Hong Kong: One protester shot, one person set on fire, and Carrie Lam vows an end to violence


Monday morning an officer trying to clear an intersection put one protester in a headlock and then pulled his gun and put it to the man’s chest. When a second protester approached, the officer aimed at him from a few feet away and fired. This AP clip shows the moment right up to the shot:

The protester underwent surgery and is said to be stable. In a separate incident which apparently happened a few hours later, a man arguing with a group of protesters was set on fire. He was said to be in critical condition after the attack. You can see a portion of that incident in this clip from the BBC. This clip also features a policeman on a motorcycle who appears to be doing his best to run down protesters at high speed.

Some of this fresh violence may be the result of an incident last week which angered protesters. Friday, a 22-year-old man named Chow Tsz-lok died of injuries he sustained when he fell from a parking garage. Police offered conflicting statements about what happened but many protesters believe Chow died trying to escape tear gas. There was a large vigil held last Friday:

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While the violent incidents get the most attention, there is still a large mass of protesters who are marching to demand more freedom from China, despite being tear-gassed by police:

Monday evening, Chief Executive Carrie Lam made it clear a crackdown is coming and that protesters will get no response to their political demands:

“I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” Lam told reporters.

Lam also refused to accept the protesters’ demands for political concessions.

“If there is still any wishful thinking that, by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I am making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen,” Lam said, using the initials for Special Administrative Region, which describes the city’s status as a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

“These rioters’ actions have far exceeded their demands, and they are enemies of the people,” she said.

The violence is spiraling out of control, with one incident seemingly prompting a reaction from the opposite side. I still don’t think it’s likely to stop given that China is refusing to make any further guarantees of political freedom. A mass casualty event of some kind feels like it is sadly inevitable. And when it happens, no matter who is injured, it will be an excuse for China to respond with even more force.

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