Talks of the Occupy Central movement have been going on for quite some time, and there was speculation that the main movement would not happen until this October 1st – National Day. But university students across HK, including some secondary students, have begun their own protests – a 5-day boycott from attending class, and sit-ins that moved from university campuses to government offices.
Then last night the protests started to come to a serious head – tear gas was launched, in addition to more pepper spray, rubber bullets, baton beatings, and word of tanks too. I’m certain tomorrow I will once again be glued to the SCMP Live Feed on the events, and wondering what’s going on, feeling a tinge emotional about a country that really isn’t mine.
Personally, I don’t believe anyone in Hong Kong will get Beijing to change its position as stated in its ridiculous White Paper, which severely limits the promised 2017 universal suffrage; but if only someone OUTSIDE Hong Kong would take notice – then we might have something happen. Of course, Beijing has already warned that it would not tolerate any outside “interference,” and yet this is the only real threat to China that can be made.
Hong Kong is where it is because it’s the only real “safe” entrée to China. There you have rule of law, a high degree of transparency, a regulatory framework (even if I’m not too keen about it), and other plusses – like (supposed) free speech and media. It’s why people dare to go to China. Without HK, a lot fewer businesses would dare take the chances of working in a place which really lacks all of the above. Yes, China is big business – it’s billions of people, i.e., billions of consumers, and hence, billions of big bucks – but will it be worth it without law or transparency?
These protests will either start changing foreign views on this secure vantage point and cause many to reduce their operations in HK and China, or it will cause these foreigners to also speak up, seeing their dollars at great risk. And as they say, it’s money that talks.
The outside world needs to know what is going on and speak up for HK. Don’t let China fool you! I was just shared an image of Chinese media on the recent protests – whose headline read, “tens of thousands come out to celebrate National Day, supporting the legal interpretation of universal suffrage policy.”
If you won’t speak up for HK for the sake of its people, abandoned by the Brits, as many feel, then speak up for your Chinese investments and mega-bucks. One way or the other, these protests, which are ongoing now, shows us loud and clear that the iron fist of Beijing is really on in Hong Kong.
I’ll be following this carefully and thinking of the poor students, and now the other occupiers.