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Cut ties with China demand Bristol’s Hong Kongers

Protesters wear hoods and shelter under umbrellas as rain falls. One holds a placard reading "Fight for Freedom. Boycott China"

A petition will be launched this weekend calling on Bristol City Council to cut ties with a twinned Chinese city. 

Hong Kongers in Bristol will ask the council to de-twin with Guangzhou, a city in southern China. Guangzhou is one of seven cities with which Bristol is twinned, with others including Oporto and Hannover. 

Bristol is home to many Hong Kongers who fled the city during and shortly after the 2019-2020 pro-democracy uprisings, fearing for their safety. Some still fear for friends and family left behind

They are critical of the Chinese government and the Hong Kong government, which they see as a puppet of Beijing. A recent demo highlighted authoritarianism in China.  

Read more: Hong Kongers protest Chinese authoritarianism

The de-twin campaign is inspired by Global De-twin with China, a movement launched in July and which enjoyed success earlier this month when Newcastle City Council voted to de-twin with Tuiyuan over the Chinese state’s treatment of Uighurs in the west of the country. 

The petition will form part of a rally at The Fountains from 3pm which will also commemorate the “siege” of Hong Kong Polytechnic by police in 2019.  

Students clashed with police during protests and in response the police corralled them inside the university, arresting anyone who left. Over 200 protesters remained, some for 13 days, before eventually being arrested. 

The siege was one episode in the wider story of the 2019-2020 pro-democracy uprisings in Hong Kong. At points some two million protesters took to the streets against a proposed Extradition Bill which would have seen Hong Kongers accused of crimes removed to China for trial. 

Although that Bill was eventually withdrawn, the Hong Kong government did pass a National Security Law, cracking down on dissent, the free press and introducing harsh sentences for protesters. 

A documentary about the Hong Kong uprisings is available on the BBC with a second episode to be broadcast on Monday. 

Feature image: Rob J Browne.

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