Hong Kong student dies after fall during protest clash

Clay Curtis
November 8, 2019

Chow's death is expected to spark fresh protests and fuel anger and resentment against the police, who are already under huge pressure amid accusations of excessive force as the city grapples with its worst political crisis in decades.

Fatalities have been rare during the protests despite heavy-handed tactics from police and zealous actions by protesters.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology undergraduate, Chow Tsz-lok, 22, died around 8 a.m. of cardiac arrest, the Hospital Authority confirmed.

The death comes after five months of historic unrest in the region's main financial hub.

"Today we mourn the loss of the freedom fighter in HK". The university president dabbed away tears as he announced Chow's "tragic" death Friday on the second day of the convocation, with the audience standing to observe a moment of silence. "Given the losses suffered by HK society in the past month, the gov must pay the price", he tweeted.

At the University of Science and Technology, Mr Chow's colleagues staged rallies this week and on Thursday disrupted a graduation ceremony.

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Dressed in formal graduation gowns, numerous students sang as they walked from a subway station to the ceremony site, asking the government to respond to protesters' demands that include universal suffrage.

The protests were sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill to mainland China that many sees as Beijing's creeping interference on legal and other rights guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned under Chinese rule in 1997.

Millions of people have taken to the streets since the unrest began in June, with protesters calling for greater police accountability as well as democratic freedoms.

In the latest incident, a man holding a bouquet approached pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho on Wednesday morning as the politician was campaigning in his constituency near the border with China.

On Thursday, the government's Electoral Affairs Commission issued an appeal for the "public to keep calm and return to rationality" ahead of the vote, now scheduled for Nov 24.

Xu also called for "strong punishment" against violence in Hong Kong and for a "fair, just, safe and orderly environment" for the district elections, set to be held on November 24.

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