By Joanne Kim
Tens of thousands of people on Oct. 1 marched in Hong Kong in support of the city’s continued autonomy from China. This “anti-authoritarian rule” march called out against totalitarianism on the 68th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, according to CNN.
The civilians of Hong Kong called out for the release of three ‘Umbrella Movement’ leaders, Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, to be released from prison.
CNN reported that the protesters, respectively 26, 24 and 20 years old, helped hundred of thousands of people protest for a democracy that better directly included the people. Initially, the three protest organizers were supposed to serve noncustodial sentences and do community work for their crimes.
The Department of Justice, specifically Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen, pushed for the incarceration of the three young democracy activists to prison, according to CNN.
Reuters reported that Yuen overruled several other prosecutors to put the democracy activists in prison.
“We believe (Yuen) has been the key orchestrator in destroying Hong Kong’s justice,” said Avery Ng, a rally organizer, according to Reuters.
The protesters wanted Yuen to resign for the harsh punishment along for their voices to be heard by the government.
“Without democracy, how can we have the rule of law!” yelled the 40,000 people gathered in the streets, according to Reuters.
CNN reported that Wong echoed a similar sentiment on Twitter demonstrating resilience expected of someone dubbed the “face of the protest.”
“They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up,” Wong posted on Twitter. “But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hong Kongers.”
Never before has the law come under such scrutiny by the public.
It is odd considering that Reuters reported that the Hong Kong judiciary system is considered to be one of the best legal systems in Asia.
“It’s like mainland (Chinese) laws have intruded into Hong Kong,” Alex Ha, a classical guitar teacher who happened to be walking alone in the crowd, told Reuters.
Reuters reported that Hong Kong’s judicial independence ranking has been downgraded to 13 in the whole world.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam of Hong Kong remains optimistic for unity in the territory’s future, according to Reuters.
“As long as we capitalize on our strengths, stay focused, seize the opportunities before us and stand united, I am sure that Hong Kong can reach even greater heights,” Lam said.