Meet the Canadians standing with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong – National


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Canadian couple Mary Cheu and Jean-Christophe Clément moved from Montreal to Cheu’s native Hong Kong 10 years in the past. However these days, they’ve been feeling homesick.

“We’re a bit frightened, that’s for certain,” Cheu mentioned, explaining her fears over Beijing tightening its grip on their semi-autonomous metropolis.

Hundreds of thousands gather in Hong Kong park for pro-democracy rally

“What we’re seeing is a deterioration of primary rights that we had loved after we had been dwelling in Canada. And we count on to have those self same form of primary rights in Hong Kong.”

The couple took that message to streets on Sunday, becoming a member of 1.7 million others at a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, in accordance with organizers. It marked one in all largest gatherings in over two months of protests, sparked by the federal government’s now-suspended proposal that might have allowed Hong Kong residents dealing with expenses to be extradited to mainland China, which has a conviction price of round 99 per cent.

“As a Hongkonger and a Canadian, we worth democracy,” mentioned Ian Chui, a former Torontonian who joined the rally.

“We’re the folks. And the individuals are the boss of the federal government.”

Chui is one in all round 300,000 Canadians who’ve made Hong Kong their house — the most important Canadian diaspora in any metropolis exterior of Canada. And one Canadian specifically has been main the cost for change.

Denise Ho, 42, grew up in Montreal and is now a family title in Hong Kong. Ho is a Cantonese pop (or Cantopop) music star, who can barely stroll the streets of Hong Kong with out being mobbed for selfies and autographs. She’s additionally a outstanding activist, who mentioned she first developed a style for activism throughout the Quebec referendum in 1995.

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Ho just lately addressed the United Nations, calling for China to be faraway from the Human Rights Council for making an attempt to erode the autonomy of the previous British colony. (In response, a Chinese language international ministry spokesman steered Ho was “delusional”).

“Actually, I believe this can be a very international challenge that we face,” she mentioned.

Ho is now calling on her house and fatherland to face on guard for Hong Kong.

“There may be not sufficient strain, whether or not it’s from the Canadian authorities and even the British,” Ho mentioned in an interview with World Information.

“We’re this international neighborhood. And if nations got here collectively to take care of the state of affairs then I believe there are issues that may be finished.“

WATCH: Protection of the protests in Hong Kong on World Information

For a number of hours on Sunday, Ho and others clogged metropolis streets in a slow-moving march that was not sanctioned by police. Protesters braved torrential rain and defied ominous threats from Beijing, which had massed Chinese language army autos alongside the border.

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“I don’t actually see this as a really excessive chance that [Beijing] shall be sending troops into Hong Kong,” Ho mentioned.

“That might not solely harm Hong Kong folks; it could vastly harm the Chinese language — [politically] and likewise the economic system.”

However not everybody shares her confidence. Some protesters, citing issues over Beijing’s attain, coated their faces and refused to speak with reporters. A kind of keen to talk publicly was Canadian Jean-Christophe Clément, which worries his household again house in Canada.

“We’re a bit involved, as a result of Jean-Christophe has by no means been shy about his opinions and concepts on politics and mainland China,” mentioned Clément’s brother Sébastien in Montreal.

“I believe there’s obtained to be a time the place they are saying: Okay, that went too far. And for our personal safety, we should go away the nation now.”

However Jean-Christophe is unwavering in his assist for his second house.

“They should be supported,” he mentioned. “They should be helped in conserving the life that they’ve been having up until now.”

© 2019 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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