Oz shift as Trump love flows

Top News | Angel Kwan and AFP 2 Dec 2019

Waving American flags and chanting, about 1,000 people marched to the US consulate in Central to declare a new phase in their civil movement as they turned to Australia to pass a similar rights act.

They gathered at Chater Garden at noon yesterday chanting "Resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong!" and "Thank you President [Donald] Trump!" to express gratitude for the US passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

They waved banners, some saying "President Trump, let's make Hong Kong great again," during the three-hour rally.

The law, which Trump signed last week, would require annual reviews of Hong Kong's level of political autonomy to determine its special trade status and impose sanctions on officials who infringe upon freedoms in the city.

As they were not allowed by police to get close to the entrance of the US consulate on Garden Road, organizers acted out a mock submission of their petition letter to someone wearing a Trump mask.

Organizers led the singing of the US national anthem and stressed that protests have not ended even after the bill was passed but have reached a new stage.

Organizers said about 6,000 people attended the march, while police said it was 3,800 at its peak period.

Meanwhile, activists - including former lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho and Civil Human Rights Front vice convener Eric Lai Yan-ho - will head to Canberra today.

They will meet with bipartisan parliamentarians to persuade them to set up a similar legislation to the US law. Lee believes Australian politicians will need to make reference to the situation in Hong Kong and have the responsibility to monitor the city's autonomy and human rights status.

He stressed that striving for international support is one of the "battlefronts" of the protests.

This comes as Beijing accused United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet of "inappropriate" interference in the country's affairs after she called for investigations into alleged police brutality in Hong Kong.

China's mission to the UN in Geneva said an op-ed piece by Bachelet in a Hong Kong-based English newspaper was "erroneous" and "violates the purposes and principles of the charter of the United Nations."

The piece contains "inappropriate comments on the situation of [in Hong Kong] and interferes in China's internal affairs," the mission said.

Bachelet in the commentary pushed for "a proper independent and impartial judge-led investigation into reports of excessive use of force by police."

angel.kwan@singtaonewscorp.com

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