A cross-class movement

Because Hong Kong’s democracy movement is 30 years in the making, it has gradually expanded to a cross-class movement. College students and professionals (in particular teachers and social workers) have always formed the core of support. The anti-Article 23 episode in 2003 draw in lawyers and medical workers (who were furious at the initial covering up of SARS). The anti-patriotic education episode in 2012 politicized a generation of teenagers. Workers have likewise served as a key pillar because pro-democracy legislators have promoted labor rights over the years. Some business elites and small businesses have also joined the currents. Jimmy Lai publishes the Apple Daily which is the staunchest pro-democracy media company when many other media bosses have exercised self-censorship. The Liberal Party formed of business leaders can be seen as a fence-sitter: it defected from Article 23 legislation in 2003 and are well-known for their despise for the Chief Executive CY Leung.

Nevertheless, there are limits to how far the movement can grow. Hong Kong has had a long-standing 60-40 divide between pro-democracy and pro-establishment support as reflected in past election results. International observers are baffled when they see scenes of counter-protestors cursing and yelling at pro-democracy protestors. While reporters have dug up evidence that some counter-protestors are paid, pro-establishment sentiments are largely genuine. It is noteworthy that a significant portion of pro-democracy supporters did not endorse disruptive action, so much so that Occupy Central initially chose a public holiday to minimize disruption. The police’s use of pepper spray and tear gas, however, turned many skeptics of Occupy Central into sympathetic supporters of the Umbrella Movement.

[July 1, 2015]  Hong Kong’s Umbrella Protests Were More Than Just a Student Movement

Who Occupied Hong Kong?

Age of Occupy Central Participants Surveyed

Percentage of Total Surveyed (1,562 respondents)

Age of Hong Kong Population*

Percentage of Total Hong Kong Population**





























* Source: Census and Statistics Department

[Nov. 29] A Ming Pao survey of occupiers from Oct. 20 to 26 shows that the occupiers are predominantly young, with 61% under 29 and 24% between 30 and 39. 55% have tertiary education. Students accounted for only 26% of the occupiers while the white-colored  and the self-employed 58%. 後雨傘運動:告別政治冷感的年代

Hong Kong ‘Umbrella’ protest thrives on diversity, from Admiralty to Mongkok — From doctoral students singing Cantonese pop to a working class generation that fled Mao’s China, 40 days of demands for real democracy bring a tale of two Hong Kongs  http://m.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2014/1109/Hong-Kong-Umbrella-protest-thrives-on-diversity-from-Admiralty-to-Mongkok

Artists who support the Umbrella Movement and are now blacklisted by Beijing (that is, they are banned from the lucrative China market):


image1 image2

Civil servants supporting the Umbrella Movement: https://www.facebook.com/nonstandardcivilservant

Medical professionals set up medical support stations: 《佔領故事》:醫護義工 (2014-11-04)

The nursing profession rejects the government’s model of vetted elections  護士發起聯署 促李國麟懸崖勒馬:「廢除功能組別換假普選並不可取」

The medical profession rejects the government’s model of vetted elections 杏林覺醒就2017年行政長官選舉辦法公眾諮詢意見書

IT sector rejects the government plan 科技界發起聯署 反對831框架

Young business professionals are discontented with the government proposal 葉劉晤金融才俊:不少都不滿8.31框架

Hong Kong Professionals Get Organized for Democracy Post-Occupy

Middle class supporters organized a drive in:


Flight attendants joined occupy Mongkok on Nov. 1:


Workers showed their support and were instrumental in building bamboo barricades:




But don’t count on tycoons. On Oct. 25, the official New China News Agency publishes a commentary entitled “Hong Kong tycoons reluctant to take side amid Occupy turmoil”:

Sitting next to Tung at the meeting with President Xi was Li Ka- shing who made a statement on Oct. 15, calling on the Occupy protesters to go home and not to “let today’s passion become tomorrow’s regrets.” The Asia’s wealthiest man did not make it clear whether or not he agrees with the appeals of the protesters…

Other Hong Kong tycoons, such as Lee Shau-kee, nicknamed “Hong Kong’s Warrenn Buffett,” Kuok Hock Nien known for his sugar refineries in Asia, and Woo Kwong-ching whose businesses range from Hong Kong’s cable TV to the Star Ferry, have all remained mute… none of the tycoons at President Xi’s meeting has expressed support to the police’s handling of the demonstrations and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s government. (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-10/25/c_133741923.htm)


See also the Umbrella Movement in Songs: https://victoriatbhui.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/umbrella-movement-in-songs/


How HK people are divided:

The Moment of Truth” 


Many young protestors have anti-occupy parents. Many have written open letters to their parents:

一個坐在金鐘多天沒幫媽媽做家務的不肖子:爸爸媽媽,請讓我們去 為自已的未來奮闘


Filed under Umbrella Movement

4 responses to “A cross-class movement

  1. Pingback: Umbrella Movement in songs | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: Protest, counterprotest and the collective action problem | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: Post-occupy: Divided over strategies; time for targeted boycott | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  4. Pingback: Not a Christian Movement | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

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