Three consecutive days of rallies, marches and clashes represent another escalation of the unrest. Many of the protesters carried American flags. Many of the protesters are said to be demanding a Bill of Rights, modeled on the American Bill of Rights, which is even more freedom than the people of Hong Kong enjoyed under British Crown rule. And that’s really not what the Central Communist Party (CCP) on Mainland China wants. As a result, some in the PRC/Worker’s Paradise blame the United States for the protests and for putting these notions of fair laws and freedom into their heads.
Let’s break down the protests: On 26 July, demonstrators occupied the entrance hall of Hong Kong International Airport. They said that their task was to inform tourists about the situation in Hong Kong.
Demonstrations were held at Yuen Long on the 27th. The police denied permission for a public rally at Yuen Long, but activists held one in defiance of the police order. They said their purpose was to exact revenge for the white shirt attack on 21 July. Riot police fired tear gas at the demonstrators at Yuen Long after they began throwing bricks, umbrellas and bottles at the police.
The demonstrations on 28 July were a continuation of the day before’s protests. Once again, a peaceful rally morphed into an attack against civil order with multiple mobs of demonstrators marching down unapproved routes and clashing with police. Police fired tear gas and other crowd control devices. The protests continued all night into the morning of 29 July.
Today, Monday, The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council, China’s cabinet, held a press conference in Beijing to give “its stance and views on Hong Kong’s current situation”, according to a central government notice. This will be the first time the HKMAO has held a press briefing on Hong Kong city since the UK transferred sovereignty back to China in 1997.
Leaders of the protests seem to believe that provoking authorities will result in an overreaction that will cause international pressure on the Beijing government to accept protestor demands. The People’s Republic won’t be swayed by international pressure. They can’t give in. No communist government can give in and still survive.
Editorials in the Global Times indicate Chinese leaders already have concluded that the US and others are using the protests to weaken China.
The editorials are wrong. The US is weakening China by not giving them trillions in unfair trade as we now see under President Trump. The US is also not allowing China a free reign globally in other trade and tech theft that they enjoyed for so long. The problems in Hong Kong are the result of free people wanting to retain freedoms and rights. British King George could commiserate with the Beijing Mandarins were he still alive.
The Core Problem
There is more travel from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to Hong Kong now. Chinese see in Hong Kong, a system set up by the British with fair laws that work and a culture that also works in ways that don’t seem to work on the mainland. That sort of thing infects the PRC with dissatisfaction. As a result, the Beijing government is trying to make Hong Kong more like the PRC, rather than the other way around.
Don’t get me wrong. China has made HUGE STRIDES to curb what was rampant corruption and to modernize China. The goal is to make China a modern society by 2047. Anyone who knows China now and then can see that it’s a serious goal and the oligarchy that runs China under the communist rubric is trying. But the divide between China and Hong Kong is still significant and it strains the one country-two systems situation.
When 20% of any population actually hits the streets to protest, one may reasonably infer that the other 80% have many of the same feelings, so the protests in Hong Kong are not a small thing. Neither is Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square, where you can roll the tanks in and start killing people for shits and giggles (The June Fourth Incident).
I was on the phone to friends in the area last night and the locals are seeing other things that the oligarchs in Beijing see on the television. The Hong Police don’t really have their hearts in breaking heads of demonstrators. They all live in Hong Kong…their families live in Hong Kong, and Beijing feels as if there may be members of the police who sympathize with the demonstrators. (you think?)
What to Do?
My advice to Chinese oligarchs is to back off and leave Hong Kong alone. Reassess the situation in 2047 and try and fix the PRC in the mean time so that it will be more like Hong Kong.