What is Your Take on Hong Kong Police Breaking Up Protesters Occupying Government Buildings and Public Spaces?

The news of Hong Kong Police using tear gas to disperse crowds aimed at occupying government buildings and public spaces to protest against Beijing rules on how Hong Kong residents vote for its next leaders are plastered on the first page of all the major news site today.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, has this story.

HONG KONG—In the harshest response against protesters in Hong Kong in nearly a decade, police used pepper spray and several rounds of teargas to disperse pro-democracy crowds blocking traffic on some of the city’s busiest streets.

An effort by police to keep protesters away from government buildings appeared to backfire on Sunday. As police converged on the scene and protesters spread out from its center, the conflict spread across three of Hong Kong’s most important commercial neighborhoods.

When police started lobbing tear gas at the crowd, protesters dispersed but quickly regrouped and retook some ground. They ignored police signs telling them to leave and used metal barricades to prevent officers from moving them away.

Late Sunday evening, thousands of protesters were still spread through downtown Hong Kong, and police continued to pour into the area. But the Hong Kong Federation of Students around 10:10 p.m. started urging protesters to leave, citing a fear that police would start using tactics such as firing rubber bullets.

The protests had built throughout the week as university students boycotted classes and held rallies culminating in a confrontation with police Friday night when students climbed a fence at the government complex. Police arrested dozens of students and used pepper spray to push back the crowd.

The televised clashes between students and police prompted large crowds to come out to support the students.

The protesters are demanding that the government rescind a plan for elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive, which will allow residents to vote but only for candidates approved by a committee of 1,200 largely pro-Beijing members. The committee currently selects Hong Kong’s top official without a popular vote.

Early on Sunday morning the students were joined by organizers of the Occupy Central group, which had vowed to shut down the city’s central business district beginning this Wednesday to protest the election plans. Thousands of protesters streamed into the neighborhood as the day wore on, blocking traffic on main roads and surrounding police. Many protesters wore goggles and used umbrellas to block police pepper spray.

At one point, a group of police cars were surrounded by a sea of protesters.

“Hong Kong police, you have been surrounded, please leave,” protesters shouted over a sound system. Police showed red signs urging the activists to stop charging or force would be used.

After being sprayed with tear gas, 21-year-old Lee Wing, a media student at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, ran with other protesters to the Tamar park on the waterfront after the tear gas was used.

“The gas really stung my eyes,” she said. “We expected pepper spray at most. Our protective gear is for that.”

“It was totally unexpected. I’m so scared and angry,” said Tsang Wai-yin, also 21. “We have been very peaceful in expressing our demand.”

A total of 26 people involved with the protests were sent to nearby hospitals for treatment Sunday evening and afternoon, according to the government. Police said so far 78 people have been arrested in the protests.

The deployment of riot police is extremely rare in Hong Kong, known for its largely peaceful and orderly protests.

The last time local police fired tear gas against protesters was during the World Trade Organization summit held in the city in December 2005. Few locals were among the protesters, many of which were South Koreans farmers who attacked police with bamboo poles and tried to break into a meeting of trade ministers from around the world.

Other examples that involved riot police in recent years were mainly scuffles at prisons and refugee camps.

At a news conference Sunday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged people not to join the protests, which he termed illegal.

China struck an uncompromising position in response to the protests. A spokesman for the government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office called the protests illegal and said Beijing supported the preservation of order.

“The central government firmly opposes any illegal activities that damage the rule of law and social tranquility,” the unnamed spokesman said in remarks carried by the government’s Xinhua News Agency. Beijing, the spokesman said, is confident that the Hong Kong government would maintain the territory’s stability and protect the safety of people and property.

The spokesman said the decision on how Hong Kong’s chief executive should be elected “has a legal status and validity that can’t be shaken” and is “based on a full hearing of the views of Hong Kong society on different levels.”

Actions and class boycotts by students over the past week had largely seized the initiative from Occupy Central, which in recent months had been the main organizer of anti-Beijing protests.

While Occupy Central has until now largely failed to win broad support and has been heavily criticized by the city’s powerful business community, the student protesters have gained sympathy from an array of residents.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Occupy Central organizers said they had moved forward their broad civil-disobedience campaign.

The BBC filed this report (has more pictures) – going over generally the same things.

We already have discussed many of the issues behind Hong Kong’s Occupy movement recently (see e.g. this recent discussion led by Black Phoenix or this discussion inspired by Guancha).

