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Four Corners

INTERNATIONAL EDITION

2019

Rebellion

50 mins 06 secs

 

 

 

 

©2019

ABC Ultimo Centre

700 Harris Street Ultimo

NSW 2007 Australia

 

GPO Box 9994

Sydney

NSW 2001 Australia

Phone : +61 2 8333 3314

e-mail :  kimpton.scott@abc.net.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precis

Rebellion: On the frontlines of Hong Kong’s uprising.

 

 

“We will do anything to get our democracy, to get our freedoms, by any means necessary.” Protestor

 

 

For the past 12 weeks, the metropolis of Hong Kong – normally one of the world’s most vibrant yet orderly cities -   has been convulsed by turmoil, as its people rise up against mainland Chinese rule.

 

 

“People don't have a choice but to find alternatives, which is to go the street and say, ‘We don't believe in what China is promising’.” Protestor

 

 

Pro-democracy protestors have repeatedly seized control of key parts of the city, including its airport.   These “flash mob” actions are designed to create maximum chaos and embarrassment for the city’s political leadership and their masters in Beijing.   It has become an epic battle of wills.

 

 

“We are Hong Kongers. We are not Mainlanders. That's what we have to say to the whole world. With the Chinese Communist Party trying to take over our country or our city, we will (be) against them for everything.”  Protestor

 

 

On Monday Four Corners goes on the frontline of the protests, capturing the full force of the escalating violence with extraordinary footage.

 

 

“The protesters are now starting to move back as we can see the police in the distance and it looks like they are coming down straight towards us.” Sophie McNeill, reporter

 

 

 

 

Images of hardcore protestors dressed in masks, black t-shirts and yellow helmets – known as ‘front-liners’ - have dominated the news. Now Four Corners meets those behind the masks, who are risking everything for their cause.

 

 

“The reason why we all come in black clothes is that we don't want to be identified…we understand that we are breaking some of the laws in the name of justice, and then we also know that if we are identified by the police or the government they will charge us.”  Front-liner

 

 

This is a sophisticated protest movement that uses social media and encrypted apps to organise everything from protest locations to pop up shops providing contraband gas masks.  The activists are often described simply as students, but this so-called ‘Netizen’ movement comprises a broad cross section of the Hong Kong community.

 

 

“In one arrest, the police arrested some 40  people. The youngest being 13, the oldest 62 and in between people from all walks of life. We have an airplane pilot, we have a nurse, we have teachers, we have social worker, we have a many professionals.” Member of the Legislative Council

 

 

Protesters say they are responding to the steady strangling of their rights by Beijing. Four Corners charts how in just a few weeks the protest movement has evolved from a dispute over a proposed extradition law to a full blown democracy campaign.

 

 

 

 

“We can be radical sometimes. We can also be very, very peaceful, as long as our demands are heard. But one thing, one message is that none of us will quit the fight.” Democracy campaigner

 

 

Four Corners cameras have captured the violence, on both sides, as the intense tug of war continues.

 

 

“They’ve surrounded him and they’re holding him and it’s not clear what they are going to do with him next.” Sophie McNeill, reporter

 

 

As the protests enter their 13th week, even those who support them worry about what will happen to those taking on the authorities.

 

 

“I'm very worried. I can never tell whether they're brave or crazy brave. They think that this is the last stand and that if they don't fight this one out to the bitter end, that's it.” Lawyer

 

 

If their actions weren’t already provocative enough, some in the movement are hoping their actions will inspire the Chinese people to rise up.

 

 

“I do hope Hong Kong movement can serve as a beacon that tells mainland Chinese that there is an alternative. We can live better than just submitting to the terror of Beijing.” Protestor

 

Hong Kong protestors in streets

Music

00:11

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: For three months, the people of Hong Kong have taken to the streets.

001:17

 

Famous for being orderly and law abiding, everyday Hong Kongers are now putting themselves on the frontlines.

00:26

Protestors create barricades

TOM, ‘FRONTLINER’: We're not afraid, because Hong Kong is our home. Fighting for freedom is what I am born for

00:39

Tom

and we won't give up until our last breath.

00:46

Police tackle protestors

 

00:49

 

'YOYO': We can be radical sometimes. We can also be very, very peaceful, as long as our demands are heard.

00:53

'YOYO' at demonstration

But one message is that none of us will quit the fight.

00:58

Protestors and police.

JOSHUA WONG, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Hong Kong is just similar as East Berlin in the last century under authoritarian rule. Now is the time for us to fight back. Let the world know that

01:01

Joshua Wong

we are the ones standing in the forefront to confront Beijing suppression.

