News in Asia is Protesting

The big news breaking as I’m writing this are the protests happening in Hong Kong.

This article does contain a trigger warning for rape and extreme self-harm.

As I’ve mentioned a few times in this column, there have been ongoing protests over the Chinese government’s handling of Hong Kong’s upcoming election of the city’s next leader. When British control was handed over to Beijing in 1997, there was the assurance that the city would maintain much of it’s autonomy; however, over the past several months, the central Chinese government has refused to allow citizens to choose their own candidates for election. Instead, they want Hong Kong to choose among candidates who owe their allegiance to Beijing.

Now, there are thousands of people taking over a key part of Hong Kong. The police have reacted as you might expect, with tear gas and riot gear. Many protesters are wearing protective gear to mitigate the effects of the tear gas. For more, including some heartbreaking pictures from on the ground, (though reportedly, Instagram is now blocked) check out the #OccupyHongKong or #OccupyCentral tags on Twitter.

While the protests in Hong Kong are heating up, anti-government protests in Pakistan are on a downward trend. There have been ongoing protests for about two months in the city of Islamabad; these protests have the goal of ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to this article, many of the protesters have grown weary and think that their actions will result in little change. Many are there because they’ve been ordered to be there. If they leave, they may be arrested by police and lose their jobs. One protester interviewed says the kiln owner who is his boss pays his family $15-$20 a week while he’s away.

What’s more, police have been using schools as makeshift offices and camps, leaving many students in Islamabad at loose ends as they cannot continue their education.

One slight damper on the Asian Games in South Korea: A group of protesters forced the removal of all national flags after they objected to the flying of North Korea’s flag.

Students at Calcutta’s Jadavpur University have been protesting for the last couple of weeks over the sexual assault of a female student. The students are not only angry over a lack of response from the university, but over the administration calling in police to disband the protests. Here is a picture essay of some of the students involved in the protest.

Thai farmers, frustrated over falling prices, are planning protests in spite of Thailand’s martial law.

A young Tibetan student died from self-immolation in protest over Chinese rule of the small Asian nation.

Finally, Cambodian activists in villagers protested outside of the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh over an agreement between the two governments to resettle refugees from the Pacific island of Nauru in Cambodia.

By Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

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