I am a Canadian living in HK, that disagrees with the Occupy Hong Kong movement. I know, I will get some comments saying I shouldn’t really add my opinion / two cents on this because I am a true Hong Konger. But let me also add I love Hong Kong. Aside from Toronto I do consider this city that I have been living in for the last two years, my second home. My parents were were born in Hong Kong, my gramps migrated from China to HK many years ago. So yes, if I want to trace where my roots are, I would say Hong Kong.
I know this is a sensitive topic, and may brush a few feathers because there are so many opinions about this. But let me start off with this.
I am for full democracy. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. A place that prides itself in democracy, where the government works for the people, not the other way around.
So I do agree with the objective of achieving full universal suffrage for the people living in Hong Kong. I also agree with Hong Kong people that they are afraid their freedom will be eroded. I have been to China and have seen how information is really limited there. You know there young people in China that actually don’t know about the Tienanmen square massacre? The censorship in China is unbearable, and I really hope this doesn’t happen to Hong Kong.
But let me say this again. I strongly oppose the Occupy Central movement (which is basically Occupy Hong Kong right now). The following points represent why I feel the way I do:
1 – Economics
Many years ago HK represented up to 18% of China’s GDP. Today, it represents merely a mere 3%. And why does this matter? Like all things in life, you have to negotiate / bargain for things you want. It’s never going to be handed to you on a silver platter, no matter how much noise / complaints you get.
However the recent events of occupy central had a negative impact on the stock markets, retail sales and the Hong Kong currency itself. See “http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-28/hong-kong-traders-brace-for-selloff-on-protest-crackdown.html”
If you want China to listen, shouldn’t you beef up your economy so you are negotiating from a position of power?
Not only are they affecting the stock markets, but they are also affecting all the mom and pop shops that have to close down because of the movement. Arguments I read on facebook is “this is for the future of Hong Kong, sacrifices must be made”. Um, who are you to speak on behalf of those individuals? Do you have to pay their rent? Hong Kong has one of the highest rental payments in the world, and I can only imagine the financial pressure they will face (it seems that the movement will not be ending anytime soon).
2 – Hong Kong People Fighting Hong Kong People
This really peeves me. Are we actually fighting against the communist party of China? No. All I see on TV, is protesters (Hong Kong people) bickering, fighting against the Policy (Hong Kong People). The teachers association (Hong Kong people) have declared that they will go on strike. The parents association (Hong Kong People) have filed a complaint against the teachers association.
See the pattern? It’s HK versus HK. Beijing was never in the picture.
Tell me this, how am I going to change someones mind by slapping myself in the face? And let’s face reality, the LCY administration does not have the authority to change the decision China has made.
Please think it over.
3 – Effect on the daily lives of normal people
Yes, the movement does affect people. Please face this reality. The movement has made the necessary services (fire trucks and ambulances) unable to perform their duties. The news report I saw today indicated that in normal times, they are able to reach the person in need within 12 minutes 93% of the time. They now can only reach them 60% of the time.
I guess this is the sacrifice we have to give for democracy.
4 – Democratic methods to persuade a communist party
The ability to protest is a democratic right. People in China can never do this, because they are a communist party. So, lets put this together. Let’s use democratic methods to change a communist party’s mind.
I just don’t think this is the proper method to deal with someone who has a completely different ideology than you.
5 – I strongly believe, Hong Kong is the one that will lose the most after all this is said and done
Why? Because the reality (and as sad it is), China is a communist ran country. History ran it’s course and decided that the communist party will win the civil war. As such they are not going to promote another ideology (i.e. democracy) in it’s own territory. Would your boss hire someone they would not get along with? Would this be any different for the communist party? Why would the communist party want to work with someone that will not get along with them?
I am not saying what the communist party are doing is right, but it should not surprise anyone that they made this decision. Which is also why, I really do not think anything is going to change as a result of the protests. If anything, Beijing will crack down even harder (here’s hoping I am wrong for this point).
So the next question you may have is:
Common Question # 1 – What else can we do??
I’ll be honest. I can’t tell the future, and cannot determine what’s the best method. But I am going to propose something based on things I have learned so far in my life.
And that is, money talks.
Going back to point one, Hong Kong used to represent 18% of China’s GDP. Imagine if we were able to get back to that level. Do you think the PRC have a choice not to listen to us? And to not listen to our requests?
The PRC is focused on money (pretty obvious due to the corruption) and economic growth. If HK can stand up and get stronger economically, the PRC needs to take note of you. Yet the occupy movement results in the opposite.
Common Question # 2 – But your method will take a long, long time
Yes, democracy is not won over a weeks or even months time. It takes, a long time especially when your governing country is a communist country.
Common Question # 3 – China will not let HK prosper to that point
First of all, you don’t know that. Secondly, HK is resilient (see SARS). They have fallen before, and have gotten back up stronger than ever. I don’t see why they can’t do this again. If you are a true Hong Konger, then you know you can do it.
Common Question # 4 – China will never change, and will never give us what we want regardless of how much negotiating power we have
False. Firstly, you can’t tell the future. Otherwise you would know how to get through this mess in the first place. Secondly, you are wrong about China not changing.
During the time of Mao, China was indeed a communist ran country where the government owned and ran everything. Forward to Deng Xiao Ping’s time as leader. China began to make reforms in their laws and policies, and began making some of their regions available to outside investment aka owned by foreign companies and countries. This is a main reason / contributing factor as to why China has grown so much. This new form of China, is actually socialist China. Yes, the ideology between socialism and communism are closely knitted, yet there are differences. So don’t tell me that China can not or will not change. Me and you both can’t tell the future. The problem is, any changes will take time.
Common Question # 5 – But what about the promise of full universal suffrage from Beijing?
Here’s a friendly reminder. Under UK rule Hong Kong never had democratic elections either. Yes that is right, one of the most free country in this world, never gave HK full universal suffrage.
And what was UK’s response to the election format established by Beijing for 2017? And I quote ” “While we recognise that there is no perfect model, the important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and a real stake in the outcome,” source [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/06/world/asia/british-response-to-election-limits-upsets-activists-in-hong-kong.html?_r=0]
What does this mean? The UK has no problems with the current election model.
I understand, Beijing may have broken their promise. But coming from a democratic society, you better get used to politicians breaking their promise.
I am not recommending to do nothing at all. I am recommending that Hong Kong people should make Hong Kong stronger than ever before. Yes, this takes longer but at least you are improving Hong Kong, not stabbing it in it’s heart, in a protest which the only casualty at the end of the day is Hong Kong.
I respect everyone’s opinion, and also respect that you have a right to disagree with my thoughts. This is what makes democracy beautiful, in that the freedom of speech is available to everyone.
But please, grow strong, and grow independent. Do I have another answer as to how to obtain a real election? No. but with weakness comes submission, with strength comes influence.
Go Hong Kong.