As the Hong Kong uprising hits its sixth week, the island is running out of protective gear to guard the surging protesters against police violence; in response, Hong Kongers in Taiwan and Taiwanese sympathizers have been bulk-shipping helmets, gas masks and other materiel (as well as cash) to the protesters (in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, queues formed as people waited to make donations).
In response, Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have stepped up inspections of packages from Taiwan to Hong Kong, and have seized anything that might be used by protesters. For now, Hong Kong-based Chunghwa Post has emerged as the preferred method for shipments.
The grievances over mainland interference in local politics, as well as the repression faced by Hong Kong protesters, has buoyed support for Taiwanese independence, with a majority of Taiwanese surveyed supporting the Hong Kong protesters; support for Taiwanese independence has risen more than ten points, to 88%.
Helmets and other protective gear are in short supply in Hong Kong as opponents to an extradition bill to China and protesters and the police’s anti-riot squads battle for control of the streets and public spaces. Rubber bullets and tear gas canisters have been fired by police in many districts of the former British colony.