The people of China have a contemptuous relationship with their oppressive communist government. Citizens rising against the government has been commonplace for decades. The Tienanmen Square protest of 1989, one of the most infamous protester and government showdowns in history, resulted in the Chinese government turning its military against its own people. Assault rifles and tanks were used to control protesters, with no official death count being released to the public.
Protesting is a slippery slope in China, and this year’s National Day protests serve to remind the rest of the world exactly what it’s like for Hong Kong’s citizens to speak out. Although there were no tanks, a protestor has been shot for the first time.
A Protester Was Shot in Hong Kong
Protesters all around Hong Kong gathered for National Day to express distaste for the system that oppresses them. Although these protests initially began peacefully, things took a turn for the worst as the night grew long. Chinese police marched through the streets in riot gear while protesters vandalized train stations and deployed makeshift explosives.
Police fought back with tear gas and less than lethal weapons, with one known exception. An 18 year old high school student was shot point blank in the chest, left begging for medical assistance while bleeding on the ground. After we has eventually transported to a hospital, he was charged with assaulting an officer.
Other governments and Amnesty International are requesting more information and cooperation from Chinese officials to determine if the use of force was warranted. The official statement from the government was that the armed officer acted according to protocol.
The grim reality of the matter is that we may never get the full story. Just like the Chinese government has refused for several decades to comply with requests for information regarding their actions during the Tiananmen square protests, they can easily refuse to release reports regarding 2019’s National Day protest. The government is known to utilize enhanced censorship and adhere to extreme secrecy surrounding the actions of police, military, and protester involvement.
China’s Ban of Face Masks
Many Hong Kong protesters utilize face masks for privacy. Since China has implemented heavy use of artificially intelligent surveillance equipment with facial recognition software, identifying and retaliating against protesters is exceedingly easy. By banning face masks at public gatherings, the government has stripped protesters of their anonymity. They cannot circumvent surveillance, and the mere act of wearing any form of mask is a crime. Slowly but surely, Hong Kong citizens are losing every right to privacy they may have.
Bans, Changes, and the Privacy of Chinese Citizens
After police involvement with protesters and the emergency ban of face masks, residents of Hong Kong began loudly advising each other to download VPNs. Despite the fact that Hong Kong is allegedly able to operate independently of China, Chinese laws and rule are still heavily impacting the rights of those that live there. Unlike mainland China, people of Hong Kong were supposed to be allowed free and open access to the internet. Things didn’t stay that way.
China may very well attempt to block websites and ban VPNs in Hong Kong, suggesting that the people of Hong Kong are subject to undue surveillance, even though they don’t face the same restrictions. Many VPNs don’t work in China – only VPNs with stealth functionality are able to bypass the bans.
Protesters are calling to each other to adopt stealth VPNs in hopes that they will be able to continue communication without the watchful eye of China’s communist party spying on their conversations. In a time where the people of China and Hong Kong have so little left to lose, maintaining the smallest amount of privacy is of the utmost importance.
TorGuard Works in Hong Kong and China
For anyone within China or Hong Kong, or anyone who needs to privately communicate with someone inside China or Hong Kong, TorGuard’s stealth mode VPN will work to keep one’s internet activity out of the hands of the government and protect citizens’ privacy.