Issued by the Office of the Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
04 August 2019
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) extends its solidarity to the protest movement of various sectors in Hong Kong standing up for their democratic rights. The massive street demonstrations of up to two million people opposing changes to the extradition law have spread throughout Hong Kong since June 2019.
The protests were sparked by the Hong Kong government’s attempt to ram through amendments to the extradition law that showcase contempt for the rights of autonomy and competency of the Hong Kong political, legal and judicial system relative to the mainland authorities. The people in Hong Kong have just and legitimate grounds to oppose these changes to the law as they will violate the one country, two systems principle.
The stand taken by the protesters is even more understandable as the proposed amendments to the extradition law – that will bypass judicial processes in Hong Kong on extradition cases – was preceded by dramatic cases of abduction from Hong Kong to mainland China.
The protests started out as overwhelmingly peaceful despite police provocations. However, the extreme force employed by the police in the July 9 protest and later on, the vicious attacks by white-shirted gangsters, police inaction over the gang attacks, and escalated force used against succeeding protest actions painted as riots, unruly and unjust, made the Hong Kong people even more defiant and resistant.
Instead of assuaging the fears and anxiety over the proposed amendments, scores have been arrested and those injured and in hospitals were hunted down. Criminal cases are being filed, and in order to increase the prison terms the protests are being labelled “riots”.
Further enflaming the protestors’ rage is the Carrie Lam administration’s obstinacy to heed the people’s demands by refusing to dialogue or show any compromise. In the face of the mass protests that manifested the will of the people against the unpopular and unacceptable proposal, the Lam administration declared the bill “dead” but there has not been any move to fully withdraw the bill from future legislation.
Meanwhile, the central government, instead of seeking appropriate political solutions, is threatening troop deployment.
At a press conference Monday, July 29, the spokesperson of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office reportedly condemned the demonstrations for exceeding “the boundaries of acceptable protest” and warned about the “cost to the society” if Hong Kong is in “chaos”. The spokesperson dismissed civil disobedience as violence and breaking the law.
In reality the movement against the extradition law is democratic and involves a broad alliance of organizations with different levels of political awareness and readiness. Those not yet ready for street actions are mobilized to do various tasks, including auxiliary support for those marching such as first aid and logistics.
The current movement utilizes both online and offline organizing. There are hundreds of online chat groups discussing the burning issues of Hong Kong and planning the next public actions.
The extent of protest art is also noteworthy. “Lennon Walls” featuring thousands of Post-it notes documenting people’s anger and hope have sprung up all over town, allowing individual sentiments to be galvanized into common aspirations. Online and offline posters tackling various issues are proliferating.
While the core calls of the protest actions remain centered on the extradition law and police actions against protesters, some segments have also laid down basic issues of lack of jobs, lack of proper housing, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, low wage levels, long working hours, high cost of living and other economic concerns of the people in Hong Kong.
The ILPS supports the calls for the Hong Kong government to totally withdraw the extradition bill, release arrested protesters and desist from branding the legitimate protest of the people as “riots”.
All residents in Hong Kong must persist in their legitimate cause to respect the one country, two systems principle and stand guard against foreign powers, led by the USA, from riding on the issue to instigate the separation of Hong Kong from China. As well, they must also be conscious of rabble-rousers and infiltrators who attempt to sabotage the integrity of their cause.
We look forward to the strengthening and growing political clarity of solid mass organizations of the people in Hong Kong in order to broaden the struggle against all attacks on political, civil, social and economic rights.
Add Oil!* Get organized!
Resist state repression!
Defend democratic rights in Hong Kong!
*Add oil (Chinese: 加油; pinyin: jiā yóu; Jyutping: gaa1 jau4) is a Hong Kong English expression used as an encouragement and support to a person. Originated in Hong Kong, the phrase is commonly used by Chinese speakers in both English and Chinese. The phrase is the result of Chinglish, and is often described as “the hardest to translate well”. Add oil can be roughly translated as “Go for it”.