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Thu, November 14, 2019 | 17:49
  1. What's next for Hong Kong's extradition bill protesters? [PHOTOS]
    Chan Ki Kau, 72, on his fifth day of hunger strike at Admiralty Station protesting against the Hong Kong government's controversial extradition bill. The posters in Chinese say he is “fighting for public righteousness.” The bill has been put on hold for now because of the huge backlash. College students have rejected the government's offer of a "private meeting" between the authority and a selected group of students who oppose the bill. The students say such a meeting must be open to the public and demand a guarantee that student protesters will not be prosecuted. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukKorea Times photographer Choi Won-suk has been sent to Hong Kong to record historic events taking place there. The photos here are from protests that took place from July 5-7 in northern Hong Kong Island's Central district, Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people have been protesting to stop the introduction of an extradition law that could enable China to extradite dissidents from China's special administrative area. The protesters are also pushing for the resignation of Beijing's favored Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Broadly, the protests are targeting China with the goal of blocking its heavy intervention and protecting Hong Kong residents' rights. ― ED.By Phila SiuDavid Wong has spent more nights sleeping outside the Hong Kong legislature in recent weeks than he has in his soft, cozy bed at home.Wong, 24, is among the more dedicated of the protesters demanding the government abandon a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China and other places with which the city does not have agreements. He has spent days on end at makeshift camps outside the legislature that are the protesters' de facto headquarters, handing out supplies like umbrellas, goggles, water and food, and discussing with fellow activists the next course of action with fellow activists.“Last week, I went home to sleep on only three nights,” he said. “But I must come forward to stop this bill.”His dedication comes at a cost. The freelance audio technician's monthly income has dropped to just $HK2,000, a tenth of what he would normally expect to make, as his career takes a back seat to his new-found passion.A Chinese national flag at Admiralty Station in northern Hong Kong Island is pulled down, July 5. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukWong is no veteran activist; indeed, until last month, he had not attended a single protest - until he saw the police response to a protest on June 9, when a million people took to the streets to demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor withdraw the bill. On that day, one of Wong's friends was hit with a police baton, and Wong decided he could stand by no longer.Wong is among dozens of protesters to have spoken to This Week in Asia about the desperation that drove them to the streets in the largest mass protests to have hit the city. For many, this desperation has grown only worse as their actions have failed to move the government. While they have succeeded in getting the bill shelved, it has not been withdrawn ― a key demand of protesters who also want police punished for using excessive force, and a guarantee that protesters will not be charged with rioting, an offence that carries a 10-year jail sentence.Still, it is this desperation that continues to drive the protesters, although in different directions. While some have given in to the emotion ― even suicides are suspected of being linked to the protests ― others have bottled their feelings and are using them as fuel. On Monday, the most diehard among them stormed the legislature and occupied the complex in scenes broadcast across the world. Elsewhere, earnest students distribute leaflets outside schools, and would-be politicians plan protests on social media.A mass sit-in, by the "mothers of Hong Kong," at Chater Garden in Hong Kong Island's northern district of Central calls for the axing of the city government's introduction of the extradition bill and resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, July 5. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFor many among them, the protests have been a political awakening. Other, older, hands suggest the protests are not as sudden as they seem; that the bill was merely a lightning rod for frustrations that have built up over many years, prompted by the government's failure to listen. But however they see the protests, the big question for most of them now is: where to go from here?A lesson from LEGCOOn July 1, hundreds of protesters stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council and occupied it for three hours. The complex was trashed and defaced with graffiti, including a slogan that read: “You taught us that peaceful demonstrations do not work.”Austin Lee, 25, was among the protesters inside. “We have done everything already, but the government still will not listen. Going in was the last resort,” said Lee, who asked that a pseudonym be used.Lee said he and many of protesters had wanted to stay in the legislature and were prepared to be arrested. Some had even suggested setting up a resource station there.A participant at a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central District of Hong Kong Island holds a candle, July 6. The demonstration was in commemoration of the late Wu Hang-yan, who killed herself in protest against the Hong Kong government's introduction of the extradition bill by jumping from a building in Edinburgh Place Central in late June. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukBut every now and then, other protesters would enter the chamber and demand that they leave, without explaining why. This affected morale as rumors began to spread that police action was imminent.