Hong Kong students at more than 100 schools resumed their weekly boycotts on Monday, forming human chains in solidarity and demanding the government cede to their remaining four demands.
At a secondary school in Kowloon, a crazed shirtless man was caught on video attempting to stab the largely underaged group of protesters.
Police have made no arrests in connection with the incident despite a video showing the man attacking students forming a human chain at Cognitio College in Kowloon, a secondary school. The man’s face is clearly visible in the footage. He appeared to be wearing only a pair of blue shorts during the assault. Secondary school in Hong Kong covers roughly the same ages as high school in the United States.
A teacher, who intervened to protect the students, was injured in the incident, receiving knife cuts on her hands as she pushed the man away:
Someone in the video can be heard saying "just ignore him" in reference to the shouting, blade-waving man. Other can be heard screaming curse words, which seems like the more natural reaction. #HongKongProtests #antiELAB #HongKong https://t.co/hFoaxi0hkh
— Coconuts (@coconutsdotco) September 9, 2019
The shirtless man reportedly appeared at Cognitio College at around 9 a.m. local time, police said, in response to students forming a human chain in protest of Communist China’s increasing attacks on Hong Kong’s sovereignty. “A video circulating online showed an agitated, shirtless man in blue shorts, waving a box-cutter at people dressed in black, with some onlookers trying to calm him,” the South China Morning Post reported.
Police told the Post that only one person was injured, a female teacher at the school whose hands the man stabbed. They also claimed they did not arrest the assailant because they did not show up in time to see him.
Regional outlet Coconuts reported that the woman was one of three injured in the stabbing attack, citing an RTHK interview with the principal of the school. The other two injured were not students, the principal said, identifying one of them as a bystander but not offering any information on the identity of the third.
The school’s principal went out of her way to say that, despite the attack from the man – presumed to be a pro-Communist China zealot – the students were “very calm and orderly” in demanding their civil and political rights.
Cognitio College joined thousands of students in Hong Kong Monday morning in creating human chains demanding their government grant them full self-determination. The protests occurred in both secondary schools and universities and, save for the pro-China shirtless thug, were peaceful. The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) estimated that students in hundreds of schools took part. The students chanted the protest slogan “five key demands, not one less,” referring to the concrete changes the movement wants before stopping the protests.
Protests began in June in response to a proposed law that would have allowed the Chinese Communist Party to extradite people in Hong Kong for violating communist laws. Under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, no one in Hong Kong can face legal repercussions for breaking communist laws, protesters alleged, fearing that Beijing could soon force them to disappear into its notoriously repressive prison system from speaking publicly on China’s human rights abuses or the failures of its regime.
The protesters demanded the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, direct election of lawmakers to prevent another similar bill from arising, freedom for political prisoners, an independent investigation into police brutality against them, and an end to the government’s referring to peaceful protests as “riots.”
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised a full withdrawal of the extradition bill last week. Protesters have responded with the slogan “five key demands, not one less.”
Last Monday – the first day of the new school year in Hong Kong – students vowed to boycott classes every Monday in support of the protest movement. A crowd of 30,000 students flooded the quad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong last Monday wearing black and chanting protest slogans.
Unlike this week, police attacked students last week, raiding a playground last Tuesday and attacking the protesters, sending a teen to the hospital. School officials told media following the attack that they did not call the police or understand why officers were on school grounds at all.
Violence from non-police actors, particularly organized pro-China mobs, has become a hallmark of the protests. The first such attack occurred in July against protesters in the suburb of Yuen Long. After a peaceful protest the weekend of July 22, protesters attempted to make their way home via the Yuen Long Mass Transit Rail (MTR) station. An angry mob of thugs wearing white and carrying metal rods began beating anyone in the MTR station wearing black, entering standing trains and cornering people to beat them. Despite eyewitnesses saying as many as 100 people were part of the mob, police made only 20 arrests. Police confirmed protester suspicions that the mob was at least partially made up of members of Hong Kong’s triad criminal syndicates.
A similar mob surfaced in early August, beating unarmed protesters in North Point, a notoriously pro-communist neighborhood. Since that attack, several protesters have denounced attacks by masked men, including outside of protests, if they are prominent members of the movement. China has also exported these mob attacks to areas with significant Chinese communist populations. In July, a peaceful assembly supporting the protest movement in Australia ended in violence after pro-Beijing terrorists violently attacked their fellow students at the University of Queensland.