Daniel Halliday
Jun 12 · Last update 1 mo. ago.

What choice does Hong Kong have?

Following an escalation of tensions surrounding the protests in Hong Kong and the beginning of police force to disburse protesters, it seems the embers of the Umbrella Revolution have reignited. Protesters have been out in their hundreds of thousands, and possibly over a million, in order to oppose a criminal legislation amendment that would allow extradition of people from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland. Critics fear that this would allow the prosecution of those who speak out against the mainland government, and represents a challenge to human rights in Hong Kong. However, given China’s human rights track record and Hong Kong’s status as a Special Administrative Region of China, what choice do the citizens of Hong Kong have, and what can be done to overcome this impasse?
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Reject all international interference
0 agrees
0 disagrees
No choice, Hong Kong is part of China now
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Hong Kong should look to the UK to pressure China
0 agrees
0 disagrees
Protests need to continue
2 agrees
0 disagrees
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Reject all international interference

There is evidence demonstrating that the protests were funded and pushed by an opposition for the independence of Hong Kong that enjoys a large amount of international support from some questionable sources that may include foreign intelligence agencies or foreign governments. Since the onset of the protest movement in Hong Kong there has been a heavy level of involvement from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private foundation that funds democracies internationally. Officials from the NED met with founding chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, Martin Lee, during the early onset of the protests, and with US Secretary of Defence Mike Pompeo soon afterwards.

The NED was set up in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan after a decade of numerous scandals involving the CIA, much of this scandalous funding ventures that CIA formerly established were then taken over by the NED. The NED reputation has earned it criticism from within the US government even, with former Republican Texas Representative Ron Paul saying, "The National Endowment for Democracy...has very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas" [1]. Even former Reagan administration defence policy adviser, Michael Pillsbury, admits that the US large consulate and multi-million dollar funding of pro-democracy programs through the NED have allowed the US to hold real influence over political matters in Hong Kong.

A region established by foreign interference and the international drugs trade, is now being torn apart again through the aid of foreign interference, as the US is clearly sowing discord in Hong Kong, while on both sides the media simplify the narrative surrounding this region. Genuine protesters need to recognise this and engage in peaceful grassroots civil disobedience and reject foreign interference as what it is, Chinese and otherwise. If citizens want democracy they need to make a united, clear, but peaceful stand against China, against their history, against colonialism and for Hongkongers.

youtube.com/watch?v=TrZvlhizKb0 hudson.org/research/10714-china-tries-to-blame-us-for-hong-kong-protests [1] ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/march/23/us-democracy-promotion-destroys-democracy-overseas williamblum.org/chapters/rogue-state/trojan-horse-the-national-endowment-for-democracy workers.org/2019/06/42820

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Daniel Halliday
Oct 21
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DH edited this paragraph
The NED was set up in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan after a decade of numerous scandals involving the CIA, much of this scandalous funding ventures that CIA formerly established were then taken over by the NED. The NED reputation has earned it criticism from within the US government even, with former Republican Texas Representative Ron Paul saying, "The National Endowment for Democracy...has very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas" [1]. Even former Reagan administration defence policy adviser, Michael Pillsbury, admits that the US large consulate and multi-million dollar funding of pro-democracy programs through the NED have allowed the US to hold real influence over political matters in Hong Kong.

No choice, Hong Kong is part of China now

The proposed extradition bill is nothing sinister, the Chinese government has signed extradition agreements with forty other countries, such deals are similar to extradition bills held all over the world, and this one would have caused concern with some of the other parties involved if it was outside of international norms. The bill was mainly proposed to catch corrupt Chinese officials who flee to Hong Kong, as this is mainly an amendment to close a legal loop hole. Even with recent events prompting a turn around on the extradition bill, the region is still under the control and scrutiny of the mainland Chinese government and a similar bill is likely to be passed at some stage moving forward.

As protesters have become increasingly violent toward the police counter-protesters in white shirts from nearby villages have launch attacks on protesters, seen on the mainland as an effort to guard their homeland from Hong Kong separatists [1]. Meanwhile the protests are a massive strain on police resources and are putting the government and police especially in an increasingly difficult position as they are accused of abusing their power when trying to control violent situations, but are also accused of neglecting their duty when they step back. This catch 22 situation is echoed in the government's position also, as they have little power to make any legislative decisions that will take power away from Beijing.

