Skip to main content

tv   Frontline  PBS  February 12, 2020 4:00am-5:00am PST

4:00 am
>> narrator: om the first student protests- on to the milwho took to the stres against beijing's contro >> all acts are one step closer to terrorism. >> narrator: filmed over eight months-lo an inside at the conflict. >> in the eyes of the chinese communist party all fighting fo democracy is over thline. >> narrator: "battle for hong kong", now on fntline. >> frontline is made possible by
4:01 am
contributions to your s station from viewers like you. thank you.ra and by t coron for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macahur foundation, committe to building a more just, verdant anpeaceful world. and by the ford foundation: workinwith visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. additional support is provided by the abrams foundation committed to excellence in journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and the heisinns foundation: unlocking knowledge, opportunity, and possibilities. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler.
4:02 am
♪ >> momo (in cantones: (sniffles) (phone camera clicks) (sniffles) ♪
4:03 am
(sniffles) (peopltalking in background) >> narrar: it's the fourth month of pro-democracy demonstrations in hong kong. (people shouting) protesters have surrounded theol car of an off-duty pe officer. >> man (shouting): >> narrator: the city is in turmoil. >> man: >> officer >> man:
4:04 am
(gun fires, people shouting) >> man: >> narrator: the officer shootsn jures a 14-year-old protester. (people shouting) how did one of the world's biggest financial centerssc d into such chaos and violence? and where will it end? (glass shatters) (peoplshouting) >> man: ♪ >> narrator: this film follows five young prosters through the most intense clashes. ♪ facing arrest for their actions, most are wearingasks and using aliases to protect their identities.
4:05 am
they say they're fighting for their freedom against the communist government of china. (fires) (people shouting) china says they are "radicals," ""thugs," and "separatist (guns firing, people shouting) ♪ >> momo: (crowd chanting) >> nrator: momo is a nurse i her late 20s. when she was a child, hong kong was a britlony. (chanting continues) (phone camera clicks) in 1997, it was returned to china and granted special status
4:06 am
for 50 years-- allowing for far more freedoms than in mainland ina. but the city's government would be accountable to the communist regime-- and its leader approve. by beijing >> momo: (man shouting) (crowd chanting) >> narrator: on june the 12th last year, momo was one of tens of thousands who took to the streets. hong kong's gornment had proposed a controversial extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland china. >> momo:
4:07 am
(shouting) >> narrator: amid growing concerns about china's influence in hong kong, the extradition bill struck a nerve. (crowd chantg) e majority of protesters were peaceful, but a few tried to take on the police. momo says she wasn't ready for what happened next. >> momo: (shouting)
4:08 am
>> narrator: the police firednt large amouof tear gas into the crowds. they were filmedeating protesters. (shouting) >> momo: (sirens blaring) ♪ s
4:09 am
(siraring) >> narrator: the hong kong authorities said the police hadt adopted a reined and tolerant attitude on june 12, and called the protesters "rioters." for many hongkongers, that day was a turning point. one of them was lomi, a researcher. >> lomi:
4:10 am
(man speaking cantonese) >> lomi: >> narrator: lomi and her friends are in a safe house, preparing for the next protest. >> lomi: >> narrator: in the weeks since june 12, the demonstrations have escalated. the protesters now have more demands, including the right to directly elect hong kong's leader without china's approval. >> narrator: the majority have been peaceful, but some-- like lomi-- are taking different
4:11 am
approach. >> lomi: >> (talking softly in background) (people shouting) >> lomi: ♪
4:12 am
(tear gas guns firing) >> narrator: the police start firing tear gas to try to clea the streets. >> lomi: (people shouting) ♪ >> lomi: >> man: >> lomi: >> man: ar >>rator: lomi and her team help build barricades to sp police water cannon vehiclesge ing within range. >> lomi:
4:13 am
>> narrator: then they realize e police are closing in. >> lom ♪ ♪ >> narrator: seconds later, police special forces charge the proteste. ♪ re they mak than a hundredre ars. but lomi and her team escape. >> man: >> lomi:
4:14 am
>> narrator: lomi and her friends say they'rrunning out of time. hong kong's special status is due to end in 2047, when china rowill take back full cont >> lomi:
4:15 am
♪ >> narrator: as the protests have intensified, china ha warned that it could directly intervene. >> woman (in mandarin): ♪ (crowd shouting, chanting)