The Western press make it seem as if Occupy Central commands “the overwheming silent majority.”  But the truth is that Hong Kong’s movement never gained wide traction (or see this live report from a blogger on the ground), as even the Wall Street Journal noted.

While Occupy Central, led by academic Benny Tai, has organised the unofficial referendums and protests – other civic groups, such as Silent Majority for Hong Kong and Caring Hong Kong Power, have emerged to counter Occupy Central’s agendas.  In a high-profile “referendum” earlier the Occupy movement claimed to have drawn almost 800,000 votes, but a much less reported counter-Occupy referendum held immediately afterwards drew over 930,000 votes. 1

These results came about despite the fact most Hong Kong people – the regular Hong Kong residents – have been apathetic to voting, despite the fact that the counter occupy movements were for the most part grassroots movements that are unorganized and that operated without much fanfare, and despite the fact that the Occupy movement had been well organized and funded by foreign sources (see e.g. this comment, and the subsequent five or so comments).

The Central  government has issued a whitepaper recently that “one country, two systems” does not mean the right of Hong Kong to subvert against the nation or the central government, or a right to semi-independence or even outright independence.

This is not really what democracy is about.   As it stands today, what the occupy movement is doing is not only unpopular, but also illegal. The Occupy movement represents at best a vocal minority which is not afraid of hold the public hostage – by occupying public locations and governments, disrupting and shutting down businesses if necessary – for their own interests.

But even if Occupy were able to manage attract a much wider support from the public, Hong Kong’s handover agreement has never supported mob rule over rule by law – rule by Constitution. They can protest – but they cannot illegally occupy government buildings and take over public spaces.  Such acts are not legal in Hong Kong – or for that matter, in much of the world.

Before we start getting carried away with the Hong Kong police putting down occupy protesters, let’s refresh our mind what the Western governments did just a few years ago, around the world, against their occupy protesters – which actually represent 99% of its people.

In the U.S., not only were protesters intimated and assaulted (or e.g. see this), but their organizations were infiltrated and members put under surveillance, monitored, and arrested.  Similar things happened in Australia (or e.g. see this), Canada (or e.g. see this), U.K. (or see this) (U.K. has even passed a law that makes such acts explicitly legal), etc.

Last year, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) published a report that document some of these actions in a report titled “‘Take back the streets’ Repression and criminalization of protest around the world October 2013.”

Personally I don’t subscribe to any ideology on “civic protests.”  I neither see civic protests as an absolute right, nor do I see them as absolute lawlessness.  But I do see that the right to “protest” must be balanced against greater society’s right to peace.

Democracy has been too often about the assertion of rights by special interests.  Their voices need to be heard, but they do not have a right to shove their views down the throat of others. What is the occupy HK movement really about?  A brave few that is willing to face down a tyrannical authoritarian government? Or a vocal foreign-supported syndicate that just refuses to die gracefully?

Notes:

  1. As Ray would point out in a subsequent comment, “the polling done by the occupy and anti-occupy groups are not compatible. The occupy poll was done with anonymous online voting while the anti-occupy poll was done with verifiable identity card number of legal HK resident. So it is over 930,000 verifiable votes versus something that is completely dubious.”

23 thoughts on “What is Your Take on Hong Kong Police Breaking Up Protesters Occupying Government Buildings and Public Spaces?

  1. Well said. The whole occupy movement has been distorted by the west media yet again as in almost everything that has to do with china. When not very long ago their own governments have been harsh info treating their own protesters.

    Having said that the longer it drags out the more detrimental it will be to HK’s economy and the livelihood of those in the retail and tourism sector. Just in the very short term I predict a sharp decrease in number if mainland visitors during the national day holidays. With the current chaos currently and the recent furore over discrimination and finger pointing at mainlanders, the negativity will spread back in the mainland.

  2. I think with the internet age and social media advent, some Hong Kong students want a taste of their own Jasmine Revolution. As from some of the blogs they got a taste of pepper spray and tear gas and were shocked and outraged by the less than gentlemanly behavior from the police. If they really bothered to study what happened in the Middle East they would have know the results are less than benevolent. I expect the commotion to last 1 more week when the economy of Hong Kong going in a nose dive and it started to affect their parents’ livelihood. It’s laughable they expect Beijing to back down and apologize. They do live in a dream world, but expect Western Media to spur them on.

