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Inside the Battle for Hong Kong: “We’re Now at War”

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Inside the Battle for Hong Kong: “We’re Now at War”

Pro-democracy protesters in 2019, in a still from FRONTLINE’s "Battle for Hong Kong." In 2019, a controversial extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China sparked a massive and unprecedented pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

At the start, the vast majority of protesters — many of them students and young people — were demonstrating peacefully. But following a brutal crackdown on dissent in which police officers beat protesters and deployed large amounts of tear gas, one of the world’s largest financial centers soon descended into chaos.

The protesters said they were fighting for their freedom against the communist government of China, which is due to take complete control of Hong Kong in 2047. China, meanwhile, said the protesters were “radicals,” “thugs” and “separatists.”

A new FRONTLINE documentary, Battle for Hong Kong , offers an extraordinary, on-the-ground look inside the movement as it evolved — following five young protesters through intense and escalating clashes with Hong Kong’s police.

One of those protesters, Agnes Chow, has been described as Hong Kong’s ”goddess of democracy.”

A leading voice in both the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” and the even larger wave of pro-democracy protests that gripped the city last year, the young activist has a simple explanation of her vision for Hong Kong.

“We want,” she tells FRONTLINE, “to choose our future by ourselves.”Under the Hong Kong authorities’ crackdown, protesters can face up to 10 years in prison — so most of the movement members FRONTLINE filmed with used aliases and covered their […]

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