Hong Kong Protests Echo Taiwan

This is just a short entry about the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong. To me, the things that aren’t being said are:

1. Hong Kong was never a democracy. I don’t know a whole lot about their political structure, but I do know there were never direct elections in Hong Kong. It was a British colony. So these demonstrations aren’t really fighting for democracy per se, they are fighting to preserve the freedom of speech and civil rights that existed under the British. I don’t think Hong Kong is ready for self-rule. I don’t think they have ever considered it. Am I wrong?

2. The media jumped on the protest in Hong Kong and is largely supportive of the protesters. Meanwhile, back in March, it took weeks of grassroots action for the protest in Taiwan to be seen in any mainstream media. And while the students in Hong Kong are undoubtedly brave for standing up against China, the students in Taiwan were totally badass for managing to occupy the legislature for SIX WEEKS. Why no outpouring of love for these students who also spent days cleaning everything up? Why so much support for Hong Kong, but so little for Taiwan’s scrappy democracy?

3. The protest in Hong Kong eerily follows the one in Taiwan. The Nationalists also sic’d a bunch of gangsters on the protesters. There is also the same double-talk of how China is the future of Taiwan Hong Kong. Which makes me wonder how much the Nationalists and Communists are in cahoots. Well, they were originally the same party and now it seems they have the same interests: One China indivisible under Big Brother.

Thoughts?

3 responses to “Hong Kong Protests Echo Taiwan

  1. #1 – well, HK residents can elect their local leaders, just not their executive leaders so they do have some measure of democracy. It’s true that they didn’t under the British but I don’t see how that matters – China promised suffrage by 2017 and have just said they won’t give it. So it is not true that they are not asking for democracy “per se” – they are ABSOLUTELY asking for the democracy they had come to expect. (BTW I do think that if it were still a British colony – I think we’d now call that a ‘territory’ – Britain would have given them democracy and possibly an independence vote by now. They did for Scotland. Times have changed, 1997 was a long time ago).

    And why on Earth don’t you think they’re ready for democracy? …huh? Why not?

  2. Interesting, thanks. I just read up a little on China promising universal suffrage to HK, which I did not know about. I wonder how they put it, seems a little like double-speak, couching things in vague enough terms that the other party might interpret it to mean something else. Seems to me they intended all along for the electoral candidates to be chosen by the politburo, which would rig the election a wee bit… I’m really skeptical that China would allow any election to happen without their influence.

    And by Hong Kong not being ready for self-rule, I meant the government doesn’t have the infrastructure yet. It seems to me the legislature etc. would have to be reorganized and the whole thing is all really vague. This is different from the people of Hong Kong, who are most definitely ready for democracy as they’ve been showing for the past 10 days.

  3. Judith Thomas (fka Thornberry)

    Thanks for pointing out the contrast in news coverage between Taiwan and Hong Kong. It follows an old pattern. Look at how little coverage was done in the U.S.through the long years of struggle by the pro-democracy movement in the 1970s and 80s. Hong Kong and Taiwan share the problem that the issues are more nuanced than American mainstream media are typically able to handle.

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