  3. i reckon this entire ‘occupy central’ movement has a core group of western NGO sponsored agitators alongside ‘useful idiots’ like anson chan and other hong kongers who have a predilection for being colonials under the rule of the white man, in this case, the British.

    Really now, what do these arseholes want? more democracy? That was never agreed when HK was returned to China proper, and besides, do these numbskulls seriously believe that democracy is going to better their own lives? Really, tell that to those americans in Ferguson just how lovely and free, democratic choice has given them improved lives.
    No, what it really comes down to is this: for a lot of these naive HKers, they’ve been inundated by anti mainland sentiment, courtesy of remnants of the sneering pre 1997 attitudes that allowed HKers to believe that they were superior to mainlanders due to the higher living standards, but unfortunately now that HK is inevitably going to be absorbed into the mainland, they just cant stomach the thought of being just like every other Chinese citizen.

  4. A lot of the OC protesters are hoping to provoke China into a 2nd Tiananmen.

    But they are fundamentally mistaken. There are many major differences between Tiananmen and the current protest.

    Tiananmen got out of hand, because 1000’s of students streamed into Beijing over several weeks, until the crowd got huge, and the local police could not handle that kind of number.

    HK would never get to that kind of number.

    Beijing was also reluctant to crackdown in Tiananmen, which allowed the protesters to hunker down with supplies to stalemate against the Chinese government.

    HK OC protest is already short on supplies. Not surprising, since HK itself is dependent upon mainland for water, etc.

    Tiananmen was concentrated in the political center of Beijing.

    HK OC is scattered all over HK. HK police simply cracked down on selective locations and kept the protesters from the government buildings.

    Now, HK just plays the waiting game.

    OC protest is already sliding “out of control” (according to OC organizer Benny Tai), because from organization point of view, the protest is not concentrated, and it’s only causing disruption to HK residents. Which means popular backlash sooner or later. HK people are unable to go to work, HK tourists can’t go shopping. (I.e. OC is losing “focus”).

    On the other side, China can’t lose, so doesn’t care how this turns out, (other than to keep HK from independence).

    If OC destroys HK economy, China stands to benefit. Foreign banks would move to Shanghai free trade zone. And HK property would drop, and Chinese mainlanders will buy up HK for cheap. (And if necessary, China will crack down on OC).

    If HK police wins, China doesn’t have to do any thing. Some foreign banks will still leave HK. And there will be a crack down in the aftermath, and the “dissidents” will be driven out.

  5. these protestors should be punished for nothing more than turning a great piece of music ie ‘can you hear the ppl sing’ into an anthem for pompous, self entitled, affluent losers who wish for a glorious moment for their otherwise bleak lives

  6. On the Occupy HK movement. I should point out that what they want for “democracy” actually contradicts the Basic Law of HK Article 45.

    Article 45 mandates a “nomination process” by a nomination committee.

    OC HK demands an “open nomination process”, which by all definition completely defeats the purpose of having a “nomination committee” and would render the nomination process as a meaningless “rubber stamp”.

    “Open nomination” as demanded by OC means basically, no selection of any kind. Any one can nominate any one. OC has admitted as much in their demands. They basically claimed, “any voter should be allowed to be nominated”.

    But that’s not the “nomination process” as required by Article 45 of HK Basic Law, which requires a nomination by a “nomination committee”. (Which by definition has a selective process).

    *
    In essence, the OC HK is actually demanding that Beijing violates the HK Basic Law, and rewrite it according to OC’s demand.

    If this is set as a legal precedence, then HK Basic Law becomes a worthless piece of paper.

    This is why China and HK government cannot back down from OC’s ridiculous demands.

  7. http://qz.com/272952/why-china-doesnt-feel-the-need-to-back-down-in-hong-kong/

    HK’s share of China’s total GDP in 1997 was about 16%, today it’s about 3.5%.

    HK export to China in 1995 was about 8% of all imports by China, today it’s less than 1%.

    HK’s export to China in 1995 was about 40% of all exports by HK, today it’s more than 50%.

    Meaning, HK is more dependent on China now, whereas China is less dependent on HK.

    If HK ruins itself, China would hardly feel a bump. HK will be the only one crying.

  8. I just want to point out the polling done by the occupy and anti-occupy groups are not compatible. The occupy poll was done with anonymous online voting while the anti-occupy poll was done with verifiable identity card number of legal HK resident. So it is over 930,000 verifiable votes versus something that is completely dubious.