4:16 am
(chanting contues) >> vincent: (shouting) >> narrator: vincent is one of tens of thousands of high school studen at the heart of the protests. vincent: >> woman: >> vincent: >> narrator: he has firsthand experience of life in mainland china. he grew up there before moving to hong kong in his teens. >> vincent:
4:17 am
an shouting) (crowd chanting) >> narrator: vincent says he fears hong kong will become all survce state like china. (man shouting) some lampposts here are already equipped with sensors and cameras, and have become targets of the protesters. (crowd cheering, post crashes) (cheering more loudly, applauding) >> (laughing) v incent: (siren blaring) >> narrator: hong kong currently
4:18 am
nes a free press and intert-- unlike on e chinese mainland, whd.e both are heavily censo so, it was only when vincentko arrived in hong that he learned abouchina's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at tiananmen square in 1989. (guns firing rapidly on video) >> vincent:
4:19 am
(crowd chanting) (vincent shouting) st>> narrator: since the ps began, millions of hong kong residents have participated, making them the largest on chinese terrory since tiananmen square. (m shouting) on this night, vincent has joined thousands of othe in the center of the city. one of their slogans is "liberate hong kong: revolution of our time." in >> vcent: (crowd shouting) >> narrator: a few hours later, the violence escalates (crowd shouting)s the first live roufired by the police. (gun fires)
4:20 am
a warning shot. (shouting) >> vinnt: (shouting continues) ♪ ♪ >> i thought a lot on my own future. i had to be mentally prepared to be arrested or even to be sent to the prison. >> narrator: at 22, agnes chow is already a veteran of
4:21 am
pro-democracy protests. she's not worried about showing her fa because she's already known to the authorities. she was recently arrested. >> when i woke up and i opened the door of my room, i suddenly saw five police offirs standing outside of my room. and i was so shocked. >> narrator: now she's on bail and tonight must report to a lice station. agnes says she was demonstrating peacefully, but was chard with taking part and inciting others to join an unauthorized assembly. >> if i was sent to prison sembly or protest, of coursethe as a political prisoner. ♪ the violence and the suppression from beijing and the hong kong government, andol also hong konge, is getting stronger and stronger. ♪ s
4:22 am
(making cantonese) (crowd cheering and applauding) >> narrator: hong kong has a-d history of pemocracy demonstrations and protestst agaiina, but never on this scale. >> man: >> narrator: and now, the police deem most demonstrations illegal, citing coerns about violence. >> man: >> hong kong people should enjoy genuine democracy.ul at least we wod have a political system that could kind of force the government to respect and to listen to public opinion. (in cantonese): in the eyes of the chinese communist party, all behavior, all social movement, fighting
4:23 am
for a democracy is over the red ne. (in cantonese): (crowd repeats, applau we want to choose our future by ourselves. ♪ >> narrator: agnes is heduled to go on trial soon. she faces up to five years behind bars. ♪ (sirens blaring) it's mid-september. momo has been protesting regurly since june. >> (shouting) >> momo: (sirens blaring)
4:24 am
>> narrator: she says the violence used to suppress the protests has traumatized her.ry it's also made her a she now goes to the front lines providing medical support and extinguishing tear gas rounds. >> momo: w narrator: hong kong is bitterly divided over the best way forward-- and whether the protests are doing more harm than good. the city is suffering the worst recession in a decade, and manyt blame the ts. >> momo:
4:25 am
♪ >> narrator: it's been almost four months of protests. lomi has been out confronting the police several times a week. >> lomi:
4:26 am
(men shouting) (sirens blaring)ic >> narrator: the polare stepping up the arrests. the protesters face up to ten years in jl for rioting, so the stakes are high. >> lomi: >> woman: >> narrator: lomi's team are ine their safe hlanning their next move. >> lomi: >> narrator: one of the biggest celebrations in china's history is on the horizon, and the protesters are planning to do all they c to undermine it. >> lomi:
4:27 am
>> narrator: octer 1 marks national day, 70 years sinceth beginning of communist rule in china. a huge parade in beijing will showcase china's increasing military and economic power to the world. >> lomi: ♪ >> narrator: the hong kong police are on high art. (sirens blaring) >> we are on the verge of extreme nger. mass property destruction,furio, indiscriminate attacks on innocent citizens.
