Pro-Democracy activists formed a human chain in Hong Kong that recreated a historic anti-Soviet demonstration known as the Baltic Way to denounce China's violation of the semi-autonomous city.
"The Baltic road has shown the power of solidarity and non-violent movement," tweeted Joshua Wong, a leading activist in the protests that seized the former British colony this summer on Friday . "We hope that HK Way will enable the world to see our demand for freedom and democracy. HKer are faced with what the Baltic Sea had expected from the USSR 30 years ago. We have to win in this battle!
The 30-mile human chain marks the second major peaceful gathering in the two weeks since Beijing accused the demonstrators of "terrorism," after clashes at Hong Kong International Airport. The dramatic depiction undermines the Communist regime's denunciation of the demonstrators on the mainland, although the tribute to the dissidents who demanded freedom from the Soviet Union in 1
"The Chinese Communist Party has always viewed Hong Kong as a front-line struggle between them and the West," said Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, opposite the Washington Examiner .
This suspicion has been apparent for weeks, and China accused the United States and the United Kingdom of stirring up the turmoil.
The most recent demonstration was modeled on the Baltic Route, a human chain of two million people founded on 23 August 1989 in protest against the Soviet occupation of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians.
"Today there have been commemorative events in many parts of the world, including Washington DC – around 800 people have joined hands in front of the US Capitol," a spokesman for the Latvian Embassy in Washington DC told the Washington Examiner . "We hope that this nonviolent protest for freedom will inspire all peoples around the world to peacefully achieve freedom."
The Hong Kong protests began in early June when the Beijing-backed local government tried to pass a law on extradition. This would allow mainland Chinese authorities to detain Hong Kong residents on the basis of flimsy evidence. Dissidents considered the bill only as a "legalized kidnapping."
The three former Soviet vassal states declared independence seven months later, making Friday's assembly a particularly daring event and a disturbing sight for the Communist leaders in Beijing.
"They are afraid of this spread," retired Air Force General Robert Spalding, a China expert at the Hudson Institute in Washington, said Friday. "And draw historical parallels to particularly freed nations? That's really problematic."
Beijing seized the clashes at the airport as examples of "terrorism" that would eventually require violent repression if protesters refuse to resign, considering Rubio as a serious threat planning their efforts to pass legislation That would give President Trump the opportunity to revoke Hong Kong's special economic status under federal law if China accelerates sharply.
Now the trade from Hong Kong is treated differently than the trade from China [policy]. "In my view, our public policies should be changed immediately when they actually move in."
] The persistence of the protests is a problem for an autocrat who has directed the Chinese people "to value ethnic unity as our life." – Doubly embarrassing, Rubio suggested, since Hong Kong issues fell under Xi's portfolio before his rise to the pinnacle of the Chinese Communist system.
"It's personal for Xi," said Rubio. "I think it has a high priority. I think he personally leads a lot of the reactions there.
The founding of the Hong Kong Way took place only days after 1.7 million people peacefully denounced the extradition law and the Beijing government-sponsored tolerance for police brutality.
"I think they're sitting in the driver's seat now," Spalding said. "They basically showed that they will not go to the bait."