01:14

Protestors shines laser lights

 

01:18

 

JOHNSON YEUNG, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST:  I do hope Hong Kong movement can serve as a beacon, that tells Mainland Chinese

01:24

Johnson Yeung

we can live better than just submitting to the terror of Beijing.

01:30

McNeill at protest. Super:
SOPHIE MCNEILL

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Tonight, on Four Corners we take you inside Hong Kong’s rebellion, as ordinary citizens across this city rise up to reject Beijing’s control.

01:36

GFX Title: REBELLION

Music

01:50

Hong Kong GVs.

 

02:00

Super:
Saturday, 10 August

 

02:04

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  One minute it looks like any normal Saturday afternoon in Hong Kong,

02:15

Protestors spill out of railway station and set up barricades

The next, protestors suddenly spill out of the train station, and start shutting down this massive intersection. 

02:23

 

They’re known as ‘Netizens’ – citizens who connect online. This act of civil disobedience was organised on an encrypted app.

02:40

TH on street

TH: We are going to block them and we go.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: And then you’ll leave?

TH: Yeah and we leave just like a mob, flash mob.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: A flash mob?

TH: Yeah.

03:00

'Frontliners' on street

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: The ones building the barricades are the ‘frontliners’ of the movement – umbrellas are used to keep their identities secret.

03:11

Tom on street. Super:
'TOM'
Frontliner

'TOM', FRONTLINER: The reason why we all come in black clothes, is that we don't want to be identified, because we're doing civil disobedience. So, we understand that we are breaking some of the laws, in the name of justice, and then we also know that if we are identified by the police or the government they will charge us.

03:21

Frontliner organisers protestors

[SUBTITLE] PROTESTER: Ok anyone disagree? If no one disagrees please ask your other mates to come here, we will discuss further.

03:43

 

With the roundabout blocked, it won’t be long before the police arrive…

03:50

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]: The main point is to divide their the police’s resource. Now they come from Tai Po to here, so let’s move back to Tai Po!

03:56

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]: We want our protestors to hit all 18 Hong Kong districts, so the police need to standby all districts.

04:02

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: They decided it will be easier to overwhelm the police if they split up. 

04:07

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]:  That’s too risky.

04:12

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE] #2: We need to make quick decisions, then the police can't come in time.

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]:  We can get it done in 20 minutes. Take only a few people with you, less people are more effective.

04:14

 

PROTESTER #3 [SUBTITLE]: We will do anything to let us, to get our democracy to get our freedoms, by any means necessary

04:22

 

PROTESTER #4 [SUBTITLE]:  We are Hong Kongers. We ain't any Mainlanders. That's what we have to say to the whole world. With Chinese CCP trying to take over our country or our city, we will against them for everything. Yeah. Including our life.

04:22

McNeill to camera on street

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: So the protest leaders have just shouted out that the riot police are coming, so they’ve told all the crowds to get on the train and to leave this location and to move somewhere else.

04:58

Riot police fire tear gas. Protestors run

 

05:07

 

The riot police turn up and start firing tear gas.

05:18

Police into railway station

The forces are ready for action, but there is no one to arrest. The protestors have melted away.

05:55

Residents confront police

The only ones left here are annoyed residents – and it’s the police they’re angry with. 

06:23

Police depart

RESIDENT [SUBTITLE]:  You bastards! Leave faster you motherfucker. Move faster. You motherfucker, you coward. You bully the good people.

06:30

 

RESIDENT #2: I support the protestor yeah. I think they have no other way to do. This is a peaceful protest. They asking for what they want. They, they, they, they all think about Hong Kong's future. But the government is nonsense.

07:06

Clean up after protest

 

07:23

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: This is just the first stop of the night. Defying bans from police, separate groups hit different locations across the city.

07:28

Split screen. Protest sites

 

07:38

Nathan Road protest

Ten kilometres away, the protestors pop up here, on Nathan road, one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts. They have to keep moving. 

07:52

 

Passers-by help the protestors avoid the police.

08:10

Woman in car

WOMAN IN CAR [SUBTITLE]: You can’t walk through from Tsim Sha Tsui because they are marching in that direction.

08:17

'Tom', Super:
'TOM'
FRONTLINER

‘TOM’, FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: We just disappear and then we're here. We go to here. And that's the decision that we made at that moment at the roundabout.

08:27

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Protestors use pseudonyms to protect their identities.

