Umbrella Movement in songs–and artists in politics

[updated on June 6, 2016]

TV Most put on a widely acclaimed and sold-out performance of parody songs on Jan. 11, 2016: “TVMost 1st Guy Ten Big Ging Cook Gum Cook Awards Distribution (􀀗􀀋􀀇􀀍􀀆􀀁第一屆十大勁曲金曲分獎典禮)” — official videos;  How TVMost show made its audience feel like Hongkongers ; Hongkongers need more of sense of humour, especially in politicsHumour out of chaos: How satire helps channel Hong Kong people’s frustrations ; 笑聲滿載對抗的溫馨

撐起雨傘 Raise the Umbrellas

[Jan. 1, 2015] The Umbrella theme song “Raise the umbrella” named song of 2014 with a symbolic no. of votes (2887 — 87 rounds of tear gas on 9/28) and huge margins over competing songs: http://www.ejinsight.com/20150102-raise-the-umbrella-named-song-of-2014/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qOVzE1cDJkhttps://thestandnews.com/society/撐起雨傘-奪-叱咤樂壇我最喜愛的歌曲-獎/

Umbrella theme song “Raise your umbrella” released on Oct. 3 ; with translationEnglish version released on Oct. 26. A Cappella version. Taiwanese version in Minnan.

Occupy Central’s theme song

問誰未發聲/who hasn’t spoken up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh8UfrMw8wM

The longest-standing protest song: Beyond’s 海闊天空 Boundless Oceans and Vast Skies:

English version

The original Beyond song with transliteration and translation

Metro Vocal Group sings 『海闊天空」, much appreciated by HK Cantonese

Linguist Victor Mair on this song which he translates as “Boundless Oceans Vast Skies

More umbrella songs and playlists

A different umbrella song released on Nov. 14, 2014: 運動歌曲《雨遮》:從學生創作到現場動員

The umbrella playlist: 傘聚 United Umbrella  [Music video]– a fusion of Lennon’s Imagine and local songs — fit for the Lennon Wall in Admiralty

時代的顛覆者

The shopping revolution song: 日日去鳩嗚 (voice only)

Under the lion rock 獅子山下 MV 葉德嫻、何韻詩、黃耀明 20141028 Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution

Umbrella dance by college students: 大專Mass Dance學生撐黃傘跳舞 全場大合唱

An MTV made before the final clearing <金鐘應該很高興> -The wall against autocracy! 

No Turning Back

Camping at Occupy sites

The Umbrella Movement Playlist

Hong Kong’s Pop Culture of Protest

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Umbrella Movement

Why are Hong Kong’s young people protesting? Fighting for their future

[Updated on April 30, 2016]

See grievances.

[June 7, 2016] INTERVIEW: Hong Kong’s Joshua Wong Takes the Fight to Beijing

[April 29, 2016] One in five young people pessimistic about HK future: survey[Sep 25, 2015]  Youth more pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future

[Jan 23, 2016] An examination of the idea that HK youth are “trash youth” 我係廢青?

[Mar 27, 2016] Out with the old: The political awakening of a new generation of Hongkongers

[Oct. 21, 2015]  Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong on Xi’s UK visit, human rights and democracy

[Oct. 13] Joshua Wong seeks judicial review of election age limit: Sparks ‘Rule by the old’ debate 

[Sep 26] The teenager who defied China: Joshua Wong was one of the faces of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and now he has drawn a roadmap for democracy

[Sep 29] Elsie Tu criticizes young people for being irrational 佔領一周年】梁愛詩指許多青年不講理 不放心香港交予不理性謀發展的人

[Dec. 2, 2015] China Daily: Self-righteousness closes the eyes and minds of our youth

[Dec. 7, 2015] Hong Kong companies adopt Shenzhen interview tactic — It may be to check if a job applicant is ona mainland blacklist for political reasons

[July 15] Students with top scores had participated in the occpy movement 多名狀元曾經佔領

[June 29] Scholarism leader Joshua Wong, girlfriend attacked after movie 

[June 15] Pupil’s poignant palindromic poem praised: A poem written by a pupil in Form 3 went viral in Hong Kong last week after the teacher, Eric Windarcher, uploaded it onto the internet. Hold your umbrella:

Our city is dying

Never will [anybody] say

We can fight against the ruthless government.

