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‘People are actually scared’: Hongkongers in Canada watch nervously as tensions simmer back home

With tensions simmering in Hong Kong, individuals in Canada who’ve connections there are watching nervously as pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to withstand what they concern is the tightening grip of the Chinese language authorities.

Canada is house to hundreds of individuals of Hong Kong descent, with some expressing feeling helpless as they watch police and protesters conflict.

Some, nevertheless, are expressing solidarity with the protesters by rallies and demonstrations half a world away. 

“That’s not the Hong Kong that we grew up with,” mentioned Mimi Lee in Toronto.

“Police should be protecting citizens and now they are not. People are actually scared when they see the police come in. How can you imagine any society can live their lives with that kind of situation?”

‘Tried to keep away from police’

CBC Toronto spoke to 1 man, agreeing to not establish him over issues for his security, who has additionally been organizing reveals of assist in Toronto.

Requested to be known as Kevin, he mentioned he not too long ago returned from Hong Kong, the place he was amongst hundreds of thousands who marched within the streets in current weeks, with police typically responding with rubber bullets. 

'People are actually scared': Hongkongers in Canada watch nervously as tensions simmer back home 1
This Toronto man didn’t need to establish himself for concern his household in Hong Kong can be put at risk. He says amid the turmoil, family and friends are searching for methods out. (Greg Bruce/CBC)

“I tried to stay away from police as much as possible, at least 100 metres away, because I was afraid,” he mentioned. “A lot of times, I think they’re hurting people on purpose.”

The protests have been sparked by the Hong Kong authorities’s efforts to push by an extradition invoice.

Kevin, who has lived in Toronto for greater than 15 years, is anxious the invoice will erode freedoms there, making it simpler for native authorities to detain and extradite individuals to China. 

Town authorities has suspended that laws, however demonstrators pushing for the total revocation of the invoice converged Monday on Hong Kong’s worldwide airport, the place flights have been cancelled for a second day on Tuesday.

The central authorities responded, characterizing the protest motion as one thing approaching “terrorism” that poses an “existential threat” to the native citizenry, worrying many observers who imagine these feedback are an indication Beijing may very well be laying the groundwork for a way more violent crackdown.

Not all in Canada supportive

However shutting down the airport is a step protesters needed to take, says Kevin, to make their voices heard. 

“I think the protesters have tried a lot of different things. You know, first by going peaceful march — you know, rallies, right — and that had no effect. And so they and some of the younger ones go, you know, ‘Be more aggressive surrounding the Legislative Council and stop the bill,'” he mentioned. 
“This is just another way to cause disruption, to get the government to actually back off.”

'People are actually scared': Hongkongers in Canada watch nervously as tensions simmer back home 2
A passenger walks previous anti-government protesters sitting on the ground in entrance of safety gates throughout an indication at Hong Kong Airport on Tuesday. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

The protesters’ calls for are five-fold, he mentioned: repeal the extradition invoice, drop fees towards protesters, cease classifying the demonstrators as rioters, common suffrage and an impartial investigation into the police. 

However as a lot as there’s a present of solidarity, not all Hongkongers in Canada are supportive.

“Within my own family, aunts in Hong Kong that visited, one supported the students, another supported the government,” mentioned creator and freelance journalist Kevin Chong. 

The Toronto man who spoke to CBC Information seen that too, saying older or more comfortable Hongkongers will be much less supportive.

“They think the protest is actually ruining Hong Kong instead of fighting for their future. It’s kind of sad actually.” 

‘A peaceable message’

Now that he is again house, Kevin is working with different Hongkongers to arrange demonstrations right here, together with a solidarity march in Toronto over the weekend. 

“We want to send a peaceful message. This is a peaceful demonstration. We want to also show global solidarity, you know, because this is not just a rally in Toronto but also in many other cities in Canada, as well in overseas.”

It isn’t misplaced on Kevin that he has the liberty to exhibit right here. His household again house has been reminding him of that, he mentioned, particularly these days.

“I mean, they all tell me that I’m very lucky that I moved to Canada. A lot of them, a lot of my friends, are actually asking how to apply for immigration.”

 

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