Hong Kong

Will Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement Move China?

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What started as a pro-democracy student strike has turned into an occupation of the central business district in Hong Kong. Originally organized as a rebuke to the Chinese government for their shifty denial of the right of Hongkongers to directly elect their chief executive, the protest has grown demographically, as have the stakes.

Hong Kong in the street
Youtube/Vice News

Led by by the student group Scholarism and the rare local Occupy outfit with an actual agenda, Occupy Central, tens of thousands of citizens have spent the past several days blocking an eight-lane thoroughfare in the heart of the economic hub of 7 million people. They have been tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, and the 17-year-old leader of the student group that started the uprising was arrested and held for two days before being released with a standing threat by Hong Kong authorities that more serious charges could be imminent.

As thuggish responses from government agents on unarmed civilians sometimes draw more attention to protests rather than shut them down, the previously unnamed protest is now being referred to as the "Umbrella Movement," umbrellas being the defense of choice among the crowds to protect themselves from the paralyzing toxins being sprayed at them. 

As noted by J.D. Tuccille earlier today, the protesters are very conscious of the optics of their movement and are taking pains to be peaceful, eschewing—and even apologzing for—vandalism. The students remian dutiful, doing their homework while maintaining their watch

For the most part, they are not anarchists, but hard-working and ambitious young people merely demanding the "one country, two systems" they were promised as babies when Great Britain's lease on the city ended and Hong Kong returned to mainland Chinese rule in 1997.

A great many in the Umbrella Movement were not yet alive in May 1989, when thousands of pro-democracy students were slaughtered by police and military in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, but the fear of a bloody reprise is on many minds.

It is also important to note that Beijing has never known anything close to the freedom that Hong Kong residents accept as their birthright. One student made that point to the Huffington Post, saying, "Tell the world what happened to Hong Kong and tell the world China and Hong Kong are different. We are not Chinese, we are Hong Kongese."

You could make the argument that because 2014 Hong Kong's economic importance dwarfs 1989 Beijing's, any sustained clash between citizens and authorities would have far greater global impact. Perhaps that's why the international response has been so muted.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed support for Hong Kong's self-determination but added that he hoped both sides show "restraint," which is an odd response to a violent government's attack on disciplined civil disobedience, and hardly a robust defense of democracy.

Hong Kong's former colonial masters in Britain have done little more than call the Chinese ambassador in for a tête-à-tête and release statements with dispassionate throwaway lines like "Britain and China have solemn obligations to the people of Hong Kong to preserve their rights and freedoms."

The international business community wants no part of a sustained shutdown of Hong Kong's major business artery, and the world's four biggest accounting firms said as much in a joint statement last June:

"If Occupy Central happens, commercial institutions such as banks, exchanges and the stock market will inevitably be affected," the accounting companies said. "We are worried that multinational corporations and investors will consider relocating their headquarters from Hong Kong or even withdrawing their businesses."

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has rejected negotiating or even meeting with leaders of the protests, and the Chinese Communist Party's official line is that they trust their man in Hong Kong to deal with the unrest.

For their part, Hongkongers have a history of bold protest and affecting change, as they did in the early in 2003 when they held massive protests against Article 23, an "anti-subversion" law which contained severe curtailments of civil liberties.

Come at me, bros!
Twitter/@leungfaye

The Chinese government is anxious to stamp out trouble spots all over its fraying empire. In Tibet, they are mandating a "happiness" festival; in the restive Xinjiang region, foreign journalists are barred from interviewing ethnic Uighurs; and Taiwan's president rejected a Chinese reunification proposal based on the "one country, two systems" proposal proving so elusive in Hong Kong. 

China doesn't need another domestic headache, but they've got one in Hong Kong.

With the Umbrella movement growing in boldness and international stature by the day, who blinks first? And if Tiananmen 2.0 unfolds live on Youtube, what will—or should—any of us do about it?

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  1. I hope this ends well. Not super optimistic about that, though.

    1. China is still ticked that lots of Western nations embargo weapons and stuff on account of the Tiananmen massacre. If they get too tough with the Hongkongers, they’ll have to start that clock all over again.

      They’ve in a very tough spot.

    2. How many tanks do the Chinese have in Hong Kong?

      1. Hugh, I gotta admit, that seems to trivialize one of the bravest actions I’ve ever seen.

        1. That’s the humor. It’s very dark, but it’s funny.

          1. I’m missing the humor there.

        2. It’s not trivialization; it was to get the image past Chinese censors.

          1. Ah, maybe so!

      2. I’ve always sensed a vague threatening aura about rubber duckies. Now I see why.

  2. Will Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement Move China?

    Ima go with, “Noooooooo.”

