues that have not been addressed for decade. DQ pro democratic candidates and the bill is the last straw. What has happened in HKG today, would happen to elsewhere of the world while the CCP with its growing economic power and the billions brainwashed people. Take a look WWII. Today is Remembrance Day NOV 11

  176. What, specifically, do the protestors want? It seems to me that what they need is for Hong Kong to be independent, but I don't really hear that demand.

  177. These protests in Hong Kong have no strategy or endgame. China is a country of 1.4 billion people with a powerful army. Hong Kong has a population of 7.4 million, only some of whom support the protests. They have little support from mainland Chinese and no leverage. No one in the world community is going to come to Hong Kong's aid. Yes, the protestors want something admirable, freedom and democracy, but these protests will certainly not get achieve this. They will only lead to death and destruction. Hong Kongers who care about democracy should quietly join with pro-democracy groups on the mainland to push for reforms. This is a slow and difficult path, but it is better than the non-strategy we see in these protests.

  178. At least the citizens of Hong Kong know they're fighting for the life of their democracy. Many more savvy and steeped in history Hong Kong citizens, moved away before or shortly after 1997. 100 years is a short time China's history. At the same time, at least the citizens of Hong Kong are fighting the destruction of their democracy.

  179. If China decides to send in the riot troops....stationed right across the border.....Hong Kong's autonomy is more waiting for 2047. And the rest of the world will do nothing.....what can they do? Or am I missing something here?

  180. When someone disagrees with you and tries to argue with you, you just set him on fire. It's a great form of democracy that Hong Kong protesters are practicing.

  181. I wish there was a way toward peace but that I fear, is foolish hope. I can only see more violence, more loss of life and a severe crackdown from China. I understand the yearning for freedom and deeply respect that some are prepared to die for it, and die they will. Without leadership from the US and Europe the Hong Kongers don't stand a chance. I wish them well and really hope that I am wrong.

  182. China is a great weight hanging over Hong Kong about to crush its dying democracy. The valiant people of that great city are hanging on for dear life. And what is our Trumpian leadership doing to help them? Nothing at all, merely sinking back into that isolationism that is crushing our own Democracy. our great city on a hill lies in ruins, but we don't even know it yet as we pretend to be great. A great people reach out to others with a helping hand, but all our leadership does is play golf with Xi.

  183. The big mistake HK protesters are making is that they are challenging directly at the CCP. Flying American flags and open protest is frowned on in all totalitarian societies. Especially China. Protests are tolerated in China as long as they are not seen as embarrassing or challenging the legitimacy of the central government. Typically protests are targeted indirectly by focusing on local politicians. The protest should have focused on the extradition law. Now that protests are about AMERICAN style speech and assembly, the CCP will try to extinguish this growing brush fire out of fear of it spreading to the mainland. As long as CCP sees this as a threat to their legitimacy, the protesters are in grave danger. Americans should cherish their free speech and assembly rights for as long as they can keep them. The USA has its own CCP in the making if they can win re-election in 2020. Then it may be Chicago or New York youth taking tear gas in the face.

  184. "Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and glass bottles at police lines, while officers responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets." It would seem that gunshots are inevitable.

  185. Has anyone noticed that since 9/11 especially the agencies of evil combining their forces, and apparently consolidating. Are these agencies strengthening for the last great crisis? Appears that way. Great changes are certainly taking place in our world, and the final movements are now rapid. The time is at hand when there is sorrow that no human balm can heal. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn, because the mass of mankind only wants what they want, not what God wants, and that is to keep His Ten Commandments.

  186. Remember Tiananmen Square!

  187. @Lou Torres remember Kent State and Tuskegee.

