Hong Kong PolyU protesters charged whilst U.S. re-evaluates relations with the city

Hong Kong protesters threw eggs at Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's portrait on National Day

Hong Kong has entered its 166th day since large-scale protests have broken out in the streets.

Almost 4,500 people have been arrested, more than 2,000 injured, and two killed.

After a round of negotiations between the protesters at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a voluntary team comprised of more than 100 secondary school principals and former Legislative Council chairman Jasper Tsang, more than 1,000 protesters have voluntarily left the campus area and surrendered to the police.

Those who were under 18 were able to leave the scene after registering with the police whereas those above 18 were arrested on the spot.

The Secretary for Security John Lee said (link in Chinese) all of the protesters who were arrested at the campus area will be charged with rioting under Chapter 245 of the Public Order Ordinance regardless.

242 protesters have appeared in court yesterday, dealt with by six district courts until late evening.

In the regular weekday press conference, the Hong Kong Police announced that 1,458 shots of tear gas, 1,391 rubber bullets, 325 bean bag rounds, and 265 plastic bullets were fired (link in Chinese) on Monday the 18th at the protesters at the besieged Polytechnic University.

There have been allegations (link in Chinese) of police brutality: some protesters accused the police of calling them “cockroaches” whereas others were subjected to physical beatings including police officers using batons to forcefully hit on protesters’ heads and legs.

At the same time, there are around some 50 protesters still inside the campus, vowing to fight till the end.

In the United States, both chambers of Congress have passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, with the Senate confirming the Act unanimously through a voice vote.

The Act will be presented to President Trump imminently to be signed into law.

The Act was re-introduced this year as a result of the Hong Kong protests, which enables the various departments in the federal government to assess if current political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law, guaranteed by the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

The Hong Kong protesters and activists who are against the Extradition Law Amendment Bill – who regularly called for the passing of the Act – were delighted and welcomed the passing, whereas the Hong Kong S.A.R. government and the Chinese Foreign Ministry, for example, condemned the Act in the strongest possible terms, with the Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accusing the U.S. of messing up Hong Kong and containing China’s development.

On the other hand, Senator Marco Rubio, one of the co-sponsors of the Act, rebuked China, saying: “I think China needs to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the United States because our treatment of Hong Kong is an internal matter.”

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