    Of course, the western press don’t like the result so it was mostly ignored. Should any critical observers of HK politics be surprised? The western highlight has always been on the yearly 1st July protest. However, if you bother doing a numbering of people celebrating the return of HK, attending so-called pro-establishment political functions, communal groups, associations, army barrack visit etc this number has been consistently higher!

    And I wouldn’t even label these people as the silent majority as they are the real voice of HK but somehow they are ignored by the established press both in the west and HK. The fact is the occupy group seek to break the law. If they are successful the only people that will be hurt are the common working class people. The ring leaders mostly have overseas residency or even passport. And recently it has been exposed that they were also well funded by a tycoon named Jimmy Lai.

    This has nothing to do with democracy. It is basically mob justice harking back to the days of the cultural revolution. It is simply breaking the law to make a statement. If any groups were to pull the same stunts in say the US or UK to change the matter of which the head of state is selected, would this be real democracy? This is not the authoritarian vs democracy, this is anarchy at its ugliest. The people of HK deserve better than this.

  9. This event has been planned and the storm for it has been gathering for awhile. I am actually happy how it turned out as it showed people in all of China how meaningless this whole charade was. Trust me it will weakened support for these idiots, not the other way round.

    And looking at how it was reported by the western press, all I can say is, pathetic. They are predicting a revolution or at least a tipping point. But by next week when the event petered out, they will pretend as if they never reported it. At most this is a storm in a cup and will passed with whimper.

  10. Tomorrow is Oct 1, China’s national day. I would expect there will be counterdemonstrations and clashes with the student protestors. It remains to be seen when the sympathy factors die down after the tear gas dispersed and people’s livelihood are negatively impacted.

  11. @hezudao

    Absolutely, look at this piece of propaganda from NYT. If you remember Chris Buckley was the journalist who made a fuss about losing his credential (facts came out that he didn’t complete his renewal in time):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/world/asia/in-hong-kong-clean-and-polite-but-a-protest-nonetheless.html

    Clean And Polite??? Buckley left out the fact protesters not only verbally assaulted the police, they also committed various infractions, crimes and felonies – walking/sitting on throughways, blocking traffic, vandalizing public property, obstructing justice and assaulting police:

    http://warewhulf.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/an-open-letter-to-hong-kong/

    Here are some photos that shows how wrong Buckley is:

    http://paper.wenweipo.com/2014/09/30/YO1409300006.htm
    http://paper.wenweipo.com/2014/09/30/HK1409300011.htm
    http://photo.wenweipo.com/photo.php?Id=PS1409270002
    http://photo.wenweipo.com/photo.php?Id=PS1409280001

  12. @N.M.Cheung

    Under “rule of law,” a taking by the government must be compensated. Thus for example, if people must raze your property to build a highway through it, say, they must compensate you fairly for it.

    But under Occupy Central’s logic, any citizen is free to take away another’s property to promote one’s own interest. Thus, they may occupy financial district centers to push their own agenda, even if doing so disproportionately impact others, without any compensation to others. In my books, this is called callousness, greed. It might even be called theft.

    But in the NYT, it’s called such behaviors are described as “polite.” see e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/world/asia/in-hong-kong-clean-and-polite-but-a-protest-nonetheless.html

  13. I’d say that the Hong Kong police force is doing a good job fighting back against those who illegally occupy property for their own interests. My view is shaped by some small experiences that I have previously encountered and read about, here in the Greater Toronto Area.

    Although it was the NYT that described the Hong Kong protests as “polite”, I could also see Canadian media describe the protests in a similar way. Although local governments in Canada have previously cracked down on protesters, for some reason they wouldn’t dare to do so if the protesters were part of a labour union (e.g., the York Region Transit workers strike of late 2011 and early 2012). Perhaps due to foreign interests lying in the protesters, the mainstream media would like to elevate the protesters above the law; it’d be similar to how labour unions in the Greater Toronto Area appear to have more political power than the local governments, and therefore seem to have further rights that those in the general public don’t have.

  14. @Matchut

    Insightful comment. I do believe the protesters do not necessarily think that any other group has the same right as them to get their points across such as by blocking intersections, tussling with police, etc. – but that they do because they are fighting for “democracy” – which is such an “important” “human right” – that they have international support – that they are on the “right side of history” … etc.