“I was struggling with whether to leave or stay. I had to consider not only my own safety, but other people's safety too,” Lee said.Shortly before midnight, the group inside the complex had been whittled down to a diehard group of four, who were labelled sei si ― Cantonese for “martyrs.” Their fellow protesters outside the complex feared the police would storm the legislature at any moment, putting them in danger.Lee ran outside, picked up a loudspeaker, and told the thousands gathered what was happening, his voice shaking with emotion.“I told everyone to stay outside the Legislative Council, to support the four protesters inside,” he said. “The next moment, everyone was chanting 'we leave together'.”Participants pray during a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central District of Hong Kong Island, July 6, in commemoration of Wu Hang-yan. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukAs Lee broke down in tears, what happened next can only be described as surreal.About 30 protesters, mostly wearing yellow helmets, goggles and masks to protect themselves from police, stormed into the chamber and dragged the four out.It was just in the nick of time. Soon afterwards, riot police arrived, firing tear gas and clearing the crowd. Within an hour, the sea of thousands had gone.Looking back, Lee believes the storming of Legco achieved little ― not because he cares about condemnation from officials, or even members of the public, but because it failed to force the government to meet protesters' demands.Asked about the next move, he said, “We know there is not much we can do now. But we must fight till the very end.”Alexandra Wong, a participant of a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central, northern Hong Kong Island district, July 6, waves a British national flag. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukDisconnectWhen Carrie Lam was campaigning for the city's top post in 2017, her election slogan was “We Connect.” She pledged to reach out to young people and even renamed and restructured the Central Policy Unit, the government think tank, to include more youngsters.But since she became the city's leader in July 2017, her approval rating has plummeted from 63.6 out of 100 points to just 32.8 last month. That is the lowest level experienced by any of the four chief executives who have held office since 1997, when Britain handed Hong Kong's sovereignty back to China.Lam's election promise now stands as an object of mockery for protesters, who have changed it to “We Disconnected.”Among the youth the administration has failed to reach are Kelly Chiu, 15, and her schoolmate, Chris Wong, 16. Neither had taken part in a protest before June 9; in 2014, when Occupy Central protesters paralyzed streets for 79 days to call for universal suffrage, both were still too young for politics.“I was politically apathetic before then,” Chiu said. “I have always known there was a plan to pass an extradition bill but I didn't really know how it could affect me. But as I found out more, I realized the consequences could be serious.”Chiu learned about the extradition bill in school, where teachers were careful to present both sides of the argument. News reports prompted her to find out more.This is where a man, 35, was found after he accidentally fell from the top of Pacific Place in Wan Chai, northern Hong Kong Island, on June 15, while protesting against the extradition bill. The yellow raincoat reminds viewers what Wu was wearing when he took his life. Flowers below the clothes show mourners' grief over the activist's death. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukHer main fear is that Hong Kong people critical of the central government in Beijing could be extradited.Many protesters share this concern. One of the movement's slogans is faan sung jung, a Cantonese phrase that carries a double meaning: faan means “anti” while sung jung can be interpreted either as “sending to China” or “sending to death.”While officials have repeatedly stressed that the bill would target only criminals, protesters have no confidence in the rule of law on the mainland and fear Beijing will use the bill to crack down on dissent.Chiu and some of her schoolmates are so devoted to the cause that last month they printed leaflets and handed them out on the streets to raise awareness. For four days, they stood outside their New Territories school in their uniforms from 7 a.m. until their classes began an hour later. On two other days, they went to Central and Tuen Mun.Chiu is driven not only by her anger over the extradition bill, but by her pent-up frustration with the government over issues including Hong Kong's sky-high cost of living and property prices.“The Lantau Tomorrow Vision is going to cost so much money and I feel like I won't benefit from it,” Chiu said, referring to the government's $HK624 billion plan to build a new metropolis on a man-made island west of Hong Kong's main island. “Property prices are so high and the government isn't really doing anything effective. I can't see what I will do when I grow up. I don't know if I can afford to buy a house.”A large protest against the Hong Kong government's extradition bill took place at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station on July 7. Unlike previous anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong Island's Central District, Sunday's mass demonstration took place at transport hubs where Chinese mainlanders frequently visit. The demonstrators, chanting "Free Hong Kong" among other slogans and singing the Chinese national anthem, handed out anti-extradition leaflets to the mainland visitors. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukDespite Chiu's activism, she has never considered resorting to violence. But last Sunday, violence found her. She was on her way to an event in Admiralty to mourn people whose deaths have been linked to the protests.Chiu, who was wearing black clothes and a mask ― items that marked her out as an anti-extradition bill protester, was surrounded by about 30 people as she left the MTR station. The group began pushing Chiu and a middle-aged man punched her in the face.