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How four deaths turned the gloomy protest movement into Hong Kong

"We will achieve what remains to be done," one writes.

The death of a woman – known to most of the world with her last name, Mac – is the fourth suspicion of suicide that has to be linked by local media to the ongoing demonstrations originally triggered by a controversial extradition bill that, were worried that they could limit freedoms in the semi-autonomous city. The four dead have become devices in protest and have been treated by some demonstrators as the heroes of the cause

But experts warn that this type of rhetoric is risky. With many protesters in their teens and early twenties in a city where there is no support for mental health, they warn that treating protesters as heroes can put others at risk.

The struggle for Hong Kong

The blocking movement of the extradition bill was thrown as a binary struggle for life or death from the outset.

When at least hundreds of thousands ̵

1; up to one million of some measures – developed in early June, it was described by activists as "the last chance to fight for Hong Kong."

The death of the protesters only add to this intensity.

  The mourners in Hong Kong put flowers and pray on June 16, 2019, at the site where the protester died.

In demonstrations, protesters created flags of yellow raincoats, giving the illusion that the first death of a suicide, a 35-year-old man dead with a distinctive yellow raincoat, sailed over them. The protesters wore black and removed black flags to worship the dead. With the massive pouring of grief, some protesters pointed the government. For some time, the blood-red poster became ubiquitous. In it he wrote, "Stop killing us."

"He sacrifices a lot for us," a 16-year-old schoolgirl who only gave her name to Athens, told the man of one of the crusades. "This is related to Hong Kong's political system – it is life-threatening and fateful."

In places around the city, the demonstrators held memorials for the dead. They picked flowers on walkways that formed white and plastic mountains and left notes to the dead that they would never read. heart. "He was dragged by the regime," one more writes.

  Protesters hold posters during a demonstration against the now-abolished extradition bill on June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Those who have lost themselves to suicide have also become arguments in protest. One of them showed the 35-year-old man and another victim with his hands as they walked to the light with the words: "Friend, do not leave, Hong Kong, do not surrender." Even messages that do not portray protesters have acquired a darker tone. "If we burn, you burn with us," read a huge, red flag.

Among some protesters, death was a point of discussion. "Dying for Hong Kong," some of the protesters could hear. Manifesto, shared in the Telegram – an encrypted application widely used during protests – thanks to the "heroes who pay their blood and their lives."
  The protest poster depicts a 35-year-old suicide victim in the Admiralty, Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. On the left it is written:
At a press conference, pro-democracy MP Claudia Mo urged protesters to "eliminate the martyr's mentality."

"We have to remind them that it is not worth it." Time is always on the side of the young " she said.

The problem is, young people do not feel that way.

Why Things Get Dark

Hong Kong is a city familiar with the protests. But protests have not always been like this movement.

In 2014, pro-democracy protesters occupied the city streets in Hong Kong for 79 days. Although there were clashes, she was mostly peaceful and optimistic, and the protesters – among them many high school students – were singing songs, creating tents for supply and even creating areas to do their homework.

Hope was in the air.

There was a feeling that democracy could finally be possible.

Hong Kong has never had a complete democracy. When the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997, Beijing promised to preserve the liberties of Hong Kong over the next 50 years. Many have seen in Hong Kong for less than 30 years until they become another continental city without the right to things like freedom of assembly and freedom of speech they have enjoyed in the past.
  Students do their homework in an area that is part of the Umbrella Movement on October 10, 2014 in Hong Kong.
Despite the optimism of the movement in 2014, when it ended, none of its goals was achieved. Key protestors were thrown into jail, and in the years to come, enthusiasm for protests declined.

So when the protesters came out on the streets earlier this year, they freed years of depressed rage and distrust of the government, according to Samson Yueen, politically. a scientist at the University of Lingnan, Hong Kong.

This anger soon intensified. Police fired spray with fingers, tear gas and rubber bullets, which the protesters thought were heavy. Although Hong Kong leader Kari Lam has suspended the implementation of the bill, she has repeatedly refused to withdraw it or respond to other requests, such as independent police investigations.

The four suspected suicides added another emotional element – especially because many considered the government's death to blame, Yunen said.

"The protest is about the life and death of Hong Kong," he said. "The protests are to continue the wishes of those who have given" their life. "

" This is the way people trust the system, how people can still trust the future of Hong Kong. "

At a press conference earlier this month, Hong Kong leader Lam said she was disappointed by the protesters who were injured as a result of the bill, adding that the government has asked many non-governmental organizations to offer emotional counseling services, hoping to alleviate the negative

  Police shoot with tear gas in front of the protesters in front of the Complex Legislative Council in the early hours of July 2, 2019 in Hong Kong, China.
He was also concerned about the way the media reported deaths that he thought could encourage others to take their lives. Some local media have simplified the causes of suicide and mentioned suicidal methods – both of which are discouraged by World Health Organization's suicide reporting guidelines as they can cause suicidal ideas for vulnerable readers.
In 2017, the final year for which data are available, Hong Kong's estimate of the standardized suicide age was 9.5 out of every 100,000, compared with 10.5 worldwide. Between 2015 and 2017, the overall level of suicide in Hong Kong has fallen, whereas the suicide rate for people aged 15 to 24 years has increased, according to CSRP data.

There is also evidence that mental health in the city has been negatively affected by protests. Clarence Tsang, Managing Director of Samaritans Befrienders Hong Kong, said his organization saw 73 calls in June from people struggling for social movement, compared to just one handful on the subject in the previous months. "Most of them feel hopeless, they say they have no way out, they do not see a future," he said, adding that some are sad for deaths, while others are upset by family tensions.

  People offer prayers during a vigil in Hong Kong on July 6, 2019 in memory of the four dead protesters

Contributions to Stephen Chung of CNN, Maysie Mock, Jesse Yong, Daddy Sham, and Sharmon Le We have contributed to this Hong Kong report.

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