08:35

'Tom' among protestors

24-year-old engineer, ‘Tom’ spends his days in a suit working on Hong Kong Island.  At night, he is one of the movement’s frontliners.

08:41

Tom

‘TOM’, FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: I just run. I'm a fast runner, so, I'm fine.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Are you scared about being arrested?

‘TOM’, FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: Well, I'm more scared about losing the freedom, to be honest. So, getting arrested isn't that scary compared to losing freedom to China.

08:54

Protests shine laser light on police

Music

09:09

Police into van. Protestors

The protests that have exploded onto these streets for the last three months have grown out of years of frustration and fears over the steady loss of freedoms for Hong Kongers.

09:25

 

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Hong Kong has enjoyed all kinds of freedoms that really aren't possible on the mainland. The independent judiciary, the independent civil service.

09:40

Louisa Lim. Super:
LOUISA LIM
Journalist, University of Melbourne

Also freedom of the press, freedom of expression. These are things that Hong Kongers have traditionally enjoyed, although in recent years those, freedoms have been shrinking.

09:50

Protestors raise umbrellas

This is not the first time Hong Kongers have taken to the streets. In 2014, the umbrella movement emerged, demanding fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

10:00

 

JOHNSON YEUNG, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Hong Kongese was always understood as economic animals

10:19

Johnson Yeung. Super:
JOHNSON YEUNG
Democracy activist

who care about their gain, who cares about their own money and not caring the others. That was not the case in the Umbrella Movement.

10:23

Demonstrators wave torches

KEVIN YAM, LAWYER: After the Umbrella Movement, they started limiting who can or can't run for office. They started

10:33

Kevin Yam. Super:
KEVIN YAM
Lawyer

prosecuting a lot of people for taking part in protests, that sort of thing. I think that's when the world really started taking notice.

10:42

Wong addresses crowd. Super: 2014

JOSHUA WONG, LEADER UMBRELLA MOVEMENT: Under the hard-line leadership of President Xi, lawmaker were unseated and kicked out of office.

10:53

Wong. Super:
JOSHUA WONG
Umbrella Movement leader

Fourteen activists, including me, were in prison and jailed for several years.

11:03

 

It's really impressive by Hong Kong people after the crackdown on human rights, after loss of political leader being locked up in prison, they still do not step backwards.

11:14

Protest march against extradition

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  So earlier this year when Chief executive Carrie Lam proposed a new law which could see Hong Kongers extradited to the mainland to face Beijing style justice, the people rose up.

11:24

 

In June, an estimated two million marched against the bill – the largest protest in the city’s history.

11:51

'Gotham' at protest

“Gotham”, a high school student, joined the movement.

 

12:07

Gotham interview. Super:
'GOTHAM'

‘GOTHAM’ [SUBTITLE]: I feel very proud to be one of the two million protestors. So many Hong Kongers came out for their freedom. Even though we face many struggles, we are not afraid. We will face the problem, not run away from it.

12:13

Aerial. Protestors in streets

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  The government suspended the bill, but refused to officially withdraw it, further infuriating many Hong Kongers

12:39

'YOYO' interview. Super:
''YOYO''

''YOYO'': When two million came out, and the government still refused to directly address or respond to the people, we realised that, "Hey, it's the government who refused to answer the people, and it's a structural problem that can only be solved by democracy."

12:52

Protestors outside HK government building. Super:
July 1, 2019

Music

13:08

Protestors storm building

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: On July 1st --the 22nd anniversary of the island’s handover from the United Kingdom to China -- protestors stormed the LegCo, Hong Kong’s government chambers.

13:15

Cheung tries to stop protestors

MP Fernando Cheung tried to stop protestors breaking in.

13:31

 

FERNANDO CHEUNG, DEMOCRACY MP: When I saw the crowd try to storm into the LegCo, trying to break the glass door,

13:42

Cheung interview. Super:
FERNANDO CHEUNG
Pro-democracy MP

I thought, no, that shouldn't happen. Because any type of violence like that, even though they were not directed to any person, it may make the movement lose its momentum and public support. Hong Kong is a very peaceful society.

13:48

Protestors storm LegCo

They wanted to sacrifice themselves to bring changes. They wanted to be arrested. So

14:07

Cheung

it was really saddening to see a lot of young people not seeing any way out.

14:21

Protestors storm LegCo chamber and paint graffiti

 

14:29

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  The protestors took over the house and read out their demands to the government. 

15:00

Leung on megaphone

BRIAN LEUNG, PROTESTER:  Carrie Lam step down. No extradition bill. Release all arrested protesters.

