CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Hunger strikers vow to continue Hong Kong protest

HONG KONG (UCAN): A group of hunger strikers in Hong Kong protesting an extradition bill that would allow the extradition to jurisdictions that Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal with, including mainland China, have vowed to refuse food indefinitely until the government officially withdraws the bill. The protesters include members of religious groups and have been fasting since July 3 on a bridge near the main government building in Admiralty.
The were spontaneously joined on July 10 by legislator, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, a member of the Labour Party, who was quoted by the Hong Kong Free Press on July 11 as saying “This is like a pier inside a storm, a place where we can meet our friends, a place with moral calling,”
The protest was initiated by Protestant pastor, Roy Chan, of the Good Neighbourhood North District Church, who said it aimed not only to send a message to Hong Kong’s authorities, but to also exhort stop young people from harming themselves.
He pointed to the suicides of three young activists who killed themselves during the past few weeks of mass protests.
“We should let the public and young people know that there is a group of people who are willing to ruin their health and their lives in order to protest and fight,” Radio Free Asia quoted Chan as saying at the start of the hunger strike.
“We don’t advocate suicide; we don’t advocate self-destruction … Fight this and don’t give up your lives so easily,” he said.
Speaking to reporters on July 10, Chan said the fasting by at least five hunger strikers would continue until the government officially withdraws the proposed extradition bill.
His remarks came a day after Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor declared the bill “dead” but stopped short of withdrawing it.
Critics accused her of being stubborn while others, like Chan, vowed to ramp up protests until their demand for the bill’s complete withdrawal are met.
They also want the authorities to release people arrested during the protests and are continuing to call for an independent investigation into police violence against protesters.

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