    And I hope I’m wrong about that.

  3. You folks better get tank-resistant umbrellas, if you know what I mean. And that’s for this protest to even survive in Hong Kong, let alone the mainland.

  4. Dunno.
    Not sure the Chi Coms are willing to splatter their own population any more (at least on camera), but the protest isn’t giving them a lot of alternatives.

    1. They won’t have to. This spreads to the rest of China and the rural chinese will crush it just like the French rural people did the Commune. One day of “the CIA backed protest movement seeks to undermine China” and there will be a run on pitchforks.

      1. How will the rural Chinese crush a protest in Hong Kong? Are they planning to swim over?

        1. Well China can move in soldiers from rural areas who will not be sympathetic to the locals.

          1. And the world would still see Chinese soldiers violently putting down a peaceful protest. Sam’s argument was that the Chinese rural population itself will put the protest down so that the Chinese government won’t have blood on its hands.

            Unless there are Han Chinese peasants in Hong Kong that I’m not aware of, I’m not sure how this protest is getting put down by rural Chinese.

            1. Sam’s argument was that the Chinese rural population itself will put the protest down so that the Chinese government won’t have blood on its hands.

              Doubly idiotic since he compares it to the Paris Commune which was repressed by the French Army under orders from the French Government.

              1. First of all so what? Second of all that’s a far over simplified version of what went down. The “French Army” was completely out of commission for all but the last stages of the crack down. A new army almost completely recruited from rural districts was recruited in its place. Not to mention that France had two governments at the time Thiers government and the Communards. Indeed beginning with the siege of Paris the government of France was split in two with Gambetta and the National Assembly directing unoccupied France and the Government of National Defense directing Paris. In other words rural France rounded up troops and crushed the Commune. So really it wasn’t so much doubly idiotic as doubly informed about history. It’s ok though that kind of bluster will work 90 percent of the time you just got unlucky.

                1. You argued that the Chinese peasants would crush the protests so the Chinese Army wouldn’t have to and used the Fall of the Paris Commune as example even though it was repressed by the French Army using French Army officers and following the orders of Versailles which would be exactly the same as to what the Chinese Army would be doing in this hypothetical scenario.

            2. Unless there are Han Chinese peasants in Hong Kong that I’m not aware of, I’m not sure how this protest is getting put down by rural Chinese.

              I believe he said if the protest moves to “the rest of China.”

        2. “This spreads to China.” Read all the words.

      2. Sam Haysom|9.30.14 @ 10:39PM|#
        “They won’t have to. This spreads to the rest of China and the rural chinese will crush it just like the French rural people did the Commune.”

        I do not see any analogy to the French Revolution; these folks ain’t the French…

        1. I think he was referring to the 1871 Paris Commune which was in it fact repressed by the French Army?

          1. So…he means the Chinese regular army?

            I thought maybe he meant a la the miners whom Ceausescu brought in to bludgeon student protesters in Romania. To which I respond, China ain’t Romania.

            But maybe he meant something else altogether, in which case never mind.

            1. I meant that the Chinese peasant class would be happy to unleash a jacquerrie on the movement if it moves to the mainland. The government won’t let them, but will instead just use troops from rural regions if violence becomes necessary. I couls definitely see fhe PRC busing in vast numbers of rural Chinese for a counter demonstration though.

              1. Wow, I can’t see that. Rural Chinese have been protesting for years, and the CCP has been playing whack-a-mole by placating or suppressing them one incident at a time. I can’t imagine how the Beijing bosses would convince farmers, miners, and other peasants to march against Hongkongers, but perhaps you have something in mind.

          2. A French army made up entirely of recruits from the rural districts and recruited with the sole purpose of crushing the commune. The “French Army” was almost entirely either under seige or in prisoner of war camps.

            1. Who recruited them and who commanded them and who ordered them? Comparing the French Army that crushed the Paris Commune to the Jacquerie is pretty dubious.

  5. Anthony, you got t?te-?-t?te right, but:

    turned into a occupation

    draw more attention ot protests

    Hong Kong’s ecomonic importance

    Chinese Commuinst Party’s

    (Sorry: once a proofreader, always a proofreader.)

    1. Cheap, fast, or proofread, Papaya. Take your pick of two.

    2. The awkward thing is that I proofread the piece as well and missed them and in addition am responsible for one of the mistakes from my edits.

      Anyway, fixed them.

      1. I like the unique nature of the original mistakes. They’re like barb wire scars on a cowhide, or marks on a tree from limbs broken off an scarred over.