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: I went inside the chamber but I was also outside the chamber, and outside the building.

15:08

Lim interview. Super:
LOUISA LIM
Journalist, University of Melbourne

For someone like me who grew up in Hong Kong, that was a really shocking moment.

15:25

Yam interview. Super:
KEVIN YAM
Lawyer

KEVIN YAM, LAWYER: You saw that they were very specific about what they were vandalising. They were all symbols of political authority that's been acting in an egregious manner. Then you saw the way they put up signs saying, "Don't vandalise library books.

15:31

Still. Handwritten signs on antiques and drink machines

Don't vandalise antiques. We're not thieves. Please pay for your drinks".

15:54

Yam interview

And at that point, I think that melted the resistance of a lot of moderate pro-democracy supporters.

16:01

Protestors in LegCo building

FERNANDO CHEUNG, DEMOCRACY MP: To my surprise, the public support was still very much there even after they stormed into the LegCo building.

16:10

Cheung interview

This slogan of not being divisive and that we stay together, whether we are the peaceful ones or the more radical ones, we stay together in the movement, seems to be working.

16:23

Lim interview

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: There was one pillar inside the building, and the words that were spray painted on it in Chinese were, "You have taught us that peaceful action is not effective." And I think many people believe that.

16:41

Slogans on paper in subway

Music

16:56

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  The movement added a key demand to their platform – universal suffrage – democracy for Hong Kong.

17:01

Lim interview

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: What started off as a relatively targeted, relatively simple protest has really exploded into something much, much bigger.

17:18

Protestors gathering

Music

17:27

Woman on megaphone

WOMEN: Hong Kongers we should show our bravery! We don’t need to be afraid. We need to tell this communist government, even if you send mainland police or secret police, Hong Kong people will not break down!!

17:38

Older protestors/lawyers/medics/civil servants march

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  In many ways, Hong Kong now resembles a city in open rebellion. From a march for the elderly,  to a protest by the city’s lawyer, the medical community and a civil servants strike.

17:56

 

Citizens across society have banded together to join the movement.

18:18

Protestors in railway station

 

18:32

Cheung with protestors

FERNANDO CHEUNG, DEMOCRACY MP: We have people really all over the different sectors in Hong Kong participating and supporting this movement.

18:41

Cheung interview. Super:
FERNANDO CHEUNG
Pro-democracy MP

In one arrest, the police arrested 40 some people, the youngest being 13, the oldest 62, and in between people from all walks of life. We have an airplane pilot, we have a nurse, we have teachers, we have social worker, we have many professionals.

18:51

Man at protest

Keep it up! Hong Kongers!

19:15

Frontliners, dressed in black gather

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  While almost daily peaceful protests continue, black clad ‘frontliners’ can appear at any time, ready for running battles with the police.  The movement has no formal leadership; protestors vote online to decide what action to take.

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: We use polling system when we cast vote, so that everyone can get a chance to participate in it. And I think it shows a way how a democratic society works

19:22

'Tom' interview. Super:
'TOM'
Frontliner

by voting and it can be a peaceful way to work out everything.

19:56

'Yoyo' interview. Super:
'YOYO'

'YOYO': Anyone with an account of LIHKG, the online forum that a lot of us use, or read, there will be people giving their ideas, and they can respond by supporting or turning down, or commenting how to improve that.

20:03

Woman wearing mask

FRONTLINER: Everybody come here! In two minutes we march together.

20:21

Protestors commence march

 

20:30

 

PROTESTORS:  "Reclaim Hong Kong!" "Revolution of our time!"

20:40

 

MAN: "Five key demands!... Not one less!"

20:45

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  As the protests have rolled on, authorities have restricted the sale of gas masks, goggles, helmets and hard hats, both in stores and online.

21:02

Pop up shop. Customers buy protective gear

So a popup shop called National Calamity Hardware was set up to fill the gap.

SELLER ON MEGAPHONE: Helmets are $50.

MAN: "Do you have helmets?"

SELLER ON MEGAPHONE: "Helmets sold out!”

21:15

 

SELLER ON MEGAPHONE: This is the final helmet, there is one helmet left. Final one. $50.

SELLER ON MEGAPHONE: "Any students here?

CUSTOMER: "Are there still bottles?"

SELLER ON MEGAPHONE:  "Bottles out! "

21:39

 

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: It will announce its location on Facebook and other Telegram channel, the store will only set up for two or three hours.

