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Who will win in the end?

June 19,2019
SHIN KYUNG-JIN
The author is a Beijing correspondent at the JoongAng Ilbo.

It was a festival of democracy. Two million demonstrators joined the protests on June 16 in Hong Kong. They started from Victoria Park. I noticed a “Gangs of Tyranny” poster, a parody of “Game of Thrones.” Photos of seven people who ruined Hong Kong — including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam — were hung.

They shouted, “We are not a mob,” “The Chief Secretary for the Administration should step down” and “Repatriate unjust laws to China.” There were party booths representing local and pro-democracy parties, including the Democratic Party, the Civic Party, the Labour Party, the Demo-Social Front and Civic Passion. They are aiming at the upcoming district council election in November and legislature election next year.

The Taiwanese flag was also spotted. A sign said, “Nearly two million people joined the march.” I was walking next to a father giving his young daughter a ride on his shoulders. Black drapes reading “Reprimand Violent Suppression of June 12 Protest” and “No Dissolution without Retraction. No Compromise!” were hung on high-rise buildings.

The Pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao stopped showing a Chinese promotional video on its display screens. Residents waved Hong Kong flags and turned on smartphone lights on the terrace. Protestors responded by turning on their phone lights as well. It was a Hong Kong version of the candlelight vigil in Korea. When an ambulance approached, demonstrators stepped aside and remained orderly.
The march arrived at the government complex in Admiralty. People took photos and enjoyed the festivity. On Instagram, countless photos were shared with the hashtag #NoChinaExtradition.

I went to the site where a protester fell and died. A candle was lit among the chrysanthemums. People sang “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.” It was how Hong Kong mourned the deceased. A breaking news alert came to my phone. The chief executive had apologized. I received a full script from a local journalist. “The chief executive […] pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms.” The chief executive surrendered, and the citizens won.

At 11 p.m., the organizers ended the march and announced that two million people had come. It is twice as many as the 1.03 million participants a week ago.

The “one country, two systems” policy will end in 2047. Who will win? That question came to my mind in Hong Kong in June 2019.
The author is a Beijing correspondent at the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 18, Page 29