4:28 am
there are apparent signshat hardcore violence will escalatea in the nr future. all acts are one step closer to terrorism. ♪ >> narrator: vincent, the high school student from maland china, is so planning to otest on national day. for him and many other protesters, the communist party is thenemy. >> vincent: >> it's a very symbolic day. a lot of people are suffering under this regime, people in tibet or xinjiang or people practicing religion in chi,
4:29 am
people who voice out the truth. that's why, for us, it's never a day for celebration. ♪ (cannons firing) >> narrator: the celebrations in gijing are underway, mark china's emergence as a global power. (marching band playing)an (shouting in mrin) presiding over the event is china's leader, xi jinping. (marching band continues) (parade playing over phone) back in hong kong, momo is getting ready for action on the streets.
4:30 am
>> momo (in cantonese): >> xi (in mandarin, via phone): (live, over speakers): (fanfare playing) >> vincent (in cantonese):
4:31 am
(shooting tear gas canisters) ♪ >> woman: >> lomi: >> narrator: lomi's team hastc split up to h the police response across the city. >> lomi: (tear gas canister hisses)
4:32 am
(guns firing and popping inst ance) (people shoung) >> man: >> narrator: as the dayth progressesprotesters' anger agait china ramps up. >> man: >> narrator: a group of them surround a chinese tourist. >> man: >> narrator: there's growing suspicion of anyone from the mainland. >> man: (people shouting) >> man: (people shouting) >> lomi: :
4:33 am
>> man (in mandari er (protestchanting) (tear gas gun firing) >> narrator: by mid-afternoon o national day, clasbetween protters and police have spread to 13 areas acroshong kong. (tear gas guns firing) nt >> lomi (in caonese): >> narrator: the police are closing in around lomi's group.a (tr gas guns firing) (people shouting) >> lomi:an : >> lomi: ring)ns blaring, tear gas gunsfi ♪ (tear gas guns firing)
4:34 am
>> narrator: in another part of the city, momo's heading to the front line. (man shouting) she's recorded a message for her parents. >> momo: (sniffles) (sniffles)
4:35 am
(sniffles) >> narrator: over the course of the protests on national day, the hong kong police sayhey e forced to shoot six live rounds to defend themselves. (people shouting) one is fired by officer whose colleague is being attacked by u (gun fires)ters. the bullet seriously injures aen (people shouting) >> xi (in mandarin): (crowd applauding) >> narrator: to cap off the day, there's a huge firework display in beijing. (crowd cheering)
4:36 am
hong kong's official fireworks are canceled. but the protesters organize their own. (fireworks shrieking and explodg) (crowd gasps, cheers) >> vincent: (crowd cheering) (shouting and cheering)k (fireworexplodes, crowd cheers) ♪ >> narrator: after theiolence
4:37 am
on china's national day, hong kong's authorities take newur me in an effort to stop the protests. p >>rotesters' violence has been escalati and has reached a very alarming level the past few days, causing numerous injuries and leading hong kong to a chaotic and panicked situation. the chief executive and council decided at a special meeting this morning to invoke the power under the emergency regulations ordinance. the objective of this regulatioa is to end violen restore order. >> narrator: face masks are banned. the government also goes on to make a concession, formally withdrawing the extradition bill that ignited the protests. but it's too late. hard-liners ramp up their
4:38 am
battles with the police and take control a university campus. >> li: >> narrator: li is part of a university of hong kong.hi >> li: ri >> narrator: li is m and has a daughter. he's been protesting since june. >> li: >> man: >> li:
4:39 am
>> man: >> narrator: li and his fellow hard-liners ardevising new ways to keep the police at bay, fortifying their barricade of the university campus. >> man: >> li:
4:40 am
>> man: >> li: >> man: >> man 2: ♪ >> narrator: li and the hard-liners have heard there's a larger gathering elsewhere in hong kong. they decide to andon the chinese university. >> li: (man shouting) >> narrator: they have a bigger hebattle to fight-- across
4:41 am
city, at the hong kong polytechnic university. (sirens blaring) >> man: >> narrator: around 2,000 protesters have amassed at the campus. (man shouting) lomi is among the crowd. and li and his fellow hard-liners are also here. >> man: >> narrator: the police have them surrounded. >> li: >> man: >> li: >> narrator: it's the start of the most violent confrontation sie the protests began. (shoutin