  188. Chinese killed their 1st Nobel Peace Prize winner In prison recently. Germans did the same in 1935 to their Nobel Peace Prize winner. The difference is YOU now fund the greatest military expansion in world history. China is defeating USA in WW3, a war which clueless Americans don’t even realize is going on. Hint: China has cut off the South Asia Sea instead of attacking its border nations, as Japan did on December 7, 1941

  189. "Protests"? Get real. If you want to hear sincere opinions about what's really happening in Hong Kong, you might search for recent interviews of, say, HK's retired Judge of Court of Final Appeal the Honourable Henry Litton, or of Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong.

  190. 1) The HK police are too nice. Why? They know that Western media are biased and love to see (parts of) China decline and run into social chaos. The power of the media to tweak and twist the news and the tone conveyed is too obvious. The central government also knows that and would never want to redo a Tiananman in HK. 2) From what I seen on Chinese sources, the man "shot" eventually stands up and runs away. Was he actually shot? Did he wear bullet proof? Are police officers authorized to act when a mob is trying to seize their guns and other weapons? Why is this only the 3rd time a "shooting" happened?

  191. China's totalitarian regime is not known for lenience, democracy or compassion, especially towards her subjects. 'Tiananmen Square' exemplifies it. She is the world's Second largest economy by gross GDP and her 'instability' would be a risk no other major economy is ready to court. Also, her own citizenry is too dependent on the regime to champion HK. Besides, the naïve youth waving 'Union Jack' is in poor taste. HK was established for opium trade, not to spread 'democracy'! The astonishing thing is the relative patience of the regime so far. Perhaps, U.S. "Trade War" is responsible for it. Besides, in a few years, China would be free of her commitment to "Two systems"! The Administration, along with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security council should arrange for an agreement with HK and 'safe passage' out of China to the leaders of the agitation. Any thing more is impossible. The youth who had fought so bravely against all odds should be saved to perhaps fight another day!

  192. The protestors of Hong Kong are the heroes championing democracy when the rest of the world seems to have given up on the concept. Keep in mind that most if not all of the violent incidents were caused by undercover police. Stay strong, Hong Kong. You have the support of all the freedom-loving people of the world.

  193. I'm wondering why these protesters can't come together into a credible organization with a formal name, a small cadre of leaders (both men and women) along with a credible list of goals they wish to achieve. From a historical perspective, it is only when there is identifiable structure given to a clear set of grievances and solutions for rectification that any change will be achieved--and those changes must take into consideration some areas of compromise. After organization, democratically elected leaders from within this organization can represent the Hong Kong people and arrange a formal meeting with the government of Hong Kong for changes needed from within and from Beijing. Create by example the democracy sought. Violence, destruction, overt anger, reactionary tactics all actually prevent changing an existing system. In contrast, by promoting a way of making Hong Kong's leadership and Beijing's government appear to be willing to work with an organized, recognized organization, the protesters make everyone look good, including themselves.

  194. I think the “protestor” who set the man on fire was really an undercover mainland police officer posing as a protestor. The Chinese police have disguised themselves as protestors in an effort to make it appear that protestors are the aggressors, when in fact it is the authoritarian Chinese government.

  195. @Misplaced Modifier Why didn't you assume that the policeman who shot the student was a protester undercover as a policeman?

  196. China is violating the deal they made with Hong Kong. If people of Hong Kong do not take a stand now; when? And at the same time, trump is making deals with this very same China that continues to steal our intelligence and software. China’s aggressiveness must be thwarted on all fronts. Perhaps if Hong Kong had a Second Amendment, the police and their bosses might not be as aggressive.

  197. People who are used to freedoms of some kind will not readily submit to authoritarianism. They will resist, violently, if necessary. It's sad that some comments here do not recognize that, although I agree with those who say that this will not end well for the protesters.

  198. They could always just post memes on Instagram and protest American style.

  199. I really hope the reporting by western media can be more even handed than this, as this is becoming tiresome. Where is the the mention of the stabbing of a pro-government legislator last week by a rioter in your briefing? Where is the mention of a peaceful pro-government citizen being beaten unconscious by the rioters in your briefing? Whete is the reporting of gang beating of mainland Chinese students at HK universities in your briefing?

