Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

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fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:26 am

The organisers of yesterday's protest march in Hong Kong had tally stations along the route to make an estimate of attendance. Their figure is a huge two million - almost 30% of Hong Kong's total population. The police estimate is an utterly pathetic and absurd 338,000. How the authorities expect anyone to believe that figure is the height of stupidity. Indeed, in that sea of humanity, how can any estimate be such a very specific figure? Where did that 8,000 come from? Someone's imagination, I have no doubt.

I know those streets in Hong Kong intimately. I watched a lot of the march on television. That solid mass of humanity stretched over two very wide four lane highways for almost 3 kms with more on side streets and even more outside the government offices. It was without question well in excess of a million and I don't doubt it was nearer the 2 million mark. And it was totally peaceful. So impressive.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:48 pm

Just as Hong Kong's leadership must have hoped that there would be at least a lull in the demonstrations against both the Extradition Bill and the call for the ouster of the Chief Executive, a 22 year old walked out of jail today to give fresh impetus to the protests and a stark warning to the authorities.

As a 17-year old, student Joshua Wong was one of the key leaders of the umbrella movement for greater democracy 5 years ago. So visible was he to Hong Kong and the rest of the world, he was both on the cover of TIME magazine and the subject of a Netflix TV documentary "Teenager vs. Superpower".

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Jailed for his part in that failed movement, his release from his one month sentence will have the power brokers in Hong Kong and Beijing concerned. Even before he met with his family, he was giving media interviews saying passionately that the Bill must be abandoned and Carrie Lam must go. He then went to the Legislative Council Chambers to address a smallish crowd which has slowly gathered there today. He got a rock star reception.

Till now the Hong Kong protestors have not had any visible leadership. Wong will now take that role. And he is unlikely to stop at his first two objectives. As he said to CNN, the 22nd anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China falls on July 1. This is a major holiday and a time of official celebrations. Unless the protestors succeed in their two primary objectives by then, there can be no doubt that Wong will lead more huge demonstrations which will be a massive embarrassment to China.

Xi Jinping is now facing a lot of problems, not the least of which are the USA sanctions and an economy that is starting to feel their effect. He needs Hong Kong, No overseas corporations trust the legal system in mainland China. Hong Kong's legal system was carried over from British rule and is based on the UK's Common Law. Xi needs that transparent, trusted legal system if his huge Belt and Road project is going to attract financiers. He cannot move further on it without the legal protections in a stable Hong Kong. A crackdown in Hong Kong surely cannot therefore be on the cards.

Xi is also no longer as popular as he was amongst his colleagues. Some in or close to the politburo in Beijing would probably love to see him brought down. Somehow he has to find a solution to the Hong Kong democracy movement without being seen to give in. Even if he agrees to Carrie Lam resigning, he would be left with a Hong Kong without effective and trusted leadership waiting in the wings. Will he be prepared to loosen his grip on Hong Kong and let Deng Xiao-ping's "one country, two systems" concept actually work?

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by Jun » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:06 pm

I suspect re-taking control of Taiwan is a higher medium to long term priority for Xi Jinping. If Beijing decides to clamp down hard on Hong Kong and increasingly start to ignore the agreements for a different system in Hong Kong, it is likely to have some influence on opinion in Taiwan.
Essentially, a hard line stance on Hong Kong is going to make it more difficult for China to reassert control over Taiwan by anything short of military action.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:06 pm

I honestly believe that for the present Hong Kong is of considerably greater importance to Beijing. This is after all a legal part of China and nothing can change that. Taiwan will always be there and despite the rhetoric from the island, no political party is going to have independence as a platform with the aim of making it happen - certainly not for a long time.

One thing the Beijing leadership loathes are mass protests of the type seen in Hong Kong over the last 8 days. The leadership is terrified that these could start to appear on the mainland and quickly become a threat to its authority. Although the events of Tiananmen Square in June 1989 are never officially mentioned in China, I have zero doubt that the leadership remembers them well and all the mistakes they made at that time. Not so much through the use of extensive force. Much more by not getting rid of the protestors weeks earlier and nipping the movement in the bud. As I mentioned on another thread, the two younger reformers Deng had promoted within the Party leadership were basically in favour of the students' demands. But the sudden death of one and the ouster in the middle of the demonstrations of the other by the hard-line conservatives tipped the balance. I cannot believe Beijing would dare seek another such crackdown in Hong Kong.

