As Beijing held festivities for the 70th anniversary of the P.R.C., Hong Kong protesters held what they called a “day of mourning,” during which they shouted the slogan “There is no National Day celebration, only a national tragedy,” the Hong Kong Free Press reports.
Then, a specific tragedy occurred, as the first live shots — two of them — were shot at point-blank range by a police officer at an 18-year-old protester.
#HongKong #police fire 2 live rounds after officers came under attack of protesters on Waterloo Road/Nathan Road in Yau Ma Tei. Don’t know what the two men (in white & red t-shirts) helping to hit protesters were doing #HongKongProtest pic.twitter.com/ZnZwjLT9pt
— Damon Pang (@damon_pang) October 1, 2019
HKUSU Campus TV captured the moment a #HongKong protester got shot in his chest, as police officer fired a live round in close range in Tseun Wan. The protester, reportedly a F5 student, was sent to hospital with serious bleeding. #hongkongprotests pic.twitter.com/jLPtBno5yA
— Frances Sit (@frances_sit) October 1, 2019
Hong Kong Free Press has compiled more footage from sources such as the University of Hong Kong Student Union’s Campus TV. The student was last reported to be at Princess Margaret Hospital in critical condition.
The United Kingdom said the “use of live ammunition is disproportionate, and only risks inflaming the situation,” per Reuters, and the EU called for “de-escalation and restraint” following the incident, AFP reports.
Other updates from the City of Protest:
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) October 1, 2019
“Hong Kong held a flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, as top government officials and some 12,000 guests watched from inside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai,” Hong Kong Free Press says. Eleven train stations were shut down, in an apparently effective tactic to reduce the turnout of protesters — though thousands still took to the streets over the course of the day. The New York Times has a minute of footage of scenes of violence in Hong Kong on China’s National Day.
“The Hong Kong police have arrested more people in relation to the July 1 storming of the Legislative Council building, including an activist, an actor, and a reporter,” the Hong Kong Free Press reports.
Top officials in Beijing may not actually be all that worried about the crisis in Hong Kong, scholar Andrew Nathan writes in Foreign Affairs, because they interpret the grievances of Hongkongers largely through an economic lens:
But according to two Chinese scholars who have connections to regime insiders and who requested anonymity to discuss the thinking of policymakers in Beijing, China’s response has been rooted not in anxiety but in confidence. Beijing is convinced that Hong Kong’s elites and a substantial part of the public do not support the demonstrators and that what truly ails the territory are economic problems rather than political ones—in particular, a combination of stagnant incomes and rising rents. Beijing also believes that, despite the appearance of disorder, its grip on Hong Kong society remains firm. The Chinese Communist Party has long cultivated the territory’s business elites (the so-called tycoons) by offering them favorable economic access to the mainland. The party also maintains a long-standing loyal cadre of underground members in the territory. And China has forged ties with the Hong Kong labor movement and some sections of its criminal underground. Finally, Beijing believes that many ordinary citizens are fearful of change and tired of the disruption caused by the demonstrations.
Beijing therefore thinks that its local allies will stand firm and that the demonstrations will gradually lose public support and eventually die out. As the demonstrations shrink, some frustrated activists will engage in further violence, and that in turn will accelerate the movement’s decline. Meanwhile, Beijing is turning its attention to economic development projects that it believes will address some of the underlying grievances that led many people to take to the streets in the first place.