The truth is

Under the pepper spray and tear bomb

We can never succeed

It is wrong to believe that

We can build our wings and fly high.

Having the right to freely nominate and elect the head of our government by 2017

Is a joke.

We know that

Our goals can only be fulfilled in fairytales,

‘The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall’

Che [Guevara] said.

Can we? Never

Put down your yellow umbrella.

Let the communist Chinese government take away all the core values we treasured.

Give up protesting for political freedom.

We know it is a lie.

People may think Hong Kong is dying.

That might be true,

Unless we turn things around

[Dec 24, 2015] “I am achieving balance in my own wayFor me, balancing is not for survival. It’s for a keeping a dream alive.”

Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong: ‘We will win’ ; CNN: On China: Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

潮未遠去,風再起時 傘運後的新世代

A documentary on the anti-parallel trade youth 反水貨客少年

10982445_1110387595654837_3086688336725845894_n

11120533_953164821382591_5813104216426462260_n

CY Leung urges young Hongkongers to ‘fight back’ against radicals

But three in 10 young people unhappy with HK situation and 47 percent of the respondents between 20 and 24 favor upholding justice through civil disobedience.

Dramatic upsurge in the no. of HK students applying to study abroad after occupy 雨傘運動後 赴英升學港生大增

Meanwhile, the generation gap is growing wider:  Why older voters have become critical in HK political battles:

Unhappiness over the 79-day street occupation last year by democracy activists is a key factor weighing on the minds of the people aged 50 and above, a recent opinion poll suggests… According to the survey, around 10 percent of even those who claimed to have been pro-democracy camp supporters and aged over 50 said they would consider voting for pro-establishment candidates in the upcoming district election… around half the interviewees held a very negative impression over the Occupy campaign, while 30 percent remained neutral…The Occupy movement, it is now acknowledged, has widened the rifts in Hong Kong society, with the youth and the elderly mostly standing on opposite sides…The number of registered voters above the age of 61 has surged to 981,489, making up for one-third of the total registered voter base. In comparison, registered voters aged 18 to 30 saw their number reach 580,000.

It does not look good that young people are so alienated that they did not register to vote:

Newly registered voters for the November 2015 District Council elections are overwhelmingly retirees (two thirds of newly registered voters are over 56) and many young people between the ages of 18 and 30 remain unregistered. This is a very serious challenge, more so than the lack of broader support for the occupation itself, and indicates the lingering sway of disenfranchisement even among Hong Kong’s younger population. (One year after Occupy, political alienation of the young still the major challenge for democrats)

[July 7] Some young protestors are supported by their parents 我的社運爸媽

Young generations are increasingly worse off.

Salaries of Hong Kong’s university graduates dropped 20 per cent in last 20 years, study findsUniversity grads forced to accept lower-level jobs, poorer pay  ; 港高級職位不足 80後畢業生月入較70後少兩成

Screen20Shot202016-06-0820at207-1.46.3320PM_hAvFF_1200x0


Original post

However this episode of the Umbrella Movement turns out, effective governance in the long-term requires some accommodation with today’s young people who will easily live for another 70 years. They are restless and fearless — as they have been “baptized” by pepper spray, tear gas, police manhandling, and thug violence.

