Authorities in Hong Kong on Wednesday once more shut down a major regional subway station after protesters gathered there, local media reported.
The crowd gathered at Shatin station in the New Territories after reports that security guards at the station had mistreated a young man who jumped a ticket barrier. Some spray-painted obscenities on the glass barriers.
Riot police charged into the station, making several arrests, government broadcaster RTHK reported.
At the United Nations in New York, foreign minister Wang Yi meanwhile hit out at Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump called on Beijing to honor a treaty made ahead of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule.
“The world fully expects that the Chinese government will honor its binding treaty [and] protect Hong Kong’s freedom and legal system and democratic ways of life,” Trump told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
“How China chooses to handle the situation will say a great deal about its role in the world and the future,” he said.
Wang Yi told the U.S. to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.
“Both sides must respect each other’s territorial sovereignty, social systems and development paths, and not attempt to impose their will on each other,” he told journalists at the U.N.
Wang defended the use of force by the Hong Kong police, saying it was necessary for the authorities to restore order in the city.
Criticism stepped up
Hui Ching, research director at the Hong Kong Zhiming Institute, said Trump’s administration appeared to have stepped up its criticism of the handling of the Hong Kong protests, which began as a campaign against extradition to mainland China, and broadened into a pro-democracy movement.
“Pro-Beijing, pro-establishment forces in Hong Kong have a very serious conflict with mainstream society, especially the young people, and their more Western values,” Hui said.
“The other factor is of course Sino-U.S. relations, which aren’t exactly friendly right now, so the U.S. has become more willing to make its concerns known,” he said.
He said Trump’s speech was a likely bellwether for bipartisan voting intentions for the forthcoming Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“It is more likely that the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and Democracy will, under the leadership of the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the combined forces of the Republican and Democratic parties, pass without any changes to its original content.”
“Trump’s response to the situation in Hong Kong is tantamount to a signal to members of Congress over the vote,” he said.
Back in Hong Kong, activists unfurled a giant banner at a mall, performing a mass rendition of the unofficial anthem of the movement, Glory to Hong Kong.
The performance was the latest in a series of flash mob events to sing the song in shopping malls across the city.
Pro-Beijing groups have also gathered in malls to sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs.
The protesters’ five key demands are: the formal withdrawal of planned amendments to extradition laws; an amnesty for arrested protesters; an end to the description of protesters as rioters; an independent inquiry into police abuse of power; and fully democratic elections.
Protesters have repeatedly said they won’t give up until all five conditions are met, rejecting calls for a dialogue from chief executive Carrie Lam, who has also pledged to formally withdraw proposed amendments to the city’s extradition laws.
March organizers said they are planning a mass demonstration to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2014 Occupy Central movement on Saturday, with no objection issued by police.
An anonymous spokesman for the protesters called on people to come out in a global protest planned for Sunday, to “resist totalitarianism” in the form of the Chinese Communist Party regime.
The action, which will also focus on mass rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang, will seek to draw attention to Beijing as “an enemy of democracy and freedom,” the spokesman said.
Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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