NWSA Statement on Hong Kong
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
December 10, 2019
As transnational feminists, we are appalled by the unfolding political and humanitarian crisis in Hong Kong. The recent police crackdowns on demonstrations have turned Hong Kong into a de facto police state. We unequivocally condemn Chinese authorities’ use of surveillance tactics, policing on university campuses, escalating violence, and violations of human rights and freedom of speech and assembly. We extend our solidarity to the protesters.
Since March 2019, mass demonstrations have broken out on the streets of Hong Kong to oppose the “Extradition Law Amendment Bill (ELAB),” which would allow the extradition of individuals from Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for trial. Proposed by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the PRC, ELAB has raised concerns because the PRC judicial system does not guarantee due process and adequate legal protection for individuals. This recent legislative move conveys a clear message to the world about China’s coordinated attempts to erode the legal autonomy of Hong Kong.
Protests have been largely peaceful with the intention of raising awareness. In addition to marches and occupations, protesters have created “Lennon Walls” to send solidarity messages to sister movements across the globe. They have also provided first-aid, transportation, and basic necessities to anonymous civilians. These acts of mutual aid and civic engagement have inspired a new vision of transnational feminist solidarity.
Under the directives by the PRC, protests have met with horrendously violent responses by the HKSAR government and police officials. The reprehensible brutality towards protesters and civilians has grown to unprecedented forms and scales – teargas, water cannons, live ammunition, beatings, sexual assaults, detentions, interrogations, and other forms of dehumanizing tactics – that have resulted in thousands of casualties and deaths. The recent unauthorized intrusion and siege of university campuses have violated these spaces that seek to protect freedom of thought and safety for students.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has agreed to formally withdraw the bill. The protesters have not backed down, however, and are demanding investigations around police brutality and amnesty for protestors in addition to an immediate repeal of ELAB. The Hong Kong movement is an expression of the people’s incredible fortitude to maintain the standard of democracy they were promised by the PRC.
The protests in Hong Kong are part of a wave of worldwide protest against corruption, neoliberalism, inequality, and authoritarianism. Chile, Haiti, Iraq, Iran, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, and Lebanon, have all seen massive uprisings and, in many cases, government repression. NWSA condemns the ruthless violence that is being wielded in Hong Kong and other places and affirms its support for people across the world who are organizing for, and demanding, more democratic, transparent, and socially and economically just policies.
Signed by the NWSA Executive Committee (EC) with affiliations*
Premilla Nadasen, President, Barnard College
Diane Harriford, Vice President, Vassar College
Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Secretary, Loyola University Maryland
Natali Valdez, Treasurer, Wellesley College
(*affiliations for identification purposes only)