Hong Kong Secret Volunteer Medics

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As riot police fought anti-government demonstrators on the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend, two photos popped into the encrypted inbox of a group of volunteer medics who call themselves the “Hidden Clinic.” The images showed the nastily swollen left arm of a 22-year-old protester who had been beaten and were accompanied by a message from the sender that said, “I suspect his bone is broken.” After exchanges through the night via the Telegram messaging app that arranged an off-the-books X-ray, the protester was diagnosed with a displaced fracture of the ulnar bone. With Hong Kong’s summer of protests now stretching into the fall and clashes becoming increasingly ferocious, medical professionals have quietly banded together to form the Hidden Clinic and other networks to secretly treat the injuries of many young demonstrators who fear arrest if they go to government hospitals. The person who messaged the network on the injured protester’s behalf later explained the youth’s wariness by saying, “Many of his friends have been detained when seeing doctors.” The Hong Kong Hidden Clinic says it has clandestinely treated 300-400 protesters with an array of injuries: broken and dislocated bones, gaping wounds and exposure to tear gas so prolonged that they were coughing up blood. It also says the severity of the injuries has increased sharply in the past week, with hard-core protesters and police increasingly tough on each other. A practitioner who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and is not affiliated with Hidden Clinic says she alone has…

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