When Hong Kong was thrown into a political crisis last year after the government of the autonomous region proposed a bill that would allow Beijing to extradite Hong Kong criminals to mainland China, the territory’s Nepali community was ambivalent.
Many were fed up with violent demonstrations and national shut-downs called by political parties back home in Nepal, and were dismayed that street protests followed them to Hong Kong. However, some Nepali students here have joined the protests, and have even been arrested.
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Protests have gone on for eight months, and continued over the Chinese New Year and despite the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak .
Hong Kong’s 25,000-strong Nepali community has been directly impacted by the protests. ‘Little Nepal’ in the Jordan neighborhood in Kowloon has seen some of the most violent clashes between protesters and police.
Read also: Two Nepalis held in Hong Kong protests, Irtika Bajracharya
Following massive demonstrations of 1 October, the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Hong Kong confirmed that two Nepali students, Jenny Rai and Rosemary Limbu, had been arrested.
“I just came out for my city,” Rai told Nepali Times. “This is where I was born. I’m sure if this happened in Nepal, they would have gone out just like me without any regrets.”
On the day of Rai’s arrest, she was grabbed by an officer from behind while she was trying to run away. He pinned her to the ground, pressing her face to the metal shutter of a closed shop. She yelled out her name – a common practice among arrested protesters so witnesses can inform family and friends.