VANCOUVER AND HONG KONG (Toronto Star) —Dark circles ring Abraham Wong’s eyes. The Vancouver realtor’s phone has been on 24 hours a day since early June, when a series of protests against Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill intensified.
In a downtown Vancouver office Thursday, Wong’s phone continually buzzed with messages from protesters on the ground in Hong Kong. He is texting and talking to people as young as 14, answering questions about everything from how to immigrate to Canada to how overseas audiences perceive the police crackdowns on protesters.
The 32-year-old businessman, who has both Canadian and Hong Kong citizenship, said he is one of hundreds of Canadian-based supporters of the pro-democracy movement that has spilled onto the streets of the former British colony.
Protests have become part of life for Hong Kongers, ever since it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement, which requires Beijing to respect the autonomy of its rule-of-law legal system for 50 years.
Tens of thousands of people from Hong Kong immigrated to Canada in the years surrounding what is known as the 1997 “handover,” but many remain engaged in the city’s struggles.
Wong is the public face of the Canadian supporters, who are part of an informal, international network that has expanded in recent weeks to help Hong Kongers who are protesting the extradition bill.
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