SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Many here in Utah will be staying up all night to see what will happen in Hong Kong.
ABC News reports widespread clashes are expected amongst protesters and police as the country enters into a national holiday.
Tuesday marks China’s National Day and 70 years of China’s Communist Party rule. The government banned protests, but many here in Utah say, that won’t stop what’s to come.
More than 150 people were arrested during Sunday’s clash between protesters and police. ABC News is reporting the youngest just 12 years old.
“If you’re wearing black, they can arrest you. If you’re wearing a mask, they can arrest you. Or, even being young. So this is the reason it’s getting uncontrollable,” said one Utahn who didn’t want to be identified in fear her family who lives in Hong Kong will be retaliated against.
“Right now I would say they are pretty scared. If they know there is a protest or a big rally, they will try to avoid to go. Even though they support the protest, and support the cause,” she said.
The protest in Hong Kong began 18 weeks ago over extradition laws and many believe it has now morphed into a humanitarian issue.
“It doesn’t really matter what the government says, the people will still go out,” she said. “The Chinese government, they are really watching and they just don’t want a mess to happen in Hong Kong.”
Her fear is protesters will create a bigger mess for China by clashing with government forces, hurting one of the worlds largest financial centers.
“I feel like the troops have already blended into the police force,” she added.
She and two others ABC4 News spoke with said many police officers who appear in videos online speak Mandarin instead of the native Cantonese, which indicates to them the Chinese Army has infiltrated local law enforcement.
“It seems to me that the Hong Kong government, they authorized the police to do whatever they think is suitable to tackle the protestors,” the woman said. “The worst thing that I don’t want to see is these innocent people get hurt. Especially young people.”
Utahns from Hong Kong say they hope cooler heads will prevail.
“We cannot really separate from China but at the same time, we want to fight for freedom. We want to have certain degrees of autonomy,” the woman added. “We just want them to keep the promise of one country two systems, and just find a way to work things out.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping stated during the China National Day the country will remain committed to a peaceful reunification using the One Country, Two Systems platform.
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