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HanoiVillan

Hong Kong Protests & Unrest

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Wasn't sure about this, but thought it deserved a thread, not least since it's a massive story (all flights cancelled today as protesters blocked the airport) and it could be heading somewhere more unpleasant fairly soon:

Where do people see the situation leading, short term, medium term and long term?

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Well they (HK police) just acquired one of these

Beirut-m_3416332k.jpg&f=1

(Water cannons may be different spec. the picture is purely illustrative!)

So I can't see it gathering dust in the garage somewhere in the short term.

Whether it will get to play out before we all go to war will be interesting. It's not going to end well though is it from a humanitarian point of view. Their supposed 'Autonomy' was never likely to last was it?

I hope people following this look at the actions of the police and understand the rather sobering realisation that until and unless they roll the tanks in, the tactics that are causing PR problems on the global social medias right now (undercover officers in the protests/batons/water cannons/tear gas/rubber bullets etc) are exactly the same as used against protesters here in 'the west'.

If only they'd stayed in their official protest zone and within their allocated official protest time eh?

giphy.gif?cid=790b76112676058652d521b483

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6 hours ago, VILLAMARV said:

Their supposed 'Autonomy' was never likely to last was it?

No, I don't think it is or was. It's been clear for a long time, but particularly blatant since Xi took power, that Hong Kong's governance is being slowly blended with the mainland. My view for a long time now is that there is no future in Hong Kong autonomy, beyond the 50 years that was promised in 1997, but it seems likely that timeline is rapidly accelerating at this point. We may see martial law imposed in the near future, with economic justifications. 

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Out of curiosity, is their autonomy now significantly different to when we held the lease?

 

(that's not me lining up as an apologist for China, it's a genuine question, I know very little about HK, trying to get some context on what they've lost since '97)

 

Edited by chrisp65

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9 hours ago, HanoiVillan said:

Where do people see the situation leading, short term, medium term and long term?

I can't see Xi allowing such disruption to continue for long.

I guess he's reluctant to see in Hong Kong (because it can be more easily seen around the world) the kind of response that China would pursue on the mainland but I'd have thought it would be inevitable at some point. Indeed, I believe there are reports that army vehicles are at the border.

In the short term? If the protests continue and they're causing the kind of problems like shutting the airport then there will be some very nasty, brutish stuff doled out (maybe not directly from the authorities but of the kind that happened the other week in the train station).

In the medium/long term? The end of 'one nation, two systems', a crackdown by the authorities, the CCP taking over control of the political and civil infrastructure of HK, a few voices of discontent from the UK/US & others and then much acquiescense on the subject from the UK unless the US tell them otherwise (and that whole thing will be bound up in US/Chinese economic relations so it's certainly not about the people of Hong Kong).

I guess these problems were inevitable but I'm not really sure the UK has ever really cared about the people within its colonies unless they can continue to show themselves some kind of use to its future interests. Obligations towards people and commitments made, however much affirmed at the time, are always withdrawable at the whim of existing or future governments. Anyone given any commitment about citizenship rights unilaterally by the UK ought to be very wary of relying upon that commitment.

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So for those with more insight, is this latest protest funded and fanned by the west to destabilize China or is it purely a grass root thing?

Or both?

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4 hours ago, chrisp65 said:

Out of curiosity, is their autonomy now significantly different to when we held the lease?

(that's not me lining up as an apologist for China, it's a genuine question, I know very little about HK, trying to get some context on what they've lost since '97)

As far as I understand it there's been no official changes made to their paper thin constitutional rights as such. However, China has pretty much constantly chipped away at the 'interpretation' of HKBasic Law which was the agreed way forward. Any of the HK residents fears pre-handover over the loss of rights/freedoms/accumulated wealth etc are legally enshrined in that document for the 50 years period.

e.g. They are going to be able to have free and open elections to elect their administrator only you can't stand, only people from the party list are put forward etc etc etc. And that's how the Chinese are interpreting it.

