On October 1st, an 18 year old high school student from Hong Kong was shot point blank in the chest. The next day, he was in stable condition at the hospital, but he became yet another spark to fuel the anger of protesters in Hong Kong. The protests started in June as a rally against an extradition bill that would leave citizens in Hong Kong subject to the unfair judicial system in China. Anyone who speaks against the Communist Party in China is immediately shut down and jailed, and Hong Kongers were afraid that their lives would be ruled by fear if the extradition bill was passed. The bill has since been partially withdrawn due to the obvious objection to it, yet protests continue. This is because what started as a way to protect themselves from an unfair justice system became Hong Kong’s cry for a more democratic government.
As China celebrated its 70th anniversary as a Communist Republic, Hong Kongers took to the streets in one of the most violent days of demonstration so far, with 269 people, ages 12-71, arrested. The protesters have 5 core demands, one of which is investigation into police brutality. The shooting of student Tsang Chi-kin on the 1st pushed this issue even more to the forefront. The shooting may have been the first time a protester was struck with live ammunition, but police have been using less violent means, such as tear gas or the firing of warning shots into the air, to the crowds at bay. The day after the shooting, police officials defended the officer who shot Tsang, saying it was a necessary means of self defense, not unwarranted police brutality. Tsang and a group of other protesters in the northwestern district of Tsuen Wan came at the officer with metal bars, and as Tsang swung, the officer shot him in the chest. Tsang was immediately taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where surgery was performed to remove the bullet. On Thursday the 3rd, Tsang had 2 criminal charges filed against him, one for attacking a police officer, and the other for rioting. The next day, he was bailed on $5,000 in Hong Kong dollars ($637 US dollars), with the condition that he remain in Hong Kong. Hundreds of students, alumni, and staff had a morning sit-in to support Tsang, and the school principal even said he is welcome to resume classes as soon as he is out of the hospital. Tsang has not only garnered support for his recovery, but he has become a symbol for the rebellion in Hong Kong. Now, in mainly peaceful demonstrations, students and civilians hold their hands over the left side of their chests in recognition of Tsang and call for international support as they forge a stronger resistance movement.