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Weekly How the Hong Kong campus became a fiery battleground

Producer / director Andrea Schmidt

The protesters, who wore smartphones and wore masks, took to the streets. Shielded riot police fired water cannons and tear gas to reaffirm the authority. For several months, the two sides engaged in a series of increasingly violent confrontations at the Hong Kong University of Applied Arts.

The PolyU blockade last November was the culmination of sharp confrontations between Hong Kong police, which have exhausted its tolerance of the opposition, and protesters who have refused to give up their freedom without a fight.

Watch the video from PolyU’s front lines as the area turned into an urban battlefield. Listen to the masked protesters, who were too afraid to speak out, sacrificing with the camera how they barricaded themselves inside university buildings and desperately tried to escape days after riot police stormed the school.

Reporters and editors at the Hong Kong and Beijing offices of The New York Times collaborated with members of the Visual Investigation Team to reconstruct the chaotic events that led to PolyU’s siege of this episode of “The Weekly”. They include Keith BrasherThe head of the Shanghai office who was the head of the office in Hong Kong; Javier Hernandez, A reporter in Beijing; Barbara Marsolini The visual investigation team; Tiffany Mae, Based in Hong Kong office; Edward Wong, A diplomatic and international correspondent in Washington, previously served as head of the Beijing office; Jillian WongThe Times newspaper editor in China in Hong Kong.

A large segment of Hong Kong society supports the protests, but it is the youth in the Territory who lead the movement and go daily to the front lines. Many of them grew up in Hong Kong after the handover of power in 1997 and witnessed as the rule of law, freedom of expression and other rights that they believed were guaranteed by Hong Kong’s semi-independent status which slowly eroded under Communist Party rule.

President Xi Jinping is the most authoritarian leader of Chinese rule since Mao, and the restrictions he imposed throughout the mainland were also in Hong Kong. As protests intensified, he demonstrated that he had no intention of surrendering to the demonstrators or withdrawing his support for the region’s chief executive, Carrie Lam.

The protesters are now focusing on police brutality as much as they focus on broader political demands. The police have become more powerful in trying to stop the protests, and this has led to more demonstrations against the police, creating a cycle that is difficult to break.

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