• Frances Hui

Pro-Independence protesters gathered at the United States Consulate General in Hong Kong

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong gathered overnight at the United States Consulate General on Sunday, urging the U.S. Congress to pass the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2017.”

Thousands of people protested on Sunday against Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address on Wednesday which highlighted the plan of “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”. Lam proposes reclaiming the middle of an ocean to create a metropolis east of Lantau Island, which could cost up to $100 billion, about half of Hong Kong’s reserves.

Hong Kong Independence Union appealed to protesters to move to the U.S. Consulate General after the demonstration, requesting the Congress to pass the Act to protect Hong Kong’s democratic value and freedom from being deprived by the Chinese government. They are also asking the U.S. government to freeze Lam and other government officials’ assets in the U.S.

The “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2017” was first introduced to the Senate in 2015 by Senator Marco Rubio, and was drafted by both the Republican and the Democratic party. Not only does the bill promise to treat Hong Kong as a separate entity from China, it ensures entries of Hongkongers not to be denied when entering the U.S. based on a “result of participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to Hong Kong's electoral process.” It also allows the U.S. President to freeze the U.S.-based assets of identified individuals.

Convener of Hong Kong Independence Union Wayne Chan said they had prepared a letter to the consular representatives and they would not leave until their voice was heard.

At 8 p.m., around 20 people stayed overnight to wait for the consular representatives to receive their letter.

Police officers warned the crowded multiple times that they were participating in an unlawful assembly and demanded them to leave. Yet protesters remained unmoved.

By Monday 7 a.m., officers surrounded the group, asked them to show their identification and frisked them. Pro-independence group Student Localism said some of their members were asked to provide their addresses, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. Both sides remained nonviolent.

Chan then announced that he himself would stay in front of the consulate until they meet the representatives while others were asked to back to the assigned demonstration area set by the police.

At 8:30 a.m., Harvey Sernovitz, spokesperson of the U.S. Consulate, appeared and received the letter from Chan.

Hongkongers on the internet also initiated the #FreeHongKong movement to combat the insufficient media coverage. They urged people to draw global attention by spreading the message through social media such as Twitter, Reddit and Facebook and even to attempt to contact President Trump’s on Twitter, either by replying to his posts or tweeting him directly.

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