Saskatoon

Demonstrator with ties to Saskatoon captures images of Hong Kong protests

Andrew Yung was born in Hong Kong, but educated in Saskatoon, attending St. Joseph High School and the University of Saskatchewan.

Andrew Yung has been both participating in and capturing the protests

Thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong on July 7, 2019. (Andrew Yung/Supplied)

Hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets of Hong Kong and a Saskatoon-educated photographer has been both participating in and photographing the events.

Since mid-June, protesters have been calling for the withdrawal of a bill that would allow for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. 

The protesters are also calling for the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

Lam has suspended the bill, but protesters want to see it officially withdrawn and are calling for an independent investigation into police response to demonstrations. Demonstrators and riot police clashed earlier in July when demonstrators stormed Hong Kong's legislature in an act of protest. 

Andrew Yung has been attending the protests as a participant, but has also been capturing the scenes through his camera. (Andrew Yung/Supplied)

'Population of Saskatchewan on the street'

Andrew Yung is an engineer who was born in Hong Kong, but attended St. Joseph's High School and the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He's currently working in Hong Kong and has been participating in the demonstrations.

He didn't realize the magnitude until he saw drone footage broadcast on the news. 

"That's kind of shocking," he said.  "At the first large demonstration on June 16, that's a million people. That's the population of Saskatchewan on the street."

Protests have been going on since mid-June. (Andrew Yung/Supplied)

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from Britain in 1997. Citizens were promised autonomy from the mainland, including an independent legal system and the right to protest, but some feel those freedoms are being taken away gradually.

Yung has taken part in four protests. He said that, in his experience, demonstrators have been peaceful. 

"They are considerate," he said. "They help each other out. If you ask for water, someone will hand you water." 

During a teleconference Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said the extradition bill is a "special concern for Canada," because of the 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong.

"We have a duty of care toward them and we take that very seriously," she said.

Canada has issued two statements expressing concern.

Freeland said the amendments have also been discussed directly with Hong Kong.

Protesters say as many as a million people have taken part in the demonstrations. (Andrew Yung/Supplied)

China wants no interference from global community

The Chinese government has put its support Hong Kong's leaders. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing condemned violence by several hundred demonstrators who broke through glass and steel barriers to enter the Legislature in July. 

"The violent attacks ... are serious illegal acts that trample on the rule of law and endanger social order," Geng told reporters at a daily briefing.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Honk Kong are protesting a bill that would allow extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China for trial. (Andrew Yung/Supplied)

Yung said those who stormed the legislature were doing so for a reason and could have done much more damage.

"They were trying to make a point," he said.

He referenced a piece of graffiti inside the legislature.

"It was in Chinese, but in English it said: 'It's you that showed me that peaceful demonstration is useless.' "

With files from the Associated Press and Thomson Reuters

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