Additionally the Sino-British Joint Declaration expires after 50 years, meaning China will ultimately have complete say over the Special Autonomous Region in 2047, so ultimately any movement for democracy or change away from what Beijing seeks for Hong Kong is inevitably doomed. Hong Kong is no longer the economic window to the outside world for the Chinese economy, with many Special Economic Zones established across the mainland, and as a result Hong Kong is becoming less significant to the Chinese economy. The rioters should realise there is no way out for them, and they are just putting their lives and safety, along with that of the police and citizenry of Hong Kong in general, in greater danger. Now with the widespread use of lasers and projectiles, this is no longer a peaceful protest but a highly organised riot bordering on terrorism, resembling guerrilla warfare more than a peaceful protest, and this will ultimately end up being a repeat of the Tiananmen Square Massacre if such violent riots continue.

scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/3009141/opponents-hong-kongs-extradition-bill-are-blind-progress aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/hong-kong-gears-protests-extradition-bill-190611234342340.html [1] dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7273387/China-allows-pictures-Hong-Kong-protest-circulate-social-media-time.html scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3018701/frontline-police-warn-they-may-seek-legal-advice-find scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3018831/hong-kong-protester-appears-court-accused-biting themindunleashed.com/2019/08/hong-kong-protesters-use-lasers-disrupt-facial-recognition.html

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 19
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DH edited this paragraph
As protesters have become increasingly violent toward the police counter-protesters in white shirts from nearby villages have launch attacks on protesters, seen on the mainland as an effort to guard their homeland from Hong Kong separatists [1]. Meanwhile the protests are a massive strain on police resources and are putting the government and police especially in an increasingly difficult position as they are accused of abusing their power when trying to control violent situations, but are also accused of neglecting their duty when they step back. This catch 22 situation is echoed in the government's position also, as they have little power to make any legislative decisions that will take power away from Beijing.

Hong Kong should look to the UK to pressure China

This extradition bill is the continuation of the curtailing of civil liberties and restrictions to political groups in Hong Kong and the same reason for the earlier Yellow Umbrella protests, or Umbrella Revolution. The Umbrella movement campaigned against perceived infringements on Hong Kong's Basic Law, designating Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region as agreed between China and the UK in 1984. British-Chinese diplomacy should not be viewed as resolved or void regarding the situation in Hong Kong, as these wide-scale protest movements stem directly from this divergence of position between Mainland China, Hong Kong and indeed the United Kingdom.

On the 9th July 2019 HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam pronounced the extradition bill dead calling it a total failure, however protests have continued against policing and press limitations. But issues still remain whether the bill will be withdraw or not, and protest have meanwhile descended into violence as Beijing has seemingly hired gangs to physically abuse protesters. The question now is not what will happen with the protests but what will happen to core values in Hong Kong, and how the government will move on issues such as rule of law, an independent judiciary, free press, impartial police, and a neutral civil service.

Such core values stem from a history very different from the mainland’s own, directly from the handover of Hong Kong in the 90s and the ramping up of democratic reform that preceded this. The British colonial government attempted to bring Hong Kong citizens into the handover talks of the late 80s, efforts that were vehemently rejected by the Beijing government. But it wasn’t until the final colonial governor Chris Patten that democracy was aggressively sought after, Patten giving Hong Kong residents the right to elect half of the Legislative Council, which prompted the accusation from Beijing that Patten would be “a man to be condemned through the history of Hong Kong” [1]. For failing to protect freedom and the meaningful democratic reforms promised to Hong Kong, the UK should now offer citizenship to political dissidents and those being persecuted in Hong Kong. More should be done, by both the UK and the international community at large, in a direct attempt to diplomatically curb the mainland government's aggressive attitude to both legal matters and civil disobedience in Hong Kong, or both risk future condemnation for their failing of Hong Kong.

theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/30/china-attacks-boris-johnson-ncorrect-views-hong-kong telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/30/china-says-legally-binding-hong-kong-handover-treaty-britain washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/11/why-are-there-massive-protests-hong-kong thesun.co.uk/news/9554262/hong-kong-protest-triad-mob-latest-news [1] nytimes.com/2014/10/28/world/asia/china-began-push-against-hong-kong-elections-in-50s.html

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 19
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DH edited this paragraph
On the 9th July 2019 HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam pronounced the extradition bill dead calling it a total failure, however protests have continued against policing and press limitations. But issues still remain whether the bill will be withdraw or not, and protest have meanwhile descended into violence as Beijing has seemingly hired gangs to physically abuse protesters. The question now is not what will happen with the protests but what will happen to core values in Hong Kong, and how the government will move on issues such as rule of law, an independent judiciary, free press, impartial police, and a neutral civil service.

Protests need to continue

These ongoing protests in Hong Kong are a sign of human rights suffering under a lack of universal suffrage in the region and a real desire for democratic change. The bigger issue of the lack of democratic development in Hong Kong stems back to the 1997 handover of the island from the UK to China, and the decade of democratic developments that preceded it. Opinion polls of the last election showed that the people of Hong Kong favoured the opposition John Tsang over Pro-Beijing Carrie Lam, so if the island was allowed a democratic election there would likely be a very different atmosphere in Hong Kong.

Both the push for autonomy and social reforms in Hong Kong, and protests and strike/labour movements, have a long history in this former British colony, with labour strikes occurring in 1844, 1858, 1862, 1863, 1872, 1888 and 1894. Protest continued as socialist and Marxist ideas spread from the mainland at the start of the 20th century, culminating in the 1922 Seamen’s strike and the 1925/6 Guanzhou-Hong Kong strike. This was followed by a colonial suppression which banned the free association of workers in unions in order to dismantle labour movements, although various student movement protests and leftist riots continued in the following decades, including a brief call for self-governance in the 1960s. However it wasn’t until 1984 and a proposition of electoral reform by the colonial government, carried out the following year, which represented the first small steps toward democratic reform in Hong Kong.

The need for further protests has just been amplified following the recent events of Carrie Lam’s retraction of the extradition bill that sparked these particular protests, proving the protesters have essentially overcome this very first hurdle. Demonstrators have continued to protest, some who see Lam's decision as a suspension are seeking an official retraction of the bill which remains illusive, while others continue to protest police conduct and for greater press freedom amidst a violent backlash from police and suspected organised crime gangs. The need for a continued firm stance over the very corrupt nature of Hong Kong's political landscape have been hammered home by the lack of police presence following violence of gangs in white shirts against members of the public wearing black shirts (common apparel amongst protesters), and the photographed links of these suspected mafia groups to pro-Beijing MP Junius Ho. The only thing that will solve this issue is the granting of open elections in Hong Kong, and like other movements for universal suffrage, protests need to be varied and continuous until these goals and many other necessary reforms are achieved.

brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/03/29/another-hong-kong-election-another-pro-beijing-leader-why-it-matters aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/hong-kong-leader-carrie-lam-extradition-bill-dead-190709023602119.html scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3017600/press-freedom-hong-kong-its-worst-journalists-attacked-and insider.com/hong-kong-protesters-crowd-police-headquarters-2019-6 npr.org/2019/06/30/737478293/hong-kong-seizes-on-handover-anniversary-to-continue-protests news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-triad-gang-attack-122500559.html

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 19
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
Both the push for autonomy and social reforms in Hong Kong, and protests and strike/labour movements, have a long history in this former British colony, with labour strikes occurring in 1844, 1858, 1862, 1863, 1872, 1888 and 1894. Protest continued as socialist and Marxist ideas spread from the mainland at the start of the 20th century, culminating in the 1922 Seamen’s strike and the 1925/6 Guanzhou-Hong Kong strike. This was followed by a colonial suppression which banned the free association of workers in unions in order to dismantle labour movements, although various student movement protests and leftist riots continued in the following decades, including a brief call for self-governance in the 1960s. However it wasn’t until 1984 and a proposition of electoral reform by the colonial government, carried out the following year, which represented the first small steps toward democratic reform in Hong Kong.
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