Hong Kong International Airport Taken Over by Pro-Democracy Protesters; All Flights Canceled; Chinese Authorities Call Situation ‘Terrorism’

  • Hong Kong International airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, is at a standstill after all flights were canceled due to massive demonstrations by pro-democracy protesters who have taken over the main terminal, which Chinese authorities have likened to “terrorism.”
  • In a statement, officials said that “a crowd of thousands seriously disrupted operations at the airport.”
  • According to officials, “only flights that were already boarding or had been cleared for landing were allowed to use the airport’s runways. All other flights were canceled.”
  • The move “by the largely leaderless movement seemed calculated to prompt a stern response from Beijing, and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s administration responded within hours.”
  • The Chinese government “tends toward a broad definition of terrorism, including in it nonviolent protests of government policies on the environment or in minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet.”
  • The Cabinet’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in Beijing “issued a statement saying the situation in Hong Kong was beginning to show the sprouts of terrorism and constituted an existential threat to the population.”
  • The statement, which was attributed to spokesman Yang Guang, said: “One must take resolute action toward this violent criminality, showing no leniency or mercy. Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong’s future must say ‘no,’ to law breakers and ‘no’ to those engaged in violence.”
  • According to the chief executive of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways, “there would be disciplinary consequences for employees involved in illegal protests, as the airline joined businesses that have apologized to China in recent days over political flaps.”
  • There have been massive protests for more than two months over Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill, investigation into police conduct and calls for more democratic reforms in the autonomous city.
  • Additionally, the continued protests have led to both large and small companies being pressured to show loyalty to the Communist Party while maintaining a distance from the protests.
  • Hong Kong has been part of China’s “one country, two systems” approach since 1997, which provides its citizens with more freedoms than those who live on the mainland.

Reference Links

  • South China Morning Post: Stranded passengers at Hong Kong International Airport left to fend for themselves not knowing when they will be able to escape protest-hit city READ
  • AP: Hong Kong airport shuts down amid pro-democracy protest READ
  • YAHOO! Finance: What Hong Kong Airport Shutdown Means for Your Travel Plans READ
  • Fox: Hong Kong International Airport cancels all flights, China compares protest to ‘terrorism’ READ

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