Massive demonstrations are taking place in Hong Kong calling for more democracy. IBA student Elisa Pasch is studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong – the place where it all began – for six months.

On 22 September thousands of students gathered in the main square of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a scheduled class boycott. The event had been planned and organised some time back by various student organisations, says Pasch via Skype. “During the first lectures, instructors asked who would be participating in the boycott so that they could take this into account. All of the lectures were even videotaped to allow the demonstrating students to view them later.” Since 28 September the demonstrations have spread throughout the city. “The student organisations are sustaining the protests, but many more Hong Kongers are behind them.”

University supports protesters

Although Pasch lives a ways out of town and therefore does not see a lot of the protesting, she does notice it every day. “Everyone is talking about it. We receive mail from the university about the demonstrations almost daily.” In the student complex where she lives, the doorposts have been decorated with yellow ribbons, which are a symbol of the student protests, just like the yellow umbrellas. There is a lot of support for the demonstrators from the various faculties. “Alumni from the faculty of law offered their legal assistance after the police violence. The faculty of medicine provided medical assistance and even the psychologists have offered their services.”

At the time of writing, formal negotiations between demonstrators and the Hong Kong authorities are about to begin. Whether this will put an end to the protests likely depends on the outcome. Pasch: “The rumour is that new demonstrations are already being planned at other locations. The tactic is to keep showing up at different places in order to create an element of surprise. ” TF