In a poll released [in Dec. 2014], only 8.9 percent of Hong Kong residents identified as Chinese, the lowest figure ever recorded. And the trendlines aren’t good for Beijing: The territory’s younger generations, epitomized by the bespectacled Wong, supported the protesters the most. This could turn into a long-term problem for the Chinese government, said Trey Menefee, a lecturer at the Hong Kong Institute of Education who has observed the protests firsthand.  (Hong Kong’s Protests Are Over—for Now http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/12/hong-kongs-protests-are-overfor-now/383703/)

According to another HKU survey, the Hong Kong Federation of Students passes the recognition benchmark for the first time to enter the “top 10” list and also ranks first while Scholarism goes up three positions to rank 5th. Lian Yi Zheng on Hong Kong’s Occupy Generation:

By the time the Occupy Central movement is eventually dissolved — by force or of its own resolution — and its leaders make good on their promise to submit themselves to arrest, an entire generation of pro-democracy citizens will have arisen: young and dynamic, dauntless and relentless. It is a force that the Beijing plutocrats and their emissaries in Hong Kong will have trouble getting used to. Political business will no longer be as usual.

Hong Kong’s Summer of Love and the Umbrella Generation:

From its origins as a protest movement with a narrow set of political demands, the Umbrella Movement has morphed into a defining generational moment, one whose impact will be felt even stronger in 2027 than in 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-sheehan/hong-kong-summer-of-love_b_6265190.html?fb_action_ids=10152513442516623&fb_action_types=og.likes

For Hong Kong Protesters, a Spark to Keep Alive:

“This is a lifelong movement,” she said. “We cannot give up. Because we belong to this place. If we want this place to be well, we cannot just leave it.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/world/asia/hong-kong-protests.html?_r=0)

Students are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with political issues: Political issues top concern among students now: survey (see also 明報民調:近半受訪青年最不滿政治)

In a survey conducted by Ming Pao Daily, 47 percent of student respondents said what they are most unhappy about at the moment is the way the government is dealing with political issues. Disputes on the political system, failure to ensure “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy” and the shortcomings of local officials were among the factors cited by the students.

調查發現,47%受訪者最不滿政府處理政治議題的表現,包括「政制爭議」(24%)、「香港未能做到『港人治港、高度自治』」(16%)、「問責官員能力不足」(7%);有46%受訪者認為政府應優先解決政治議題。 民生方面,最多受訪者不滿政府處理樓價高企表現(15%),其次是「中港矛盾」(10%)、「貧富懸殊」(9%)等;有20%受訪者要求政府優先處理房屋問題。 被問及是否滿意特首表現時,79%受訪者不滿特首梁振英的表現,當中有43%表示「非常不滿意」,整體的不滿比率較針對特區政府高,滿意或非常滿意梁表現者只有3%,其餘18%人對此表示中立。

The source of Hong Kong youth’s frustration: Siegfried Sin says young people are, above all, angry at the uncompromising attitudes of the older generation, and the fact they have had no voice in society – until now oped_1213_1

Young people are on a path of no return and will keep up the struggle 那是我們都回不去的從前

Umbrella Movement Through the Eyes of Students http://programme.rthk.hk/rthk/tv/programme.php?name=tv/thepulse&d=2014-10-31&p=2862&e=282173&m=episode On the Occupy Generation: What Does Hong Kong’s “Occupy Generation” Want?  A documentary of the voices of Hong Kong’s teenagers: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152456570926939&fref=nf

Through Occupy, Hong Kong youth claim their citizen’s rights http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1671698/through-occupy-hong-kong-youth-claim-their-citizens-rights

The Umbrella Movement marks a coming of age for Hong Kong’s “princess” generation http://qz.com/285345/the-umbrella-movement-marks-a-coming-of-age-for-hong-kongs-princess-generation/

Listen to the young ladies: 傘不走的女聲 Do you hear the women sing

SocREC 2015015 林同學心聲 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYCvpXWRsM0&feature=youtu.be

More young voters on electoral rolls after Occupy

網片新人王 http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/supplement/special/art/20150104/18989240 Who is Joshua Wong–what Scholarism is for? http://www.scmp.com/video/hong-kong/1601854/who-joshua-wong Joshua Wong, Taking Back Hong Kong’s Future http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/opinion/joshua-wong-taking-back-hong-kongs-future.html?_r=1 Joshua Wong for Time’s person of the year http://time.com/3562179/time-person-of-the-year-poll/vote/42/ 學民思潮召集人黃之鋒 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swtcTvQKkSE “Lessons in Dissent” about Scholarism made earlier: http://lessonsindissentmovie.com/en/ Student unions want to withdraw from the Federation of Students after occupy

