HONG KONG PROTEST MONITOR 17 January 2020
THE SITUATION NOW
No serious clashes were reported between police and protesters in the past week. The only incidents of note involving violent confrontations occurred on Saturday 11 January when two so-called ‘yellow’ restaurants perceived as supportive of the protest movement, one in Hong Kong island’s Wan Chai district and the other in the New Territories town of Yuen Long, were damaged after dark by masked attackers. No arrests have been reported and a police investigation to establish whether the incidents are related to the protest movement continue. This is the second time ‘yellow’ businesses have been targeted. The first incident occurred in Hung Hom, New Territories, in October 2019 where a branch of Lung Mun café was damaged.
Apart from these seemingly coordinated attacks no other protest-related incidents were reported on Saturday. Activists’ efforts to renew Lennon Walls throughout the territory only succeeded at a site in Hong Kong island’s Causeway Bay district due to a large police presence. Elsewhere, a group of elderly residents staged a rally in support of ‘yellow’ businesses in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, without any incidents reported.
On Sunday 12 January, two protests were held without any serious incidents. During the morning a dozen people marched from Yuen Long MTR station to Yuen Long police station to demand the arrest of Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting who they accuse of encouraging an attack by organised criminal groups on protesters and members of the public in the district in July 2019.
That afternoon thousands of people joined a rally in Central organised by the Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team (HKCAT), a pro-democracy activist group, in support of universal suffrage to call for people to join a rally scheduled for Sunday 19 January. HKCAT estimated the turnout was over 30,000 while the police reported around a maximum of 3,000 participants. After the rally ended at 1800 some protesters marched towards the nearby Statue Square and another group staged a sit-in at the British Consulate-General, also in Central.
"A pro-democracy protester uses Britain’s Union Flag as a mask at the
'Universal Siege on Communists' Pre-March Assembly in Central, 12 January 2020"
Also, on 12 January the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Kenneth Roth was barred from entering the territory when he arrived at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Officials reportedly cited unspecified ‘immigration reasons’. Roth had planned to launch HRW’s World Report 2020 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central on 15 January that included an introductory essay critical of China’s government.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Roth’s denial of entry signals heightened scrutiny of foreign political and non-governmental organisations by immigration officials in response to the pro-democracy movement’s activities in the territory. Beijing has threatened to target HRW and other foreign non-government organisations with unspecified sanctions for what it views as their role in encouraging separatism and violent unrest. We warn such organisations are particularly exposed to political risk in the present crisis due to Beijing’s view they are interfering in China’s internal affairs. International organisations should assess their vulnerability to such enforcement actions. Senior staff members seeking to travel to Hong Kong and expatriates currently living in the territory are particularly vulnerable to immigration restrictions.
On 12 January, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive party won a second term in office with a landslide victory over Han Kuo-yu of the pro-reunification Chinese Nationalist Party. Tsai’s victory is seen by many Hong Kong pro-democracy activists as a defeat for Beijing’s effort to tighten its control over Taiwan while supporting their demand for full democracy and universal suffrage. We assess this may rekindle popular support for the local protest movement, a scenario that will be tested during the course of a number of scheduled events in the coming week.
A protest march scheduled for 1500 on Sunday 19 January from Chater Road in Central to SOGO in Causeway Bay has been denied a permit by police. The demonstration is intended to urge the international community to impose sanctions on officials and police they accuse of violating human rights. Online activity indicates the march will go ahead regardless of police objection and violence is likely in Central, Wan Chai and Admiralty during the late afternoon and evening. Major roads in the area are likely to be blocked and should be avoided where at all possible. Disruption to the mass transit rail (MTR) system is also likely.
On Monday 20 January, a rally to protest against the government’s alleged inaction in protecting Hong Kong from an unexplained viral outbreak in China’s Wuhan city is scheduled to be held at Salisbury Garden in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district. As of Friday 17 January, six people suspected of being infected with the virus remain in hospital in Hong Kong, although no official diagnosis of the infection has been confirmed in the territory. No violence is expected at the rally.
On Tuesday 21 January, a lunchtime rally is scheduled at the Hong Kong Industrial Centre car park in Cheung Sha Wan, New Kowloon district, to mark the six-month anniversary of the attack by suspected organised criminal groups (‘triads’) on members of the public in Yuen Long, New Territories, on 21 July 2019. Previous similar events on the 21st of each month (since August 2019) have all ended in serious violence and damage to Yuen Long MTR station and the nearby Yoho Mall. MTR services to Yuen Long station are likely to end earlier than usual and we advise against travel to or through the town, especially after dark, on Tuesday.
