Tensions rise as Solidarity with Hong Kong grows

Ten weeks of political protest and civil unrest in Hong Kong has come to a head with clashes between pro-China and pro-democracy supporters in Australian cities including Sydney. Pro-democracy protesters have been fighting against the controversial Extradition Bill, which would allow some suspects to the transferred to mainland China.

The Hong Kong protesters claim that the Extradition Bill would allow the government to “disappear” political opponents at the request of mainland China. Protesters have also expressed concern over the Hong Kong government’s response to the on-going demonstrations, which claiming to be victims of police brutality.

However this sentiment is not shared on the mainland Chinese side of the border and in the Chinese international student community, with many seeing the Hong Kong protesters as an attempt by foreign powers to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. Many Chinese feel that the Hong Kong protesters are disloyal to the motherland especially with the increasing number of British Colonial flags and American flags being present at demonstrations.

Rallies in major Australian cities on Friday 16 August have attracted confrontations between Hong Kong and China supporters, with Victorian Police arresting two people for assault outside the State Library in Melbourne. South Australian Police were also forced to intervene as the two groups become hostile in Adelaide.

Photos from the Solidarity with Hong Kong rally in Sydney’s Martin Place on Friday 16 August 2019

A protestor wearing an eye patch with “Hong Kong” as a symbol of the recent violence that has cost the vision of a woman in Hong Kong. Photo: Roydon Ng
Messages of hope for Hong Kong written on paper planes, with the symbolic meaning of sending support from abroad. Photo: Roydon Ng
Protesters have been demanding: The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, the government to withdraw the use of the word “riot” in relation to protests, the unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped, an independent inquiry into police behaviour, and the implementation of genuine universal suffrage. Photo: Roydon Ng
Several Hong Kong supporters wore the British colonial flag, sparking tension with passing mainland Chinese international students. The flag is often used as a symbol for independence from China. Photo: Roydon Ng
Vocal mainland Chinese students are upset at Hong Kong protestors “kidnapping” two people including a Global Times journalist at Hong Kong International Airport. The Chinese group is calling for an end to the violent protests and is keen to emphasis that Hong Kong is a part of China. Photo: Roydon Ng
NSW Police separate the 500 strong Hong Kong rally from the 50 pro-China supporters in Martin Place, Sydney. Photo: Roydon Ng
A man wears the typical “Hong Kong protestors outfit” with the slogan “Revolution of our Time” written on his yellow hardhat. Most Hong Kong supporters and protestors do not show their faces in fear of being identified by mainland China. Photo: Roydon Ng
International students from Hong Kong formed much of the large crowd calling for freedom and the end to police brutality during the rally in Sydney. Photo: Roydon Ng
Organisers of the Sydney rally for Hong Kong encourage supporters to attend their next demonstration on Sunday 18 August at Belmore Park, outside Central railway station. Photo: Roydon Ng
Hong Kong is caught between its motherland and the liberal freedoms that have arisen from its colonial past. Photo: Roydon Ng
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam is widely unpopular but is refusing to resign despite over two months of anti-government protests. Photo: Roydon Ng
“Add Oil” the Chinese slang word urging perseverance is affixed to the helmet surrounding by messages of hope for Hong Kong written on paper planes. Photo: Roydon Ng
The “Lennon Wall” has become a key backdrop to the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests since the Umbrella Movement in 2014 with many messages such as “Free Hong Kong” being written on post-it notes. Photo: Roydon Ng
Sydney City’s Martin Place Amphitheatre filled with supporters of the Hong Kong protests. Photo: Roydon Ng
An international student tells the media of the mainland Chinese version of events taking place in Hong Kong after a nearby man aggressively shows off his China flag tattoos. Photo: Roydon Ng