On the morning of 9 September, outside hundreds of secondary schools in Hong Kong, thousands of students, supported by their alumni, held hands to form human chains.
This followed days of school student protests the previous week, at the start of the academic year.
That previous week too, Chief Executive Carrie Lam eventually announced the complete withdrawal of the Extradition Bill.
Immediately the entire spectrum of the protest movement declared this as “too little, too late” as they insisted that the Hong Kong Government concedes to all five of their demands.
Lam opposed the demand for a full public inquiry and instead added two more local members to the special panel of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC). The special panel of five international experts is headed by Sir Denis O’Connor, who served as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary in 2008-2012 (covering the 2011 Tottenham/UK riots).
The protest movement stated that this panel would have narrow terms of reference while lacking the power to summon witnesses.
Those opposing the protestors also complained against this panel because it would be focusing only on the police.
The conflicts between frontline protestors and the police has continued every evening on a daily basis, and has affected over a third of the city’s Mass Transit Rail (MTR) stations as well as the airport. The brutal assault of protestors and travellers by the riot police on 31 August in Prince’s MTR station has been widely condemned as even worse than the 12 July triad attacks on protestors in Yuen Long.
The use of excessive force by the police after arresting protestors has continued, despite numerous video reports showing people bleeding from truncheon blows to the head and dislocated or fractured limbs while being held down and hog-tied. Protestors have continued to escalate their actions, including more large-scale use of fires and Molotov cocktails.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, China appears to be playing a waiting game, waiting for more and more arrests to wear down the protestors, while launching its barrage of propaganda and intimidation.
Beijing seems to be waiting for the Hong Kong economy to go into recession as a means of grinding the city down.