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Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Movement Inspires 100,000 to Rally in Taipei

2019/09/30 , News
Daphne K. Lee
Photo Credit: CNA
Daphne K. Lee
Daphne K. Lee is a journalist based in Taipei and an editor for The News Lens International. She's a perpetual traveler who finds story ideas while roaming the planet.

A looming typhoon and heavy rainfall did not deter thousands of people from joining Taipei's rally in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

Taipei is one of the 40-plus cities to participate in a global anti-authoritarianism rally this weekend. Protests are also held in Japan, Australia, Germany, and the United States, among others. The rally organizers in Taipei estimated a total turnout of 100,000 by the end of the march.

Shortly before the demonstration, however, Hong Kong activist Denise Ho (何韻詩) was splashed with red paint while speaking to the press. A masked man surnamed Hu was arrested along with an accomplice surnamed Liang. At a later press conference, Legislator Freddy Lim said the suspects were related to China Unification Promotion Party, a fringe pro-Beijing group in Taiwan.

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Photo Credit: CNA
A man splashes red paint onto Denise Ho while she speaks to the press prior to the anti-authoritarianism march in Taipei, September 20, 2019.

"I really don't wish to see that one day even Taiwanese people have to wear face masks when they walk out on the streets or when they want to say something about democracy," Denise Ho said at a press conference after the incident.

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Photo Credit: Abby Huang / The News Lens
Crowds gather outside of the Legislative Yuan prior to the solidarity march.

Ho said the attack on her was nothing compared to the violence that the Hong Kong students have had to face in the past few months. She reiterated that verbal attacks or violent acts would not stop her from speaking out about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

"But I hope our friends in Hong Kong would be extremely careful these few days leading up to October 1 (Chinese National Day), because obviously [the police] would deploy the most despicable tactics on Hongkongers," Ho said.

According to Ho, a student volunteer for the rally was also assaulted in a convenience store around the same time of her attack.

Throughout the march, protesters continued to chant slogans in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English to express their support for Hong Kong. Along the protest route, volunteers have also played Hong Kong's new protest anthem to rally the crowd.

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Photo Credit: Daphne K. Lee / The News Lens
A Taiwanese protester holds up a slogan that reads "If you don't stand up today, you won't be able to stand up tomorrow."

A Taiwanese protester, who asked to be identified as Mr. Z for anonymity, dressed in a black poncho with a face mask marched with a yellow banner that read: "If you don't stand up today, you won't be able to stand up tomorrow."

Currently working in China under a job contract, Mr. Z had flown back to Taiwan this weekend to specifically join the cause. He said over 100 Taiwanese businesspeople and citizens have already been disappeared in China in the past three years, and yet a lot of Taiwanese still insist on the belief that China will make Taiwan rich.

"If you think you're safe by not installing WeChat or WePay, that's not the case. Even if you just use Facebook, your speech can still get monitored in China," Mr. Z said. "Taiwanese are still living in a comfortable bubble using Facebook and Instagram freely, but the Red influence has perhaps already infiltrated these platforms and their thoughts."

While the anti-authoritarianism rally in Taipei has remained largely peaceful, a small crowd of counter-protesters also gathered in Ximending telling activists like Denise Ho and Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) to get out of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong was engulfed in tear gas and flames today as the police escalated violence against the pro-democracy protesters who were marching as part of the global rally. According to the South China Morning Post, more than 100 have been arrested today, and a journalist has been injured during the protests and is in a serious condition.

China's National Day on October 1 will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong protesters are likely to march on the day of the anniversary even without police approval. Due to the ongoing unrest, the Hong Kong government has canceled the annual fireworks and moved the ceremony indoors.


READ NEXT: Hongkongers Living in Taiwan: It's Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Editor: Brandon Kemp (@thenewslensintl)

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Hong Kong Police Shot Protester for the First Time on China's National Day

Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement:

At the end of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Hongkongers promised they will be back. In June 2019, Hong Kong mobilized one-third of the population to protest against the government's extradition bill. The News Lens is covering the on-going movement and rallies in collaboration with our Hong Kong-based team.

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