“I was bleeding and my hands were covered in blood. But all the police did was ask me not to provoke the others. I did not. I was just walking past them,” she said of the group, whom she believes were going to a pro-police rally.Chiu was so upset by the incident that she feared seeking treatment, having heard reports that police were hunting down protesters in hospitals. Eventually she found a private hospital doctor to treat her.Chiu's actions speak volumes about the growing mistrust between protesters and the police. Her mother has even quit her accounting job to watch over her daughter. “Summer vacation is coming and I want to make sure she will be safe if she joins the protests again,” Chiu's mother said.Protesters at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7, hold umbrellas as they walk in the rain. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFor other families, the protests have acted as a wedge. Chiu's schoolmate Wong said his participation had led to bitter arguments with his father.“After the June 9 protest, I went home and my father asked me how my protest experience was. He thought I had taken part just for fun.”What next?Ventus Lau Wing-hong was on holiday in Japan on June 12 when he heard that police had fired tear gas at protesters in Admiralty. Any thoughts he had of relaxing evaporated swiftly.Unlike Chiu and Wong, Lau, 25, is no stranger to activism. Last year, he was disqualified in his bid to run in a Legislative Council by-election because of pro-independence remarks he had made on Facebook.On his return to Hong Kong, he immediately took to the social media messaging service Telegram ― a favorite with the extradition protesters ― to ask how he could help. The group came up with a plan to petition foreign consulates ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka. They translated their petition into languages including German and Arabic and handed the letters to consulate staff on the day of the march.Protesters block a taxi at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe campaign met a mixed response. While it captured the attention of the international media, the protests were not officially discussed at the summit, though Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the importance of a “free and open Hong Kong, prosperous under the “one country, two systems” principle.Lau might have been happy with his campaign, but he was frustrated that the Hong Kong government refused to listen to the protesters' ― and saddened by the deaths linked to the protests.“It was a big blow to me that, after the consulate protests and everything else we have done, the government still declined to make concessions,” he said. “Even if seven million people took to the streets, I fear that might not work either. I don't know what we can do any more for now, but we must fight till the end.”Some critics suggest that if the government waits long enough, the determination of protesters like Lau will slowly fizzle out, much as it did when the Occupy Central movement was forced to pack up without any concession whatsoever from Beijing regarding its goal of universal suffrage.The critics hope that, with proceedings turning violent, the public will slowly lose patience with the protesters ― much as happened in the later stages of Occupy.A protester at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station holds a poster that reads "Support Hong Kong" on July 7. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBut while government officials, business groups and pro-government politicians have indeed condemned outright violent behavior such as the storming of Legco, the response of the wider public has been more nuanced. There may be a general opposition to the violence, but not many people have expressed outrage. Some even sympathize, saying the government's intransigence is at least partly to blame.That leaves the ball in the court of Chief Executive Lam and the Hong Kong government. Assistant Professor Sing Ming, from the University of Science and Technology, said Lam must show she is willing to make concessions if she wants to resolve the crisis.Otherwise, any dialogue risks being a repeat of the meeting between Lam and the leaders of Occupy in 2014. That meeting was widely criticized as a public relations exercise staged by the government that yielded no constructive results. Instead, in so far as it helped to undermine trust in the government, some argue it helped lead to the current stand-off.The professor said that whether there was further violence depended largely on the next police next move: if officers began arresting more people and charging them with rioting that could well dampen participation in the protests, he said.Others argue that a different approach by the government could defuse the situation. Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of The Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semi-official think tank, said that to regain trust, officials should adopt a more “inclusive” approach in governance, seeking the opinions of people from diverse backgrounds.Protesters at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7. Chinese letters on the cross read “Go to hell, despot Carrie Lam” and “The god and people are altogether angry.” Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukHe also said the government should do more analysis before introducing policies and instead of restarting political reform work, officials should first improve people's livelihoods.Regardless of political allegiance, most people agree that now is a critical time for the protesters. After almost a month of unprecedented demonstrations, Chief Executive Lam is still in office, the extradition issue has not been definitively defeated, and the most concrete thing the protesters have to show for their troubles are bruises from rubber bullets and pellet rounds.But the signs are that, rather than despair, it is defiance that now fuels many of the protesters and that is likely to mean just one thing: further unrest.In the week since the storming of Legco, an almost eerie calm has returned to the city center, but some observers fear it is just a temporary reprieve.As if to underline the point, several protesters gathered outside Sham Shui Po MTR station on Thursday to hand out fliers advertising a protest on Sunday in Tsim Sha Tsui. “Hongkongers, we have not retreated yet,” the flier said.
