The Christian Science Monitor

After six months and a siege, Hong Kong’s front line takes stock

Protesters cross a bridge next to the charred tower of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where police staged a two-week siege in November, during a major pro-democracy march by tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong on Dec. 1, 2019. Source: Ann Scott Tyson/The Christian Science Monitor

With an impish smile and mop-top haircut, the college sophomore pulls up a chair at a backstreet cafe, his boyish looks and mild manners belying his identity as a frontline Hong Kong protester.

Before mass pro-democracy marches began in Hong Kong in June, the student was immersed in social science classes and campus clubs. Today, he is one of the yongmo – Cantonese for “brave militia” – the hardcore protest element that risks the most in head-on clashes with police, battling with Molotov cocktails, bricks, and umbrellas.

“It’s like a war,” he says, using the pseudonym Steve to protect his identity. Toughened by the conflict, Steve and hundreds of others have been wounded physically – and mentally – in their fight for greater democracy and autonomy from China.

“Never seemed to stop”Two battlefronts

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