佔領結束後,各大專院校紛紛有同學成立「退出學聯關注組」,收集聯署,啟動退聯公投。關注組除了不滿學聯在雨傘運動中的表現,更指學聯透明度低,財政混亂,秘書處欠缺認受性,認為只有退出學聯才能確保院校自主。(http://podcast.rthk.hk/podcast/item_epi.php?pid=244)

Beijing’s Liaison Office in HK is trying to make the HK Federation of Students more Beijing-friendly by influencing member student unions. A City U student disclosed that the Liaison Office was trying to bribe and threaten students running for elections to the student union: CityU student exposes threats and deals made and offered by leftists in order to infiltrate HKFS城大學生爆左派威逼利誘 滲透學聯

Chinese University’s next student union cabinet has students with ties to left-wing groups 中大學生會換屆閣員疑有左翼背景

a former Chinese communist youth league member is running for HKU’s student union:  港大學生會內閣候選人叶璐珊承認共青團身份 / Mainland student tells of smears in HKU election —- [Jan. 17, 2015] Does CY Leung’s 2015 Policy Address seek to erase the next generation of youth with 1) the open criticism of HKU’s student publication “Undergrad”, 2) a new Chinese history curriculum, and 3) diversion of education resources to exchange programs with mainland schools?【施政報告系列】有實無名國民教育,消滅新一代青少年

[Jan. 22, 2015] Why HK youth hate Leung even more after his policy speech: there are some problems with his tone when he said in his speech that he “needs to guide young people and university students through the process of understanding the constitutional relations between Hong Kong and the Mainland”.

The city’s biggest pro-establishment party conceded it had met “difficulties” in recruiting young people, as well as members from the commercial and professional sectors, meeting only half its target. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1699804/dab-struggling-attract-higher-quality-membership-chairman-admits

China No 3 leader says more attention needed for Hong Kong young

Alibaba sets up HK$1b fund to help young Hong Kong entrepreneurs

Yet, the government appointed someone born with a silver spoon to head the youth affairs committee  劉鳴煒獲委青年事務委員會主席

11050215_1412323549075843_8570969570823116989_o

See also relevant section on the erosion of academic freedom

—-

“What is so scary about these young people”

10624880_716355638446249_5583562932665922981_n Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Umbrella Movement

Umbrella movement or revolution — What’s in a name?

[Updated on Sep 29, 2015]

Umbrella Movement or Umbrella Revolution? The “Umbrella Revolution” is a name coined by international journalists. Hong Kong protestors quickly adopted it. They love the symbolism of “umbrella.”  While many people also follow the term “revolution,” the leaders prefer “movement.” They are worried that Beijing is allergic to color revolutions. Student leaders emphasize that “we are just fighting for genuine universal franchise, we are not seeking to overthrow the political order.” Radicals, in contrast, insist on calling this a revolution. I don’t understand the fuss about this. Both sides misunderstand the term revolution. Color revolutions on record are hardly revolutionary. They have taken place in semi-democracies. Thus, in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, what was at stake was electoral disputes rather than regime change.

Hong Kong’s students want you to stop calling their protest a ‘revolution’ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/10/04/hong-kongs-students-want-you-to-stop-calling-their-protest-a-revolution/

Beijing calls this a foreign-instigated color revolution: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2014-10/15/content_18739914.htm  http://www.chinadailyasia.com/opinion/2014-10/20/content_15179853.html http://english.cntv.cn/2014/10/22/ARTI1413962823597930.shtml【國家安全教育展 介紹佔中事件為一場顏色革命】

Benny Tai on why this is a movement: http://oclp.hk/index.php?route=occupy%2Farticle_detail&article_id=299

Hong Kong University student magazine Undergrad talks of revolution — Publication criticised by CY runs article urging city to revolt or face ‘destruction’.

