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  • Writer's pictureXiaodong Fang

How to support the resurfacing Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only pushed the world into a recession but also put mass marches and demonstrations for democracy in Hong Kong on pause for months in 2020. On Sunday (May 10, 2020), the brave HongKongers had gathered for a sing-along event at a shopping mall, signifying the return of the pro-democracy movement. But the brutal Hong Kong police and the administration used the pandemic lockdown measures, as used by the communist regime in mainland China, to arrest hundreds of protesters and to further clamp down on rights.

While being in the "stay-at-home" order, today I want to offer some strategies everyone can follow to help reverse the trend towards downgrading democracy in Hong Kong and defeat China's spreading of authoritarianism.

Photo courtesy of Claudio Schwarz | Unsplash

Take advantage of the global anti-China sentiment for COVID-19

Chinese government's mishandling of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented public health challenge throughout the world, which also triggered the global backlash against China. According to an internal report drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International, anti-China sentiment around the world is at its highest point since 1989 following the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations, which Beijing cracked down on by declaring martial law and sending the military to occupy parts of the capital. When practicing the anti-China campaign online, you can include a "Hong Kong special edition" into the accusing of the Chinese government's wrongdoings in the online comments, petitions, or class action lawsuits against China. For example, among other ongoing petitions against China, you can sign the specific petition that urges the U.S. to announce support for the Hong Kong protesters.

The blood of Hong Kong protesters in 2019 and beyond shouldn't be forgotten. The Hong Kong/Chinese government must pay for it even in the epidemic situation.

Participate in the 2020 elections and campaigns with China-bashing

Due to the COVID-19 originated in China, the U.S.-China competitions in many areas, and our efforts to promote the China-bashing campaign, China has become a prominent campaign issue in the 2020 elections. The anti-China rhetoric is used by candidates of both major political parties. On the Democratic side, China-related issues have continuously shown up in campaign ads, debates and rallies since 2019. Republicans even distributed a 57-page memo that urged GOP campaigns to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic and offers advice to tie Democratic candidates to the Chinese government.

Candidates for the 2020 elections enjoy more freedom than the President and other office-holders to bash China and effectively support pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong. Voters and supporters in the 2020 campaigns could seek to influence the Hong Kong/China issues through your candidates' online events in the party nominating process and the general election campaigns. You can search the 2020 campaign events using C-Span's tracker.

Push the implementation of HKHRDA and sanctions on Chinese leaders

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 has been signed into law but the Chinese government hasn't stopped its human rights abusions and suppression on democracy. In April 2020, 15 former lawmakers and democratic leaders were arrested and charged in Hong Kong. According to Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a powerful Beijing advisory group, the arrests represented an early step toward a broader crackdown by Beijing, which reflected an assessment by Beijing that protests in Hong Kong over the past year pose such a threat to national security that it is worthwhile to defy U.S. threats of retaliation if a crackdown takes place.

To save the democratic leaders and buttress the pro-democracy movements, we should keep pushing the U.S. government to take some harsh and effective actions dealing with China and force the Chinese government to improve its practices on human rights and democracy. Here are my tips for activists in the U.S. to promote Hong Kong/China's democracy and human rights.

Other approaches: Beyond Lennon Walls

Check the "Beyond Lennon Walls" GitHub page created by anonymous netizens. It includes some genius ways for residents located in various countries to support the Hong Kong protests online.


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