        OK, maybe not. Still – I’d have left them. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it, lol!

        Roll that beauetiful bean footage!

        http://www.proofreeder.com/de/rp

        1. I think “Chinese Commuinst Party” is the perfect brand for some knock-off products.

          1. Well, we can jsut roll with it!

      2. Well, that’s service! And I know from bitter experience how editing or even correcting typos can introduce new errors.

      3. Also: “remian” should be “remain.”

  6. Richman, Raimondo and Rockwell will be calling for the tanks.

  7. Why do we care about Hong Kong? None of our business.

    1. We can’t empathize with people’s struggle for democracy? We can’t hate totalitarianism everywhere?

      1. Cuz to many libertarians concern about foreign events means support for US intervention, unless said government is a US ally.

        1. We shouldn’t intervene militarily, but wanting Hong Kong to emerge victorious seems to me what any libertarian should want.

          Hong Kong is a tremendously wealthy free market nation and is one of the best examples of the success of our philosophy. I would rather it didn’t get destroyed.

          1. Say this to libertarians who act as if being concerned about Ukraine or ISIS makes one a warmongering Neocon.

            1. Winston|9.30.14 @ 11:51PM|#
              “Say this to libertarians who act as if being concerned about Ukraine or ISIS makes one a warmongering Neocon.”

              Methinks thou doth protest too much!

            2. Outside of Lew Rockwell, who on Earth is making this argument?

              1. Major fail in understanding libertarian logick from Winston

                Concern and hope for optimal outcome does not mean support for intervention any more than support for stopping the drug war means advocacy for using recreational drugs

              2. Maybe it makes me a coward or a hypocrite, but all I can do is provide emotional support and hope things turn out well.

                So you seem to implying that there is something unusual about supporting a movement without supporting US intervention.

                Not to mention a lot people speak of what “we” should do about something as if their personal views and the US Government response is connected.

        2. “Cuz to many libertarians concern about foreign events means support for US intervention, unless said government is a US ally.”

          Citation? I do not believe concern implies intervention.

          1. It does not

            What next? Support for sexual freedom and keeping the government out of the bedroom equals support for premarital sex and adultery?

            Classic logick fail

    2. Winston|9.30.14 @ 11:23PM|#
      “Why do we care about Hong Kong? None of our business.”

      I don’t see anyone suggesting air strikes, drones or other ‘non war’ activities, so concern is the least we can offer some folks wanting out of their chains.

      1. I’m concerned, and sympathetic. But I’ve wondered why our government takes the trouble to say so. What difference does it make? It almost seems like some cruel game. (shouting down from the recon chopper) “That’s awful! Good luck with your life!”

        1. Sometimes that’s all you can offer. We can’t go to war with the Chinese over Hong Kong. There’s nothing we can really give them beyond emotional support simply because of how fucked our economy is, the overextension of our military, and the fact that China is too powerful an economy to just go flying into war against them.

          We’re not going to start a war in Asia over fucking Hong Kong, nor should we. Maybe it makes me a coward or a hypocrite, but all I can do is provide emotional support and hope things turn out well.

          1. I don’t think the state of the US economy or the overuse of the military has anything to do with it.
            As much as we’d like to see the chains cut, it is an affair internal to China. As such, it is my business only so far as I might offer concern or anything else I could think of personally.
            My concern does not make it a matter that requires our government to act.

          2. Sometimes that’s all you can offer. We can’t go to war with the Chinese over Hong Kong. There’s nothing we can really give them beyond emotional support simply because of how fucked our economy is, the overextension of our military, and the fact that China is too powerful an economy to just go flying into war against them

            Not to mention the fact of where would we obtain all our cheap consumer goods if we went to war with China? You bet your sweet petunia we ain’t going to war with them.

            1. “Not to mention the fact of where would we obtain all our cheap consumer goods if we went to war with China? You bet your sweet petunia we ain’t going to war with them.”

              You would hope that trade did reduce the threat of war, wouldn’t you?
              But it seems you had something else in mind…

              1. We don’t trade with China to reduce the threat of war. We do so to help mask the effects of one hundred years of inflating the dollar and reducing its purchasing power, virtually robbing people of their savings. You want to see pitchforks and torches at the gates? Just try depriving the rubes in this country of the inexpensive goodies they’ve gotten used to over the last 35 years or so. Just let them see what the real purchasing power of their money is when consumer goods are made in this country or any other where people won’t work for slave wages. I don’t think they’d like finding out that economically they’re not much better off than the peasants in China. The criminals who run this country don’t think so either.

        2. At least we can sympathize without pretending it’s anything more than moral support.

          Now, if I start seeing #BringbackourHongKongz signs (complete with sad Michelle Obama face) I’ll take even my moral support back.

          1. Now, if I start seeing #BringbackourHongKongz signs

            Perhaps Russell Brand can start one.

            1. It’d be cool if he got together with Kurt Russell, Bertrand Russel’s ghost, and Russell Stover, and they all went into it together like a superhero circus gymnast team. I’d watch that shit.

  8. My nephew in Beijing says there is almost no info available there. I wonder if he’ll still roll his eyes the next time I say “Red China.”

    1. If he’s relying on the TV coverage, you can bet he’s got no info. Ditto China Daily.

      1. He is on a VPN line that is not blocked apparently. So he has access.

        1. Hard to believe it isn’t leaking back in from the outside.

          1. There’s some info out there, on Weibo. My friends in Nanjing and Shanghai have both made a few comments on it.

  9. Wonder if Thomas Friedman will ride the first tank into Central with his CCCP mainland pals?

    1. Can we throw him under it? Please?

    2. He’ll probably suggest we adopt China’s more efficient method of selecting candidates.

      1. Ha, yes.

  10. So where’s the Sheldon Richman article on how the CIA arranged this?

  11. I don’t think the article made this clear; wife did over dinner:
    Beijing now has it’s ass in a sling and it does so simply because it did not honor the agreement and the Hong Kong population is calling them on it.
    So they now, as a direct result of blowing off that agreement, can either yield to the protest and chance it spreading to every other city in China, or squash it.
    So far, I’m pretty sure Beijing is ‘hands off’ (‘we’ll let the people in charge *there* handle it’) just so it allows them a bit of wiggle room and ‘deniability’.
    If they whisper in the Mayor’s ear and tell him to back off, they can still claim that Hong Kong is a special case and it was settled there (and the rest of you shut up and get back to work).
    Doesn’t give ’em slack with tanks; Hong Kong doesn’t have tanks.

  12. . . . the paralyzing toxins being sprayed at them.

    What is this? Salon? Stop with the hyperbole already. What’s happening is bad enough, you don’t have to make stuff up.

    1. Agreed; propaganda there.

  13. OT: prog hyperventilates about the den of iniquity that is the NRA convention:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1s3-HZTcIU

    1. Omfg!

      Seder: crime keeps going down in spite of NRA hyperventilating

      Hey dipshit – crime has also gone down in the same period of time when we’ve seen the greatest expansion of firearms rights in our history, we have seen a massive expansion in right to Carry states, and we have seen an expansion in right to Carry under constitutional federal review

      I’m not saying there is causation I am saying that you of course conveniently leave that out that despite the hyperventilation from the left every time a state expanded RTKBA or otherwise recognised greater civil liberties vis a vis gunz, there was no blood in the streets as the anti-gun left predicted and in fact there was near universal decline in same

  14. . . . conscious of the optics of their movement

    OK, last one – either you mean that their conscious of what their movement is looking *at* o you mean ‘. . . the optics *on* their movement’ – ie, who is watching them and what they look like to others.

    1. guesstimate
      happenstance
      beg the question
      optics

      I could go on. They could go into the next Weird Al Yankovic song.

  15. Tom Friedman wrote an open letter to the President of China.

    Choice derp:

    “…China has big problems ? but also big tools and smart leaders ? and will find a way forward…”

    1. Just did a search and I find that Friedman is strangely silent on China recently.

    2. So our dipshit media is now giving foreign statist blow jobs in public. eeewww.

      1. Friedman’s always had a hard on for China. They’re pretty much everything he wishes our government could be.

  16. I am awestruck at Sam Seder’s stupidity. Behold as he attempts to deflect blame from welfare for creating and sustaining poverty:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5l1OXXcqhc

    1. I’m sorry I lost interest after the link you gave for his NRA hysteria

      He just doesn’t get it

      Not that I don’t appreciate and love learning from people I disagree with

      I could listen to Hitchens as to why the death penalty is bad for hours on end even though I totally disagree with them

      But this Seder guy is just a maroon

      1. It’s good you recognize your fellow travelers

        Tongue kisses slaver

      2. Hitchens was one of those rare birds that had at least clearly put a lot of thought into his positions and you could tell by reading/ listening to him. He was also able to articulate why he thought what he did and even if you disagreed with him, you could see where he was coming from, and could at least respect that.

        Left-tard idiots like Seder, OTOH, have put absolutely zero thought into their positions. It’s all based on FEELZ and if you disagree with them you’re just a dirty filthy kochsucking hater as far as they’re concerned. That’s what makes those types so obnoxious.

