City Calm Ahead of a Vote Organized by Pro-Democracy Protest Leaders
Crowds grew Saturday at the downtown protest site, as they have during other weekends, though there were no reports of clashes between demonstrators and police as on other recent evenings.
The student-led protesters want anyone to be able to stand for Hong Kong’s first ever public ballot for chief executive in 2017. China’s government in August ruled a selection committee largely loyal to Beijing will select those who can stand, sparking the protests.
Some local citizens—who have taken to wearing blue ribbons—are angry that students have shut down parts of the city over the issue. On Saturday night there were reports that some blue ribbon demonstrators had attacked journalists covering their counter protests in Kowloon.
“I agree with the students’ goal. Who doesn’t want a democratic society?”
Radio Television Hong Kong and Television Broadcasts Ltd. issued statements complaining their journalists had been pushed and kicked by blue ribbon protesters. Police haven’t made any arrests.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reiterated Saturday he won’t resign, saying the protesters’ demands aren’t in accordance with the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution. Read the rest of this entry »
Just Happened: Protesters Successfully Hold off Riot Police in Lung Wo Road with Umbrellas, BarricadesPosted: October 14, 2014
— Wilfred Chan (@wilfredchan) October 14, 2014
Hong Kong Democracy Protests: Open Letter From Former U.S. Consuls General to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-yinPosted: October 4, 2014
Three former U.S. consuls general wrote an open letter to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. They say the government’s proposal for Hong Kong’s electoral future—in which candidates running for chief executive would be pre-screened by a nominating committee friendly toward Beijing—is in defiance of the city’s Basic Law.
Full text below:
To the Honorable C.Y. Leung
Hong Kong, China
We are writing to you based on decades of inestimable interest and admiration for Hong Kong. We have loved the city, admired its citizens and promoted its vital role for business, culture and commerce for Asia and for China. Over the years, we’ve seen the buildings get taller and the harbour get smaller, and lived the exciting energy of one of the world’s greatest cities. We have seen the benefits of Hong Kong’s free markets, rule of law, civil discourse and people for China and the region. While we are Americans and write to you in our private capacity, we suggest that our views reflect the sentiments of the millions of traders, bankers, lawyers, sales teams, accountants, creative artists, film producers, bartenders and ordinary foreigners who have made Hong Kong their home at one moment or another in their lives.
We ask you, as the one person in your role as Chief Executive who can do so, to move to the forefront of efforts to settle the current dispute peacefully according to the terms of the Basic Law, the foundation of Hong Kong’s governance and status. The Basic Law embodies the ideas of peaceful evolution, self-administration and one country/two systems of Deng Xiaoping. Article 45 of the Basic Law says: “the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.”
The proposal currently on the table –that a committee like the ones who have chosen the Chief Executives so far should continue for an undefined period to choose two or three candidates under the guidance of Beijing—clearly fails to advance Hong Kong’s system toward being more broadly representative or democratic, and in tightening the nominating committee rules would seem actually to retreat from those goals. Read the rest of this entry »
The leading English language paper in Hong Kong is reporting that “leaders” of the student demonstrators have set a deadline of tomorrow for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (basically, the governor), C.Y. Leung, to resign. If he doesn’t, they say they’ll start to “occupy” government buildings:
I assume that if this happens, things may well turn ugly again, as they did on the first night when riot police fired tear gas into the crowd and sprayed the students with pepper spray.
But tonight, in the middle of the two-day National Day holiday (ironically, celebrating the 65th anniverary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China), the crowds at the Central/Admiralty district site swelled and an almost carnival-like atmosphere prevailed:
For Real Time China, Joyu Wang writes: “Under a Vast Sky” (海阔天空), a monster ballad from the early ‘90s by Hong Kong rock band Beyond, has become the unofficial anthem for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
“It means to destroy the old and establish the new. Even if we are disappointed—we shouldn’t be discouraged–because our world will have a better future eventually.”
The 1993 hit has become the rallying cry for protesters angry over a China ruling that limits political reform in Hong Kong. Nikki Lau, a Hong Kong resident who has participated in the protests for the past three days, said protesters have sung the song nearly 10 times each day.
“We need a song that everyone can sing along to,” Ms. Lau said. “[This song] is part of the collective memory of Hong Kong people.”
Watch a clip of the music video with English subtitles:
The song was written by the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Wong Ka-kui, to express the singer-songwriter’s disappointment in Hong Kong’s music industry in the 1990s, according to drummer Yip Kwok-ming, who worked with the Canto-pop band. Beyond, which was formed in 1983, are seen by many as Hong Kong’s equivalent to The Beatles because both bands’ songs carry strong political messages.
Mr. Wong once was famously quoted as saying “there’s only the entertainment industry but not a music industry in Hong Kong.” The rock star died after a tragic incident in which he fell off a stage in a Tokyo television studio in 1993. Read the rest of this entry »
“Two of the world’s powerful autocracies, both rooted in the idea and practice of communist dictatorship, are bent on encroaching upon freedom and democracy on two different fronts: Ukraine and Hong Kong.”
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators turned out in Hong Kong on Monday, defying a government crackdown over the weekend that saw riot police using tear gas, pepper spray and batons against protesters. As demonstrations grow against Beijing’s violation of its promise to allow universal suffrage, there is a danger that the infamous 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square could be repeated in Hong Kong.
“Requiring voters to select leaders from two to three candidates selected by a committee controlled by Beijing is not meaningful “universal suffrage.'”
The crisis began in June, when Beijing released a white paper that reneged on the “One Country Two Systems” principle laid out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution.
China had pledged that Hong Kong could rule itself on all matters apart from defense and foreign affairs, and voters could freely choose their own leader.
Instead, the white paper claimed that Beijing has complete jurisdiction over Hong Kong, with the only autonomy being what the central government decides to grant. All aspects of local government are subject to oversight by Beijing, and even judges must meet its standard of patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »
— Jacky Wong (@jackycwong) September 30, 2014
Bonus tweet – then came the violins…
Sad to see HK protesters resorting to violins. pic.twitter.com/17cGBXHeRO
— Samuel Wade (@samuel_wade) September 29, 2014