Thursday, 2 October 2014

People's Daily Rant

Some of the many message posted on the "Democracy Bus" in Mongkok
The students' deadline for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign is at 11.59pm tonight and there is no sign he is going to do that.

While the students have promised to escalate the situation by occupying government offices, there are concerns they might try to break in his offices.

And this may explain why this afternoon the police were seen -- photographed by the media -- bringing in barrels of "corrosive" material, anti-riot gear and what looked like rubber bullets.

Why these were so openly photographed is not clear -- perhaps a scare tactic? But word has gone around several times to everyone to be prepared.

It's frightening to think something may happen tonight and I really hope the students know what they are doing and what they are risking because it looks like the police are egging on a fight.

Meanwhile The People's Daily published a scolding message to Hong Kong people, emphasizing how the Occupy movement is "illegal" and how it is disrupting the city's economic development.

People helping out with stocking supplies in Admiralty
It's all tied to money, isn't it?

Here's the full text:

Cherish positive growth: Defend Hong Kong's prosperity and stability

In the early hours of September 28, residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region came together as part of an illegal gathering -- so-called "Occupy Central" -- disrupting social order and harming Hong Kong's economic livelihood. "Occupy Central" will have negative consequences for Hong Kong and all its people. If it continues, these consequences will be unimaginable.

During this extraordinary moment, the people of Hong Kong should unite in supporting the law of the Special Administrative Region's government and the firm decisions of its police force, and quickly restore public order. They should act in accordance with Hong Kong Basic Law and the provisions set out in the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, in order to push for the development of a democratic system that suits the realities on the ground in Hong Kong.

"Occupy Central" has destroyed the foundations of society in Hong Kong. One of these foundations, the rule of law, is also one of Hong Kong's core values. An extremely small number of "Occupy Central" people have, for their own self interest, ignored the law. They have incited the masses, paralyzed transportation, disrupted businesses, stirred up conflict and interfered with the daily lives of Hong Kong people. This has gone so far as to threaten people's safety, as well as their property. These activists ought to be held legally responsible for this unlawful behaviour. Therefore, we first insist that we will resolutely support legal action taken by the government of Hong Kong to defend the Special Administrative Region's core values and its people. We also advise that those responsible for "Occupy Central" and any other participants stop their illegal activities at once, and restore calm and order.

In Hong Kong, the channels of communication are wide open. Anyone who disagrees with the stance taken by the Standing Committee is more than welcome to use normal, sensible channels of appeal. To communicate, one ought not resort to extremes like "Occupy Central". This is not communication, it is confrontation. By now, a small number of people in Hong Kong are insistent on resistance and provocation, and in the end they will suffer because of it.

A reference to John Lennon's iconic song in yellow
"Occupy Central has undermined Hong Kong's unwavering prosperity. The vast majority of people in Hong Kong agree that economic growth and the improvement of people's livelihoods are the most important challenges facing them today. But "Occupy Central" tosses aside economic growth and people's wellbeing, and does immediate damage. It's not fair that Hong Kong stock market tumbles day after day, with financial institutions being forced to temporarily shut down some operations. Many organizations have also cancelled trade and social events. The traffic and safety situation now in Hong Kong has led schools to close, even leading to the cancellation of the much-anticipated National Day fireworks. "Occupy Central" has shamed Hong Kong. If it continues, it will undoubtedly damage Hong Kong's reputation as a hub of international business, directly harming the lives of everyday people.

"Occupy Central" will obstruct Hong Kong's smooth transition to democracy. The Standing Committee's August 31 decision on the general election of the Special Administrative Region's chief executive is based on the provisions of the basic law, and was made with full awareness of the views of all the people of Hong Kong. It was made in accordance with the realities on the ground in Hong Kong, and is favourable to upholding its sovereignty, safety, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. It has unshakeable legal status and validity. What the "Occupy Central" activists have done is to harm such legal foundations, impeding the way to the original goal of universal suffrage by 2017.

One of the politest protests so far...
We hope all people in Hong Kong treasure and defend this favourable phase of stability and growth, act in accordance with basic law and the Standing Committee's decision, behave reasonably and pragmatically, come to a common understanding, and join together in promoting a transition to democracy that suits the realities on the ground in Hong Kong.

The tone of the editorial is clearly condescending, trying to reason a wayward child into going back to the straight path. Occupy Central has happened over five days... and the consequences for stretching yet another day are?

In the second paragraph, the people came out in droves because they did not agree with what the Hong Kong government and police were doing! They were so angry that the police were so heavy handed in using tear gas on the unarmed students that more people came out on the streets...

The editorial goes on to say that Occupy Central has "destroyed the foundations of society in Hong Kong -- in fact the opposite is true. Having gone through all the districts myself yesterday, what the protests have created are a united community, a friendly and civilized community that cares for each other. Obviously no one from the People's Daily has come to experience it for his/herself.

As for "the channels of communication being wide open", Hong Kong people have been waiting for years to have one man, one vote, that was promised in the basic law. And for China to change the rules and say that candidates must be vetted by Beijing create what many have called "a fake democracy".

Hong Kong people have spoken -- they don't want what Beijing has proposed -- so the ball is now in the mainland's court. They are now waiting to hear what it has to say...

Everyone is keen on the city's economic development, but the Occupy movement has demonstrated that even money isn't as important as democracy. The stock market did not crash -- only a few percentage points -- and the Hang Seng Index isn't performing particularly stellar these days anyway. And what a pity that the fireworks were cancelled yesterday! We are all upset. Not.

Interesting the editorial says "'Occupy Central' has shamed Hong Kong -- when in fact it has shamed the Hong Kong and Chinese governments. They completely mishandled and misread people's frustrations and anger despite the latter's deployment of people on the ground who are apparently tasked with trying to find out what local people think. Someone obviously got the reports wrong...

And finally, people here do not accept the Standing Committee's decision which is why they are out on the streets participating in civil disobedience. No one is listening to them! In fact negotiations with the pan-democrats went no where, and so Hong Kong people have resorted to having to speak up for themselves.

Should this be a surprise?

We hope tonight will not end badly -- we hope things will calm down and that rational heads will prevail. We are not asking for the students to back down but to be firm and continue to fight for what they believe in.

But we don't want violence -- the protesters have been so amazing so far and because of it they have given the police and the government no excuses to shut things down. They need to continue on this same path.


  1. If only the authorities and police could behave as exemplarily as the participants in the "Umbrella Revolution" have...

    1. Hi YTSL... well as CY Leung said tonight, the police are "exercising restraint"...