Hong Kong Protesters Brave Pandemic Fears and Tear Gas to Denounce China’s Big Security Push

The White House warned on Sunday that China risks US sanctions over the laws.

A protester was detained by riot police during a demonstration against Beijing's national security legislation in Hong Kong on Sunday. Police fired volleys of tear gas in a popular shopping district as hundreds took to the streets.Vincent Yu/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong turned violent this weekend as large crowds returned to the streets after months of relative calm during the COVID-19 crisis. The latest round comes in the wake of attempts by the mainland Chinese government to push through new security rules for the semi-autonomous region—and wield an increasingly strong hand in repressing dissent.

The implementation of new security laws has been condemned by the U.S. as violating the long-standing agreement to allow the former British territory an unusual amount of political and press freedom, but Chinese president Xi Jinping is thought to be using China’s emergence from the pandemic as an opportunity to reassert control as other countries remain embroiled in fighting the virus. White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday that China risks U.S. sanctions over the new laws.

Large street protests and clashes between pro-democracy student groups and the police were a constant feature of late 2019, but almost entirely stopped when COVID-19 spread to the densely-packed city. Protesters reemerged this week after proposed new security initiatives were introduced as part of Communist Party meetings in Beijing. Overnight, the protests took a particularly violent turn with police firing tear gas and water cannons at the large crowds.

Here is a vivid sampling of photos and videos showing how the protests unfolded:

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.