  200. The video clearly establishes the masked suspect aggressively approaching to assault the police officer and wrestle away his gun. The police officer, whilst in the midst of being assaulted by another suspect, manages to fight this off and open fire in a clear case of self-defense. Moral of the story: Attack a cop and try to take his gun? Get shot.

  201. @Jordan Bleicher Shame on you. The video shows no such thing. The protester is unarmed. He is not lunging at the police officer. The cop has the gun. He is not being assaulted--he's grabbed and is throttling another protestor. I'd like to hear your interpretation of the shooting of, say, Walter Scott. Michael Slager's lawyers would have loved to have you on the jury.

  202. @Jordan Bleicher - Only in the USA, a country with more guns than people, people get shot regularly by the police. These people may get violent, but they are unarmed. We have similar protests occasionally in Germany and nobody got shot. The Hong Kong people don't accept democracy being taken away from them. I'm still waiting for Americans to take to the streets to defend theirs. Probably not going to happen.

  203. @Steve the protestor is unarmed...true. but he did try to grab the gun

  204. The origin of the protest is actually objecting a bill trying to extraditing a criminal who killed his girlfriend to Taiwan. China is only a ruse for all these violent activities. The months-long protest itself now has changed Hong Kong into a lawless paradise for felonies.

  205. @YC I am old enough to remember the riots of 1967. I was six then. Those were set off by the beginning of the Cultural Revolution and by grievances against the British (remember the Red Guards? Those teenage students from all over China who traveled to see their idol Mao in Tian An Men Square, and who beat up their teachers?) The students in Hong Kong at the time rioted to demand that the British leave so that the colony could return to China and Communist rule. They threw home made bombs, which were called “pineapples” by the locals. I remember a bottle hit the top of our parked car and we thought it was a bomb - luckily, it was just a bottle thrown by some hooligan to scare us. My mother worked for Wheelock Marden at the time, one of the 5 major British conglomerates, and student demonstrators surrounded the building all day demanding the corporation leave Hong Kong as they were British. No one dared leave the building, and there was just a thin cordon of police to prevent the building being stormed. Now, students, the same constituency, are saying they are not Chinese, and are demanding that the Chinese leave, and asking the British and the Americans to come and help. Many also say that Chinese tourists are not welcome. The wisdom of the young. And how inconvenient that there are those of us who are old enough to remember .....

  206. Stop with the false comparisons. That was a small number of socialist students and an anti-colonial protest. This is a battle for freedom and democracy supported by a large majority of Hong Kong citizens.

  207. @Arthur It's true that they are the same constituency, but not the same people. Times change opinions change with them; the protesting students of 2019 and the students of 1967 lived in a different Hong Kong, under a different China. The China they live under today is one that has made steady efforts to constrict the civil liberties of mainland Chinese and Hong Kongers alike. Please don't misunderstand though, I don't support the widespread violence at all. In a perfect world we would have had dialogue with protestors, HK, and China in June.

  208. The US needs to stop watching the Hong Kong protests and help the protesters. The silence from POTUS is both disturbing and shameful. China is not our friend. What better way to combat Chinese globalization efforts than to officially back the protesters?

  209. @Mike L By your logic, China should support and inflame the LA riots and other civil unrest in the US because “the US is not their friend”. What a horrible world view you have. I am sorry for you.

  210. @Mike L : « combat Chinese globalization efforts » whereas globalization is clearly the by-product of American constant obsession to promote deregulated capitalism overseas and catastrophic outsourcing so as to maximize profits for greedy shareholders… HK protests are obviously backed by some external influence like Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ which I guess does not inhabit very far from Katonah, NY…

  211. Arthur, the riots were a spontaneous lashing out with random actions that were completely illegitimate. These are legitimate, organized protests with specific political demands. There is absolutely no comparison.

