Wednesday 15 October 2014

Occupy Central

Trying to catch up on all the news now, as Ross is working late. It makes me so sad to see the violence between different factions in Hong Kong. The students' and occupiers' peaceful protests have made me so proud to be part of HK, and yet now we see the other side of society. The pro-Beijing groups (who seem to be mostly triads) have not justified their support of Beijing and the status quo. Taxi drivers and small business owners are understandably pissed off because their income has been severely affected, but there's a whole bunch of people who are not articulate enough to express why they are acting like they are. It seems like the Gov't is acting in cahoots with these thugs, removing the protesters' barricades just in time for the triads to turn up and create a frightening, violent atmosphere. 

Hong Wrong has some great content about what, why, when

Pepper spray (but not tear gas) was used again last night, as the police tried to clear one protest area. The occupiers responded by moving their barricades elsewhere, and now they are reinforcing with bamboo and concrete. Footage has emerged today of policemen beating a protester who was arrested, which is unbelievable. When every move in this protest is recorded on a thousand smart phones, what kind of idiotic policeman beats the shit out of someone just metres from protesters? Perhaps a policeman who has no fear of repercussions because he has the tacit approval of his least that's my assumption. 

I think a lot of people are so outraged by the government's, police's and other parties' treatment of the protesters that that has become almost as big an issue as the call for true democracy. I hadn't realised until recently that there are precedents, sort of, for this type of action having an effect. In 2003 the government (obviously prompted by Beijing) tried to pass Article 23, an anti-sedition law. Hong Kongers took to the streets in protest, and as a result the proposal was shelved indefinitely, and the Chief Executive at the time (Tung Chee Wah) resigned. And in 2012 they tried to pass some changes to the curriculum that would have painted a very rosy (fictional) picture of how awesome the Central Government in Beijing was. That law was defeated when gov't buildings were occupied by Scholarism, a student movement founded by Joshua Wong, who was, I think, 14 years old at the time. 

So what will happen now? The talks between Occupy protesters and the government - Carrie Lam - were cancelled at the last minute because Carrie claimed that her trust had been shaken because the students proposed to call more people to protest if their demands weren't met. And that was enough to cause her to cancel talks?! More likely she has no wiggle room and she simply does not know what to say. Beijing are not budging on this, but they are delivering their message through the HK gov't, only the gov't doesn't have the balls to either deal with the protesters, or challenge Beijing. 

Monday 13 October 2014

Sarah protest interview: