Editor’s Note: Frances Hui serves as The Beacon’s assistant opinion editor for the fall 2019 semester.
Seniors Frances Hui and Katerina Au stood outside the Dining Hall on Tuesday with posters raising awareness for the Hong Kong movement.
Hui said she felt compelled to advocate on Tuesday—the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kongers took to the streets again on Oct. 1 where an 18-year-old protestor was shot with live bullets.
“Over the summer [the government] has been using less-lethal bullets like bean bag rounds and those kinds of things, and it actually kills people,” Hui said. “But today is the first time they used real bullets, a lot of students got injured and we just want to be here to support them.”
Their posters read “HK police is murdering us” and “Free Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong and China became locked in controversy in June when protests sparked over an extradition bill that would give Hong Kong the authority to take criminals to mainland China for prosecution and punishment. Demonstrators said the bill undermined the autonomy of Hong Kong. Throughout the month of June, several marches took place, ranging in attendance from hundreds of thousands to over one million. China has described the ongoing protests as the worst crisis in Hong Kong since the handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Hui, an active advocate for the Hong Kong cause, helped organize several rallies and protests in Boston pushing local government to take action.
Hui said she feels opposition from Chinese students and marginalized by the Chinese international community. Hui said that earlier in the morning she was yelled at by Chinese students whilst standing outside.
“I think us being here opens a door for them to come to us and talk to us,” Hui said in an interview “Unfortunately, there were a lot of Chinese international students who passed by and yelled at us, they cursed at us and said stuff like ‘fuck you, motherfucker’ and I don’t think that that’s a rational way to open a conversation about it.”
Au said she was approached by some students who were supportive of their cause and took photos of her and Hui in an attempt to help engage the Hong Kong community.
“Some [students] were supportive of us by saying a few words and asking us how they should help … I can only ask for them to take a photo of us and try to spread it on social media because I think they can at least engage the community this way.” Katerina said in an interview.
Junior Beini Wang was arguing with Hui in front of the Dining Center. She said in an interview with The Beacon that she is against the use of the word ‘murdering’ on the Hong Kong students’ posters, and that they should include both parts of the story.
“I 100% support freedom of speech, and I respect what they’re saying and what they believe but it’s just super offensive to do that today because it’s our national day and to use words like ‘Hong Kong police are murdering people’, and calling out our country for murdering is super offensive and disrespectful,” Wang said.
Stephanie Purifoy contributed reporting to this article.