WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Twitter and Facebook today
announced the suspension of more than 200,000
The companies believed they were linked to
the Chinese government and were allegedly
That alleged social media influence campaign
was designed to tarnish Hong Kong’s pro-democracy
protest movement, which showed over the weekend
the power it wields in sheer numbers out on
Special correspondent Bruce Harrison reports
from Hong Kong.
BRUCE HARRISON: Despite weekend downpours,
it was the sea of umbrellas that flooded the
streets of Hong Kong.
Underneath, nearly two million Hong Kongers
in a sweeping show of force for democracy
in the Chinese territory.
The wave of demonstrators kept a relative
calm, a rare batch of protests absent of clashes
Hong Kongers welcomed the placid change.
MAN: This kind of demonstration is very useful,
because it is peaceful, and it is it will
do no harm to others.
It is a way to express ourselves to the government.
BRUCE HARRISON: The Hong Kong police sang
their praises, too.
TSE CHUN-CHUNG, Chief Superintendent, Hong
Kong Police Public Relations: The protest
that took place on Sunday shows, if protesters
are peaceful, rational and orderly, the police
will not and have no reason to intervene.
Violence only begets violence.
BRUCE HARRISON: But despite the despite the
momentary tranquility between demonstrators
and Hong Kong authorities, Beijing escalated
its military presence this weekend in Shenzhen,
near Hong Kong’s border with the mainland.
And, today, China’s Foreign Ministry again
blasted the protest movement.
GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): It has been more than
two months since the demonstrations and violent
criminal activities took place in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s legal system, social order, economy
and livelihood have all been seriously impacted.
It turns out that the so-called democracy
and freedom without the rule of law and order
will only lead to anarchy.
BRUCE HARRISON: Yesterday, President Trump
warned that if mainland frustration were to
become force in Hong Kong, it would jeopardize
a U.S. trade deal with Beijing.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
No, I think it’d be very hard to deal if they
I think there’d be tremendous political sentiment
not to do something.
So I hope, because I think we can end up doing
a very good deal.
BRUCE HARRISON: Meanwhile, some Hong Kong
businesses are embracing the democracy movement,
like this bakery, which is showing support
with traditional Chinese delicacy mooncakes,
featuring pro-democracy slogans.
Customers think it’s a small way to support
something bigger than themselves.
SANDY LAM, Hong Kong (through translator):
We just want to fight for what Hong Kong people
Our generation didn’t do our job, and this
caused a burden to the younger generation.
I think young people now have a clear mind,
and they know exactly what they want.
BRUCE HARRISON: But Beijing has its supporters
in the semiautonomous territories, too.
Counterprotesters this weekend said they have
YI WEI, Hong Kong (through translator): We
cannot tolerate this kind of action anymore.
You can express your political opinion, but
you cannot put it into violence.
You cannot affect other people’s normal life.
It’s the bottom line.
BRUCE HARRISON: While there’s optimism Sunday’s
protest marks a turning point away from the
often violent demonstrations, the peace here
is still very fragile.
Protesters say the current detente provides
the government a rare window to answer their
demands, but, if not, the street clashes may
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Bruce Harrison
in Hong Kong.