    Chan Ki Kau, 72, on his fifth day of hunger strike at Admiralty Station protesting against the Hong Kong government's controversial extradition bill. The posters in Chinese say he is “fighting for public righteousness.” The bill has been put on hold for now because of the huge backlash. College students have rejected the government's offer of a "private meeting" between the authority and a selected group of students who oppose the bill. The students say such a meeting must be open to the public and demand a guarantee that student protesters will not be prosecuted. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukKorea Times photographer Choi Won-suk has been sent to Hong Kong to record historic events taking place there. The photos here are from protests that took place from July 5-7 in northern Hong Kong Island's Central district, Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people have been protesting to stop the introduction of an extradition law that could enable China to extradite dissidents from China's special administrative area. The protesters are also pushing for the resignation of Beijing's favored Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Broadly, the protests are targeting China with the goal of blocking its heavy intervention and protecting Hong Kong residents' rights. ― ED.By Phila SiuDavid Wong has spent more nights sleeping outside the Hong Kong legislature in recent weeks than he has in his soft, cozy bed at home.Wong, 24, is among the more dedicated of the protesters demanding the government abandon a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China and other places with which the city does not have agreements. He has spent days on end at makeshift camps outside the legislature that are the protesters' de facto headquarters, handing out supplies like umbrellas, goggles, water and food, and discussing with fellow activists the next course of action with fellow activists.“Last week, I went home to sleep on only three nights,” he said. “But I must come forward to stop this bill.”His dedication comes at a cost. The freelance audio technician's monthly income has dropped to just $HK2,000, a tenth of what he would normally expect to make, as his career takes a back seat to his new-found passion.A Chinese national flag at Admiralty Station in northern Hong Kong Island is pulled down, July 5. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukWong is no veteran activist; indeed, until last month, he had not attended a single protest - until he saw the police response to a protest on June 9, when a million people took to the streets to demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor withdraw the bill. On that day, one of Wong's friends was hit with a police baton, and Wong decided he could stand by no longer.Wong is among dozens of protesters to have spoken to This Week in Asia about the desperation that drove them to the streets in the largest mass protests to have hit the city. For many, this desperation has grown only worse as their actions have failed to move the government. While they have succeeded in getting the bill shelved, it has not been withdrawn ― a key demand of protesters who also want police punished for using excessive force, and a guarantee that protesters will not be charged with rioting, an offence that carries a 10-year jail sentence.Still, it is this desperation that continues to drive the protesters, although in different directions. While some have given in to the emotion ― even suicides are suspected of being linked to the protests ― others have bottled their feelings and are using them as fuel. On Monday, the most diehard among them stormed the legislature and occupied the complex in scenes broadcast across the world. Elsewhere, earnest students distribute leaflets outside schools, and would-be politicians plan protests on social media.A mass sit-in, by the "mothers of Hong Kong," at Chater Garden in Hong Kong Island's northern district of Central calls for the axing of the city government's introduction of the extradition bill and resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, July 5. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFor many among them, the protests have been a political awakening. Other, older, hands suggest the protests are not as sudden as they seem; that the bill was merely a lightning rod for frustrations that have built up over many years, prompted by the government's failure to listen. But however they see the protests, the big question for most of them now is: where to go from here?A lesson from LEGCOOn July 1, hundreds of protesters stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council and occupied it for three hours. The complex was trashed and defaced with graffiti, including a slogan that read: “You taught us that peaceful demonstrations do not work.”Austin Lee, 25, was among the protesters inside. “We have done everything already, but the government still will not listen. Going in was the last resort,” said Lee, who asked that a pseudonym be used.Lee said he and many of protesters had wanted to stay in the legislature and were prepared to be arrested. Some had even suggested setting up a resource station there.A participant at a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central District of Hong Kong Island holds a candle, July 6. The demonstration was in commemoration of the late Wu Hang-yan, who killed herself in protest against the Hong Kong government's introduction of the extradition bill by jumping from a building in Edinburgh Place Central in late June. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukBut every now and then, other protesters would enter the chamber and demand that they leave, without explaining why. This affected morale as rumors began to spread that police action was imminent.“I was struggling with whether to leave or stay. I had to consider not only my own safety, but other people's safety too,” Lee said.Shortly before midnight, the group inside the complex had been whittled down to a diehard group of four, who were labelled sei si ― Cantonese for “martyrs.” Their fellow protesters outside the complex feared the police would storm the legislature at any moment, putting them in danger.Lee ran outside, picked up a loudspeaker, and told the thousands gathered what was happening, his voice shaking with emotion.“I told everyone to stay outside the Legislative Council, to support the four protesters inside,” he said. “The next moment, everyone was chanting 'we leave together'.”Participants pray during a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central District of Hong Kong Island, July 6, in commemoration of Wu Hang-yan. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukAs Lee broke down in tears, what happened next can only be described as surreal.About 30 protesters, mostly wearing yellow helmets, goggles and masks to protect themselves from police, stormed into the chamber and dragged the four out.It was just in the nick of time. Soon afterwards, riot police arrived, firing tear gas and clearing the crowd. Within an hour, the sea of thousands had gone.Looking back, Lee believes the storming of Legco achieved little ― not because he cares about condemnation from officials, or even members of the public, but because it failed to force the government to meet protesters' demands.Asked about the next move, he said, “We know there is not much we can do now. But we must fight till the very end.”Alexandra Wong, a participant of a mass gathering at Edinburgh Place in Central, northern Hong Kong Island district, July 6, waves a British national flag. Korea Times Photo by Choi Won-sukDisconnectWhen Carrie Lam was campaigning for the city's top post in 2017, her election slogan was “We Connect.” She pledged to reach out to young people and even renamed and restructured the Central Policy Unit, the government think tank, to include more youngsters.But since she became the city's leader in July 2017, her approval rating has plummeted from 63.6 out of 100 points to just 32.8 last month. That is the lowest level experienced by any of the four chief executives who have held office since 1997, when Britain handed Hong Kong's sovereignty back to China.Lam's election promise now stands as an object of mockery for protesters, who have changed it to “We Disconnected.”Among the youth the administration has failed to reach are Kelly Chiu, 15, and her schoolmate, Chris Wong, 16. Neither had taken part in a protest before June 9; in 2014, when Occupy Central protesters paralyzed streets for 79 days to call for universal suffrage, both were still too young for politics.“I was politically apathetic before then,” Chiu said. “I have always known there was a plan to pass an extradition bill but I didn't really know how it could affect me. But as I found out more, I realized the consequences could be serious.”Chiu learned about the extradition bill in school, where teachers were careful to present both sides of the argument. News reports prompted her to find out more.This is where a man, 35, was found after he accidentally fell from the top of Pacific Place in Wan Chai, northern Hong Kong Island, on June 15, while protesting against the extradition bill. The yellow raincoat reminds viewers what Wu was wearing when he took his life. Flowers below the clothes show mourners' grief over the activist's death. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukHer main fear is that Hong Kong people critical of the central government in Beijing could be extradited.Many protesters share this concern. One of the movement's slogans is faan sung jung, a Cantonese phrase that carries a double meaning: faan means “anti” while sung jung can be interpreted either as “sending to China” or “sending to death.”While officials have repeatedly stressed that the bill would target only criminals, protesters have no confidence in the rule of law on the mainland and fear Beijing will use the bill to crack down on dissent.Chiu and some of her schoolmates are so devoted to the cause that last month they printed leaflets and handed them out on the streets to raise awareness. For four days, they stood outside their New Territories school in their uniforms from 7 a.m. until their classes began an hour later. On two other days, they went to Central and Tuen Mun.Chiu is driven not only by her anger over the extradition bill, but by her pent-up frustration with the government over issues including Hong Kong's sky-high cost of living and property prices.“The Lantau Tomorrow Vision is going to cost so much money and I feel like I won't benefit from it,” Chiu said, referring to the government's $HK624 billion plan to build a new metropolis on a man-made island west of Hong Kong's main island. “Property prices are so high and the government isn't really doing anything effective. I can't see what I will do when I grow up. I don't know if I can afford to buy a house.”A large protest against the Hong Kong government's extradition bill took place at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station on July 7. Unlike previous anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong Island's Central District, Sunday's mass demonstration took place at transport hubs where Chinese mainlanders frequently visit. The demonstrators, chanting "Free Hong Kong" among other slogans and singing the Chinese national anthem, handed out anti-extradition leaflets to the mainland visitors. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukDespite Chiu's activism, she has never considered resorting to violence. But last Sunday, violence found her. She was on her way to an event in Admiralty to mourn people whose deaths have been linked to the protests.Chiu, who was wearing black clothes and a mask ― items that marked her out as an anti-extradition bill protester, was surrounded by about 30 people as she left the MTR station. The group began pushing Chiu and a middle-aged man punched her in the face.“I was bleeding and my hands were covered in blood. But all the police did was ask me not to provoke the others. I did not. I was just walking past them,” she said of the group, whom she believes were going to a pro-police rally.Chiu was so upset by the incident that she feared seeking treatment, having heard reports that police were hunting down protesters in hospitals. Eventually she found a private hospital doctor to treat her.Chiu's actions speak volumes about the growing mistrust between protesters and the police. Her mother has even quit her accounting job to watch over her daughter. “Summer vacation is coming and I want to make sure she will be safe if she joins the protests again,” Chiu's mother said.Protesters at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7, hold umbrellas as they walk in the rain. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFor other families, the protests have acted as a wedge. Chiu's schoolmate Wong said his participation had led to bitter arguments with his father.“After the June 9 protest, I went home and my father asked me how my protest experience was. He thought I had taken part just for fun.”What next?Ventus Lau Wing-hong was on holiday in Japan on June 12 when he heard that police had fired tear gas at protesters in Admiralty. Any thoughts he had of relaxing evaporated swiftly.Unlike Chiu and Wong, Lau, 25, is no stranger to activism. Last year, he was disqualified in his bid to run in a Legislative Council by-election because of pro-independence remarks he had made on Facebook.On his return to Hong Kong, he immediately took to the social media messaging service Telegram ― a favorite with the extradition protesters ― to ask how he could help. The group came up with a plan to petition foreign consulates ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka. They translated their petition into languages including German and Arabic and handed the letters to consulate staff on the day of the march.Protesters block a taxi at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe campaign met a mixed response. While it captured the attention of the international media, the protests were not officially discussed at the summit, though Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the importance of a “free and open Hong Kong, prosperous under the “one country, two systems” principle.Lau might have been happy with his campaign, but he was frustrated that the Hong Kong government refused to listen to the protesters' ― and saddened by the deaths linked to the protests.