Students and professionals alike gathered side by side at the Chinese Embassy Friday night in a show of solidarity for the pro-democracy student protests that have shut down in the Chinese economic capital since late September. Wearing yellow and carrying umbrellas in symbolic support of what has become known as the “umbrella revolution”, the small group peacefully gathered outside of the Chinese Embassy. Organizers intended the “nonviolent protest as both a show of solidarity… as well as an effort to exert pressure on the Chinese government to allow democratic elections in Hong Kong”.
Freshman Joaquin Goquiolay shared the relevancy of the issue, saying, “This is a geopolitical issue that is affecting many aspects of Chinese life both socially and economically.” Though many headlines suggest that the force of the protests in Hong Kong have been ebbing as many have returned to work, the impact of the protests cannot be denied. The determination of protesters have paid off as the government agreed this week to hold multiple rounds of negotiations on equal footing with student leaders in a public forum.
Back at the DC protest, many shared their wishes for the outcome of the protests half a world away. I was able to interview freshman student Owen Evans on the metro after the protest where he shared his opinion that, “At the very least, Hong Kong deserves democracy because that’s what their people agree to and if they get anything less than that, that is a great breach of the social contract, and anyone who is for equality and fairness and justice should support this cause.” Regardless of the outcome, the display of solidarity brought the situation closer to home for all those in attendance. “It really does affect people from all walks of life, we met people from Hong Kong and that’s really interesting to see, especially with the diversity in this area, you can actually see where it touches close to home, and it’s not just an idea,” Evans concluded.
With Religion and Culture for WRGW News, I’m Calla Gilson.