Isaac Cheng is the vice-chairman of Demosistō, currently a year three student in Sociology at Shue Yan University.
He was inspired by the protests against the National Education curriculum and proceeded to join Demosisto (香港眾志) when he was in secondary school. Cheng specializes in education and youth policies, especially issues regarding brainwashing education and pressure on students. He has also cooperated with education organizations to express opinions and hand in petitions to the Education Bureau in response to its policies.
Demosistō was initially established on 10 April 2016 as a political party. The organization aims to achieve democratic self-determination in Hong Kong, through direct action, popular referenda, and non-violent means. Secretary-general Joshua Wong is the leader of the organization.
During a press conference, Cheng said secondary students plan to boycott classes on Mondays when schools resume in September to protest against the government response to the extradition bill. He also defended the planned boycott, rejecting criticism that they are too young to take such a decision.
Cheng said he believes high school students are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to join. He said almost 20,000 of students had taken part in their survey held about the issue & they had made judgements on their own.
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The five demands of the Hong Kong protesters
- withdraw the extradition bill
- leader Carrie Lam to step down
- inquiry into police brutality
- those who have been arrested to be released
- greater democratic freedoms
What’s the next step of the democratic movement? What will happen next?
I think the most important thing to understand is that the protests and assembly marches will continue in the coming weeks. There will be also an assembly to strike for secondary school students and university students. We are aiming to just extend our movements and ask the government to respond to the five demands of the protesters.
Do you think the Hong Kong Basic Law is still valid?
Yes because I think the Hong Kong government and the Beijing regime didn’t keep the promise of ‘One Country Two Systems’. For example, the basic law promises that there will be universal suffrage and elections for a Legislative Council completely elected by the people of Hong Kong, but those promised didn’t achieve. The promises of the Sino-British Joint Declaration that would have ensured among other things the right to freedom and democracy have not been maintained. And they also called the Joint Declaration as a historical document.
the HONG KONG government must respond to the five demands and not create a platform of dialogue to cool out the people
What the Hong Kong authorities will do in the next days?
They’re setting up a dialogue platform between protesters and the government. But I think that the dialogue platform is not really working, because the five demands are really clear and the government has to achieve the five demands asked by the protestors. So we urge that the government must respond to the five demands and not create a platform of dialogue to cool out the people.
Do you think China will retaliate? Or if so how and when?
I think there may be chances for the government to restrict the power of the Legislative Council or maybe Hong Kong people in the future. But for us, we have to keep protesting to protect the rights that we previously have. So I can’t tell you precisely when the government will restrict us, but as soon as we take to the streets and join the protests we will be able to extend this time before their intervention.
What is the thing that impressed you the most during these protests?
The thing that impressed me most is that every Hong Kong people knows his role. They take part in the discussion of the strategies and the ways of protest and even they are putting a lot of efforts on PR making photos to spread the information to the international society. We are truly seeing the unity of the Hong Kong people and also the power of the Hong people.
At this point what is your major concern?
My biggest concern is a possible intervention by Chinese troops stationed in Shenzhen to crush protests in Hong Kong. This can happen. So we urge the international society to contain China and do something for Hong Kong.
Did you receive moral support from abroad?
I don’t think the international society is giving enough support. For example, the US is still giving riot gears to the Hong Kong’s police, and they are still providing that, while EU and Germany didn’t do enough for the Hong Kong issues. So we are hoping the international society will give more effort to support the Hong Kong people.
What do Chinese netizens think about the protests in Hong Kong?
I think that the Chinese people don’t know the full picture because there is a lot of censorship inside China and there is a lot of fake news gathering inside Chinese networks.
Does your family support you?
Are they worried about you?
Yes, Because there is just a lot of thing touching the political part of Hong Kong because the Communist Party didn’t give us the rights and the freedom of thought.
CHINA-UNDERGROUND. Matteo Damiani is an Italian sinologist, photographer, author and motion designer. Matteo lived and worked for ten years in China. Founder of CinaOggi.it and China-underground.com.