“It was a big blow to me that, after the consulate protests and everything else we have done, the government still declined to make concessions,” he said. “Even if seven million people took to the streets, I fear that might not work either. I don't know what we can do any more for now, but we must fight till the end.”Some critics suggest that if the government waits long enough, the determination of protesters like Lau will slowly fizzle out, much as it did when the Occupy Central movement was forced to pack up without any concession whatsoever from Beijing regarding its goal of universal suffrage.The critics hope that, with proceedings turning violent, the public will slowly lose patience with the protesters ― much as happened in the later stages of Occupy.A protester at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station holds a poster that reads "Support Hong Kong" on July 7. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBut while government officials, business groups and pro-government politicians have indeed condemned outright violent behavior such as the storming of Legco, the response of the wider public has been more nuanced. There may be a general opposition to the violence, but not many people have expressed outrage. Some even sympathize, saying the government's intransigence is at least partly to blame.That leaves the ball in the court of Chief Executive Lam and the Hong Kong government. Assistant Professor Sing Ming, from the University of Science and Technology, said Lam must show she is willing to make concessions if she wants to resolve the crisis.Otherwise, any dialogue risks being a repeat of the meeting between Lam and the leaders of Occupy in 2014. That meeting was widely criticized as a public relations exercise staged by the government that yielded no constructive results. Instead, in so far as it helped to undermine trust in the government, some argue it helped lead to the current stand-off.The professor said that whether there was further violence depended largely on the next police next move: if officers began arresting more people and charging them with rioting that could well dampen participation in the protests, he said.Others argue that a different approach by the government could defuse the situation. Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of The Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semi-official think tank, said that to regain trust, officials should adopt a more “inclusive” approach in governance, seeking the opinions of people from diverse backgrounds.Protesters at Kowloon Ferry Terminal and West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, July 7. Chinese letters on the cross read “Go to hell, despot Carrie Lam” and “The god and people are altogether angry.” Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukHe also said the government should do more analysis before introducing policies and instead of restarting political reform work, officials should first improve people's livelihoods.Regardless of political allegiance, most people agree that now is a critical time for the protesters. After almost a month of unprecedented demonstrations, Chief Executive Lam is still in office, the extradition issue has not been definitively defeated, and the most concrete thing the protesters have to show for their troubles are bruises from rubber bullets and pellet rounds.But the signs are that, rather than despair, it is defiance that now fuels many of the protesters and that is likely to mean just one thing: further unrest.In the week since the storming of Legco, an almost eerie calm has returned to the city center, but some observers fear it is just a temporary reprieve.As if to underline the point, several protesters gathered outside Sham Shui Po MTR station on Thursday to hand out fliers advertising a protest on Sunday in Tsim Sha Tsui. “Hongkongers, we have not retreated yet,” the flier said.
  2. Celebrating Korea-Czech relations
    Visitors to the National Museum of Korea take a look at Bohemian glass relics at a special exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic, Monday. The exhibition runs until April 26. / Yonhap
    Visitors to the National Museum of Korea take a look at Bohemian glass relics at a special exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic, Monday. The exhibition runs until April 26. / Yonhap
  3. To-be-built dormitory
    Ewha Womans University President Kim Sun-uk, right, points to an artist’s rendering of a dormitory planned for the school’s campus in Seoul, Tuesday, during a groundbreaking ceremony. Those listening to her are, from left, Choi Kyung-hee, the next president of the university; Chang Myong-sue, head of Ewha Haktang; Yoon Hoo-jung, Ewha’s honorary president; and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon./ Courtesy of Ewha Womans University
    Ewha Womans University President Kim Sun-uk, right, points to an artist’s rendering of a dormitory planned for the school’s campus in Seoul, Tuesday, during a groundbreaking ceremony. Those listening to her are, from left, Choi Kyung-hee, the next president of the university; Chang Myong-sue, head of Ewha Haktang; Yoon Hoo-jung, Ewha’s honorary president; and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon./ Courtesy of Ewha Womans University
  4. Return of Goryeo treasure
    An ancient chest used to store Buddhist texts is on display during a ceremony at the National Museum of Korea, Tuesday. The nation’s flagship museum acquired the rare Goryeo Kingdom (918—1392) heritage from a Japanese collector./ Yonhap
    An ancient chest used to store Buddhist texts is on display during a ceremony at the National Museum of Korea, Tuesday. The nation’s flagship museum acquired the rare Goryeo Kingdom (918—1392) heritage from a Japanese collector./ Yonhap
  5. Beauty pageant
    2014 Miss Korea Kim Seo-yeon, 22, waves after winning the annual pageant at the Olympic Hall in the Olympic Park, southern Seoul, Tuesday. The first runners-up were Lee Seo-bin, 21, and Shin Su-min, 20; the second runners-up were Kim Myeong-seon, 21, Sarah Lee, 23, Baek Ji-hyun, 21, and Ryu So-ra, 20. The Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, organized the beauty contest./ Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
    2014 Miss Korea Kim Seo-yeon, 22, waves after winning the annual pageant at the Olympic Hall in the Olympic Park, southern Seoul, Tuesday. The first runners-up were Lee Seo-bin, 21, and Shin Su-min, 20; the second runners-up were Kim Myeong-seon, 21, Sarah Lee, 23, Baek Ji-hyun, 21, and Ryu So-ra, 20. The Hankook Ilbo, a sister paper of The Korea Times, organized the beauty contest./ Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
