#PrayForHongKong trends as Filipinos express solidarity with protesters

July 25, 2019 - 3:21 PM
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Hong Kong protesters
Riot police surround pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong (C) as they try to disperse protesters after a march at Sha Tin District of East New Territories, in Hong Kong, China July 14, 2019. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

The hashtag #PrayForHongKong trended on Twitter in the Philippines as Filipinos offer their solidarity to citizens of the special administrative region of China amid attacks on pro-democracy protesters.

Videos and pictures of Hong Kong citizens being attacked made their way to the microblogging platform. Filipino users are reposting the images with messages of support.

Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list) expressed solidarity with Hong Kong residents, particularly pro-democracy protesters pushing for political reform, specifically continued autonomy from China’s control.

Some Filipinos, however, criticized their fellows for comparing the scenes captured on video to “The Purge,” an American thriller featuring state-sanctioned violence.

The Purge” is based on fictional events and deals with how violence is legalized and encouraged. Citizens in Hong Kong, in contrast, are clamoring for political reform and complete withdrawal of the extradition bill.

Unfolding events in Hong Kong

Despite the admission of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam that pushing for extradition bill allowing mainland China to try Hong Kong citizens is a “total failure,” the proposed legislation has not yet been completely withdrawn.

Fresh violence surged last Sunday when a group of men in white shirts carrying sticks and metal bars attacked anti-China protesters in Yuen Long, a town in Hong Kong near the border of mainland China.

Among those injured were journalists and a pro-democracy lawmaker, Lam Cheuk-ting.

The lawmaker said the attacks appeared to have been carried out by pro-Chinese government “gangsters” with the aim to intimidate protesters.

“I have strong reason to believe they were gangsters. I don’t think any ordinary citizens have done such sophisticated, organized attacks on this kind of level,” Cheuk-ting said in an interview with The New York Times.

“They repeatedly went into the train and were using batons to indiscriminately attack all the people on the train. Many journalists, even a pregnant woman, all ordinary citizens of Hong Kong, were attacked by those gangsters,” he added.

Hong Kong citizens have begun to call for wider democratic reforms—including directly electing their own leader—and a thorough investigation into police authorities supposedly using extreme force against the protesters.