SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Concerns over the intensifying protests in Hong Kong are being felt all over the world, including right here in Utah. A local group with native ties to Hong Kong plans to peacefully march on Saturday as part of a global demonstration to show support for the region.
Benjamin Wong, a native of Hong Kong, explained that the original reason behind the protests began with the Hong Kong government’s refusal to withdraw their extradition bill. But then the reasons grew to include preservation of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
Another Utahn born in Hong Kong, who requested to remain anonymous, remembers the region for its thriving economy and exquisite culture. Presently, she has family and friends still living overseas.
“It’s a really peaceful place,” said Jane Doe. “I enjoy the people. I enjoy the food. It was really safe. It’s just a vibrant city. A place that you just fall in love with.”
During the past couple of months, Wong and Doe said it’s been difficult watching the demonstrations develop overseas.
“I’m heartbroken. I wish I could be there physically. But I’m not,” he said. “It’s very dangerous. The situation is dire in Hong Kong and that’s an understatement. I have seen violence used by protestors, by police officers, I’ve even seen the involvement of triad members.”
“I’ve felt very anxious and stressed. Sometimes, I have to turn off the TV or take away my cell phone from Facebook,” said Doe.
While the demonstrations continue, Wong said four other Utahns with ties to Hong Kong are planning a peaceful, non-partisan march on Saturday.
“My biggest fear is people get hurt and that’s the last thing that I want to see. I just want people to be able to resolve all concerns without the use of violence,” said Wong. “Despite your different opinions or political stance, it doesn’t matter. We’ll unite together to achieve a common goal and that is to send love, peace, and support to people in Hong Kong.”
Doe, who said she’ll participate in the march, hopes it doesn’t become a repeat of Tiananmen Square.
“I do want Hong Kong to be great again. It’s a great city. My ancestors and many, many other ancestors built this city. I’d just hate to see something happen to it,” said Doe.
As of Wednesday, airport operators have resumed in Hong Kong. But the protests have continued in Sham Shui Po, a residential area of Hong Kong.
The local march will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Participants plan to meet at the LDS temple in downtown Provo. For more information, click here.
*** DISCLAIMER: As of Thursday, Wong he told ABC4 News is no longer affiliated with the march scheduled on Saturday, as it is not a representation of his views.