The still on-going Hong Kong protest, ‘Umbrella Movement’.
I’m not a Hong Kongers, and I should not actually meddle into the current conflict between Hong Kong’s citizens and China that resulted into nearly a month long protest on various major streets in the city of Hong Kong currently. But since this protest has already attracted worldwide attention, I have my stand to say regarding the situation over there that I wish to share it in my blog here. Besides that, eventhough I’m a Malaysian, but I do find myself quite attached to Hong Kong as I do speak Cantonese and that I’m very familiar with their dramas, films, music and celebrities.
So, how is this protest came about? When Hong Kong’s sovereignty is transferred from Britain to China in 1997, it is agreed by all parties that the socialist system of mainland China will not be practiced in Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong will remain under its capitalist and democratic system. It’s a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy. This also allows for universal suffrage to Hong Kong in their election for the Chief Executive, the head of their government and China shall not interfere on it for at least 50 years. However, in late August 2014, the government of mainland China had implemented a new rule that Hong Kong citizens will only be able to vote from a shortlist approved by the pro-Beijing committee. This which will be practiced from 2017’s Chief Executive Election onwards is against the past system of which Hong Kong citizens can nominate their own preferable candidates.
The protest named Occupy Central, spearheaded by large group of students (teenagers and young adults) whom demanded for universal suffrage, started as boycott of classes in the beginning. However, by late September, the protest gained momentum as thousands of people marched on major streets in Hong Kong to voice their objection. They had since encountered police forces and dealt with violence like batons, tear gasses, pepper sprays, fights, etc. Now, it’s already almost the end of October and the protest and clashes are still on-going. I do watched some recordings of the protest and I truly understand the crisis over there.
First of all, I’m in support of this protest which is now famously called the ‘Umbrella Movement’ or ‘Umbrella Revolution’ (as the pro-democracy activists are using umbrellas as defense against police forces the past few weeks and this had been widely accepted to be their symbol of strength, unity and opposition since then). Their objective is clear and simple; just return to the previous political system and everything will be back to normal. That’s it. The current Chief Executive of Hong Kong, C.Y. Leung agreed for talks with the protesters but insisted that the order from government of mainland China will not be repealed. Then, there’s no point. You are not solving anything eventhough you agree to hold talks. But if I’m the protesters, I would still go for the talks to at least see where we can go further from there to voice their objection.
I’m also not blaming the police forces too. They are just doing their job and I believe they didn’t mean to harm the citizens. On the other hand, the protesters are peaceful, but in such conflict, clashes are inevitable no matter what. I agreed to their protest but this is taking too long as the government side did not take quick action. The consequences; many roads blocked, inconvenience to many people, downfall of economy, degrading of the city’s peaceful and successful image, impact on tourism, etc for the city. Nobody wanted these, but people’s voices shall be heard as the first priority. I hope this crisis will be over soon with positive outcome to all parties. I’m in support of universal suffrage for Hong Kong. I’m in support for Hong Kong democracy.
Hong Kong people, we hear you. From Malaysia.