HONG KONG: Hundreds of residents gathered at the Amoy Plaza in Kowloon on Saturday despite a heat wave and sang China’s national anthem to show their support to a teacher beaten by protesters for singing the song days ago.
The rally started at about 3 p.m. when the residents waved China’s national flag and sang together before chanting “Police, keep it up!”
On the evening of Wednesday, a primary school teacher, identified only as Lee, walked into the Amoy Plaza with three kids. Disagreeing with the protesters, he sang the Chinese national anthem. The infuriated black-clad men punched him in the face and his mobile phone was taken away.
In same plaza also on Saturday some residents held banners, saying “you will never sing alone.”
Yeung Man told Xinhua that her neighbor’s kid was in Lee’s class and she came voluntarily with nine others in the neighborhood to the rally.
“I would like to show my support to Lee, as well as the Hong Kong police,” she said. “I would also like to make our voices heard that we as Hong Kong residents want national unity and ‘one country, two systems.’”
“Maybe I didn’t have the courage like Lee in the past, but this time I decide to stand out,” said Tuan, a 38-year-old resident. “Violence of the protesters have seriously affected our normal life, and we cannot continue keeping silent.”
During the gathering, protesters dressed in black and wearing face masks appeared outside the plaza. They shouted abusive words at the residents who responded, “We don’t have to wear masks.”
About five minutes later, police officers were called to the scene. Residents at the rally cheered while waving their national flags.
Some participants unfolded a banner that read “no time to waste for us to protect Hong Kong; residents and police should join hands to work together.”
Ms. Chiu said her daughter was among the protesters. “I want to let them know, as a mother, that violence is bad.”
Ms. Yeung said the protests, which had lasted for three months, tore apart the society. “The protests sowed discord between friends, colleagues, classmates and even family members,” she said. “Some friends stopped speaking to each other, and colleagues poured vitriol to one another.”
She hoped that after the event, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region could reflect on education. “Many young people lack the knowledge of Chinese history and, especially, Hong Kong history,” she said. “They know little about the Chinese mainland. So, it is very easy for them to believe in rumors.”
Her view was shared by retiree Cheung Ming-wai. “The negative information was exaggerated so that many of the young people could hardly see the good side,” she said.
She condemned the rioters for bringing chaos and fear to local residents. When violence finally erupted on Saturday afternoon around the Amoy Plaza, many stores on the street closed.
“They blocked traffic, forced subway to stop, and damaged infrastructure of our city,” Cheung said. “I am afraid. When they protested, we have to stay indoor. When will this come to an end?” Global Times