World

Hongkongers Are Fighting To Keep What They Have

Hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers have taken to the streets, smashed lamp posts, and stormed government buildings to keep China from encroaching on Hong Kong's freedoms prematurely.

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The protests in Hong Kong, which started in early June, were sparked by a bill that would have allowed China and Taiwan to extradite suspected criminals residing in Hong Kong. But the protests are about much more than that. The extradition bill was inspired by Chan Tong-kai, a 19-year-old accused of strangling his pregnant girlfriend to death in Taiwan and then fleeing. That such a deeply unsympathetic suspect launched a protest movement watched around the world illuminates the extent to which Hong Kong residents fear the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

Save for four years of occupation by Japan during World War II, Hong Kong was a British territory from 1841 to 1997. Its political culture is distinctly British, in that Hong Kong has clear due process rights, quasi-democratic representation, and a healthy respect for civil liberties. In 1997, when the U.K. gave the island back to China, it stipulated that Beijing needed to preserve Hong Kong's political culture under a "one country, two systems" model. The agreement says China must allow Hong Kong to maintain its system of semi-autonomy through 2047.

Privately operated newspapers in Hong Kong run scathing critiques of politicians without political reprisal. This does not happen in Shenzhen. While mainland China claims to have freedom of association and expression, it also has vague anti-subversion laws that let the authorities target dissidents. "The extradition bill would have blurred the line between the Hong Kong and mainland justice systems," says Hong Kong–based journalist and lawyer Antony Dapiran.

Hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers have taken to the streets, smashed lamp posts (which are suspected of having surveillance capabilities), and stormed government buildings to keep China from encroaching on Hong Kong's freedoms prematurely. The protesters have, in turn, been on the receiving end of increased police brutality—a possible harbinger of life under Communist rule.

Most protesters don't want secession, but they do want to preserve the Hong Kong they know—a wealthy metropolis with high economic freedom and low corruption. Dapiran notes that "the vast majority, if not all, Hongkongers want 'one country, two systems' to continue indefinitely." It is "anxiety" over the 2047 deadline, he says, that's powering the protests. Hongkongers realize winning full autonomy is unrealistic. But Chinese rule would ruin the freedoms they cherish, and it's unlikely those freedoms would be restored in their lifetimes.

Hong Kong's revolutionaries just want to keep what they have. They're fighting for nothing more, and they will settle for nothing less.

NEXT: The Scripted Impeachment Proceedings

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  1. And yet, somehow, American ‘celebrities’ and corporations continue to advocate for the concentration camp running freedom suppressing regime.

    1. I know I wish Trump would speak up against these tyrants but he’s clearly more comfortable around authoritarians.

      1. Right, i wish hed at least publicly condemn the actions and sign a bill pulling material support from the chinese government…

        Oh wait…

      2. You cry every time trump goes against china such as with Tariffs. The irony.

        1. Tariffs hurt you and me.

      3. He’s in trade negotiations.

    2. Where’s Colin Kaepernick now?

  2. Most protesters don’t want secession…

    They probably should.

  3. Protestors in Hong Kong waving American flags, American protestors waving Communist flags. Good opportunity for the open-borders advocates here to point out that borders go two ways and if some people in Hong Kong aren’t happy there and some people in America aren’t happy here, there’s an obvious solution to the discontent on both sides.

    1. Let’s start a crowd-funded relocation fund.

      “Help Bernie Go Home!”

    2. Speaking of people who aren’t happy here, I was looking up A Is For Ox because I couldn’t remember the name of the author and I ran across an interesting review of the book.

      Now, the book is a slog and a bad read but it does make an interesting argument, that the invention of the alphabet was crucial for the development of abstract thought. The original “A” was upside-down, a point-down equilateral triangle topped by two sticks – an ox face with the horns sticking up, a pictograph of the word “ox”. With an alphabet, you can have a semi-circle, a triangle with legs and a cross and you have to be able to use abstract thought to connect those random lines C A T to a small furry house-pet. There’s no way an illiterate person can grasp any meaning from those lines. The author’s argument is that with the rise of technology – TV, movies, video games, etc. – literacy becomes less necessary and therefore we as a society are losing our ability for abstract thought and we are well and truly screwed when we have trouble with abstract thought. Emojis are the new pictograms and that’s indisputably a societal regression, it ain’t progress.

      Anyway, the review says this:

      An outdated, Eurocentric, agist, logophilic and scopophilic critque of society.

      That’s right, literacy is a plot by the evil white man just the same as math, at least according to somebody who can’t be bothered to proofread what she wrote to ensure she didn’t misspell the word “critique”. You have to be highly educated to fit that much shit in one simple sentence. She goes straight to the top of the list of people to be deported to someplace where running water and electricity and bologna sandwiches are all equally fantastical and unobtainable luxuries.

