Reported by Vivian Chui
Langara’s Hong Kongers Club set up a booth on campus last Thursday to raise awareness about the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.
The initiative is part of the United for Democracy: Global Solidarity with Hong Kong movement, a global call for support in protesting against China’s decision to vet candidates for direct elections in 2017.
Similar student initiatives took place on the weekend at UBC, as well as cities in Europe, United States and Taiwan.
“Demonstrations allow people to voice their opinion, and their demands at this event are clear,” said Kayla Tsang, co-president of the club. “It’s peaceful and people are calm, just talking to the government about what they want.”
The situation became tense as police launched the first tear gas bomb to disperse protesters last Sunday, said Tsang, who has close friends participating in the protests. “It was heartbreaking.”
Jessica Kwok, co-president of the club, said the government will not let a re-enactment of the Tiananmen Square incident to happen. “The whole world is watching.”
It would have been more chaotic and some news may be hidden, if international media were not broadcasting live on site, Tsang said.
A broken promise
For international psychology student Alan Ling, the protests are about calling the government out on breaking its promise with Hong Kong to remain a government of one country, two systems.
“My friends are all in the protests, fighting for our dream. No, not dream, but what we’re supposed to have,” said Ling.
General studies student Sam Laird compares the situation with the Canadian system. “At least the Chinese government tells you they’re choosing the candidates,” said Laird. “Look at our government; are they any different? Our government is more secretive about it.”
The problem with Canadians is apathy, Laird said. “Defending is better than sitting back.”
Allen Pan, an international Chinese student in computer science, is not interested in the protests. “I don’t care about that, and I don’t watch the news. My friends sometimes talk about it, but I don’t really listen,” said Pan.
Student groups in Hong Kong first launched class boycotts in protest two weeks ago, then joined forces with Occupy Central a week later to take over downtown Hong Kong.