4:42 am
up on the terrace, li is in the firing line. (protesters shouting) (sirens blaring) >> man: >> man: >> li: >> man: >> li:
4:43 am
(tear gas gun fires) (canister hissing) ♪ (protesters shouting) t narrator: the standoff university drags on through the ♪ ght. inside, there's a gring sense of desperation. >> man:
4:44 am
♪ >> narrator: lomi and her team start planning their escape. >> lomi:>> >> narrator: they plan to use a highway overpass.o a nearby >> man: >> mani: >> lomi: (phone ringing)
4:45 am
(siren blaring)r: >> narrato lomi disappears into the chaos just as another group of protesters try to get out of the campus. ♪ >>oman: >> man: >> narrator: the police continue to bombard the crowdith tear gas, rubber bullets, and water (protes shouting) >> woman: >> narrator: suddenly, thepo ce move in. (protesters shouting) ♪ in
4:46 am
(tear gas gu fg) >> offic: >> nrator: it's a major victory for the authorities. ar after ly half a year of pitched battles, much of the hard-line protest movement has been broken apart. >> officer:
4:47 am
officer (in cantonese): ♪ ♪ >> narrator: after the end of the polytechnic siege, the lice arrest more protesters.
4:48 am
>> momo: >> narrator: momo is still going to the protest she says she's increasingly worried about the countdown to ina taking full control hong kong. >> momo:
4:49 am
>> vincent: >> narrator: vincent is now on bail after being arrested for unauthized assembly. he used to regularly visit mainland cna to see his father and family, but after his arresthe says he's worried the authities there will also h punish for being part of the protests. >> vincent:
4:50 am
♪ >> lomi: to >> narrar: lomi has fled hong kong. after escaping theampus siege eight weeks earlier, she's taking refuge in nearby taiwan. >> lomi:
4:51 am
oice trembling) ♪ ♪
4:52 am
4:53 am
♪ >> go to for the latest on the protests in hong kong. and how the outbreak of the coronavirus is impacting the situation. visit the frontline archive where you can stream more than 200 frontline documentaries. in>> connect to the frontle community on facebook and w twitter, andatch anytime on the pbs video app or >> i'm jeff bezos. >> what is your claim to fame? >> i'm the founder of >> is amazon taking over the world a good thing?s >> what jeff bezos i after is a company that is the infrastructure, that owns thenfrastructure.
4:54 am
and that's an incredibly powerful place to be. >> ...some people asking if amazon is a monopoly. >> how do you and jeff think about the call to break you guys up? >> simply because the company's been successful, doesn't mean it's somehow too big. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to youpbs station from viewers like you. thank you.po and by the ction for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to building a mo just, verdant and peaceful world. and by the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. by the abrams foundatiprovided committed to excellence in journalism. the park foundatio dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues.el the john and glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs an inspires. the heising-simons foundation: unlocking knowledge,
4:55 am
opportunity, and possibilities. and by the frontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. captioned by media access group at wgbh >> for more on this and other "frontline" programs, visit our website at ♪ frontline's,ng "battle for ong" is available on amazon prime video. ♪
4:56 am
♪ you're watching pbs. ♪ ♪
4:57 am
4:58 am
4:59 am
5:00 am
at the just for laughs festival in montreal. he was a two-time stand-up comedy competition champion, so start clapping right now, and make some good noise for jeremy mclellan, everybody! [ cheers and applause ] -i do a lot of merial on religio on politics, anything that people are usually not suppose to talk about in polmpany. i travel full-time, and whenever i travel, people always assume that just because i'm from south carolina, i must be racist. but, like, south carolina, we actually have a very rich, progressive history. i don't know if you know this, but we actually started the war that ended slavery. [ laughter ] 're welcome. free speech is the entire lifeblood of comedy. withee speech, you don't have it. ♪