  15. Following is a comment from a Businessweek discussion that we editors thought was illuminating…

    What spearheads of the U.S. corporate propaganda media does not report is Hong Kong people today have more freedom under Chinese communist rule than they ever had under British colonial rule. This is not an opinion but a fact. Just compare the freedom Hong Kong enjoys today versus prior to the handover. When British rule was under threat from anti colonial protests, the British resorted to beatings, banning protests, deporting protestors, and also imprisoning them. These facts are conveniently not reported by the Western press including Bloomberg. What is also not reported is the student protestors are not entirely peaceful. Before the Hong Kong police used tear gas, the protestors were taunting, poking at the police with umbrellas, and trying to overrun a police barricades. Try the same in the U.S and what do you think will happen. The student protestors also blocked traffic to one of the busiest roadways in Hong Kong, causing trouble for many. What do you think the Los Angeles Police Dept. would do if the Los Angeles protestors blocked the 405 Freeway, one of the busiest freeways in the U.S. The Chinese communist have shown more patience and restraint than the U.S. ever would. Example: This past week, peaceful Ferguson protestors not on the public street or on police premise, but on the sidewalk were all arrested and taken away.

    What is also not reported is the connection between a Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and the former U.S. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Mark Simon, a former U.S, intelligence analyst. Jimmy Lai, who is funding the protests met with Wolfowitz who Lai calls his old friend. Lai’s company also employs Simon. What will happen if a U.S. media executive trying to overthrow the U.S. government meets with the former Chinese Secretary of Defense and also employs a former Chinese intelligence analyst?

  16. I had mentioned “counter-Occupy referendum held immediately afterwards drew over 930,000 votes.”

    But in a recent piece by Eric, he mentioned a referendum that drew 1.3 signatures (http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/06/the-umbrella-revolution-wont-give-hong-kong-democracy-protesters-should-stop-calling-for-it/).

    And in a comment in another thread by raffiaflower (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2014/10/04/western-medias-pervasive-bias-against-china-today/#comment-77406), there is a mention of 1.7 million against the occupy protests.

    Do people know if these are results of different referendums, or the same … but tallied at different times?

  17. Thought I’d copy Eric’s piece I mentioned in the previous comment here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/06/the-umbrella-revolution-wont-give-hong-kong-democracy-protesters-should-stop-calling-for-it/

    The umbrella revolution won’t give Hong Kong democracy. Protesters should stop calling for it.

    By Eric X. Li October 6, 2014

    Eric X. Li is a venture capitalist and political scientist in Shanghai.

    Protesters in Hong Kong on Oct. 4. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
    HONG KONG — The prevailing media narrative about the Hong Kong protest — namely that the citizens are politically dissatisfied and are fighting for democracy against the tyranny of Beijing — is false. What’s actually happening is this: A fringe of radical (or sometimes, more charitably, merely naive) ideologues are recasting the real and legitimate economic grievances of people here as a fight about Hong Kong’s autonomy. The movement is part of a global trend you might call maidancracy (rule of the square, from the infamous Maidan in central Kiev where the Ukrainian protests began). If carried out to its full extent, it will not end well for Hong Kong.

    Maidancracy is an increasingly common post-Cold-War phenomenon. From the former Soviet Union to Southeast Asia, from the Arab world to Ukraine, it has affected the lives and futures of hundreds of millions of people. Hong Kong’s iteration shares certain characteristics with the ones in Cairo and Kiev: First, there is general popular discontent over the prevailing state of affairs and the region’s probable future. Second, while the foot soldiers are largely well-intentioned people with genuine concerns for their own welfare and that of the Hong Kong society, they are led by activists with a strong ideological agenda. As a result, their aim becomes the overthrow of the government or sometimes the entire political system. Third, the press relentlessly cheers them on and thereby amplifies the movement and turns it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fourth, democracy is always the banner.

    These movements generally fail when they are put down violently, with tragic loss of life (think of Syria). In the rare cases in which they succeed, they lead to long periods of suffering and destruction (think of Ukraine, where more than a decade of continuous color revolutions have torn the country apart and now threaten the nation’s very survival). Some maidan movements seem to run on a perpetual cycle: get on the square to remove a government, only to return to the square to remove the next one (think of Egypt). In the meantime, paralysis, chaos and even violence reign.

    Those trends have already developed in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of protesters are occupying the central city district of one of the world’s largest financial centers demanding a particular method for electing the city’s future chief executives. They even set a deadline for the current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, to resign, or else. (In accord with the typical maidan arc, violent skirmishes have begun between protesters and residents frustrated by the inconvenience and fearful of long-term threats to their livelihoods.)

    But the protest message, as described by the loudest activists, is problematic, because its central theme of democracy for Hong Kong is all wrong. The degree of political participation in Hong Kong is actually at its highest in history. Before 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony for 155 years, during which it was ruled by 28 governors — all of them directly appointed by London. For Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, to now brand himself as the champion of democracy is hypocrisy of the highest order.

    Only after the return of sovereignty to China 17 years ago did Hong Kong gain real public participation in governance. Today, half of the legislature is directly elected by the public and the other half by what are called functional constituencies. The chief executive, a native Hong Konger, is selected by a committee of 1,200 other Hong Kongers.

    Further, Beijing has now devised a plan for voters to elect the next chief executive directly, rather than by committee, in 2017 among candidates fielded by a nominating committee — also made up of Hong Kongers. The proximate cause for today’s upheaval is the protesters’ demand for direct public nomination of candidates, too.

    But the context matters: General discontent has provided fertile soil for this movement, and the sources of that dissatisfaction have nothing to do with imaginary diktats from Beijing. Hong Kong is going through a tough period of economic and social dislocation. Its unique advantage as the only port into and out of China has largely disappeared as the mainland’s own market economy scales up. Its manufacturing base, which provided ample employment, has been moved to cheaper locations. Globalization and the expanding Chinese economy have elevated the city’s position as an international financial center, but the economic benefits have mainly accrued to landowners and those who are engaged in financial intermediation and deployment of capital. Median income has been stagnant and is dropping, but costs of living, especially housing, have been rising. The wealth gap is among the highest in the world.

    Empirical data demonstrates the nature of public discontent, and it is fundamentally different from what is being portrayed by the protesting activists. Over the past several years, polling conducted by the Public Opinion Program at the University of Hong Kong has consistently shown that well over 80 percent of Hong Kongers’ top concerns are livelihood and economic issues, with those who are concerned with political problems in the low double digits at the most.

    When the Occupy Central movement was gathering steam over the summer, the protesters garnered 800,000 votes in an unofficial poll supporting the movement. Yet less than two months later an anti-Occupy campaign collected 1.3 million signatures (from Hong Kong’s 7 million population) opposing the movement. The same University of Hong Kong program has conducted five public opinion surveys since April 2013, when protesters first began to create the movement. All but one showed that more than half of Hong Kongers opposed it, and support was in the low double digits.

    Hong Kong’s economic issues are daunting challenges for any government. But they have been made even more difficult by protesters attempting, successfully it seems, to manufacture a narrative that Beijing is the cause of Hong Kong’s troubles. By misdirecting the frustration and anxiety of Hong Kongers to Beijing, the maidancracy ideology has overtaken rational discourse about the root causes of Hong Kong’s problems and their solutions.

    Given all this, the future of Hong Kong is not nearly as bleak as it looks on the streets at the moment. Hong Kong is fundamentally different from the likes of Egypt and Ukraine. The economy is largely prosperous. Rule of law still prevails. Resources are abundant and can be directed and allocated in the right ways to address the structural challenges. The vast majority of Hong Kongers want to solve problems and are not ideological. And most of all, Hong Kong remains an integral part of an economically vibrant and politically stable China. As Martin Jacques wrote in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “China is Hong Kong’s future – not its enemy.”

    At the moment, the situation is tense. If either side makes the mistake of escalating, we know that maidancracy can be destructive. Hong Kong’s current conditions do not call for such destruction. Let calm return to the City by the Harbor. Hong Kong needs problem solvers, not revolutionaries.

  18. http://abcnews.go.com/international/wirestory/hong-kong-police-chip-reduce-protest-zones-26175135

    It seems that someone from the West has gave them the textbook idea of civil disobedience. I find it funny the lengths of these ‘pro democracy’ organized thugs has to do in order to prove their point. I mean they get anything that they can remove, including sign posts, barricades, trash cans, concrete slabs and twist tie, bolt down, cement in order to disrupt people from their daily lives. There’s a difference between a righteous response toward segregation of the restaurant sit-ins and boycotting busses and this. I’m sure that many of these ‘pro democracy’ students wake up and realize that what they are doing is stupid and counterproductive.

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