Online activity indicates some protest groups plan to attend Lunar Year markets throughout the territory in the coming week (see below for detailed locations). The events are intended to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year eve on 24 January and support ‘yellow’ businesses. However, we warn there is a risk of unrest if demonstrators choose to disrupt so-called ‘blue’ businesses, those identified with the local and central governments and the police, or if pro-China groups choose to confront the activists.
Friday 17 January
1800 – 2100: The ‘Tai Po Secondary Students Assembly’ is scheduled at Tai Po Waterfront Park, New Territories
2100: The ‘Run with You’ rally is scheduled from Hung Hom Promenade to Hong Kong Clock Tower, Tsim Sha Tsui
Saturday 18 January
1100 – 1400: The ‘Warm with You’ rally is scheduled at TKO Gateway, Tseung Kwan O, New Territories.
1700 – 1930: The ‘Write with You’ rally is scheduled at the Citygate, Tung Chung, Lantau Island.
2000 – 2300: The ‘Write with You’ rally is scheduled at the Lennon Wall near the Amoy Gardens in Kowloon Bay.
2000 – 2200: ‘Yuen Long Running Training’ is scheduled for the following routes:
Fung Yau Street North sitting-out area
Yuen Long MTR station
Nam Pin Wai
Long Ping MTR station
Yuen Long Lennon Wall
Sunday 19 January
1500: The ‘Universal Siege on Communists’ March’ is scheduled from Chater Road to SOGO, Causeway Bay
2000 – 2300: The ‘Write with You’ rally is scheduled at the Lennon Wall near the Amoy Gardens in Kowloon Bay
Monday 20 January
1900 – 2100: ‘Government’s Wilful Ignorance – Discussing Pressing Pneumonia’ rally is scheduled at Salisbury Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui
1930 – 2130: ‘Yuen Long District Petition Assembly’ is scheduled at Ginza, Tin Shui Wai, New Territories
Tuesday 21 January
1300 – 1400: ‘Lunch with You’ rally to mark the six-month anniversary of the attack by suspected organised criminal groups on members of the public in Yuen Long, New Territories, on 21 July 2019 is scheduled at the Hong Kong Industrial Centre Car Park in Cheung Sha Wan
Wednesday 22 January
2000: The ‘New Year’s Eve Gathering with Arrested Comrades’ rally is scheduled outside the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre prison in Kowloon
Thursday 23 January
1400 – 1800: The ‘Kowloon City District Secondary Students Assembly’ is scheduled at Carpenter Road Playground in Kowloon
The Lunar New Year night markets are scheduled at the following locations:
18 January - 19 January
- 1500 – 1800: Central Street, Central and Western District
- 1800 – 2300: Yan Oi Street, San Po Kong, Kowloon
- 1800 – 2300: Lennon Walls near Sai Won Ho, Hong Kong island
18 January – 24 January
- 1100 – 2100: Hung Hom Ferry Pier, Whampoa, Kowloon
- 1500 – 2400: Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
22 January - 24 January
- 1200 – 2200: Breeze Farm, Tai Po, New Territories
PROTEST CHRONOLOGY 11 JANUARY – 16 JANUARY
Saturday 11 January
1400: A group of older residents staged a rally in New Town Plaza in Sha Tin to support businesses deemed supportive of the protest movement
Sunday 12 January
1400: Protesters marched from Yuen Long MTR station to Yuen Long police station to call for the arrest of Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting over his alleged role in encouraging an attack by organised criminal groups on protesters and members of the public in the district in July 2019
1500: Thousands of people attended a rally at Edinburgh Place in Central to call on the international community to impose sanctions on the Hong Kong government. After the rally ended at 1800 some protesters marched towards nearby Statue Square while others staged a sit-in at the British Consulate-General in Admiralty
Tuesday 14 January
1300: Lunchtime rally at Landmark Atrium, Central
1330: The ‘Sing with You’ rally at Zero Carbon Building, Kowloon Bay
Wednesday 15 January
1200: A rally against violence organised by activists from the University of Hong Kong at Edinburgh Place, Central
Thursday 16 January
1245: Lunchtime rally at InPARK, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
1300: Lunchtime rally at Statue Square, Central