21:54

'Tom' interview

They also give a great discount to students or those who are in financial difficulties.

22:06

'Tom' walks

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: ‘Tom’ is joining the frontliners in tonight’s action…

22:15

Protestors push barricade

Barricades are being set up right in the city centre.

22:22

 

Music

22:28

'Tom' on street

'TOM', FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: We will try to defend it, as we can, but if we can't then, in order to avoid arrest and injury, we will just back off. They’re doing in this in hope of stopping police charging us when that happens.

22:45

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: And what's down there?

22:59

 

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: Police headquarters. It’s about 200 metres away from us now.

23:01

Protestors wave lasers

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Protestors use lasers to distract police officers and disrupt what they fear are facial recognition cameras.

23:12

McNeill to camera

The protesters are now starting to move back as we can see the police in the distance, and it looks like they are coming down straight towards us.

23:23

Police advance

Music

23:34

Frontliners collect bricks and throw Molotov cocktails/Police fire tear gas

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  Bricks and Molotov cocktails are among the arsenal used by frontliners.

23:47

 

Music

23:52

Riot police advance

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: As the police advance, protestors head to the metro.

24:31

Protestors head for metro

PROTESTORS [SUBTITLE]: Our next destination is Causeway Bay. Move! Let’s move from here first!

24:39

Protestors overcome by tear gas

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Tear gas fired near the entrance has begun to seep in here.

24:56

 

Music

25:05

Protestors on to trains

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: The protestors begin to disperse in different directions at astonishing speed – adhering to the slogan of their movement which is ‘Be Water’ – to be formless and shapeless.

 

25:09

'Tom' interview

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: This way of being flexible is the true meaning of "Be Water." When they hit us, we just disperse. We disappear. We don't get hurt. We escape or retreat together and then we get at another place to continue to protest.

25:26

Protestors on train

Music

25:40

Protestors in metro. Super:  Sunday, 11 August

 

25:50

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: After weeks of protests, tonight, police change their tactics.

26:06

Police jump protestor

A young man is jumped by undercover police dressed as frontliners.

26:12

 

PROTESTER: Even my front tooth has fallen off. I’m sorry, it's ok, I understand. Don’t do this I beg you.

26:26

Medics attend to woman

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: At another location, a young woman is hit in the eye.

26:43

Police fire tear gas in metro and beat protestors

In the metro, police fire tear gas cannisters only metres from protestors’ heads and then push them down the escalator and beat them.

26:54

Police arrest protestors

KEVIN YAM, LAWYER: I thought Sunday night was a major, major, major miscalculation on the part of the police.

27:39

Yam interview. Super:
KEVIN YAM
Lawyer

The police actions that night were completely unnecessary, and it just raised the temperature all over again.

27:47

Protestors shine lasers on police building. Residents join protestors

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  As news spreads of the violent arrests, residents come down from their apartments and join the frontliners, cursing the police.

27:55

Residents join protest and surround police van

In another neighbourhood, locals surround a police van.

28:24

 

PROTESTORS [to Police in van]: Your whole family will die! Fuck you!... Hong Kong police know the law, break the law.

28:46

Police van moves off

 

28:58

Crowds cheer. McNeill to camera

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: The crowds have all started to cheer because the police are now retreating…

29:08

Graffiti. [Translation]: “We will seek revenge!”

[Crowd cheers]

29:17

Lim interview. Super:
LOUISA LIM
Journalist, University of Melbourne

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: Hong Kong's police force used to be thought of as the finest police force in Asia, and people were generally quite proud of the police force. But in recent weeks we've really seen this sort of total loss of trust in the police.

29:21

Riot police

In some cases, Triads, so local gangs, have been used to beat up protesters, and the police have not intervened.

29:34

Lim interview

They feel that institution of the police force is no longer necessarily safeguarding public order, it's doing political work.

29:44

Massed troop trucks and tanks

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  A popular uprising like this is Beijing’s worst nightmare. They have been rolling out a steady fear campaign, massing troops and tanks on the border with Hong Kong, 

29:54

PLA video riot control

and showcasing their ‘riot control’ techniques.

30:08

Troops into trucks

A fresh contingent of mainland troops was sent to the PLA garrison that is permanently stationed on the island.