Some protestors believe that there is no need to avoid the term “revolution.”

10906399_906995269313505_812987034533912783_n 1656308_633106033468321_4329046042880070856_n     1499509_803202723059441_1877421185729888183_n

What Chris Patten calls “rowdies” insist on calling this movement the Umbrella Revolution and attack student leaders for calling this the Umbrella Movement. I actually don’t understand the fuss about this controversy — or why they want to call this a revolution while China is nervous about this movement being a color revolution. Color revolutions are hardly revolutionary because they have uniformly taken place in semi-democracies. In Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, what was at stake was electoral disputes. As for the so-called “velvet revolution” in Eastern Europe in 1989, the more appropriate term is “refolution” combining both top-down reforms and bottom-up revolutions. See Goodwin’s No Other Way Out.

Mao’s famous characterization:

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery . . . . A revolution is an act of insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

岑敖暉說雨傘「革命」——「你肯死嗎?你肯坐50年監嗎?」 http://localpresshk.com/2014/11/die-and-jailed/

黃之鋒是時候讀書了﹣你不知道「天鵝絨革命」嗎? http://localpresshk.com/2015/01/it-is-revolution/

革命是要軍火的?黃之鋒你錯了http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/01-02-2015/20350

曾焯文:革命窮源 http://localpresshk.com/2015/01/essence-of-revolution/

This is probably the best characterization: “Almost a revolution

2_VXUV6_1200x0

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Umbrella Movement

Background and Timeline–and Analyses

[updated on Sep 28, 2015]

The Umbrella Movement did not begin when the CNN anchor descended on Hong Kong. The Umbrella Movement was mutated from the Occupy Central movement. Adopting McAdam, Tilly and Tarrow’s terms of processes and episodes, both the Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement are the latest episodes in Hong Kong’s 3-decades-long process of fighting for democracy. Every episode has been marked by a new crisis and a new leadership. HK’s democracy movement was born at the “Ko Shan/high mountain summit” (高山大會) of 1986. In response to the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 which stipulated the drafting of the Basic Law, the then college students and young professionals dreamed of building a democratic Hong Kong. Of course, first-generation activists didn’t just fall from the sky; they had spent years working on social livelihood issues for years. Different groups joined forces to form the Joint Committee on the Promotion of Democratic Government and demanded direct elections to the Legislative Council as soon as 1988. (In Chinese: 民意彙集的政治:論兩次處理香港民意的缺失,   http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/八八直選 and http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/民主政制促進聯委會) Probably under pressure from Beijing, the British HK government manipulated a public consultation《代議政制今後的發展白皮書》 and delayed direct elections until 1991, and for only a small portion of the seats. After Tiananmen in 1989, when Hong Kong people held the slogan “Today’s Tiananmen, Tomorrow’s Hong Kong,” the first generation of democrats became more convinced that democracy was the only hope for Hong Kong. The United Democrats was formed in 1990 to contest for 18 directly elected seats (out of 60) of the legislative council in 1991. While the handover in 1997 marked a watershed in Hong Kong’s history, the democracy movement appeared stagnant. The next big push for the democracy movement came when Beijing wanted Hong Kong to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law by introducing the national security bill in 2013. The Article 23 Concerned Group formed of lawyers mobilized half a million to take to the street on July 1. The government shelved the bill afterwards. Another episode came when the government wanted to introduce patriotic education in 2012. This time, high school students founded Scholarism to contest the policy, joining forces with the long-standing Federation of Students formed of college students. After 100,000 people turned out to support students and parents, the government shelved the policy.

