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Joint statement of the Pro-Democracy Camp: Hong Kong

This Hong Kong protester's shooting was livestreamed on Facebook
12 November 2019: Urgent Appeal to save the students of Hong Kong

Conflicts erupted in several universities in Hong Kong for the second day. As the police charged into the Chinese University of Hong Kong (“CUHK”) today, the campus has become a battlefield. The non-stop firing of tear gas have caused multiple injuries among students. All pro-democracy lawmakers urgently appeal to the international community, consuls general, international organisations in Hong Kong, and community leaders to appeal to the ruler, speak out for our next generation at such critical time, and to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy of 1989.

Police gathered at the Second Bridge of CUHK at 3pm and attempted to enter the campus. Serious conflict with students ensued and has still not subsided. In fact, police had been cautious about entering university campuses since the beginning of the Anti-Extradition Movement. Security of university campuses have been the duty of the universities. Police would not enter a university without having received a request.

For instance, it was a controversy when three police officers patrolled in the University of Hong Kong in the small hours in July. The university issued a letter of complaint. The police later apologised, admitted that it was a violation of agreed protocol, and promised they would not commit such violation again. Another example is that the anti-mask ban does not apply to school campuses, as repeated emphasised by the Education Bureau.

In contrast, police’s stationing at the Second Bridge of CUHK for two days have been provocative; front-line police officers are apparently tough and show no will in dialogue or negotiation. In the afternoon, they responded to students’ verbal criticism with tear gas, which escalated the conflict. University management attempted to intervene and mediate the conflict twice; but police fired another intensive round of tear gas as Professor Tuan, the Vice-Chancellor of CUHK was present and situation was calm. Such utter disrespect towards the university further escalated the situation.

It is reported that police had stationed at main entrances to CUHK to cut off all supply of resources, and is having more troops arriving. We stress that the police force must obey the law and must exercise the highest degree of restraint. Disrespect of the law cannot be excused by claiming that they would not allow any place to be a safe haven of criminals. If the police has evidence that there are suspects of crimes in the campus, they must apply for warrants in accordance with procedures and rules.

We notice that Carrie Lam has adopted a more repressive approach towards Hongkongers since she returned from Beijing. It has led to such worsening of situation in Hong Kong. Beijing’s power to direct the Chief Executive, as it claims, must come with responsibility. As an elite raised in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam has now turned into a monster as she carries out the orders to suppress the students who are trying to defend their schools and city. The pro-democracy camp is deeply pained, and solemnly warns that Bejing and Carrie Lam will bear the sins if there is any casualty among the students.

The pro-democracy camp also asks that students remain calm, stay safe, look after oneself and others. We must look to the future.

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