  212. If the government is capable of peaceably serving the people of Hong Kong, the responsibility and burden is on the party to make progress. Whatever Mrs. Lam’s policy, chaos rules Hong Kong. “This will not happen” sounds like an authoritarian decree for more violence, and I cannot help but wonder if China is waging war on a population that treasures their liberties .

  213. By “treasures liberty” do you mean setting people with opposing views on fire, like medieval inquisitions?

  214. @Ray Song And by opposite do you mean beating protesters, shooting them, using gangs against them? You clearly never has expressed your disagreement with the government in any meaningful way. I hope you guys elect Trump again, and he'll stay for extra 10 years. US citizens need a lesson — how is it to live your live and express your freedoms under an oppressive government machine. Good luck.

  215. @Dan G If the democracy fighter try not to set a man on fire who voiced different opinion, or set a van on fire which transport kid to schools, then the movement would be more civilized rather than using slogan as "fighting for democracy" to hide their hypocritical intent.

  216. It is sad to see that many of the so-called protesters are educated young men and women. They may have high ideals, but their actions are criminal. Destroying public property is criminal everywhere. If they complain about police brutality and call for US support, they are mistaken. Police in US shoot to kill. I have lived in HK for over 30 years. I know about the chaos during the Cultural Revolution in 1960's and 1970's. At that time, HK was in turmoil, for the love of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At that time, China was the worst economy in the world. And this time, the turmoil is for exactly the opposite political reasons. And China is the best performing economy in the world. I am not a communist sympathizer and CCP has a long way to improve itself, but it has improved a lot already. Sad to say, there is something wrong with the education system. The system is right to reject "patriotic education", but has taught the wrong kind of liberalism.

  217. @Eric C Eric, I so agree with you, and all my friends and relatives agree with you. Sadly, their voices are not heard, and any dissenting voices to the call of “Freedom and Democracy” are not being broadcast. If one just read the press, one would think there were no other opinions here in Hong Kong.

  218. @Alexander Lai Well, in all fairness, as little as I agree with that dissenting voice, their opinion matters too, even if only 15% of the population holds that opinion. That's how democracy works.

  219. Absolutely. Because those who are against violence will get themselves hurt or even worse if they express their opinions. Actually, several people have been mauled by "protesters" just because they wanted to clear the path or just because they support the police.

  220. Fighting for freedom. We must continue to support these protests. China is a totalitarian regime who are against American values. Why is there not more outrage for the support of China by the NBA and it's puppet players? Why doesn't the Democratic candidates push back on the Chinese like President Trump?

  221. @Ari Trump caused this by leaving TPP. Only with the TPP would the USA have the combined might to defend Hong Kong. That was the POINT of TPP--to create economic pressure that even China could not resist. Instead, Trump destroyed that and insured that Hong Kong, Taiwan, and others will be crushed by China. Read a book.

  222. @Ari Xi is one of Trumps beasties along with ABS, Erdogan, Putin and Kim. President Trumps goal is to get the Chinese to buy more soy beans, liquified natural gas and Boeing planes. He hasn't indicated he cares a lick about human rights in Hong Kong. He has already monetized US foreign policy and military operations and crawled on his belly to the DMZ to legitimize Kim's dictatorship. He has sucked up to ABS after a brutal murder because he is a buyer of US weapons. He is literally dying to get a signed deal with Xi on American soil to legitimize the complete monetization of US foreign policy under his Presidency. You should be ashamed of yourself. Ronald Reagan would be the first one to repudiate the Trump administration for his overt support for the "evil empire"

  223. @Ari Why is nobody bothered about what is going on in USA ? Healthcare cost and college tuition inflation is so glaring that nobody seems to reason why. Same with gun prohibition. But there is not even a whimper from anybody. Let's not comment about other countries when people die due to bad policies in our backyard.

