HONG KONG (AP) — A pro-democracy lawmaker who tried to stop Hong Kong protesters from breaking into the legislature this week said China will likely use the vandalising of the building as a reason to step up pressure.
Democratic Party member Lam Cheuk-ting was one of at least three lawmakers — all sympathetic to the protesters — who stepped in front of them on Monday as they repeatedly drove a metal cart and thrust poles into a thick window until it shattered and collapsed. Hours later, protesters swarmed into the legislature, leaving a trail of destruction before riot police ordered them out three hours later.
“After the incident, I have strong reason to believe that the central government together with the Hong Kong government will try their very best to tighten their control in Hong Kong and try to undermine the ‘one country, two systems’ furthermore,” Lam said yesterday.
Many people in Hong Kong worry that China is chipping away at the freedoms and rights they were guaranteed for 50 years after the then-British colony was returned to China under a “one country, two systems” framework 22 years ago this week.
As hundreds of thousands of people marched on Monday to voice these fears, a much smaller group of young protesters decided to break into the legislature, which was closed for a national holiday marking the anniversary of Hong Kong’s July 1, 1997, handover to China.