McMaster students join rally in support of Hong Kong democracy

About 20 McMaster university students originally from Hong Kong are leading a signature-gathering campaign to raise awareness and support among their classmates. A group of about 10 are heading to Toronto for a rally Wednesday organized by the Ontario United Front of Hong Kong students.

20 McMaster students from Hong Kong lead signature-gathering and education effort on campus

McMaster students originally from Hong Kong hold signs in support of their fellow students protesting for democracy in Hong Kong. (Courtesy of Mannie Lam)

McMaster University students originally from Hong Kong are raising support this week on campus for their fellow students protesting in Hong Kong. The students want to see China honour its 1997 commitment to allow the city to elect its own leaders, rather than hold a rigged election for the new chief executive in 2017

The students have been handing out emblematic yellow ribbons and asking their classmates to sign their names in support of the Hong Kong demonstrations. The McMaster group has given out more than 400 ribbons and collected 500 signatures, said organizer Mannie Lam.

Lam is a 20-year-old third-year biochemistry student at McMaster. Her family moved to Canada five years ago, and she still has friends from high school living in Hong Kong.

"We want Hong Kong to be the first democratic part of China one day," Lam said, "and we see peaceful protest as the way to do so."

The protests grew contentious this week when police used tear gas and pepper spray on unarmed demonstrators, who've made a point of keeping streets clean and orderly. 

19-year-old Kelly Kong and nine other McMaster students are headed Wednesday afternoon to join a demonstration at the University of Toronto in support of the Hong Kong effort.

"We want to let people know that it's not just people in Hong Kong, but also Hong Kongers in Toronto and all over the world (who) want democracy," Kong said.

Lam said many McMaster students from Hong Kong are keeping track of the events in their hometown on Facebook. 

"We all have friends who are in the protests in Hong Kong," Lam said. "They want the future to be in democracy and that's what they are trying to achieve."

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