But that does not mean that we are fighting an unwinnable fight. On the contrary, it is the reason why we must persist. If the protesters back down without opening up the political system and making it accountable to the people of Hong Kong, rather than solely to the central government in Beijing, the people who have resisted would undoubtedly be exposed to retaliation from the regime, including mass arrests, reprisals and intimidation. For us, it is a battle for survival, and for freedom from fear.
It has been more than two months since the first million-strong rally. More than 1,800 canisters of tear-gas and 300 rounds of rubber bullets have been used; over 700 people have been arrested; many more have been injured, including a volunteer medic who was shot in the face by the police, possibly blinding her in one eye. Hong Kong’s civil society has paid a huge price, but thus far it seems only to have pushed the authorities in Beijing to use a stronger hand against the protests.