They will also be perfectly well aware that most of Hong Kong's population has extended families in China. The Chinese diaspora of many millions around the world the same. China cannot block every communication with Chinese outside China. So there are likely to be, say, 50 million people in China who will hear from relatives something of what has been happening in Hong Kong.

The problem with Hong Kong is that the cat is now well and truly out of the bag. If you have 2 million on the streets just because they are against a Bill going through the legislature, police brutality and an arrogant Chief Executive, what do you do when the calls for democracy and self government grow much louder, as I am certain they will. The People's Liberation Army has a considerable presence in the city. Till now it has kept itself very much to itself. In fact, the soldiers are not permitted to wear uniforms on the streets, So if you see tall, slim handsome guys in Hong Kong wearing nice shirts and chinos, it's a pretty good bet that they are members of the PLA on their day off! :) :)

But if it starts interfering by firing on Hong Kong people, the entire territory will come to a halt in protest. Hong Kong basically would die. 30 years ago the students in Tiananmen Square had absolutely no experience of protesting. Hong Kong people have a lot. If a few thousand are massacred, international businesses will quickly up sticks and flee, capital likewise and the city's importance due to its freedoms and its internationally admired legal system would basically go down the drain. Although Beijing is very fond of telling other countries not to interfere in its internal affairs, I believe some secret diplomacy with a non-involved third party is now desperately required. Will it happen? No idea!

Absolutely, any crackdown will have a huge influence on Taiwan. I feel sure that 22 years ago Beijing expected Hong Kong to be a success and therefore become one means of persuading Taiwan that a similar "one country, two systems" solution could work there. But if the present Hong Kong issues cannot be resolved and Hong Kong people remain so dissatisfied, IMO a peaceful solution to the "Taiwan problem" also goes down the drain.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by firecat69 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:22 pm

Well I guess the Regime really hates what is happening today. HooRay for Hong Kong

How long before the scum mainland rolls in the Tanks!

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:28 am

The government in Hong Kong has just announced that the controversial Extradition Bill that has totally divided the people of the Special Administrative Region of China is "dead". The Chief Executive has also announced that she will conduct an "open dialogue" with the students who have been leading the protests.

This is a major climb-down by the Hong Kong government and a massive win for the protestors. On Sunday, the protestors were marching again, but this time they were on Kowloon and their target were the thousands of visitors entering Hong Kong by the new high-speed trains from China. On some television interviews mainland visitors were asked what they thought about the protests. Some said they thought peaceful protest was good. That, I expect, rang very loud alarm bells in Beijing. I further expect that concern about protests spreading to China through these same people talking to their mainland colleagues and sharing their cell phone photos and videos itself has persuaded Beijing to let the Hong Kong Chief Executive loosen the reins.

I cannot see the Chief Executive lasting much longer. This represents such a huge loss of face for her government as it is for Beijing.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by firecat69 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:22 pm

HooRay for the Protestors!

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:27 pm

As the less publicised demonstrations this week have shown, the Hong Kong protestors now have the bit between their teeth. And it is no longer the mass of the population joining huge public marches or young students invading the Legislative Council chambers. The previous marches have become a lightning rod for much of the population who are now emboldened to make their voices heard. Pent up anger within the community on various issues - the huge cost of basic housing being one of the most common - is no longer being repressed.

A variety of concerns are now being expressed in rallies. Each has to be approved in advance by the police and it is to the Hong Kong administration's credit that no clamp down on rallies is yet in effect. Today a large rally is planned in Shatin - one of the four massive new towns constructed in the 1980s primarily to help accommodate the huge influx of refugees from China and get rid of the shanty towns that used to dot Hong Kong's hillsides. There will also be a journalists' march on Hong Kong Island to protest the police action against journalists on the second of the huge marches that ended with the police using tear gas, pepper spray and truncheons against students and reporters.

A mothers' rally has already been held to support the young people's views. On Wednesday there will be a march by Hong Kong's elderly population showing their support for the young people who have been at the forefront of recent marches. Another march against China's influence in Hong Kong's media is planned for later in the month. That is unlikely to achieve much, though. For all my time in Hong Kong many of the Chinese media were pro-Beijing. What is new is that the only serious English newspaper, the very influential South China Morning Post, was taken over last year by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. A total of nine rallies are planned before the end of this month.