  17. A great many in the Umbrella Movement were not yet alive in May 1989, when thousands of pro-democracy students were slaughtered by police and military in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square,

    Oh nonsense!!! NEVER HAPPENED!!! It couldn’t have. I mean that honorable member of the Greatest Generation, Daddy Bush, NEVER would have granted China Most Favored Nation trading status if they had committed an atrocity such as that. Hell, look at the measures he took just to help out his royal friends in Kuwait when it was invaded by Saddam. And also, that epitome of honor, virtue, and humanitarianism – Slick Willy – HE never would have renewed Most Favored Status with China during his time in office if such things had actually happened.

  18. Lol. Another college chooses this murdering scumbag for their commencement.

    It’s a typical Vermont style liberal Mecca… No grades, students choose their curriculum

    It’s much like WA state’s Evergreen State College that also had him speak, Evergren being the home of Rachel Corry as well.

    Anybody who doubts this fart knockers guilt can read any of the numerous court transcripts they have it posted to the web and tons of other source documents that overwhelmingly support the guilty verdict

    I 100% support his free-speech right to do so of course but man I wish he had been executed already so this would be a nonissue. They gave up on his death penalty long ago

    The other thing is not only is he a murdering piece of shit but he’s a pretty crappy speaker. This guy is no literary find or brilliant philosopher by any stretch

    If you’ve ever read an issue of ramparts or any other Communist Party associated trash etc. you know the kind of rubbish the guy spouts

    It is pretty cool in a perverse way that even a scumbag like this has his free-speech rights protected, one of the things that makes us so great

    http://www.policeone.com/inves…..t-speaker/

      1. Lol.

        Copblock?

        Talk about some useless noise

        There is SO much intelligent and meaningful cop criticism out there (including mine)… And then there is Copblock

        1. Just watched the whole of it. The I reread your comment.

          You mendacious, fucking slaver! Go fuck yourself with a gladiatorial weapon.

          The concept of resisting all evil, especially the home grown variety is EXACTLY what the we people need to combat totalitarian apologist fucks like you.

          You are a lying sack of shit. I cannot say enough. Fuck you! Fuck the horse you rode in on, and your mother’s horse. While we are at it. Fuck her too.

      2. The only thing I would change is the title. People are programmed to run away from such talk. The programming is real.

    1. No grades, students choose their curriculum

      How the fuck is the school even accredited? Oh wait, they’re probably not, which means a degree from them is literally worthless. Have fun working as baristas and burger flippers while trying to pay off your student loans, you fucking dumb asses.

  19. Sweet

    FBI stings corrupt judge with fake arrest of fake defendant and watches the corruption ensue

    http://www.policeone.com/inves…..tch-judge/

    Of course nowhere near as corrupt as the cash for kids case where two judges violated rights of thousands of juries due to bribes from private jail owner

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki…..sh_scandal

    Both got effective life sentences

    1. Ugh

      Damn voice to text

      JUVIES not juries

  20. “And if Tiananmen 2.0 unfolds live on Youtube, what will?or should?any of us do about it?”

    Absolutely nothing. Nothing can be done.

  21. Free Marketers rank HK as #1 in the world in “economic freedom”. Therefore, true Free marketers should love the gubment there, right?

    Well……I’ll bet they try to play both sides as usual…that’s why they are NEVER wrong.

    1. craiginmass|10.1.14 @ 10:21AM|#
      “Free Marketers rank HK as #1 in the world in “economic freedom”. Therefore, true Free marketers should love the gubment there, right?”

      Yeah, asshole, that makes sense to someone with a 3rd-grade intellect.

  22. umbrellas being the defense of choice among the crowds to protect themselves from the paralyzing toxins being sprayed at them

    I know being tear gassed and pepper sprayed isn’t exactly pleasant, but I don’t know of any quadriplegics that were paralyzed by tear gas or pepper spray.

  23. White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed support for Hong Kong’s self-determination but added that he hoped both sides show “restraint,” which is an odd response to a violent government’s attack on disciplined civil disobedience, and hardly a robust defense of democracy.

    It’s not odd at all when you consider that the Chinese government’s response to these protestors is everything the administration wishes they could get away with. Or does anyone serisouly believe that the administration wouldn’t have gladly tear gassed the Tea Party protestors if they could have gotten away with it?

  24. my buddy’s ex-wife makes $82 every hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her income was $17827 just working on the computer for a few hours. learn the facts here now….

    ???? http://www.netjob70.com

    1. I’ve got news for you, Anon-bot: Your buddy’s ex wife wasn’t working “on the computer,” and she’s his ex-wife for a reason…

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