Sixtus "Baggio" Leung, one of the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, was elected to the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 2016. He was disqualified from serving because he deliberately misread the oath of office and wore a banner reading “Hong Kong is not China.”
"Our demand is to change Hong Kong to a safe place and we don't want to live in such terror," he tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson.
On what he'd like the political outcome of the protests to be
"At the beginning our demand is to ban the extradition bill amendment proposed by the Hong Kong government that would make Hong Kong no longer a safe place to Hong Kong citizens. But now we have five demands that we want to achieve, including our government must promise not to charge and arrest protesters after the whole movement, to withdraw the bill, and also to promise a democracy system like universal suffrage.
"Honestly we think we are playing against the odds. However if we do not change the system we will suffer these kinds of things, terrible things, year by year, and we don't want another movement like this."
On whether he regrets anything the protesters have done so far
"We have more than two months of movement already. Of course sometimes maybe protesters do something that is not favored by the public. However, I think at the beginning the problem is caused by the government—the Beijing government, Hong Kong government and the police forces. If they choose to withdraw the bill from the beginning, everything would not happen. So I think government should bear the responsibility [for] causing Hong Kong now to [be] a dangerous place."
On if he's worried about a military response from China
"Personally, I don't think they will have a military response. Hong Kong is the only international financial hub that China can use as a cash cow. And if they would want to react by military forces, they did it times before—why they don't is because they cannot damage their only international financial hub, especially in this kind of economic situation."
On whether the trade war with the U.S. has any effect on the protest movement
"In this, it is helping. The trade war makes China's economic situation go worse. And the Chinese government, in this moment at least, they need Hong Kong to withdraw some financial resources, cash, from the economy."
On President Trump's response to the protest
"We sincerely pray that including President Trump, including other governments of the world and all freedom-loving people on Earth to stand against China. Here, China is the enemy of humanity and executioners. The Hong Kong police force and Carrie Lam's government are also doing the same thing. So we sincerely pray that President Trump and other governments use all means and sanctions necessary against Beijing government and Hong Kong government."
On how long he's willing to protest
"I don't know, but as soon as we can't. And I think people with power, I mean the government, I think they need to think: How long would they take to have a response to the majority of Hong Kongers who come out on the street in a very hot summer, showing [their] demands."
This segment aired on August 15, 2019.
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