30:21

Junk in harbour

Pro-Beijing politicians are trying to downplay the chances of PLA soldiers being deployed on Hong Kong’s streets

30:30

Howard Chow interview. Super:
HOLDEN CHOW
Pro-government MP

HOLDEN CHOW PRO GOVERNMENT MP: I don't think the PLA would come in to deal with the situation here, because I trust the Hong Kong Police and the Hong Kong SAR government. The difficulty the government is facing right now is they see the demand from the people, but you know, in the entire movement there simply are no leaders. And unlike any other civil rights movement, if there are leaders in the movement, the government can actually engage with them and have dialogue and negotiate.

30:40

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: The reason there are no leaders is because the government you support has put them all in jail.

HOLDEN CHOW PRO GOVERNMENT MP: Well –

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: It's true. You can see, anyone who emerges as a leader of the pro-democracy camp ends up in jail.

31:08

 

HOLDEN CHOW PRO GOVERNMENT MP: Well, you know, for any person who has committed an act against the law, because we are a city with the rule of law, and we trust that the court would provide them with the proper judgment.

31:23

Aftermath of protest. Protestors dismantle smart lamp posts

Music

31:41

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Fearful of Beijing’s long arm, these frontliners are dismantling new ‘smart’ lamp posts which they fear could be used by the central government to surveil them.

31:52

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]: We don’t want such surveillance lamp post anymore. We don’t wish to be monitored wherever we go or whatever we do.”

32:06

Lamp post falls. Protestors cheer

 

32:18

HK Roads, airport.

Music

32:28

Super:  Monday 12 August

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Furious at police brutality, the protestors make a bold new move,  and decide to close down Hong Kong’s international airport.

32:36

Protestors take over airport

PROTESTERS CHANT: SHAME ON HONG KONG POLICE!

32:46

'Yoyo' on escalator

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Among them is university graduate 'Yoyo'.

32:53

Protestors with banner

'YOYO': Because we just know that peaceful rally doesn't work anymore, or it doesn't have any effect apart from showing solidarity with each other,

32:59

'Yoyo' interview. Super: 
'YOYO'

we're exploring different ways to urge the government and also gathering more pressure on the government to respond to our demands.

33:08

HK airport

 

33:15

 

None of our five demands have been met. And, so we basically like want to tell people what we are fighting for, and by using a more peaceful attempt to protest,

33:21

'Yoyo' interview

we want to spread our messages, to people from all over the world, including visitors from mainland China.

33:30

Protestors block airport escalators

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: By late afternoon they have shut down one of the world’s busiest airports.

PROTESTERS CHANT: SHAME ON HONG KONG POLICE!

33:35

Protestors hand out water

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  Donations have poured in to support the protestors blockade -- food, water, even money for train tickets.

33:48

'Gotham' at airport

‘Gotham’ is back at the protests. While he was born in Hong Kong his parents are from mainland China, and they don’t support him being here. 

‘GOTHAM’: My parents are, are in the China side,

33:56

'Gotham' interview

and when I come out to protesting, and they will just like, they feel disgusting, about what I do.

34:14

Super:
'GOTHAM'

I think my parents are like scientists who in the Galileo era believed that the earth was flat, those people have fallen asleep, you can’t wake them up. If you discuss with them, they become more angry. It is suffocating to live under the Communist Party’s rule. Living in a place with no freedom and no rights, including human rights, I think frankly I would rather die.

34:26

Airport blockade.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Tensions build as the airport blockade enters its second day.

35:10

Protestors chant apology

PROTESTORS CHANT: Sorry… Sorry…

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  Protestors chant ‘sorry’ at frustrated passengers.

PROTESTORS CHANT: Sorry… Sorry…

35:17

Airport official

AIRPORT ANNOUNCEMENT: All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible.

35:32

Protestors with passengers

PROTESTER: Please, don't do this.

ANGRY PASSENGER: Please, don't make me angry.

PROTESTOR: We don't want chaotic situation! Don't make us angry!

35:38

Protestors fight among themselves

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  Protestors begin to argue amongst themselves over how aggressive their tactics should be.

 

35:47

 

PROTESTER [SUBTITLE]: You said I shouldn’t disturb people! Then I shouldn’t even come out then!  It really affects me too. Why do you think we had to come here?

35:54

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  People here are paranoid after police infiltrated their protests.

36:05

Protestors surround and attack man

They surround someone they suspect is an undercover cop. The man is tied up after discovering he has mainland Chinese ID -- some protestors start attacking him.

36:10

McNeill to camera

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: They’ve surrounded him and they’re holding him and it’s not clear what they are going to do with him next.

36:30

Local media film attack on man

The whole ordeal is being livestreamed on local media. The man passes out. Paramedics are stopped from evacuating him. With serious concerns for his life, police are sent in.

