As protests continue in Hong Kong, students emphasized the need to respect different opinions. Hong Kong students said they want to share their message and help others understand what is happening.
Chinese and Taiwanese said they understand Hong Kong’s situation, but they do not encourage violent protests.
Participating in peaceful protests in Hong Kong is what Ho Yin Yeung, a sophomore from Hong Kong majoring
in hospitality and tourism management (HTM), said he did during his summer break. He described seeing police using tear gas on protesters wearing masks and safety glasses to protect themselves.
“Our purpose is not to hate the Chinese people. We love them and want them to understand our situation.”
According to the New York Times, on Oct. 1, police used live ammunition at a protest and shot an 18-year-old high school student.
The protests first started in June after a new law was proposed that would allow extraditions into mainland China. On June 16, two million people gathered for the largest demonstration in Hong Kong history to protest not only the extradition bill but also the use of police force in previous protests.
Man Huen Ng, a freshman from Hong Kong studying HTM, shared, “We want democracy and freedom. That’s why we fight.”
Some Hong Kong students at B YU– Hawaii have been wearing masks and black clothing to show their support for Hong Kong. Yeung said, “[ Wearing masks] is a way to share the news to students of other countries.” Yeung added he thinks it is important for students to know about the situation in Hong Kong.
Ng said it is hard for her to be away from home during this time, and it affects her studies. She said she often checks for updates while in class, and it can be hard to concentrate. She added it is difficult to be in Hawaii and not know what she can do.
Politics and friendship
Baily Jin, a senior from China majoring in communications and intercultural peacebuilding, said it is essential to understand both sides of the issue and respect others’ opinions. “Politically we are divided, but culturally, we are united. . . It is important to respect each other even though we are different.” She said people should listen to what others say and imagine “being in their shoes.”
According to Kimball Li, a junior from China majoring in H TM, political division is partially caused by the media.
“I think China and Hong Kong are both right, but no one blames the media. . . The media is trying to create drama for the outside world.” He said people can only know what is going on in Hong Kong by watching the news, but the media has a subjective opinion.
Ruby Lin, a senior from Taiwan majoring in computer science, said she believes people should try to understand all views on the situation. “Politics is complicated. I know both sides love their country a lot.” She added politics is not worth hurting friendships.
Jin said she doesn’t believe protests should be violent. “I personally do not support violence. I think there are a lot of other ways to try to make change.” She added that peaceful protests and educating others are better ways to demonstrate for change.
According to the New York Times, some of the recent protests have become violent. Some of the violence came after Hong Kong introduced a ban on masks, which many protesters wear. An article by BBC News states the ban was put in place to combat previous violence in other demonstrations.
In regards to the masks and black clothes some B YUH students from Hong Kong have been wearing, Li said it is their way to show support in Hawaii for what is happening in Hong Kong.
Instead of masks and wearing black, he said students can share their views online and with their friends to help get the message out.
Although the news headlines can be troubling, Lin shared, “It is normal to worry about your people and care about them, but trust God. He knows what is happening right now.”