PALO ALTO, Calif.—Dozens of people held a rally in the city of Palo Alto on Nov. 24 to show support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
During the rally, multiple speakers shared their personal experiences in English and Chinese. One of them was Tang Baiqiao, an author and pro-democracy activist.
Jing Geng, the event organizer, said she wanted to collect signatures and send them to Hong Kong students as emotional support.
She said there is “infiltration about our community that we need to raise awareness [about].”
Infiltration tactics used by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spies include money bribes, using friends and family, and social media networking.
“Now we know the CCP is perpetrating the same kind of infiltration tactics around the world. How do we prevent our community from becoming the next Hong Kong?” Geng said.
The buildings near the event have a certain type of surveillance technology, she said.
“That infiltration that everyone knew about … we didn’t know what the consequence could be, and here Hong Kong is an example,” she said. “Tyranny. … It’s not only expanding inside Hong Kong or Taiwan. Its expansion is trying to reach to our community here.”
Geng said Hong Kong faced the same kind of infiltration even earlier, starting 20 years ago.
So far, she hasn’t heard of anybody who does not support Hong Kong, and if people know enough, they all support Hong Kong, she said.
Geng hopes to prevent any more young lives from being lost and to have everybody in Hong Kong stand up.
“In order to protect lives, everybody has to participate. That’s the only way to save lives right now,” she said.
She ended her speech with a quote from a movie she likes: “In order to defeat darkness, we just need to say no.”
A Hong Kong native, who wished to stay anonymous, also attended the rally. He said his family is suffering from tear gas in Hong Kong.
He hopes that democracy will prevail and that there will be universal suffrage, as opposed to the suppressive authoritative regime in Beijing, he said.
“[I am] happy that the tide of democracy is moving forward. … Hong Kong is the first barricade against the spread of communist influence across the globe … the very first step,” he said.
Toward the end of the rally, the supporters sang a song in Cantonese and began chanting phrases such as “Fight for freedom—stand with Hong Kong.”
At a public event in September at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Ming Sing of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology discussed topics regarding the Hong Kong movement. The classroom was nearly filled up.
Daniel Wang, a California resident who attended the event, said he recently came back from Hong Kong.
Wang said that during his time there, the protesters were fond of Americans, and if you said you were from America, they would ask you for support.
He said that among the protesters, there were educated people such as investment bankers and lawyers who would come out after work or on weekends.
“Friday night around 6 p.m., it gets serious,” he said.
Sometimes protesters would be chased by police down a subway, and the last person of the group would stop, letting himself or herself get caught. Wang said this allowed the rest of the group of around 8 or 10 people to escape.
“It’s hard for me to come back to America where I’m relatively safe here, to see these people fight like that … it’s hard,” Wang said.
U.S. support for the Hong Kong protests has continued to increase. Two human rights bills in support of Hong Kong protesters were signed into law on Nov. 27.
The bills require the United States to annually report on Hong Kong’s status as a separate entity from mainland China and to take note of individuals “responsible for committing acts that violate internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong,” according to a bill summary on Congress.gov.