36:37

McNeill to camera

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: So crowds have now surrounded these police who have come into the airport to try and save this man, they are trying to get him out but the crowd are not letting them take the stretcher out. 

36:56

Man on stretcher

 

37:11

Protestors confront police on street

Protestors swarm outside to confront the police.

37:25

Police arrive and scuffle with protestors

Reinforcements arrive.

37:51

Chan stands before police

A bystander at the airport, Richard Chan, rushes to put himself between the protestors and the police.

38:23

 

RICHARD CHAN [SUBTITLE]: I was standing in the middle in the hope of stopping the further confrontation between the two groups.

38:34

Chan interview . Super:
RICHARD CHAN

I believed that the police would not do anything to me. In addition to my clothing and my age as an uncle, I believed the police would not use much violence.

38:41

Police use pepper spray on Chan

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: But Richard is pepper sprayed. 

38:54

 

RICHARD CHAN [SUBTITLE]: I came here to try and keep the peace.

39:21

Protestors beat alleged spy

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Back inside, the crowd spots another man they suspect of being a Chinese spy.

39:30

 

PROTESTOR [SUBTITLE]: if it’s true let’s beat the hell out of him

39:37

 

MAN: Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me! … Please help me. Look at them. Look at what they've done.

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: He begs for help and asks me to keep filming.

39:42

Man to camera

MAN:  Record this! record this!

PROTESTER: Don’t hit him.

MAN: Record this! I am innocent.

40:04

Paramedics remove man

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  But he is pulled away from my camera and beaten before paramedics are finally allowed to take him away. He turns out to be a reporter working for Global Times, a communist state media publication.

 

 

40:24

Cheung with protestors

As the night ends, many in the movement believe the protestors have damaged the cause.

FERNANDO CHEUNG, DEMOCRACY MP: Hatred breeds hatred, and this is what we see. We’ve seen violence escalated on both sides.

40:44

Cheung interview. Super:
FERNANDO CHEUNG
Pro-democracy MP

What you’ve seen tonight at the airport is not a representation of the campaign itself. We do not condone violence we want to fight against violence

41:01

Ext. Airport

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  The day after the movement holds a vote; the majority agree that they should apologise.

41:18

 

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]:  I would say the protester, including me, committed a mistake.

41:30

'Tom' interview. Super:
'TOM'
Frontliner

Receiving medical treatment is human right and it should always be allowed, even though maybe he is our enemy and I think the protester have learned from their mistakes properly and it's not going to happen again.

41:34

Chan in café

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Democracy supporters call for a return to non-violent tactics.

42:01

Chan interview

RICHARD CHAN [SUBTITLE]: If there is a very peaceful protest this Sunday, we will be able to show the government that we are still very peaceful and pressure the government.

42:08

Protesters with umbrellas

Music

42:22

Chan with umbrella at protest

 

42:29

'Yoyo' at protest. Super:
'YOYO'

'YOYO': We can be radical sometimes. We can also be very, very peaceful, as long as our demands are heard. But one thing, one message is that none of us will quit the fight. We have to keep fighting. There's no -- this is our end game. This is now or never .

42:34

Protestors with umbrellas in rain

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: In the pouring rain, more than a million Hong Kongers show their support for the movement.

42:48

Chan with umbrella at protest

Music 

42:59

HK Harbour GV. Night

 

43:08

Protestors. Night. Hold torches

PROTESTORS CHANT:  Stand for freedom! Stand for Hong Kong!

JOSHUA WONG, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: No one can imagine Beijing

43:16

Wong interview. Super:
JOSHUA WONG
Democracy activist

would let Hong Kong people have democracy. At the same time, no one imagined Hong Kong where two out of seven million people join the protest. Hong Kong people always love to create miracles and be the change that we want to see.

43:34

Torchlight protest. Protestors sing

Music

[Protestors sing]

43:45

 

FERNANDO CHEUNG, DEMOCRACY MP: I would imagine and I would dream that

44:30

Cheung interview. Super:
FERNANDO CHEUNG
Pro-democracy MP

one day we would be looking at Beijing, the rest of China, going through the same thing. It could be difficult, it could be violent. I certainly hope not. But the fight in Hong Kong would be a very good example of what would happen in the rest of China.

44:32

HK skyline from harbour. Night

JOHNSON YEUNG, DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: I do hope Hong Kong movement can serve as a beacon

44:53

Johnson Yeung. Super:
JOHNSON YEUNG
Democracy activist

we can live better than just submitting to the terror of Beijing.