The cultural erosion of many ex-pats etc leaving in 97 and the influx of people from mainland china, the ensuing mandarin/cantonese language issues, ever rising housing costs all problems mounting up. Businesses that previously relied on cheap manufacturing in the mainland are being hit by rising labour costs and there are reports of people hopping the border to give birth in HK to obtain residency and so on. It's all a bit of a mess. Add in the discontent of the locals as we've seen with students riling against the dumbing down of the education system towards a more central party focussed curriculum. Culturally the HK film industry is probably a fair barometer of any changes. A once thriving export has been made to toe the line when it comes to using Mandarin and having scripts ok'd by the censors. Which in turn makes them only marketable within mainland China with little interest in the outside world for such seemingly sanitised art.

While changes may not have been made officially, things like people disappearing and then reappearing in custody somewhere in China without the proper paperwork and reports of widespread corruption would suggest that the Rule of Law is massively undermined. The Umbrella Protests from a few years back for instance saw claims that the triads had been sent in to 'deal' with the problem so that the state would avoid any responsibility. With that in mind it's hardly surprising to see a backlash and rather obvious need to distrust the intentions of the CPC.

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I imagine there are a lot of British ex-pats who are looking to come back pretty soon if this situation doesn't resolve itself soon

I've got two mates both British and both married with kids to HK nationals, one of my mates grew up there and the other went there for work. I haven't asked them but I would imagine (or I hope) they are making escape plans 

What a time to be attempting to come back to Blighty with foreign looking family!

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Grauniad:

Quote

The UK should give Hong Kong citizens full UK nationality as a means of reassurance amid the current standoff with Beijing, the chair of the influential Commons foreign affairs committee has argued.

...

Under the so-called “one country, two systems” arrangement that had Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, Beijing considers the population to be Chinese nationals. However, a number of people in the territory hold what is known as a British national (overseas) passport, which gives some rights, for example to stay in the UK for up to six months, but no automatic ability to live permanently or work.

Tugendhat said: “The UK had obligations to Hong Kong citizens before 1997, and the extension of overseas citizenship, which is in many ways a second-tier citizenship, was a mistake, and I think it’s one that should be corrected. At a time when there are clearly tensions in Hong Kong, the UK could reassure many Hong Kong citizens that their existing rights are recognised by the UK, and they are valued.”

...

“I think the point is that the UK has got an opportunity to right a wrong, to give confidence to a people that is clearly very nervous about its future, and understandably so, and I think it’s the right thing to do. And I think all those come together now.”

...rest of article on link

Indeed.

Also in the article is mention of Chinese state media with footage showing armoured personnel and troop carriers supposedly on their way to Shenzen.

Edited by snowychap

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Police retreating at the Airport as they were overwhelmed by protesters

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5 hours ago, Chindie said:

There may be some Western interests involved but it's mostly a grass roots thing. China isn't really on the Western radar for destabilisation, it's too big, it's government too in control, it's intertwinement with global economies too great.

This is a reaction to a region that has historically had a very different outlook to the Chinese mainland, and has benefitted from that, being increasingly brought into line against their will and arguably against the agreement that was made to bring Hong Kong into Chinese purview again. Hong Kong likes it's autonomy, and doesn't really have any trust of the Chinese government, so when it was revealed that Hong Kong citizens are liable to be extradited to the mainland that was the spark that really set the fire going. There has been a long running discontent with the encroachment of the Chinese government in Hong Kong affairs in recent years but this development was the one that really got going.

Hong Kong will eventually be crushed. The only concern at the moment is the PR one, as it's much harder to restrict the story in Hong Kong than it is in China itself. Expect to see leading elements of the protests disappear.

There was a really interesting image of a US consulate official with previous experience in Iraq/Syria/Libya meeting with some of the protest heads in one of the local hotels posted online the other day. Caught by a passer-by.

Where consular official has a high probability of being involved in the dark arts.

A big question for all the high and mighty over here who care so much about democracy... what would we do if people stormed Heathrow or La Guardia and shut them down. See the examples of pipeline protestors and the occupy movement in NY for comparison or the current goings on in France.

Imho, we don't have much moral high ground here.

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2 hours ago, bickster said:

I imagine there are a lot of British ex-pats who are looking to come back pretty soon if this situation doesn't resolve itself soon

I've got two mates both British and both married with kids to HK nationals, one of my mates grew up there and the other went there for work. I haven't asked them but I would imagine (or I hope) they are making escape plans 

What a time to be attempting to come back to Blighty with foreign looking family!

