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On November 2nd, 2019, the Xinhua News Agency was stormed by protestors in the Wan Chai neighborhood of Hong Kong. According to TIME magazine, “they [the protestors] smashed its [Xinhua] glass door entrance and windows, splashed red ink, sprayed graffiti and set a small fire in the office lobby. Saturday night’s riots were a response by the demonstrators to the Chinese government’s meddling in the freedoms granted to the people of Hong Kong. The night was anything but peaceful with “police firing tear gas and demonstrators hurling gasoline bombs.”
According to a CNBC article, a spokesperson for Xinhua News Agency said that “the practice of the black rioters once again shows that ‘stopping the violence and restoring order’ is Hong Kong’s most important and urgent task at present.” The actions of the protestors were also condemned by the Hong Kong media association with a call to end the violence.
No matter how cliché it may seem to say this, but violence is never the answer. Violence is doing nothing to further the cause these demonstrators are fighting for, but rather is alienating them from getting more support. I’m not going to speak on the politics of this case but rather look at it from a general perspective. In cases like this, it is best to reach a larger audience and generate greater sympathy for your cause whether it be domestic or international. By capturing more support, pressure is put on governments to come to the table and address the issue at hand, rather than ignoring it, hoping that it goes away.
Violent tactics are polarizing, they drive away potential supporters for the cause, and they hardly ever work. Demonstrators never win when using violence as they supply the government with ammunition to use against them and allow the oppressor the opportunity to shift the narrative on the oppressed. This fight for freedom is a fight for life for these protestors, but the violent tactics have to cease. This issue will never be resolved if the violence continues, as it allows the Chinese government the opportunity to use these violent riots as an excuse to extend their power over Hong Kong. This is a precarious issue that needs more attention abroad that doesn’t constantly revolve on the violent nature of it.
The riot seen this week marks the continuation of about five months of weekend protests that started with the introduction of an extradition bill that would allow people in Hong Kong accused of a crime to be extradited to mainland China. The extradition bill has been halted but the protests against Chinese control over Hong Kong continue. “Chinese banks and businesses linked to China have been frequently targeted by protesters as anger has built up against Beijing” reported CNBC.
The fight for freedom being seen in Hong Kong is a volatile issue that needs to continue being spotlighted abroad because without this attention, the people of Hong Kong are more vulnerable to violations of their rights by the Chinese government. However, the violent tactics are not furthering the demonstrators’ case and need to cease. Peace needs to prevail in the streets of Hong Kong.