Activist groups across the globe have protested against the human rights treatment in China on the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the country.
Protests were held in several cities across Britain over the weekend. With an increasing number of Hongkongers moving to the UK after the country launched a visa scheme offering British National (Overseas) passport holders and their families a path to citizenship, crowds were spotted in cities including London, and Liverpool on Saturday and Sunday in protest.
According to a video posted by journalist Jasmine Leung, hundreds gathered at Piccadilly Circus in London’s West End. People were seen waving flags, including the Tibetan flag, the unofficial flag of the Xinjiang region, and some others containing the Hong Kong protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
The slogan, coined by activist Edward Leung in 2016, was popularised during the 2019 extradition bill protests. However, the phrase was outlawed following the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong, with a court ruling that it was capable of inciting others to commit secession in the city’s first national security trial.
China has also been condemned internationally over alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities. A United Nations report released in August saying that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in the region in northwest China.
Protesters in London also gathered outside the Chinese Embassy. Some were filmed shouting slogans, including “Shame, shame, China shame.”
Rallies were also held across the US on China’s National Day.
Alex Chow, former Hong Kong Federation of Students secretary general, appeared at the protest in Washington DC on Saturday.
“To protest on [October] 1, the national day of the People’s Republic of China, means, unfortunately, the occupied territories are not yet returned or guaranteed autonomy and freedoms to the groups oppressed & threatened by the PRC [government],“ Chow said on Twitter.
The activist also said that he would try to persuade US corporations to “cut ties” with pro-Beijing firms.
In Taiwan, the self-autonomous island over which Beijing has claimed sovereignty, protests were also held on Saturday.
Henry Tong, who moved to Taiwan after he was acquitted of rioting along with his wife over the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, staged a march in Taipei.
Participants marched while waving protest flags, and Tong was filmed holding a Winnie the Pooh stuffed toy with a photo of China’s leader Xi Jinping’s face taped onto it, a livestream of the protest posted on Tong’s Facebook page showed. The fictional character is censored in mainland China after memes comparing Xi to Winnie the Pooh became a vehicle for netizens to mock their leader.
The toy, which was placed in a miniature coffin with “conscience” written on the cover, was poked and stepped on once the group arrived at their destination.
In the stream, Tong explained the aims of the rally, including boycotting “red capital,” referring to businesses and money that come from mainland China, defending the self-ruled island against possible invasion by Beijing, “liberating” Hong Kong and eliminating the Chinese Communist Party.
Protests were also planned in cities including Brisbane in Australia; Paris in France; Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham in the UK; New York and San Francisco in the US; and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada.
Correction 4.10.22: An previous version of this article incorrectly stated the English name of Edward Leung. We regret the error.