This week’s episode of Just Asia focuses on Hong Kong, where the first day of the Lunar New Year saw violent clashes between protesters and police. The unrest caused shock and increased the sense of uncertainty lingering in the wake of the disappearance of five booksellers in January.
The violence erupted overnight as police attempted to shut down unlicensed food stalls in Mong Kok District. Police fired live warning shots into the air as demonstrators and activists set fire to rubbish bins and hurled stones and bricks at officers. Over 64 people were arrested, for offences of unlawful assembly, assaulting police, and possession of offensive weapons. This is the worst episode of visible unrest for decades, and showcases deterioration of trust between the public and the police, and the growing rift between sections of the population and the government.
From this story, Just Asia turns to the continuing discussion about the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers. One of them, Mr. Lee Bo, was abducted from Hong Kong and remains missing until today. Not only are people concerned about the pattern of abductions, but also with the direct threat to Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and expression. Just Asia joins Hong Kong Barrister Y.L. Cheung and Solicitor John Joseph Clancey for their commentary on the implications of the missing booksellers.