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Filipinos storm Chinese Consulate, express support to Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Revolution"

Saying that the Filipino people's struggle to secure Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea extends to the Chinese people's fight to be free from their authoritarian government, members of Akbayan Partylist trooped to the Chinese Consular Office in Makati today to express their support to the tens and thousands of Hong Kong citizens who are staging a massive protest to demand "true universal suffrage" from mainland China.
The contingent led by Akbayan Representative Walden Bello and West Philippine Sea Coalition (WPSC) Convenor Rafael Alunan brought yellow and black umbrellas to dramatize their solidarity to the Hong Kong pro-democracy protest which is now dubbed as the "Umbrella Revolution."

"We express our utmost solidarity to the Hong Kong citizens' struggle to deepen their democracy, chart their own destiny and move away from the Beijing-based Chinese communist government's authoritarian rule.The struggle for democracy will always be a just struggle. It is an inherent right of all. We Filipinos are not unfamiliar to such a struggle having been subjected to a brutal 14-year dictatorship," Bello said.

"We also deplore the use of violence by the Hong Kong police against the protesters. The Hong Kong police must stop acting like the local version of Beijing's People Liberation Army (PLA). Together with the Hong Kong government, it must respect the democratic rights of their citizens and stop taking its cue from Beijing," Bello added.

HK's democratic struggle can play a part in the fight to secure sovereignty in West Philippine Sea

Bello pointed out that the Hong Kong citizens' democratic struggle could play a part in the Filipinos' struggle to secure their country's sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea from the Chinese communist government's policy of incursions in Philippine territories.

"While the Hong Kong citizens may not fully share our rightful claim in the West Philippine Sea, their democratic struggle which directly challenges the autocratic governance of the Chinese communist government could hopefully contribute in chipping away its hostile policy in the region and bring it back to the democratic, legal and peaceful process of resolving the territorial dispute such as provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," Bello said.

Alunan, who is also a former Interior and Local Government Secretary, echoed the same point of view.

"Filipinos who are united in spirit to defend the West Philippine Sea must extend their animo to Hong Kong and to all the Chinese people who long to be free. China's undemocratic and hawkish behavior must be pushed back from within and by free peoples everywhere," Alunan said.

Tiananmen redux?

However, Alunan feared China might use force to break the massive protest similar to the violent crackdown it did to pro-democracy student protestors in Beijing in 1989, now remembered as the "Tiananmen Massacre."

"China should desist from using force to break-up the massive protest the way it did to violently crush pro-democracy student protestors in Beijing in 1989, globally known as the "Tiananmen Square Massacre. I earnestly hope Beijing won't do a reprise in Hong Kong but with the way the Chinese government is behaving in recent times, it's really hard to tell how far it would go to maintain control and prevent the spreading protest from reaching the mainland," Alunan said.

International public opinion vs. violent crackdown

Alunan said Filipinos have the moral duty to mobilize international public opinion I'm favor of the Hong Kong democracy activists.

"In the same manner how we are protesting China's imperialist occupation of our islands, reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea, Filipinos must help mobilize international public opinion to help prevent China's use of force against peaceful protesters. If China hurts Hong Kong citizens, it will reap the whirlwind. I'm hearing that China's massing armored troops in Szhenzhen and could move in by the weekend. If China does that, it just might trigger "open season" on its assets and resources around the world," Alunan explained.

"Front seat tickets"

Bello, who also chairs the House of Representatives' Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA), meanwhile urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to guarantee the safety of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) working in the city.

He also called on the various OFW organizations based in Hong Kong to dialogue with the Hong Kong democracy movement to better understand their demands and goals and how will the unfolding event will impact on their welfare as migrant workers.

"Our OFWs working in Hong Kong have front seat tickets to a historic event that will shape the political and economic contours of that territory. It would greatly benefit them if they would dialogue with the democracy movement not only to better appreciate their struggle and get a whole picture of the political situation but also to have knowledge of the immediate and long-term impacts it will have on their rights as migrant workers," Bello said.

In September 20, thousands of Hong Kong citizens took to the streets in a massive pro-democracy protest over Beijing's refusal to honor its promise to grant them free elections by 2017.

Yesterday, Hong Kong citizens marked China's National Day with another big pro-democracy protest which is now popularly known as the "Umbrella Revolution."

Aside from genuine universal suffrage, the protesters are also demanding the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung after police used tear gas and baton charges against them on Sunday.