Occupy Central was formed in early 2013. While Hong Kong people have long mobilized tens and hundreds of thousands to show up at rallies for an afternoon or an evening, Occupy Central called for a disruptive action for the first time in Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Organizers threatened to bring businesses in the central business district to a halt unless the government made arrangements for genuine universal franchise in the election of the Chief Executive in 2017. Beijing responded by a hardline decision in late August 2014. Thus the Federation of Students mobilized a school boycott in the week of September 22 and Scholarism on the day of September 26. And Occupy Central announced the kick-off of Occupy on Oct. 1. On the night of September 26, Scholarism sought to recover the “Civic Square” which had been the site of the anti-patriotic education campaign in 2012 but was barricaded during the summer of 2014. The rough handling of student activists and the mass arrests enraged the population. When protestors poured into areas surrounding the Central Government Offices on September 27, Occupy Central was forced to begin early, then and there, at the Central Government Offices in Admiralty rather than Central. And Occupy Central, Federation of Students, and Scholarism joined hands in leading the revised Occupy movement. As ever more protestors turned out in the weekend, the government sent out the riot police and used pepper spray and tear gas on September 28. When rumors spread that the police would escalate to rubber bullets, the joint leadership called for a complete retreat. By then, outraged protestors not only refused to retreat, but also spread out to Causeway Bay and Mongkok. Photos of hundreds of thousands of protestors spanning Admiralty soon became the iconic images of the Umbrella Movement. It was only then that the CCN anchor descended on the scene.

The next question is: when will this movement end? Surely not when international journalists leave:-) So far [as of Nov. 8], every prediction that it was ending or fizzling out or failing has been proven wrong. According to most protestors, the moment when they withdraw is also the moment when the real struggle begins, at a new level. According to Jimmy Lai: “I’ve been working in the media for so long, so I’m supposed to understand the people. But I tell you, I don’t. I don’t understand them. Their potential power and fighting spirit is something I’ve just discovered. It’s amazing.”… “I was quite shocked by the young people. I told myself that I really have to reassess and understand the Hong Kong people. It shows that the intensity of this movement is limitless. Its depth is bottomless. You never expect people to have such persistence and be so fearless.” (Apple Daily Owner Full of Wonder at Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy ‘Kids’ ) Original Hong Kong Occupy plan veered off script: today, the Occupy Central protests that Tai launched with conviction on September 28 have deviated markedly from his script – in ways that he and his two co-founders had not imagined in their wildest dreams… (http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1654286/original-hong-kong-occupy-plan-veered-script) Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Umbrella Movement

Background: constitutional and legal issues

Useful sources:

Michael Davis on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and Beijing’s Failure to Honor the Basic Law

HKU Law’s Cora Chan discusses recent developments in Hong Kong, the impetus for the current protests in Hong Kong, the constitutional relationship between Hong Kong and China, and the prospect for democratic reform in the region.

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law on the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Basic Law, and Beijing’s decision on the electoral arrangements for the Chief Executive in 2017

Human Rights in HK on the 30th Anniversary of the Sino-British Joint Declaration http://issuu.com/aihk/docs/amnestyhk_human_rights_issue12/1

The law faculty of the University of Hong Kong have a blog on legal issues.

The International Law Case for Democracy in Hong Kong

Beijing’s broken promise on Hong Kong democracy shattered our trust

Hong Kong constitutional affairs minister lambasted for saying that China alone pledged to keep city’s way of life intact

Does China Think the Sino-British Joint Declaration Is Void? Recent statements suggest China pays little heed to the document governing Hong Kong’s handover.

Here’s why ‘pocket it first’ is unconstitutional

Government changes Basic Law facts.

House of Commons report: The UK’s relations with Hong Kong: 30 years after the Joint Declaration

See also Michael Davis on HK and general timeline and background.

1 Comment

Filed under Umbrella Movement

Interviews and Daily observations (Oct. 5 – Sep. 30)

Arise America: Hong Kong Protest Leaders Call for Retreat

Ian Masters/NPR

http://ianmasters.com/content/september-29-protests-grow-hong-kong-china-cracks-down-social-media-shadow-tiananmen-hangs-o

Nikkei

Victoria Hui, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame in the U.S., suggested the protests partly stem from young people’s anger at decreasing social mobility and their dimming prospects at finding decent jobs after graduating from college, which is also becoming more unaffordable for people outside the upper and middle classes.

