Deepening political tensions in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong have spilled over to foreign countries.
Students from mainland China and Hong Kong have clashed in Australia.
Face-off in Australia
And students from both sides have butted heads more than once ever since the anti-extradition bill protests started in Hong Kong in June.
On Aug. 16 and 17, Friday and Saturday, thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in support of those protesting back home.
Tensions then ran high when pro-Beijing supporters showed up as well.
Things getting really heated here at the Melbourne rally in support for Hong Kong. Pro-china supporters attempt to interrupt the protest #HongKongProtests #antiELAB #freedomhk pic.twitter.com/uNHXnd8cZS— Tim Lam (@timlam_) August 16, 2019
I left long ago but a few more pics. Neither side keen to leave around 8.45pm but police doing well to seperate both after initial scuffles. Many onlookers and tram passengers likely confused. pic.twitter.com/NQIE9nAD6H— Ross Richardson (@ooobo) August 16, 2019
Twitter user Wu Lebao (@MerlotN), a self-professed mainland Chinese who sought asylum in Australia and is now a naturalised citizen, uploaded a couple of videos that captured the hostile treatment both sides received from each other.
On Friday, Aug. 16, at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Hong Kong protesters shouted, "Hong Kong, stay strong".
In response, mainland Chinese nationalists shouted, “Cao ni ma bi” (CNMB), which means "f*** your mother's c***".
In Adelaide, Chinese students answered "Hong Kong stays strong" literally with "fuck your mother's vagina" earlier this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/eY5eVXuCeE— Wu Lebao (@MerlotN) August 16, 2019
Some people, however, could be heard in the background laughing and saying in Mandarin Chinese, "What are they trying to do?"
Singing national anthem
Mainland Chinese nationalists even openly sang in unison at the various locations the Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers.
Chinese nationalists have completed lost their minds in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. Except the communist anthem, fuck you, fuck you mom, and insulting words involving female sexual organs are their only slogan tonight. pic.twitter.com/Iy4wbjWUJ7— Wu Lebao (@MerlotN) August 16, 2019
Outside State Library of Melbourne, protestors in support of Hong Kong appear heavily outnumbered by loud pro-China counter-protestors, mostly young. Some I ask have come after seeing footage on WeChat. Now seperated by police, shouting slurs and singing patriotic songs. pic.twitter.com/jjKoK1VGhb— Ross Richardson (@ooobo) August 16, 2019
"Call (me) daddy"
In Melbourne, Australia, during a march by the Hong Kong people on Friday night, the mainland Chinese who showed up could also be heard chanting, "Call (me) daddy".
Outside Melbourne's State Library on Friday night, a Hong Kong woman was heard shouting in English, "If you can't respect that (freedom of expression), why are you in Australia for the freedom? Why aren't you studying in the great China?"
Thereafter, some people around her clapped and cheered.
In response, one mainland Chinese man present shouted, "Why are you in Australia too?"
The two then continued shouting at each other, with the woman saying she wants "freedom", while the people around them either cheered for or booed the other side.
The mainland Chinese person then started chanting han jian (汉奸), which means "traitor" in Mandarin Chinese.
After short communication, Chinese shouted 汉奸, traitors to the Han Ethnicity, together onto Hong Kong protesters. pic.twitter.com/tQDOdymoGl— Wu Lebao (@MerlotN) August 16, 2019
"Should just stop living"
A few ema (small wooden plaques) in Tokyo's Meiji Shrine were spotted by a Taiwanese person to have death curses written on them.
One of them read (translated from Chinese): "The families of those advocating for Hong Kong independence or Taiwan independence should just stop living.”
In response to such nationalistic displays from Chinese nationalists, netizens have their own comeback too, which might come off as being condescending to the former.
"Kid, you're not the Chinese Communist Party, you're just a Chinese national who's using a smartphone."
Such clashes happened in Canada as well.
At an anti-extradition bill protest held on Saturday at the Old City Hall in Canada, pro-Beijing marchers showed up too.
Waving the Chinese national flag, some of them turned up the engine sound of their sports car while chanting qiong bi (穷逼), which means "broke as hell" in Mandarin Chinese.
Suggesting that Taiwan or Hong Kong is separate from China is a big no-no
Chinese president Xi Jinping, in a warning for any region with the intention to be independent, has repeatedly made use of the Chinese saying "Blood is thicker than water" to suggest that ethnic Chinese regions rightfully belong to mainland China under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Chinese can be extremely sensitive when it comes to thorny issues such as Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Companies that range from international fashion houses Versace to even Chinese tech giant Huawei have received significant backlash when they committed the one geopolitical faux pas they are not supposed to make, which is to remotely suggest Taiwan and Hong Kong are independent from China.
Committing the faux pas would incur the wrath of Chinese consumers by hurting their "national feelings", a phrase that was often used by Beijing.
Worst political crisis in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has entered its worst political crisis since the 1997 handover.
City-wide protests started in June against an extradition bill that has since been declared "dead" by Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
However, protesters want a complete withdrawal of the bill, saying that without doing so, the bill could be revived anytime by the Hong Kong government, especially after the protests lose momentum or die down.
Protesters have raised five demands to the government:
- To completely withdraw the extradition bill
- Stop classifying the clashes between police and protesters as “riots”
- Drop charges against all arrested demonstrators
- Order an independent inquiry into the police use of force against protesters
- Relaunch the stalled electoral reform process
Not everyone in Hong Kong is pleased about the 11-week long protests though:
And not all mainland Chinese are against the Hong Kong protesters: