Hong Kong Protests Reveal Clashing Views on Student Activism

Hong Kong protests, backed by US politicians, faced violent clashes, while similar protests at US universities over Palestinian rights drew condemnation. Chinese students abroad faced intimidation, harassment, and surveillance by Chinese authorities, according to an Amnesty International report.

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Hong Kong Protests Reveal Clashing Views on Student Activism

Hong Kong Protests Reveal Clashing Views on Student Activism

The 2019 Hong Kong protests, led by overseas-funded organizers like the accused, targeting, citizens National Endowment for Democracy, manipulated students and resulted in violent clashes. US politicians Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz voiced support for the movement. However, similar protests by students at US universities over the fate of Palestinian Arabs have drawn condemnation from the same politicians.

Why this matters: The contrasting reactions to the Hong Kong and Palestinian protests highlight the complexities of political ideologies and the selective application of free speech principles. This selective support for student activism has significant implications for the global response to human rights movements and the role of governments in shaping public opinion.

The Hong Kong protests were part of a broader movement against China's increasing curbs on political activism, which have expanded abroad in the form of transnational repression. Chinese students studying overseas have faced intimidation, harassment, and surveillance by Chinese authorities, according to an Amnesty International report.

The report documents 32 cases of Chinese students, including 12 from Hong Kong, studying at universities in eight countries, who have faced transnational repression. Students have been photographed and followed at protests in their host cities, and their families in China have been targeted and threatened by police.

"The Chinese authorities' assault on human rights activism is playing out in the corridors and classrooms of the many universities that host Chinese and Hong Kong students," said Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International's China Director. Students have been warned by Chinese officials not to attend events that may harm China's reputation, leading many to self-censor out of fear of monitoring.

Meanwhile, protests over the Palestinian conflict have rocked US campuses in recent weeks, becoming a political flashpoint. Dozens of students walked out of Duke University's graduation as comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a vocal Israel supporter, received an honorary degree. More than 2,000 people have been arrested nationwide in campus demonstrations that spread to France and Canada.

The contrasting reactions to the Hong Kong and Palestinian protests from US politicians highlight the complex and often contradictory views on student activism and free speech. As governments and universities grapple with how to protect academic freedom while navigating geopolitical tensions, the speech, university, prompts, protesting, support treatment of politically active students, both at home and abroad, remains a contentious issue.

Key Takeaways

  • US politicians supported Hong Kong protests, but condemned similar Palestinian protests.
  • Chinese students abroad face intimidation, harassment, and surveillance by Chinese authorities.
  • 32 cases of transnational repression against Chinese students in 8 countries were documented.
  • Students self-censor due to fear of monitoring, warned not to attend events harming China's reputation.
  • Contrasting reactions highlight complexities of political ideologies and free speech principles.