“People are attributing their economic grievances to the political system,” Hui said. “Demand for universal suffrage is connected to these material grievances.”

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/World-urges-restraint-in-Hong-Kong

NPR

KUHN: Victoria Hui is a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame. She says that in recent years, every chapter in Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy has been led by a different group. This time she says it’s the students’ time to lead.

VICTORIA HUI: The leadership role is also very fluid. It’s taken over by different groups of people over time. In fact, this explains why Hong Kong’s democracy movement has sustained over time.

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/30/352808163/hong-kong-students-make-personal-professional-sacrifices-to-protest

Time

Victoria Hui, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, says that a hit on the industries dependent on tourism doesn’t have to be detrimental for the protest movement.

“Many people are already incensed by the effect of mass tourism from the mainland,” she says. “Rents have shot up and many mom-and-pop stores are torn down for the benefit of malls catering to tourists.”

http://time.com/3455377/hong-kong-umbrella-revolution-protest-democracy-business-retail/

Bloomberg

Students should consider alternative ways to pressure the government without inconveniencing regular Hong Kong people, said Victoria Hui, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and author of “War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe.” Protesters could organize targeted boycotts or convince people to withhold income tax payments, she said…

“The worry really is that the enthusiasm of core supporters will also wear out,” she said. “If CY Leung was smart, he would just wait out the protesters, he could avoid the choice of making concessions or cracking down.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-03/hong-kong-protest-leaders-mull-options-as-pushback-turns-violent.html

[After this blog] Occupy Radio: Occupy Central Report from Hong Kong

http://www.occupyradio.org/occupy-radio-episodes/occupy-radio-occupy-central-report-from-hong-kong

—-

Oct. 6

To withdraw or not to withdraw, that is the question now. The Umbrella Movement has to find a way to generate decisions that can earn the support of ordinary protestors. A week after the riot police unprecedentedly used pepper spray and tear gas, Hong Kong woke up to relative calm on Oct. 6. Despite ultimatum-like warnings last weekend that protestors must completely retreat from various protest sites by Monday morning, there was no attempt to clear the sites over night. Tensions eased as protestors partially opened roadblocks and agreed to open talks with government representatives. Over the weekend, protestors debated at protest sites and online if and under what conditions they may make a strategic withdrawal from the occupied sites. Shortly after some protestors announced that they were withdrawing from the Chief Executive’s office and Mongkok, other protestors rushed to re-occupy the sites. Likewise, when the joint leadership of the Federation of Students, Scholarism and Occupy Central asked protestors to retreat from the Mongkok site at the height of thug violence last Friday, people only flooded to protect Mongkok. International observers suggest that the “leaderless” nature of the movement is the source of confusion and disunity. This does not have to be the case. Of course, this so-called “leaderless” movement has been led by student leaders and the Occupy Central elders. At the same time, the movement has been notably “orderly” because protestors are highly civic-minded and self-organized. The challenge is to more tightly link up leaders and protestors. Protestors who are willing to brave both police and thug violence deserve to have a say in the decision-making process. Scholars have long argued that pro-democracy movements should be highly democratic in their own internal structure. The joint leadership can become stronger by more systematically incorporating the views of fiercely independent-minded protestors. If the Umbrella Movement prefects democratic self-governance in its decision-making process, then they can have stronger leverage in negotiating with the government. See Leadership.

