Pro-Democracy Politician Attacked in Hong Kong as Protests Escalate

A woman holds flowers as she argues with a riot police officer after an anti-government protest in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2019. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

A pro-democracy Hong Kong politician was violently attacked and left in critical condition as protests against Chinese authoritarianism turned violent again over the weekend.

An unidentified man, who reportedly earlier also stabbed several people outside a mall, attacked District councilor Andrew Chiu and bit off part of his left ear. Protesters beat the 48-year-old suspect with sticks after the attack.

One person is in critical condition and two others are in serious condition among the at least 30 casualties suffered on Sunday. A male student suffered life-threatening injuries after he fell from a height. Twelve police officers were also injured during the escalation of violence over the weekend, and more than 300 people were arrested.

Hong Kong has been roiled by protests throughout the summer, originally sparked by outrage over an extradition law that Hong Kong residents say would allow Chinese authorities to effectively “kidnap” them despite little evidence of wrongdoing. Opposition to the law soon ballooned into fear that China plans to throw out its “One Country, Two Systems” policy regarding Hong Kong.

“We really see that people are very heavy-hearted. They don’t know what is going to happen tonight or maybe the next weekend. And there is a lot of worry,” said pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Charles Mok.

Last month, Hong Kong’s government formally pulled the extradition bill that ignited five months of violent pro-democracy protests. However, the protesters have since made several other broader demands including enhanced democracy for Hong Kong, an independent investigation into police conduct, and amnesty for protesters who have been arrested.

Protesters have been particularly riled by the tactics of police in Hong Kong, objecting to what they say is law enforcement’s overbearing approach to halting pro-democracy demonstrators. Police have arrested several prominent demonstrators in recent months, while China meanwhile has vowed a “severe” response to the protest activities and has accused demonstrators of terrorism.

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