Defying stern warnings from both the local government and Beijing, people in seven districts in Hong Kong—most notably teachers, airport workers, and civil servants—participated in a general strike Monday, shutting down portions of the territory. For instance, more than a hundred flights were cancelled.
The strike followed weeks of sometimes violent protests in the territory, a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Youthful demonstrators over the weekend surrounded and attacked police stations, and enraged residents drove riot police from their neighborhoods.
Roving protesters, dressed for urban combat, created a series of confrontations across the territory, even closing the main tunnel linking Hong Kong Island with the rest of the territory. A beleaguered police force, demoralized and fatigued, was unable to keep up with the mobile bands of radicalized youth.
Some of the protest messages were impossible to miss. In Wanchai’s Golden Bauhinia Square, a magnet for tourists from other parts of China, kids spray-painted a statue with provocative statements such as “The Heavens will destroy the Communist Party” and “Liberate Hong Kong.”
In Hong Kong, revolution is in the air. What started out as an unexpectedly large demonstration in late April against a piece of legislation—an extradition bill—has become a call for democracy in the territory as well as independence from China and the end of communism on Chinese soil. [Continue reading…]