The Chief Executive has shown herself not only to be weak but totally ineffective. The government has never taken a pro-active stance, the first thing senior leaders have to do in a crisis. At every turn she has merely reacted. As such, she only makes her own position weaker and weaker. She and her string pullers in Beijing would be well advised to listen to one of the students interviewed a year or so ago. Beijing has nothing to fear from us, he claimed. We have no ambitions extending beyond Hong Kong's boundary with China. We have no desire to meddle with the government in Beijing or do anything to change its system. Our only objective is to have Hong Kong people running Hong Kong through universal suffrage to elect our leader.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... -hong-kong

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:11 am

It's been all over the news that the Hong Kong protests have grown in recent weeks - and that violence is now being used. The question is; by whom? As we saw on CNN and other news outlets, a peaceful protest in the town of Yuen Long near the China border was disrupted when a gang of men in white shirts and wielding sticks and iron bars viciously attacked the protest on the nearby mass transit station. The protestors wear black. Notable by their absence, as was the case when the students invaded the Legislative Council Chamber some weeks ago, were the police - the very force comprising Hong Kong citizens who are supposed to protect Hong Kong. Only near the end after several dozen had been injured in front of the TV cameras did the riot police arrive and attempt to control the situation. The white shirts are suspected of being triad gang members. Who brought them on to the scene is as yet unknown, and given the Hong Kong Police reluctance to investigate anything to do with the protest movement it is unlikely we will ever know. Businesses with China connections is one possibility. Would the HKP have brought them in? In the 1970s in was common for the Police Force to maintain strong triad connections.

It is much less well known that prior to the first demonstration in June which had by some estimates 2 million on the streets, there had been a march by 3,000 of Hong Kong's top lawyers protesting about the Extradition Bill. Yesterday civil servants, who are normally neutral and had been ordered not to become involved in the protests and to remain "totally loyal" to Hong Kong's embattled and highly ineffective leader Carrie Lam, took to the streets for a rally.
one of the organisers of the rally, told the crowd: “In the face of right and wrong, if we stay silent we betray our duty.”

In a separate rally, hundreds of medical workers called for the release of a nurse who was arrested for tending to protesters hurt in clashes with police.
But still the protests continue. Mass demonstrations are planned for today and tomorrow, and a public strike has been called for Monday. This marks the ninth week since the protests started.

How this is all going to end I don't think anyone really knows. The now universally loathed and all but invisible Carrie Lam will have to step down if the protests are to stop. She has proved a hugely ineffective leader totally unable to read the public mood and always reacting rather than being pro-active. China has shown video of troop movements close to the border. But the possibility of tanks moving in to semi-autonomous Hong Kong seems impossible. The Beijing government remains hugely sensitive about the events in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago. A repeat would result in massive worldwide condemnation, to say nothing of the distinct possibility that the major international companies with their regional head offices in Hong Kong will start to relocate to other cities in Asia. If that happens, the future of Hong Kong hardly bears thinking about.

And in the background is Taiwan. It was generally thought that once China had made a success of taking Hong Kong back, people in Taiwan would be more amenable to returning to the fold of Beijing. The longer these protests continue, the less the chance that anyone in Taiwan will feel that way. So China will only be able to take the island by force, an event that would massacre many thousands if not hundreds of thousands. It would also risk US and other international involvement. This week China hit Taiwan's economy by prohibiting individual travellers from visiting the island, thus reversing a policy first implemented in 2011. There is no question that this will seriously affect Taiwan's tourism industry. Beijing no doubt hopes this will stop the island's leaders from giving support to the Hong Kong protests and talking once again about independence. But it will only serve to harden Taiwanese views about China and possible reunification.

Beijing does not have many good cards in its hand!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... r-protests

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by aussie » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:55 pm

fountainhall wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:11 am
And in the background is Taiwan. It was generally thought that once China had made a success of taking Hong Kong back, people in Taiwan would be more amenable to returning to the fold of Beijing. The longer these protests continue, the less the chance that anyone in Taiwan will feel that way. So China will only be able to take the island by force, an event that would massacre many thousands if not hundreds of thousands. It would also risk US and other international involvement. This week China hit Taiwan's economy by prohibiting individual travellers from visiting the island, thus reversing a policy first implemented in 2011. There is no question that this will seriously affect Taiwan's tourism industry. Beijing no doubt hopes this will stop the island's leaders from giving support to the Hong Kong protests and talking once again about independence. But it will only serve to harden Taiwanese views about China and possible reunification
I was in Taiwan last week visiting friends in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan. During my many trips to Taiwan I have never discussed politics or China. This time they all mentioned they are not happy with what has been the happening in Hong Kong and are worried about the future of their independance.and democracy. Apparently there is a lot of discussion and unrest amongst University students in Taiwan. It will be ugly if China does invade as I get the impression there would be very heavy resistance from the Taiwanese.

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