Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time
September 4, 2019 9:03 PM   Subscribe

Hong Kong has been embroiled in protests for over two months now. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam moved to withdraw the controversial extradition bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China in an attempt to defuse tensions with the Hong Kong population, two days after Reuters released a special report capturing Lam's admittance in English that she feared her ability to resolve the crisis was very limited. For protesters, it may be too little, too late, as protesters have expanded their requirements to include "five demands, not one less", among them: "an independent probe into the use of force by police; amnesty for arrested protesters; a halt to categorising the protests as riots; and the implementation of universal suffrage".

The Hong Kong Police Force have been accused of excessive force and brutality in their dealings with the protesters, and colluding with local triad members to beat up protesters. Protesters have taken their cue from local legend Bruce Lee, to "be water", with no visible leaders, and leaving Beijing thoroughly confused.
posted by toastyk (23 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
I forgot to mention that support for the Hong Kong protests is surprising bipartisan from the US, with tweets from Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, support from Marco Rubio, Democratic presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Rubio and Jim McGovern have reintroduced The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, reaffirming the US Congress support for human rights and rule of law in Hong Kong.
posted by toastyk at 9:16 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what is the best way to make a donation in support of the protestors?
posted by NotLost at 9:34 PM on September 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


NotLost, I'm glad you asked. This page made the rounds on my Facebook feed last week or so: Beyond Lennon Walls.

If you are comfortable participating in a solidarity protest in a nearby city, Global Solidarity with Hong Kong might have the details (they also have a Facebook page.) I must also add that these solidarity protests have attracted pro-Beijing counter protestors (in Sydney; in Toronto; in London) and Vancouver attendees think they're being watched.
posted by invokeuse at 9:54 PM on September 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


Hong Kong has shown the world that love of freedom from tyranny is not dead. Two months of full on protests!
posted by xammerboy at 10:42 PM on September 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Didn’t Do It for You (Yi-Zheng Lian, NYT Opinion)
Whatever the protesters’ next response to Wednesday’s announcements, and however the government then follows up, Mrs. Lam’s off-the-record talk with the business group last week holds hints of what may come in the medium term.

She said that she had gotten clear hints from Beijing that no matter what happened in the streets of Hong Kong, China would not send in the People’s Liberation Army; Beijing just wouldn’t risk damaging its “international profile,” which took so long to build, as “not only a big economy, but a big, responsible economy.” There is unintended mercy in cold calculus, apparently.

But this also means, in the words of Mrs. Lam, that the authorities in Beijing are “willing to play it long,” and “so you have no short-term solution.” Put another way: China’s strategy is essentially to play a game of attrition, conceding as little as possible while expecting the Hong Kong government and the local police to hold out longer than the protesters, despite the risk of imposing significant costs on the city in the meantime.
posted by katra at 10:47 PM on September 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Among other things, the HK police chased protestors onto subways and started beating everyone in sight. Anyone soft-pedaling the violent actions of the HK police should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:44 AM on September 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


Among other things, the HK police chased protestors onto subways and started beating everyone in sight. Anyone soft-pedaling the violent actions of the HK police should be ashamed of themselves.

It is worth noting that a certain percentage of the uniformed people doing that are rumoured not to be normal HK police; there's a lot of talk of officers suddenly speaking Mandarin to each other, not understanding Cantonese from protesters, and piling in to an unusual degree.
posted by jaduncan at 3:32 AM on September 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


(not that this means that the HK police are off the hook; failing to arrest ringers and triad attackers is as bad as doing it themselves)
posted by jaduncan at 3:33 AM on September 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


I forgot to mention that support for the Hong Kong protests is surprising bipartisan from the US

Well, "support" is an easy position to take, with no risk or political cost. It's sending thoughts and prayers to the protesters.
posted by thelonius at 4:10 AM on September 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


I wanted to learn more about the universal suffrage demand and found this article a helpful intro.
posted by latkes at 6:21 AM on September 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, "support" is an easy position to take, with no risk or political cost. It's sending thoughts and prayers to the protesters.

Exactly - if we were to find tens of thousands of protesters in US streets actively resisting police attempts to control them, setting up their own mesh networks for secure communication, blockading entire sections of cities ... well, I guarantee Moscow Mitch and ghouls like him would have a very different reaction.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:43 AM on September 5, 2019 [9 favorites]


A person I know who used to be in the HK police, back when the city was a British colony, is certain the 'Triad' members seen in the news are not actually Triad, but PLA out-of-uniform.
posted by dazed_one at 7:42 AM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


The youth of Hong Kong are brave and inspiring, and they deserve the support of freedom-loving people everywhere.

Hong Kong students sing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" over the national anthem at a school assembly.

And a brief but compelling profile of student protestors, from the BeWater HK Facebook page:
The Other Side of “Rioters” //
"Rioters" and Their Moments of Innocence

During the police’s mass clearance on HK Island, some protestors took the train to Lok Fu and waited for the others to arrive in a park. We followed them and saw moments excluded from the usual news.

While waiting, these young people in gas masks and black clothes seemed to have found their long-lost childish side and started climbing on facilities at the children’s playground. Noticing our cameras, they even smiled and posed, looking drastically different from their usual image.

When walking past a housing estate, residents shouted “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our time” from above to show support. Surprisingly, these young people answered, “It’s almost midnight, let’s not shout now.”

Finally, when they were blocking Lung Cheung Rd, they noticed there were children inside a car that was trapped and removed the roadblock to let it drive away. Soon after, there was another car with children onboard, and one of them said, “There’s children on almost every car, which means we’re letting them all go through. What’s the point of the roadblock then?” Then they cleared the roadblock.

The fact is, this kind of struggle between violence and the kindness in their hearts had been constant in the past three months of protests.

