China National Day Live Updates: A Parade and Protest Fears

China National Day Live Updates: A Parade and Protest Fears

The Hong Kong police used a live round against a protester for the first time in months of protests, as Beijing celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule.


CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

A Hong Kong police officer on Tuesday shot a teenage demonstrator, the first time in months of protests that a live round was fired at a protester. The shooting capped an evening of violent protests, escalating the territory’s political crisis on the same day that the central government staged a huge military parade in Beijing to celebrate 70 years of Communist control.

The protesters in Hong Kong hoped to upstage Beijing’s celebrations by holding their own unauthorized marches. Violence quickly broke out, as demonstrators in districts across the city engaged in some of the bloodiest and most sustained clashes since protesters began taking to the streets in early June.

The protester was shot in the Tsuen Wan district of northern Hong Kong. Tsuen Wan is a working-class area near Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland, miles from the city’s gleaming financial district.

Yolanda Yu, a spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Police Force, said in a video posted on the force’s Facebook page that the protester was an 18-year-old who had been shot in the left shoulder. She said the protester was conscious as he was taken to the hospital.

Local news media reported that the young man was a high school student.

Ms. Yu said the officer who shot the protester had been under attack by violent “rioters” who were threatening officers’ lives. “In order to save himself and his colleagues, he fired one shot at the attacker,” she said.

In the video, the protester who was shot is first seen joining a black-clad mob of people who chase a riot officer and tackle him to the ground. They kick him and beat him with what appear to be metal pipes.

At one point, the protester approaches a second police officer who is standing nearby with a handgun drawn. Just after the protester hits the officer with the pipe, the officer fires at the man at point-blank range.

Stephen Lo, the Hong Kong police commissioner, told reporters at a late-night news conference that doctors were treating the 18-year-old who had been shot. He said the protester had been arrested and that the authorities would decide later whether to press charges of assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Lo said the officer who shot the protester on Tuesday acted in a “legal and reasonable” manner by giving a verbal warning before he opened fire. The officer had been assaulted at close quarters, Mr. Lo added, and had no other choice but to fire a live bullet. “The range was not determined by the police officer, but by the perpetrator,” he said.

Hong Kong was transformed into a tear gas-engulfed battlefield on Tuesday as protesters clashed with riot police in nine districts across the territory, building bonfires and barricades and hurling firebombs and other objects in a direct challenge to Beijing’s rule.

The sirens of ambulances and fire trucks rang out as the police chased after and tried to pin down protesters dressed in black — who in many cases far outnumbered the officers at the scene.

Traffic was snarled on some major thoroughfares, subway stations were shut down and the clashes continued deep into the evening.

The police created a cordon and used a water-cannon truck to keep protesters away from the office of the central government’s liaison to the territory. Elsewhere, they fired live rounds as warning shots, and chased after protesters, pinning some of them down. The Hong Kong Police Force said on Twitter that “rioters” in one district had injured multiple officers and reporters with “corrosive fluid.” It did not elaborate.

The demonstrations began in earnest when tens of thousands of people joined an early afternoon march on Hong Kong’s main island from the Causeway Bay shopping district toward the heart of the city’s financial district. Some protesters sprinkled fake money — a traditional Chinese funerary custom — as a way of “mourning” China’s National Day. Others cursed and taunted those riot police who were stationed nearby, and who retreated into the shadows of a nearby footbridge.

The Hong Kong island march was largely peaceful. But others across the territory turned into violent clashes.

Hundreds of protesters fought with riot police officers outside a shuttered town hall in Tuen Mun, close to Hong Kong’s border with the Chinese mainland. The police also fired multiple rounds of tear gas at demonstrators in the Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan and Wong Tai Sin neighborhoods. And as protesters squared off with police at either side of an avenue in the working-class neighborhood of Sham Shui Po, some built makeshift roadblocks with trash cans and bamboo sticks, and others built bonfires.

In the Jordan neighborhood on the Kowloon Peninsula, seven masked men used a Molotov cocktail to burn posters of Xi Jinping outside a Chinese Army barracks. They left after setting the blaze, and soldiers inside the gates did not emerge to confront them.

In Wong Tai Sin, where the police had fired tear gas at one point near a retirement home, dozens of residents without masks or protest gear shouted at police to retreat.

“I want to cry. I come downstairs and feel that I have walked into a war zone,” Vincey Wu, a 53-year-old accountant said. “Carrie Lam has gone off to celebrate National Day. But has she thought about her people who are breathing in tear gas?”

The police said in a statement on Tuesday night that “rioters” had damaged private property and government offices across the city, and thrown gasoline bombs into a train compartment and onto the platform of a subway station.

At a news conference near midnight, Stephen Lo, the Hong Kong police commissioner, told reporters that more than 180 people had been arrested on Tuesday on charges that include rioting, attacking police officers and possessing offensive weapons.

Mr. Lo said that the police force had fired six live rounds in three different districts of the city and that 25 officers had been injured. “The majority of people who came out today were not merely protesters who wanted to express their voice,” he added. “Instead, they had just one goal: causing damage and assaulting police and citizens.”

As of midnight, 74 people had been hospitalized across Hong Kong, including two men who were in critical condition and another two men who were in serious condition, the authorities said.

To the report of a 70-gun salute, 15,000 soldiers goose-stepped along Chang An Avenue — the Street of Eternal Peace — as an enormous military parade kicked off in Beijing.

The parade, commemorating 70 years of Communist Party rule in China, is one of the largest in modern Chinese history. It included 100,000 performers and was the capstone of a week of events meant to celebrate the country’s rapid emergence as a global power.

In his opening speech before the parade, Mr. Xi quickly hit on the theme of Hong Kong, the semiautonomous territory that has been roiled by anti-government protests for months.

“No force can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation,” Mr. Xi said speaking from Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which overlooks the square.

Mr. Xi said that China would “maintain the lasting prosperity and stability” of Hong Kong and Macau. He made no mention of the months of strife in Hong Kong, but his words left no mistake that Hong Kong is on the mind of Chinese leaders today.

Mr. Xi also used the occasion to emphasize his narrative of national unity and rejuvenation under party rule. “No power can stop the progress of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation,” he said.

In the tradition of past parades, Mr. Xi, wearing a Mao-style suit, stood in the open sunroof of a Chinese-made Red Flag limousine as he reviewed the troops. He called out “Greetings, Comrades,” and “Comrades, you are working hard!” The troops responded in unison: “Greetings, Chairman” and “Serve the people!”

Many tens of thousands of other people marched through a busy Hong Kong shopping district on Tuesday afternoon.

The large crowd defied a government ban on assembly and marched through an empty thoroughfare in the Causeway Bay district on Hong Kong’s main island. Chants of “Hong Kongers, add oil!” and “Reclaim Hong Kong; revolution of our times” echoed off a canyon of skyscrapers and shuttered shopping malls.

“We are scared now,” said Ricky Hong, 49, a marketing executive who joined the march with his wife and young daughter. “Everyone is afraid of being arrested for just exercising our right to assembly and free speech.”

“This is not the Hong Kong we know,” he added. “Please tell the world.”

In the late afternoon, thousands of other protesters broke off from the main march and headed to a harbor-side complex of government offices. The mood remained festive, but grew more tense a

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