Episode 26: ‘Fire and Water’
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.
Top 3 takeaway
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.
Hide behind masks
The protests He started peacefully, but he became more controversial, quickly split and disrupting the city. About one in seven Hong Kong residents were reported to have gone out to protest the extradition bill. When the police cracked down, some protesters became more aggressive and charged with riots – a crime punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Many protesters wore masks, to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas, and to conceal their identities from the authorities. The protesters who agreed to speak to “The Weekly” about their experiences did so only if they were not identified.
Hong Kong University of Applied ArtsThe site of the heaviest violence between police and demonstrators, opened for two weeks after the siege, but was closed again after two weeks. Schools and other universities in the city were closed until March, in order to help contain the Corona virus. PolyU will conduct classes online.
The protest movement continued, but was targeted. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched on New Year’s Day in a mass demonstration that lasted only 20 minutes before the police fired tear gas to disperse it. Since then, protesters like Wallace, the 19-year-old student he met in our case, have retreated as the city grapples with the possibility of an outbreak of the Corona virus. However, protesters still clash with the police, and protesters have expressed discontent over the government’s handling of a potential health crisis. The new hospital workers’ union, formed by the protest movement, went on strike. Hong Kong leaders are asked to do more to contain the coronavirus, including a ban on all access from mainland China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping He called for stability in Hong Kong during the New Year’s speech. Since then he has been under new public scrutiny about the government’s response to the Coruna virus outbreak in Wuhan, another crisis that has threatened the country’s stability.
Carrie Lam, CEO of Hong KongOnce again, it is the target of great public outrage, this time over the government’s response to the outbreak of the Corona Virus elsewhere in mainland China. Residents feel upset due to a lack of face masks in Hong Kong and Ms. Lam Failure to introduce stricter travel controls from mainland China.
Top story editors Dan Barry, Liz or. Beilin, and Liz Day
Product supervision Singeli Anyo
Director of Photography Victor Tadashi Suarez
video editor Pierre Takal
Senior coordination producer Samin Amin
Photographer Lam Fei Yak
Co-producer Abdullah Bah
Associate Producer Valerie Shinkman, Wesley Harris
Archiving product Jenny Richards
Associate of the archive producer Timothy Duffy
Field producers Sharon Young
Additional reports Ezra Cheung, K.A. Rebecca Lay, Elaine Yu and Hailey Willis