This has been on the radar for quite some time though. Must people I've read about that live there in financial land all understand the moving sands and the need for a plan B, with clear expectations that their will be one China eventually. Perhaps it might accelerate now as there's also the strategic HK vs Shanghai financial center angle, but from what I've heard it would be way to soon for such an aggressive move. I'm sure it sucks to be getting caught up in it though.

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9 hours ago, chrisp65 said:

Out of curiosity, is their autonomy now significantly different to when we held the lease?

 

(that's not me lining up as an apologist for China, it's a genuine question, I know very little about HK, trying to get some context on what they've lost since '97)

 

I think HK (at the moment) is still pretty similar to what the UK left it as although as others have said, the PRC is chipping away at it hence the protests. There were a few cosmetic changes at handover (removal of the word "Royal" from places like the yacht club etc and the painting of the red phone/post boxes to green, although still displaying the crown insignia despite alleged pressure from Beijing to cover it up)

Its legal system is still based on western principles (English common law) and the only things ceded to PRC was defence and diplomatic relations, which makes sense.  

The internet isn't censored at all and when I have been over there the people I speak to don't consider themselves the same as mainlanders. A lot who I have met feel more in touch with western ways of life, which again makes perfect sense if you have been raised in a capitalist society. 

I love HK, its my favourite place in the world so its sad to see it like this :( 

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There's been some talk that the authorities had been trying to provoke the protests into becoming violent to give an excuse to use overt force to crush them.

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Terrible stuff indeed. (and that's not in my sarcastic voice)

Imagine if things like that happened over here?

4515204a.jpgbattle-of-the-beanfield-07.jpg&f=1450px-Ian_Tomlinson_remonstrates_with_poJS81639778.jpg330px-Blair_Peach.jpg

(If anyone's remotely interested Dalian - Beanfields - Ian Tomlinson - Orgreave - Blair Peach)

Cardiff 2016 - this is what happens in the UK if you peacefully protest in a bank :thumb:

Quote

Shocking Footage of British Police Officers Attacking Peaceful Protesters

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/mvxwxb/exclusive-video-police-brutality-cardiff-922

Them Chinese though eh :(

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640_2019-08-16T033732Z_1_LWD0016CYMYX3_R

Quote

Daredevil Alain Robert -- dubbed the 'French Spiderman' -- climbed a Hong Kong skyscraper on Friday and unfurled a "peace banner" as the financial hub is rocked by historic political unrest. The 57-year-old adventurer, who specializes in unsanctioned ascents of tall buildings, shimmied up the 68-storey Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong's main business district in hot and humid conditions on Friday morning. During the climb he attached a banner featuring the Hong Kong and Chinese flags, as well as two hands shaking.

Prior to the ascent Robert put out a statement saying the message of his climb was to make "an urgent appeal for peace and consultation between Hong Kong people and their government."

"Perhaps what I do can lower the temperature and maybe raise a smile. That's my hope anyway," Robert said in his media statement.

But many were unimpressed.

"Do you really want (to) shake hands with butchers and dictators," tweeted Australia-based Chinese dissident artist Badiucao.

"This shows many foreigners don't understand the underlying issue between Hong Kong and China," a user wrote on a popular forum.

Hong Kong has been battered by 10 weeks of huge -- sometimes violent -- democracy protests. They were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights. The movement represents the greatest challenge to Beijing's authority since the city was handed back by the British in 1997 under a deal that allowed it to keep freedoms that many Hong Kongers feel are now being eroded. So far neither Beijing, nor the city's loyalist leaders, have made any major concessions to the movement. Robert has regularly come to Hong Kong to scale buildings in a city that boasts the highest concentration of skyscrapers in the world. He has climbed the Cheung Kong Center twice before. Last August he was banned by a Hong Kong court from making any more climbs after he was charged over a 2011 illegal ascent of the 27-floor Hang Seng Bank building. At the time he vowed to return to Hong Kong as soon as the ban expired.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/world/704764/french-spiderman-scales-hong-kong-skyscraper-with-peace-banner/story/

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