—–

Oct. 3

Just when the Umbrella Movement is expected to fizzle out on its own after the coming weekend, new tensions arose as counter-protestors started to beat up protestors. After throwing 87 canisters of tear gas at protestors last Sunday, the Chief Executive CY Leung seemed to learn the hard lesson that police violence would only backfire. The use of pepper spray and tear gas drove hundreds of thousands of people to occupy not just the areas surrounding the Central Government Offices in Admiralty, but also the business district in Central, and shopping districts in Causeway Bay, Mongkok, and Tsimshatsui. The natural alternative to repression is concession. Yet, the proposed negotiation with students yesterday was dead on arrival. The Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who is charged with negotiating with students, has only reiterated that there could be no change to the central government’s decision on the arrangements for the election of the CE in 2017. If neither repression nor concession seems viable, the Hong Kong government probably thought that it had a third alternative: tacitly supporting counterprotestors to beat up protestors and clear the occupied sites. Pictures and videos of the police standing on the sideline or even siding with counterprotestors have gone viral in the last few hours. This is not the first time that thug violence is used against pro-democracy activists and even journalists, from Szeto Wah and Martin Lee to Kevin Lau. The government should know that every wave of thug violence in the last decade has only outraged the population. This current wave against the Umbrella Movement will be more so. Instead of letting the protest sites empty out on their own, thug violence is bringing them back to defend their “democracy zones.” The government has no better option than talking to its citizens about re-opening the consultation process for the CE election in 2017.

——

Oct. 2

Tensions in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution were diffused at the eleventh hour last night, but could rekindle any time unless protestors find a third alternative between escalating and retreating. Tensions were building up last evening as Hong Kong protestors surrounded the Chief Executive’s office  and threatened to occupy other government office buildings if CY Leung would not step down by midnight. In response, the police were seen to stockpile tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and even bullets for AR-15 at the Chief Executive’s office. Observers could finally take a deep breath when CY Leung announced that he would appoint the Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to open negotiations with students. However, few people are optimistic that the negotiations would amount to anything. Not only that Mr. Leung refused to resign as demanded by protestors, Beijing has also stepped up its hardline position that it will not change the arrangements to vet candidates for the CE election in 2017 — which caused the protests in the first place. Protestors will thus continue to feel that they have to escalate to more disruptive actions or the movement would lose momentum and die out. But protestors have a third alternative. Scholars have argued that methods of dispersal — such as consumer boycotts and nonpayment of taxes — could be as effective as methods of concentration — such as the massive demonstrations that are on display now. If targeted boycotts hurt the interest of business tycoons whose support CY relies on and if nonpayment of taxes make bureaucrats unable to administer Hong Kong, then protestors would have a higher chance of compelling concessions and avoiding direct clashes with the police. And the movement will be sustainable in the long-term even when people have to go back to school or to work.

—-

Oct. 1

International and local commentaries alike are wondering for how long the “umbrella revolution” could last. The CY Leung government learned the painful lesson last Sunday that repression would only backfire. They have pulled back the riot police and protests have surged since then. The government seems to belatedly follow the strategy of ignoring the protests, betting that protestors will eventually go home and the revolution will just fade away without any more clashes for the world to see. Hong Kong people are known for pragmatism as much as their call for democracy. When the rice bowl is at stake, HK people may well slowly retreat from the protest sites. What this strategy misses is that a people power movement could work equally well when it is dispersed as when it is concentrated. Hong Kong people could sustain the movement while still going to work and to school by adopting methods of dispersal. They could, for example, compile a list of business interests closely tied to CY’s inner circle and launch a targeted boycott. Protestors cannot force CY to step down, but may have a chance at forcing his inner circle to force him to step down.

—-

Sep. 30

International media have reported on how hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong protesters have maintained nonviolent discipline and order. International observers see images common to nonviolent movements around the world: strength in numbers, determined faces in front of riot police, slogans, songs, and more. Beneath such broad strokes of similarities, Hong Kong is unlike other cases given the constitutional structure of “one country, two systems” agreed to between Beijing and London. While Hong Kong has only semi-democracy, people are free to protest. While the police sometimes make arbitrary arrests, the independent judiciary inherited from the colonial era routinely releases activists. This constitutional structure presents a very open political space unseen in the rest of China and yet makes it difficult for activists to mobilize the largely contented population. Against this backdrop, the unprecedented use of riot police and the firing of tear gas seemed to have galvanized popular support for the protesters fighting for genuine democracy and increased sympathy for nonviolent actions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Umbrella Movement