Hong Kong riot police forcefully broke up a rally of protesters showing solidarity with China’s oppressed Muslim Uighur minority. Around 1,000 people gathered peacefully near Hong Kong’s Harbourfront, waving Uighur flags.
These Muslim Uighur minority protest are the latest in protests that have plagued Hong Kong for seven months.
“We shall not forget those who share a common goal with us, our struggle for freedom and democracy and the rage against the Chinese Communist Party,” one speaker shouted through the loudspeaker to the crowd.
Police later swooped in using pepper spray to disperse protesters, who countered by throwing glass bottles and rocks.
The United Nations has documented that China has imprisoned at least 1 million Uighurs Muslims. Also members of other largely Muslim minority groups in internment camps.
Beijing claims the prison camps are “vocational training centers” necessary to combat terrorism. China has most certainly denied mistreating Uighurs Muslims. Beijing has acted in defiance of a chorus of international criticism over the harsh crackdown.
Hong Kong watches treatment of Uighurs Muslims
China runs Hong Kong under a “one country, two systems” model. The system grants the financial capital expanded freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland. Many Hong Kongers view China as encroaching on these freedoms.They also fear mainland policies will come to the city.
What started as a movement against Chinese meddling has morphed into broader calls for greater democracy. Also for police accountability following months of often violent protests.
The huge scale of the surveillance and prison system in Xinjiang has been closely watched in Hong Kong. Consequently with many fearful that similar measures could befall Hong Kong.
“The Chinese government are control freaks; they can’t stand any opinions they disagree with,” Katherine, a protester in her late 20s.
“In Xinjiang they are doing what they are doing because they have the power to do so. When they take over Hong Kong, they will do the same,” she added.
In 2047, 50 years after Britain handed the city back to China, the deal granting Hong Kong special rights ends.
Source: DW, AFP, Reuters, Euro News