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World Hong Kong's Harrowing University Siege Ends Not With a Bang but a Whimper

18:40  28 november  2019
18:40  28 november  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

U.S. Senate unanimously passes Hong Kong rights bill

  U.S. Senate unanimously passes Hong Kong rights bill The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid China's crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement in that vital financial center. © ASSOCIATED PRESS Riot police detain a protestor after he tried to escape from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. About 100 anti-government protesters remained holed up at a Hong Kong university Tuesday, their choices dwindling along with their food supplies as they braced for the endgame in a police siege of the campus that entered its third day.

HONG KONG —It started with hope, lurched into violence, and ended in despair. When police swept through a deserted but devastated university campus Thursday, it marked the end of a 12-day standoff between security forces and protesters—one that shifted from one of the most violent conflicts of this

People trapped inside campus are using increasingly desperate measures to escape.

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HONG KONG—It started with hope, lurched into violence, and ended in despair.

When police swept through a deserted but devastated university campus Thursday, it marked the end of a 12-day standoff between security forces and protesters—one that shifted from one of the most violent conflicts of this year’s social unrest to a negotiated cease-fire that helped usher in one of the longest periods of peace in the city in months.

Besieged Hong Kong University Searching for Remaining Protesters

  Besieged Hong Kong University Searching for Remaining Protesters A Hong Kong university under siege by police for 10 days sent in search teams to look for the remaining protesters who barricaded them inside. Hong Kong Polytechnic University was sending some 50 people divided into six teams to find protesters who are still on the campus, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The group includes university staff, counselors, medical staff, social workers and security personnel, it said.At a morning briefing, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that a “relatively small number of people” remained on campus and called for them to leave as soon as possible, without giving a concrete figure.

We prefer to end this section with a whimper . Pretentious Factor. If you were to drop this quote at a dinner party, would you get an in-unison "awww" or would everyone roll their eyes and never invite you back? © 2020 Shmoop University . All rights reserved.

I don't know how the candidates ended up being 2 elderly men both at death' s door. Does it matter? Even if he was 100% going to die before the end of another term, his rhetoric is advocating the creation of a regime.

On Thursday, police collected hundreds of Molotov cocktails, hauled out baskets of primitive weapons, supplies and other evidence and snapped photos of the carnage that had befallen Hong Kong Polytechnic University following its lengthy occupation, and evacuation, by protesters.

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Last week, the campus was the scene of one of the fiercest single front-line battles in more than five months of unrest. More than a thousand hard-line protesters armed with Molotov cocktails, slingshots and bows and arrows fought for more than 12 hours to keep police out of the barricaded university.

The demonstrators had turned the Hong Kong Polytechnic University into a fortress—raiding classrooms of furniture to seal off the entrances and transforming cafeterias into communal mess halls, a basketball court into sleeping quarters and student common rooms into rudimentary weapons factories.

Over the past week, those numbers dwindled as hundreds surrendered or were arrested making dashes for freedom. Others escaped on foot or the backs of motorbikes, by abseiling down ropes or through underground sewers.

The occupation marked the tensest days of a protest movement long haunted by fears of a Tiananmen-style crackdown—fueled by a police warning early last week that officers would use lethal force if attacked. In the end, a bid to de-escalate the standoff and get the youngest protesters out was a success, the first negotiated peace of the protest movement.

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  China warns of 'firm counter measures' after Trump signs U.S. legislation on Hong Kong China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday said it will take "firm counter measures" if the United States continues to interfere in Hong Kong.  It said legislation signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday backing protesters in Hong Kong was a serious interference in Chinese affairs and U.S. efforts were "doomed to fail." It warned that the United States will shoulder the consequences of China's countermeasures if it continues to "act arbitrarily" in regards to Hong Kong. The legislation signed by Trump was approved unanimously by the U.S.

The standoff galvanized many others onto the streets in support, and was followed by the passage in Congress of an act to safeguard rights in the city, signed by President Trump on Wednesday.

And Sunday, a record number of voters turned out for local council elections, signaling their support for the protest movement by backing pro-democracy campaigners and giving them their biggest-ever win over establishment parties aligned with Beijing. The city has seen the calmest week in months, although a series of rallies are planned in the coming days.

Over the past week, police switched to a softer approach of coaxing out the holdouts, some of them high-school students. The wait-them-out policy saw those inside gradually walk out, many weary from lack of food or emotionally drained.

a group of people standing around a fire© nicolas asfouri/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

On Thursday morning, police finally entered the campus in an operation that Police Superintendent Louis Lau said was aimed at clearing weapons and gathering evidence of damage. They didn’t intend to search for protesters, Mr. Lau said, and any that they found would be encouraged to get medical help.

On both Wednesday and Thursday, the warren of buildings connected by zigzagged paths resembled a haunted castle. Alarm bells rang nonstop in one site. Graffiti was everywhere on the walls and grounds. At an open-air square, dozens of yellow and white helmets formed the letter S.O.S.

Evidence of a once thriving commune was everywhere: half-eaten cups of noodles, discarded black clothing, towering heaps of garbage and mottled maps noting the locations of meal stations, showers and police water cannons. Also visible were boxes filled with bottles of flammable liquids and laboratory chemicals—the remains of makeshift Molotov-cocktail factories. Two huge metal slingshots used to launch ordnance at police stood abandoned alongside piles of bricks.