  6. Dami Im in Seoul
    Dami Im, who was the winner of the Australian audition program “The X-Factor” last year sings at the showcase for her debut  album “Dami Im” in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
    Dami Im, who was the winner of the Australian audition program “The X-Factor” last year sings at the showcase for her debut  album “Dami Im” in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap
  7. Testing time for students: Buddha, are you out there? [PHOTOS]
    Korean parents and grandparents are flooding to temples to pray for their children and grandchildren who are about to face the national college exam on Thursday. For the students, the College Scholastic Ability Test is the culmination of their many years at school and something that could determine their futures. Here, a woman is deep in prayer in front of Daewoongjeon, which is the main building inside Jogye Temple, in Seoul's Jongno District, Tuesday, where a special group prayer session for test-sitters was held. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukInside Daewoongjeon, visitors ― including mothers and grandmothers ― participate in a group prayer session as a giant television screen in the temple hall shows the names of those they came to pray for. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFacing the hall inside Daewoongjeon, where the ceiling is filled with hundreds of mock candles paid for by visitors to express their faith, people read Buddhist scriptures as they wish well for their loved ones taking this year's national college entrance exam. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukInside Jogye Temple, visitors lit candles as they wish well for their loved ones sitting the 2020 College Scholastic Ability Test. Over 548,700 high school seniors are scheduled to take the test at 1,190 test centers nationwide. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukIn a section of the temple's grounds, a visitor adds another note to the thousands that contain names and messages from visitors wishing well for their loved ones sitting the test. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    Korean parents and grandparents are flooding to temples to pray for their children and grandchildren who are about to face the national college exam on Thursday. For the students, the College Scholastic Ability Test is the culmination of their many years at school and something that could determine their futures. Here, a woman is deep in prayer in front of Daewoongjeon, which is the main building inside Jogye Temple, in Seoul's Jongno District, Tuesday, where a special group prayer session for test-sitters was held. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukInside Daewoongjeon, visitors ― including mothers and grandmothers ― participate in a group prayer session as a giant television screen in the temple hall shows the names of those they came to pray for. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukFacing the hall inside Daewoongjeon, where the ceiling is filled with hundreds of mock candles paid for by visitors to express their faith, people read Buddhist scriptures as they wish well for their loved ones taking this year's national college entrance exam. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukInside Jogye Temple, visitors lit candles as they wish well for their loved ones sitting the 2020 College Scholastic Ability Test. Over 548,700 high school seniors are scheduled to take the test at 1,190 test centers nationwide. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukIn a section of the temple's grounds, a visitor adds another note to the thousands that contain names and messages from visitors wishing well for their loved ones sitting the test. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
  8. PM teaches Japanese Korean [PHOTOS]
    South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon gives a pep talk to Japanese people learning Korean at the Tokyo Korean Culture Center in Japan, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe center, opened on May 10, 1979, has played an important role in promoting Korea to Japanese people. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee and Japanese students pose for a group photo outside the center in Tokyo on Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe Prime Minister inspects the center's exhibition hall that displays award-winning writing on South Korea-Japan exchanges by Japanese students. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee takes a close look at one of the pieces. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for Lee at his residence in Tokyo on Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks serious before their meeting. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukPrime Minister Lee Nak-yon meets his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Abe's residence in Tokyo on Thursday. Lee delivered President Moon Jae-in's personal letter to Abe. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon gives a pep talk to Japanese people learning Korean at the Tokyo Korean Culture Center in Japan, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe center, opened on May 10, 1979, has played an important role in promoting Korea to Japanese people. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee and Japanese students pose for a group photo outside the center in Tokyo on Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe Prime Minister inspects the center's exhibition hall that displays award-winning writing on South Korea-Japan exchanges by Japanese students. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee takes a close look at one of the pieces. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for Lee at his residence in Tokyo on Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks serious before their meeting. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukPrime Minister Lee Nak-yon meets his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at Abe's residence in Tokyo on Thursday. Lee delivered President Moon Jae-in's personal letter to Abe. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
  9. PM visits Tokyo's Korea Town [PHOTOS]
    Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visits Korea Town in Shinokubo, Tokyo, on Tuesday after attending the coronation of new Japanese emperor Naruhito. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Dong Sun-hwaSouth Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visited Korea Town in Shinokubo, Tokyo, Tuesday, after attending the coronation ceremony for Japan's new emperor Naruhito. Lee tried a hot dog and toured the neighborhood lined with Korean eateries and K-pop shops. He reportedly asked store owners how business was. A big crowd turned out to greet him. Lee is set to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday morning and deliver President Moon Jae-in's letter to him. Lee's visit raised hope that Seoul-Tokyo relations will improve. The two countries have imposed trade sanctions, among other things, sending relations to their lowest point.Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visits a food stand in Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee tries a hot dog in Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA big crowd gathers for Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's visit. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA woman in the crowd claps during the Prime Minister's visit. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukChildren are among the crowd for Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's visit to Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visits Korea Town in Shinokubo, Tokyo, on Tuesday after attending the coronation of new Japanese emperor Naruhito. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukBy Dong Sun-hwaSouth Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visited Korea Town in Shinokubo, Tokyo, Tuesday, after attending the coronation ceremony for Japan's new emperor Naruhito. Lee tried a hot dog and toured the neighborhood lined with Korean eateries and K-pop shops. He reportedly asked store owners how business was. A big crowd turned out to greet him. Lee is set to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday morning and deliver President Moon Jae-in's letter to him. Lee's visit raised hope that Seoul-Tokyo relations will improve. The two countries have imposed trade sanctions, among other things, sending relations to their lowest point.Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon visits a food stand in Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukLee tries a hot dog in Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA big crowd gathers for Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's visit. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA woman in the crowd claps during the Prime Minister's visit. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukChildren are among the crowd for Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon's visit to Korea Town. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
  10. Para Games: Shall we dance? [PHOTOS]
    Competitors in sports dance at the 39th National Para Games make their entrance at the Seocho Sports Complex in Seoul's Seocho District, Friday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe athletes competed in pairs ― one able-bodied and the other with physical disability. The competition promotes a message that both groups exercise their athleticism on the same playing field. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe dancers stepped out to cha-cha, rumba, samba, pasodoble and Latin Jive tunes. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukSports dance was selected as an official program of the Games in Korea in 2007, in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukOn the fourth day of the Games, the athletes included those with physical disabilities, impaired hearing, visual disturbances, impaired spinal cords and cerebral palsy. Those with visual disabilities wore eye patches during the event. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA pair rests after performing. This year, 56 men and 59 women participated in the program. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    Competitors in sports dance at the 39th National Para Games make their entrance at the Seocho Sports Complex in Seoul's Seocho District, Friday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe athletes competed in pairs ― one able-bodied and the other with physical disability. The competition promotes a message that both groups exercise their athleticism on the same playing field. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe dancers stepped out to cha-cha, rumba, samba, pasodoble and Latin Jive tunes. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukSports dance was selected as an official program of the Games in Korea in 2007, in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukOn the fourth day of the Games, the athletes included those with physical disabilities, impaired hearing, visual disturbances, impaired spinal cords and cerebral palsy. Those with visual disabilities wore eye patches during the event. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA pair rests after performing. This year, 56 men and 59 women participated in the program. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
  11. Blind footballers show off their skills [PHOTOS]
    Blind football players compete for the ball in a B1 game between South Chungcheong Province (blue) and North Gyeongsang Province (orange) during the 39th annual National Sports Festival for the Disabled at a stadium in Sangam-dong, Seoul, Thursday. The South Chungcheong Province team won 2-1. Athletes in the B1 classification are totally or almost totally blind. They play by relying on bell sounds from the ball and the voices of their coaches. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA South Chungcheong Province player uses dribbling skills to break through the defense. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA South Chungcheong Province player listens to his coach's instructions. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukPlayers compete for the ball during the match. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe ball is modified to make a jingling sound. Players are required to say "go," or something similar when going for the ball. This alerts other players to their position. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA North Chungcheong Province player bleeds after bumping into another player during the game. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk
    Blind football players compete for the ball in a B1 game between South Chungcheong Province (blue) and North Gyeongsang Province (orange) during the 39th annual National Sports Festival for the Disabled at a stadium in Sangam-dong, Seoul, Thursday. The South Chungcheong Province team won 2-1. Athletes in the B1 classification are totally or almost totally blind. They play by relying on bell sounds from the ball and the voices of their coaches. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA South Chungcheong Province player uses dribbling skills to break through the defense. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA South Chungcheong Province player listens to his coach's instructions. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukPlayers compete for the ball during the match. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukThe ball is modified to make a jingling sound. Players are required to say "go," or something similar when going for the ball. This alerts other players to their position. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-sukA North Chungcheong Province player bleeds after bumping into another player during the game. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk