Expats in Hong Kong join anti-government protests

Published:  2 Aug at 6 PM
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Expats are now joining Hong Kong protestors in a fight to save the special administrative region’s autonomy.

Originally intended as a protest against new and now suspended litigation to allow extradition to China, demonstrations are now in the eighth week and Hong Kong residents aren’t showing any sign of giving up. For decades, the city has been an all-time favourite for expat professionals, many of whom are now concerned about their and the former British colony’s futures. Over the past two months, the issue has broadened to include the resignation of Carrie Lam and is now focused on fears of a Chinese attempt to close down the city’s precious democracy.

After the protests spread to Hong Kong’s international airport, a surprise move by the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants’ Union encouraged its members to take part in the protests, sending a note to local media emphasising employees’ action shouldn’t be considered as industrial action. As the Hong Kong police’s response grows more violent, expats and locals’ fears of a devastating Chinese intervention are increasing, with foreign residents becoming proactive in the protests as a result.

Unlike during the 2014 protests, well-educated members of Hong Kong’s middle class are now at the forefront, with the mobilisation of politically-oriented professionals bringing a different dimension to the struggle for democracy. In addition, seeing their jobs and way of life under threat, strong support is now arriving from the city’s expatriate community, many of whom are unhappy about police violence against the demonstrators and are now anti-establishment and against the authority as a result. The foreign community has been traditionally a-political, but increasing Chinese encroachment has forced many businesses and expat organisations to speak out, especially since the UK government’s message of support.
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