This is a far cry from the "rioters" label they received from the oppositions. What made these youngsters choose to spend their summer on revolution?

And finally, Why everyone should care about what is happening in Hong Kong, despite all the world’s troubles
posted by mammoth at 8:15 AM on September 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


I disagree that words from the US are meaningless. I agree that the words from Mitch McConnell are ridiculous and hypocritical, but they're not meaningless to the CCP. Hong Kongers and the CCP take international support seriously, which is why you'll see Joshua Wong retweeting various US government officials' support, and why the CCP accuses the US CIA of instigating the protests (as if!). To them, they don't really particularly care about our issues with McConnell, and it's not like they're keeping track of all our grudges against the Republican Party. To them, it's a US Senator with all the prestige that accords him (for the moment).
posted by toastyk at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


HK protesters are currently calling on US representatives to pass actual legislation. That's why international support matters.

And IMO the more eyes there appear to be on HK -even if it might all be empty talk - the less likely the CCP will violently crack down on the movement.
posted by airmail at 12:14 PM on September 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


It is worth noting that a certain percentage of the uniformed people doing that are rumoured not to be normal HK police; there's a lot of talk of officers suddenly speaking Mandarin to each other, not understanding Cantonese from protesters, and piling in to an unusual degree.
A safe assumption to make is that the HK police have been deeply infiltrated / compromised by the PLA. It would be difficult to imagine the PLA not planning for cases like this since ‘97. Or even ‘89.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:31 PM on September 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


Well, "support" is an easy position to take, with no risk or political cost.

If it's such an easy position to take, then why aren't more taking it?

One of the common responses I've seen online and heard in real life is that, "The protesters are still at it. Why? It's hopeless, they should just give up." I honestly don't know if people actually believe that, or it's just some way of justifying a reason not to care about what's going on.

The thing is, protests and unrest do happen in China. Like the ones in 2009 in Xinjiang and 2008 in Tibet. But Hong Kong is different from those places. It's not happening on one of China's isolated frontiers where it's relatively easy to shutdown connections and communications with the outside world, crackdown, and then cover up everything. Hong Kong is right on China's rich eastern coast, deeply connected to the West in terms of things like culture, economics, and people. Those protesting in Hong Kong know this is one of the privileges they still have for now, and are trying to leverage it as much as possible. That's why they are holding up English signs, and protesting at the airport, and trying to get Overseas Chinese/HK communities involved, and even trying to join and learn Twitter to get the message out.
posted by FJT at 11:01 PM on September 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


The thing is, protests and unrest do happen in China. Like the ones in 2009 in Xinjiang and 2008 in Tibet.

Yes, and neither of those amounted to a hill of beans, geopolitically-speaking. Nor, indeed, did their precursor protests/revolts amount to a hill of beans. China can kill anyone they want, whenever they want, for whatever reason they want, and there is nothing you can do about it.

...in fact, your government (I do not know what “your” government is, but amusingly enough it doesn’t matter) will prostrate themselves rather than take a stand. They all do, in the end.

It’s merely a question of money, as always. My concern is with the protesters who are going to die.

And they will die, it’s simply a matter of who will notice.
posted by aramaic at 11:52 PM on September 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Many Hong Kongers consider this protest to be their "last stand". 2047 is closer than ever before, and they know the futility of fighting the Chinese Communist Party. Many of the protesters are carrying their last will and testament on their bodies, knowing that at any point, the police might beat or torture them to death. It's a cost they've already considered and factored into their fight.

If you want to still keep up with what's happening, I've found the Be Water Facebook page to be a good source of translated materials, as well as Hong Kong Free Press for independent media coverage.
posted by toastyk at 9:35 AM on September 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


One picture that will stick with me is of a protester in a gas mask holding a tennis racket to swat back incoming tear gas canisters. Whoa!

I've read a bunch of articles recently by Chinese dissidents praising Trump's tariffs. If only these were in response to China's human rights abuses I would be supportive too.
posted by xammerboy at 7:46 PM on September 7, 2019


Der SpiegelPearl River Delta: China Experiments with a New Kind of Megalopolis
Beijing is building a megacity in the Pearl River Delta that it hopes will one day rival New York and Tokyo. This colossal urbanization project is a bold attempt at metropolitan integration -- and perhaps also a plan by the Chinese leadership to keep Hong Kong under its thumb.
posted by XMLicious at 5:35 AM on September 8, 2019


Guardian: Hong Kong: violence follows calls for Trump to 'liberate' territory
Hong Kong police have fired teargas to disperse protesters in the upmarket Causeway Bay shopping district, after demonstrators rallied at the US consulate calling on Donald Trump to “liberate” the territory.

Police had clashed with protesters in the Central district as the demonstrations in Hong Kong entered their 14th week. Protesters dispersed to nearby Admiralty, the bar district of Wan Chai and on to Causeway Bay. On Sunday evening activists set up barricades, smashed windows, started street fires and vandalised the mass transit railway (MTR) station in Central. [...]

The violence followed an earlier march during which thousands of protesters sang the Star-spangled Banner and called on the US president to “liberate” the city. They waved US national flags and placards demanding democracy. “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” and “Resist Beijing, liberate Hong Kong” were among the slogans shouted before protesters handed over petitions at the consulate. [...]

Schumer urged the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who sets the floor agenda, to bring up a bipartisan bill that would require an annual justification of the special treatment afforded by Washington to Hong Kong. This includes special trade and business privileges under the US Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

The legislation, called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, would also mandate that officials in China and Hong Kong who have undermined the city’s autonomy be vulnerable to sanctions. In their petition handed to the US consulate, the Hong Kong protesters urged that the bill be passed in full.
posted by katra at 11:14 PM on September 8, 2019




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