  224. People, like information, want to be free. Unfortunately, freedom is not always free. Power never gives up without a fight. Revolutions are rarely bloodless. And a riot is the language of the unheard. I will ALWAYS support a people fighting for democracy and self-determination. Especially when they are fighting a government or leaders which/who: lie; stifle /repress dissent; shoot their citizenry; work in cahoots with local gangsters to violently assault or rape pro-democracy activists; arbitrarily disqualify pro-democracy advocates from running for office; and bringing in Chinese police/military to brutalize its citizenry. Hard pass on all of that. #peoplepower #freehk

  225. @Lelaine X A nice sentiment but you know this will not end well for the protesters. Xi will send in his troops, dressed as HKPD and the streets will run red in the blood of the protesters. And Carrie Lam will take the fall as the designated scapegoat. Since the local HK leadership had proven incapable of peacefully running HK, the Beijing authorities will directly run HK and any semblance of "One country, two systems" will end over 20 years before it was scheduled to end. Western leaders will howl and scream, but like Tiananmen, it will be quickly forgotten as the monied elites who run our so-called democracies make too much money in China to let it affect their bottom line.

  226. @rhony2 bravo!

  227. @Lelaine X How do you know there are no outside interests stoking the flames? There are no big social issues other nations don't have, one extradition does not such demonstrations make. We too have lots of grievances why don't we have real street protests?

  228. China is a communist dictatorship. Allowing them to participate in Western free enterprise assuming they would become more more open hasn't turned out as hoped for. Their grip on absolute power has increased along with military capabilities. The spark of freedom and China's internal debt loads are their biggest threats. Now is the time for the West to further clamp down with tariffs and supporting Hong Kongers, Taiwan and others in the region opposing China expansion. Say no to the 9 dash line type dictates. Free trade should be only between countries were citizens are free to dissent and vote for their leaders.

  229. You are running the risk of oversimplification. Three decades of deep interaction with the rest of the world has fundamentally changed China in many ways, though they might not be very visible to foreign observers. To continue calling it a communist dictatorship would be a huge misunderstanding. I think China is currently at a critical stage of the “nation-making” and what’s happening in HK now will have significant influence upon this process. China is on the last stage of transforming from an empire into a nation-state. The fact that the party is so desperate about equating the nation with the communist party shows the reality to be the opposite: nationalism/populism has been rapidly sweeping across China for the last decade and is changing its political landscape that will impact the whole world. The party is increasingly forced to respond to the popular callings on issues like ethnic minority and territorial conflicts. You can picture the regime as a man riding a tiger: though it appears that he must be powerful with that tiger he’s riding, the man is also in danger of overpowered by the beast. And the beast, my friend, is nationalism. Today’s China draws close parallel with Germany before WWI, but much bigger and more unpredictable. It’s safe to say that today’s CCP is but a shadow of its former self and might not be able to run much longer. But what comes after it though, will only be more challenging...

  230. @Andromeda. Your description is superior. Mine is simplified..

  231. Not so long ago when the United States was seen as the leader of international diplomacy we may have taken a lead and at least implemented monetary sanctions such as freezing a portion of China's assets . Of course under our current Nationalist president who sees us as an Island cut off from the rest of the world nothing will happen. So that leaves it up to the British who last ruled Hong Kong, but again ruled now by a Nationalist Prime Minister they too will do nothing. Unless the EU Parliament in conjunction with the UN sanctions China I fear many of these young people will loose their lives .

  232. I’m so sad for Hong Kong. I saw the video of the man being set on fire. It was horrible, and it made me lose a smidge of support for the protesters. But when I think about the balance of things, China has erased the Tibetan culture, locked up a million Uighurs in concentration camps, killed pro-democratic student activists in Tiananmen Square, jailed and silenced dissidents and journalists ... there’s no comparison. I’m still rooting for the protesters. If even American corporations are not willing to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party for human rights, then we should applaud everyone still brave enough to do so.

  233. @L That was a show. CCP hired that guy to set up the protesters.

  234. @YY But how do they get the protesters to do that? Who did the CCP hire? The person being burned or the person setting someone on fire? You can hire a victim but how do you make the protesters do this awful thing unless it’s not a real protester?