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Inside the university gym, blue and red yoga mats dotted the basketball floor between abandoned helmets and goggles. The blue-tiled swimming pool nearby where protesters had been testing Molotov cocktails was drained and pocked with black craters. Nearby, a stairway was blocked by a new brick wall, one of the several obstacles built up to slow down police.

Students first began streaming into PolyU as early as Nov. 11, as the young protesters overtook several universities across the city.

By Nov. 17, as demonstrators vacated other universities, PolyU emerged as the most significant front line—patrolled by protesters inside and ringed by police outside. Those entering were subjected to pat-downs and bag checks, said One PolyU faculty member who visited to retrieve some papers from her office.

“The mood to me felt purposeful, organized, determined,” she said.

Skirmishes with police intensified that evening, protesters threw a barrage of Molotov cocktails, bricks and other projectiles toward police, who made sorties backed by water cannon and tear gas but failed to overcome the defiant student’s defensive lines.

After police cleared the surrounding barricades and reclaimed the streets outside—laying siege to campus and blocking all exits, the early optimism of the occupiers gave way to despair. Many trapped inside sought escape routes and others grew increasingly fearful that police spies were in their midst.

Brian Wong, a Hong Kong Red Cross staffer who volunteered inside the school after the clash, said one shaken protester asked, “Could you hold my hands?” Persistent rumors spread that undercover police had infiltrated the campus.

“People just stopped hanging by the buildings that were rumored to be infiltrated by the police,” said another protester. He eventually escaped with several friends through a fence under cover of darkness, he said.

China Condemns U.S. Over Hong Kong. That Won’t Stop Trade Talks.

  China Condemns U.S. Over Hong Kong. That Won’t Stop Trade Talks. SHANGHAI — China vented on Thursday after President Trump signed new human rights legislation covering the protest-wracked city of Hong Kong. It denounced the new law as illegal interference in its own affairs. It summoned the American ambassador for the second time in a week. It vowed retaliation. The threats sounded severe. They also sounded empty. Behind the harsh rhetoric, China has few options for striking back at the United States in a meaningful way. And it has bigger priorities — namely, ending the increasingly punishing trade war between the two countries.

After two days of violent battles, a breakthrough came Nov. 19 when local legislators, police and parents of some holed up inside struck a deal: Protesters under the age of 18 could leave without being arrested if they provided their names and other identifying information.

Rev. Pang, a pastor who helped defuse the standoff, was among the first in. “The campus was just like a war zone,” he said.

As protesters’ numbers thinned, some ceased speaking with each other, those who visited said. Paranoia set in. “They wouldn’t tell each other where they were hiding,” said one Poly U alumnus who helped organize a team of volunteers to help those remaining to escape.

The alumnus, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Rick, said the volunteers were led by professionals in Hong Kong’s financial-services industry. Together they helped several dozen protesters escape last week—organizing drivers to speed off with protesters who sneaked out.

Those left grew more desperate, he said. While some were able to find ways out, police intercepted many. Some got away following a retreating firetruck, he said. Others sneaked past the police cordon during morning daylight hours when police were less attentive, he said.

The ensuing days saw increasing disorder—as those who remained went through food, water and other supplies. Garbage piled up. Kitchens grew filthy, bathrooms became increasingly hazardous and a moldy stench hung in the air.

Dr. Chiu, a dental surgeon who volunteered as a medic for four days in the university last week, set up a makeshift clinic where he and six other medics treated around 40 people—including one protester who had fallen from a third-floor balcony in a botched escape attempt.

“Their mental state was getting weaker every day,” Mr. Chiu said.

By Tuesday evening, just a handful remained inside the Poly U campus. Two pro-democracy legislators who made their way inside described an increasingly desperate scene among the few protesters left. Some suffered diarrhea, while others were eating only bread.

“They only come out to try to get food in the canteen,” legislator Gary Fan said that day.

By Thursday, dozens of police had packed the university grounds and begun a massive cleanup. Plainclothes officers began hauling away baskets of evidence—including one basket containing a quiver of arrows.

“Democracy!” shouted one officer, throwing up his hands and surveying the carnage. “Freedom!” He shook his head.

Rick, the volunteer, said he understood why the protesters wanted to occupy the universities, but he said PolyU turned out to be the wrong place for the standoff.

“Every movement in history started at a university,” he said. “PolyU is very dangerous. When all the roads were closed, they couldn’t run away.”

Write to Dan Strumpf at daniel.strumpf@wsj.com and Wenxin Fan at Wenxin.Fan@wsj.com

China Condemns U.S. Over Hong Kong. That Won’t Stop Trade Talks. .
SHANGHAI — China vented on Thursday after President Trump signed new human rights legislation covering the protest-wracked city of Hong Kong. It denounced the new law as illegal interference in its own affairs. It summoned the American ambassador for the second time in a week. It vowed retaliation. The threats sounded severe. They also sounded empty. Behind the harsh rhetoric, China has few options for striking back at the United States in a meaningful way. And it has bigger priorities — namely, ending the increasingly punishing trade war between the two countries.

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