Hundreds rallied at Piccadilly Circus on Friday night to protest the Chinese Communist Party.
Activists from NGOs and London communities came together in response to what they labelled “crackdowns” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in East Turkestan, Hong Kong and Tibet.
On 14 July Richmond Council issued a statement of support to Hong Kong residents, while on 18 September Sutton also held a friendship festival welcoming Hong Kong immigrants, with activities including Cantonese lessons and face painting.
Sam Walton, the CEO of London-based non-profit organisation Free Tibet, said: “The people are here to stand up for the Uyghurs, who are currently undergoing a genocide in East Turkestan.
“They are here to say stop the occupation of Tibet, and they are here to say Hong Kong needs freedom and democracy.
“If people in this country, where we’re free, where we have the right to protest, want to stand up for human rights, want to stand up for democracy and the rights of others, there is really no better struggle to go out and support at the moment, to be an ally for.”
Five million Hongkongers are eligible to apply for visas in Britain, allowing them to live, work and study here before applying to become citizens.
The Government expects more than 300,000 to take this up in the next five years.
Dawa, Tibetan refugee in his 40s who came to England in 2003, said: “Today is a really big day, especially to the CCP. It is their founding day.
“For them it is a celebration, but I don’t know what they are celebrating. People are suffering. Not just Tibetan, Hong Kongers, Uyghurs – their own people are suffering.
“So we are here, we are all standing strong here together to send a strong message to CCP – we are here to resist. We are here to carry on our fight. There is a special energy.”
On 16 September, US, UK, and Australia governments announced the formulation of AUKUS – a trilateral security partnership aimed at confronting China.
Dawa said: “The reality is coming out. People around the world now are opening their eyes, what the CCP is, what the CCP is doing – not just in China, but around the world.”
As the rally reached the embassy, protestors burnt photos of the CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, while two masked activists were removed by police after burning the Chinese flag with aerosol cans.
However, speakers from the crowd praised officers for their “patience and support”.
Three Tibetan members of the rally, who did not want to be identified, said: “We are here in a freedom country. You have rights to speak up.
“People in China do not have these. We are the voice for them.”
Another added: “Tibetans inside Tibet, I think they would be very proud of us, because they can’t ask for the freedom inside Tibet, because it is not a free country.”
The protest passed peacefully, with the only obstruction of drunk men clinging to Piccadilly Square’s fountain, who gestured rudely at the crowd and shouted obscenities.
As curtains twitched in the Embassy, green pointers swarmed on windows, although the reinforced fence and security guards surrounding the entrance remained untouched.
A socialist and trade union activist, 50, who wished to be called Dave, said: “The Labour movement needs to be a movement of change from below, of building up the grassroots, and this means commitment to equality, to anti-racism, to opposing oppression, and colonial imperialism wherever it takes place in the world – and that includes China.
“This is a fake communism, and a fake socialism, and it is important that people in the Labour movement say this.
“If we are going to change the world, if we are going to win human rights, democracy, freedom everywhere in the world, we need to have the most unified, the most diverse movement we can.
“If not we will allow our divisions to weaken us.”
Benedict Rogers, the CEO and co-founder of Hong Kong Watch, addressed crowds in Picadilly Circus, while wearing a Uyghur doppa.
He said: “If I had something Tibetan I’d have worn that too but instead I carry Tibet in my heart.”
A Hong Konger, 30, said: “It is really important for us, or at least for me me, as a Hong Konger, to come out together and just stay united and show our voices, and at the same time protest against the oppression of the CCP over the years.
“It is really important to remember we’re not here to live in a better country, with freedom, but to find different ways to help people back home, and really important for us to create this sense of community.”