If you care about democracy, then you should care about what's happening right now in Hong Kong

It might not be as bad as what's happening in Iraq or Syria, but the injustice taking place in the city is still shocking

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The Independent Online

This weekend, tens of thousands of peaceful protesters in Hong Kong were dispersed by the city’s police force on an unprecedented scale.

This is not the Hong Kong Britain handed over to China in 1997. In August, Beijing ruled that Hong Kong, after 17 years’ long wait, will only be able to participate in Iranian-style democracy. Occupy Central, a campaign group aiming to blockade the financial district, reacted immediately by declaring waves of civil disobedience.

But it was last week’s student boycott that fast-forwarded history. Students entered the public space outside government headquarters (not offices, contrary to certain reports) and prompted citizens to assemble and pressure the police when the students were surrounded and detained.

As I have written before, the world discovered in 1989 that the bureaucrats in Beijing don't care at all about civilian casualties. However, I did not foresee Hong Kong's Police falling into the ranks of the People’s Liberation Army and facilitating violence on their behalf. The current government has become notorious for its slavish loyalty to Beijing. Hong Kong has been pushed into a corner.

This is Hong Kong's fight. But we cannot let them fight alone. It might not be Iraq or Syria, but it is a global city, where people who were promised rights have had them stripped away, and then branded as anarchists.

This is a people defending their way of life against the bureaucrats of Beijing. This is a people that are friends of Britain in values, and companions in history. So how can we leave Hong Kong to rot in the hands of China?

"But what can we do?" You ask. Well, you can start with signing this petition to ask the Foreign Ministry to respond to the current crisis. You can sign up to this event on Facebook pleading David Cameron and Phillip Hammond to address this issue in their conference speeches. You can pick up a yellow ribbon and tell people why you are wearing it. You can also join groups for direct action on social media across the UK, from London to Glasgow, organised by volunteers moved by Hongkongers’ resolute spirit.

Together, we will change the course of events, as the brave men and women in Hong Kong have begun to do.

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