Politics

Hong Kong Protests Reach Berlin

A ‘Lennon Wall’ has appeared in Berlin’s Mauerpark in solidarity with pro-democratic Hong Kong protesters

July 29th, 2019
Frankie Fraser, News from Berlin
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As the protests in Hong Kong against the controversial extradition bill enter their 4th month with little sign of abating, a remaining section of the Berlin Wall has been transformed into a Hong Kong ‘Lennon Wall’ in solidarity with the protests.

The past 8 weekends have witnessed direct protests between anti-government and pro-democratic protestors, with violent clashes breaking out between government authorities and citizens. 

The first ‘Lennon Wall’ occurred during the 2014 pro-democratic protest in Hong Kong of 2014, with the Central Government Complex main building transformed into a mosaic demanding freedom of expression, democratic elections and universal suffrage. It was spontaneous, with protesters using post-it notes featuring poems, lyrics, drawings and epigrams. The renewed protests in Hong Kong has witnessed a return of these mosaics, with them springing up across various neighbourhoods in the city. As violence escalates the world awaits the response of Beijing.

Across the globe, many solidarity protests have arisen in support of the rallies, such as in London, Tokyo and New York. In Berlin, along with a rally advocating the movement, a remaining section of the Berlin Wall in Mauerpark has been transformed into a ‘Lennon Wall’ championing the protests. The parallels between the Berlin Wall, separating the democratic West from the communist east are clear to see, with authorities in Beijing from the perspective of protestors increasingly violating Hong Kong’s economic and legal autonomy. Hong Kong lies in the Chinese south, with its democratic economic and legal system supposedly independent form the PRC, a structure referred to as the “One Country, two systems’ model.

However, protestors argue that their independent system has come under increasing influence from Beijing. They argue the extradition bill, which would give the Chinese authorities the ability to remove Hong Kong citizens for trial in China, is just one in a long line of instances of Beijing trying to further its authority over the city. The protests have amalgamated into something far more widespread, with them becoming an outright challenge against the government’s authority. The solidarity on display across the globe conveys the power of democratic culture in unifying people across the borders, showing that where politics divide, ideas and values can unite.

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News from Berlin