Australia

Hundreds gather in Sydney for police-heavy pro-China rally

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Hundreds of supporters of pro-China groups in Sydney have rallied against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, calling for a "peaceful resolution" to ongoing unrest.

Hundreds of people have gathered in Sydney at a pro-China rally, condemning violence stemming from pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Videos posted online show swathes of people descending on the city's Town Hall, many chanting "one China", “stop the violence in Hong Kong” and singing the Chinese national anthem.

A pro-China march has been held at Sydney's Town Hall.
A pro-China march has been held at Sydney's Town Hall.
Lin Evlin/SBS News

"If Hong Kongers don't love Hong Kong, get out. If you don't love China, you're our enemy. Isolate them. Get out," some protesters chanted.

The rally - attended by a diverse range of people including new migrants, international students and second or third generation Chinese-Australians - had a heavy police presence.

People attend a pro-China march in Sydney
People attend a pro-China march in Sydney
Lin Evlin/SBS News

Some demonstrators also filmed attending media outlets.

The rally was largely peaceful, except for one incident.

A man attempting to distribute leaflets in support of Hong Kong’s protesters was met with cries of “f*** you traitor” and “shame on you” before being escorted out by police.

Hong Kong has seen over two months of violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police, with authorities accused of deploying heavy-handed tactics towards protesters.

Jack, an organiser of the Sydney rally who did not give his last name, said the aim of the event was to “promote peace and end discrimination”.

“We are seeing there has been a [anti-China] bias here in Australia as well. We want to let everyone know what is happening in Hong Kong and what the truth is,” he said.

“We support Hong Kong’s police to restore the peace, and therefore reduce the tensions in the Australian-Chinese community.”

Jack, an organiser of the Sydney rally
Jack, an organiser of the Sydney rally
SBS News

"Because of the Hong Kong issue, we also see there’s some bias in Australia as well, therefore we want to let everyone know what is happening in Hong Kong and what the truth is.

"So we can reduce the tension in our community. Our main message is to promote peace and avoid discrimination.

"We also want to express our view against the “Hong Kong is not part of China” message spread around by some pro-Hong Kong people, we promote peace and support the Hong Kong police."

Eric Kwan, a taxi driver born in Sydney to parents born in Hong Kong, said the protests have been affecting his business.

“I have had customers from Hong Kong who have been cancelling their bookings,” he said.

“There can be a peaceful resolution. If violence stops from the protesters, there is no need for violence from the police side.

“I believe the Chinese government will exercise reasonable solutions.”

Eric Kwan
Eric Kwan
SBS News

It came as a second pro-Hong Kong rally in as many days was held in Melbourne's CBD.

Saturday's peaceful rally, attended by over a hundred people, stood in contrast to Friday's event.

The rally on Friday saw people supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters clash with Chinese nationalists, with videos posted to social media showing the rival groups pushing one another before being separated by police.

The event was estimated to have attracted about a thousand people at its peak.

More rallies from both sides of the divide are expected in the coming weeks.

With additional reporting from AAP

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