44:58

Protestors push barricades/Police

 

45:04

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: Nearly 1000 Hong Kongers have been arrested in the past three months; many could face years in jail.

45:15

Lim interview. Super:
LOUISA LIM
Journalist, University of Melbourne

LOUISA LIM INTERVIEW: The real issue is that despite millions of people taking to the streets over three months, and despite this return to peaceful protests, the government hasn't budged at all. It hasn't made any concessions at all.

45:25

Richard Chan interview. [crying]

RICHARD CHAN [SUBTITLE]: It seems that our voices are still not being heard. That’s really heartbreaking.

45:38

Stills. Joshua Wong and woman arrest in police van. Super:
Friday, 30 August

Music

45:55

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: On Friday, authorities began rounding up several high-profile democracy activists. Joshua Wong was among those arrested and charged.

45:58

Police fire on protestors. Protestors hurl Molotov cocktails

Music

46:11

 

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER:  As the situation remains deadlocked, Hong Kong’s streets have once again returned to violence.

46:24

Yam interview

KEVIN YAM, LAWYER: I'm very worried. I can never tell whether they're brave or crazy brave. Crazy in the sense that they basically see no future, no hope. They think that this is the last stand and that if they don't fight this one out to the bitter end, that's it.

47:16

Protests resume.  Super:
Saturday, 31 August

SOPHIE MCNEILL, REPORTER: On Saturday night protesters defied city-wide bans and took to the streets once again.

47:46

Fire in street

As Hong Kongers refused to disperse,

47:58

Police attack protestors on train. Super:
Pakkin Leung, Rice Post

the police response was unprecedented and brutal.

48:01

Lim interview

LOUISA LIM, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: We're seeing more and more violence being used, we're seeing these threats of intervention from Beijing, it's really, really hard to see any way out.

48:44

Injured protestors being led away by police

I think for Hong Kongers this, all of this is unimaginable.

48:53

Lim

Nobody thought that we would now be in this kind of situation where there's basically pitched battles on the street every, every weekend. It's inexplicable.

48:59

Protestors on street. Night

Music

49:10

 

'TOM' FRONTLINER [SUBTITLE]: We have the same goal, we are united and what we are facing is enormous because Chinese government have many resources to control us. But we're not afraid,

49-19

'Tom' interview

because Hong Kong is our home. This is what we only have. And I feel that in this situation, fighting for freedom is what I am born for and we won't give up until our last breath.

49:33

Protestor paints slogan on wall.

 

49:54

Translation of slogan:  "It was you who taught us being peaceful doesn't work."

TRANSLATION: It was you who taught us being peaceful doesn't work.

49:58

END

 

50:06

 

 

 

CREDITS:

 

reporter

SOPHIE MCNEILL

 

producer

JEANAVIVE MCGREGOR

 

researcher

MARY FALLON

ECHO HUI

NAOMI SELVARATNAM

 

editor

MICHAEL NETTLESHIP

 

additional editing

JAMES BRAYE

 

assistant editor

JAMES COGSWELL

 

camera

LOUIE EROGLU ACS

 

sound

ROB MACKAY

 

additional camera

STEVE WANG

BRANT CUMMINGS

ROBERT KOENIGLUCK

CRAIG BERKMAN

SEAN WARREN

 

additional sound

WILLIAM WHITESIDE

 

fixer

AMY IP

PABLO WANG

 

translator

ECHO HUI

 

archive producer

MICHELLE BADDILEY

 

designer

LINDSAY DUNBAR

 

legal

LYNETTE HOUSSARINI

 

digital producer

BRIGID ANDERSEN

 

digital designer

GEORGINA PIPER

 

social media producer

TIM WILFORD

 

publicity

PAUL AKKERMANS

 

promotions

LAURA MURRAY

 

sound mixer

EVAN HORTON

 

colourist

SIMON BRAZZALOTTO

 

post production

JAMES COGSWELL

 

additional vision

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG FREE PRESS

REUTERS

APTN

SOCREC VIA STORYFUL

ALVIN LUM

PAKKIN LEUNG

GETTY IMAGES

823 HKERS

 

theme music

RICK TURK

 

titles

LODI KRAMER

 

program assistant

LYDIA CHU

 

production manager

WENDY PURCHASE

 

 

supervising producer

MORAG RAMSAY

 

executive producer

SALLY NEIGHBOUR

 

© 2019 Journeyman Pictures
Journeyman Pictures Ltd. 4-6 High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
Email: info@journeyman.tv

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