      I had to look up “scopophilic” by the way, the dictionary definition suggests it means “liking looking at pron” – without digging into it, I know damn well the way it’s used here, it means “the male gaze is literally rape”. If you like looking at stuff – whether it’s an attractive woman, a fancy car, a snazzy hat, a sharp set of furniture or a sweet Swiss Army knife – it means you’re probably a white male and you think you’re just entitled to look at stuff and that’s wrong. Nothing gives you the right to look at stuff without its consent, you arrogant pig!

      1. All you needed to do was watch a few minutes of msnbc on the weekend to realize this lol.

        I knew we were fucked as soon as the silence speakers on campuses thing really sparked up about 5 years ago.

        If kids and their “administrators” are too damn ignorant and flat out stupid to defend people’s right to speak in the exact venues our kids SHOULD BE LEARNING ABOUT AND UNDERSTANDING our country, history, and government then where else will these kids learn about it? They get a year or 2 of American history or civics in highschool, and then once they hit college its 4+ years with little oversight or elder influence outside of whatever looney proffs your kids have.

        I mean if kids aren’t going to ever learn about or understand the constitution and the reasons behind its writing while they literally participants in our education system, when will they ever?

        1. I read an interesting article on college educations nowadays, which made me realize how long it’s been since I thought college had a purpose. His thesis is that college used to be about learning how to learn, about getting a core education in history, literature, mathematics, etc, all the general purpose stuff that went into a “liberal arts” education. It was definitely not supposed to train you for any particular job. It was not vocational training by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, this was before most jobs required any formal education. Even doctors and lawyers mostly learned by doing, by apprenticing as it were.

          His proof that current vocational degrees (engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, archaeology, etc) are hogwash was that they all take four years. What a coinkydink! as Curly would say. Most for-profit vocational education, such as plumbing, welding, car repair, are for certificates to hang on a shop wall to prove to the customers that you’ve had some training. These schools are all different lengths measured in weeks, not stuffed full of nonsense to stretch them out to four years.

          It was a very interesting idea. It still makes me chuckle when my brain pops it up again.

        2. Back to your topic a bit, all these idiotic college protests only convince me more that a college degree is nothing but a piece of paper. Employers care about nothing except that you’ve spent four years doing something. It used to be they cared about you getting an education in those four years; now I suspect they are a bit more cynical and only care that you’ve got enough debt piled up that you can’t afford to quit or raise a stink.

      2. Well, you certainly can’t create technology without literacy. So if this theory is true, we would either maintain a literate class who makes and programs the devices, and a non-literate class who only uses them, or we would lose the ability to make the devices, in which case we would need to go back to writing on paper anyway. So either way, some literacy will be preserved.


      3. The author’s argument is that with the rise of technology – TV, movies, video games, etc. – literacy becomes less necessary and therefore we as a society are losing our ability for abstract thought and we are well and truly screwed when we have trouble with abstract thought. Emojis are the new pictograms and that’s indisputably a societal regression, it ain’t progress.

        And yet China, Japan, and other Asian countries exist and are generally considered able to engage in abstract thought even though their alphabets are nothing like ours at all.

        Also, please tell me more about how the Egyptians were the redneck backwoods types of their era.

        In short, I don’t know the book you’re talking about but if that’s their conclusion I find it more than just a little suspect.

        1. And also, just to note this, ‘literacy’ almost certainly has a wider definition that what that author seems to want to define it as. Is the claim that an emoji doesn’t convey meaning? A curious claim, since most people are well able to figure out meaning. In fact, there’s a fairly good argument to make that emoji are more effective at conveying emotion of statements than standard punctuation.

  4. OT post:

    Artists go bananas!

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-07/banana-hanging-on-a-wall-is-all-the-rage-at-miami-basel-art-fair

    Someone Ate the $150,000 Banana Taped to a Wall at Art Basel. Now It’s Gone Again

      1. Fake news. The banana is not the banana.
        “Now, security guards are keeping watch on the new, replacement banana”
        — abcnews7

  5. Prematurely?

    ????

    Will there be a better time for Beijing to put Hong Kong under the boot?

    1. Legally in 2047 with no legitimate interference from the U.K. or US.

      Maybe we should just nuke Beijing now before things get worse?

      1. Libertarians: Beijing’s actions are wrong!

        Reason: Beijing is acting a smidgen early.

        1. That’s a perfect summation of this article, thanks ThomasD!

  6. “In 1997, when the U.K. gave the island back to China, it stipulated that Beijing needed to preserve Hong Kong’s political culture under a “one country, two systems” model”

    Which was only a political dream / hope in order to support what it did – IMHO.

  7. Its political culture is distinctly British, in that Hong Kong has clear due process rights, quasi-democratic representation, and a healthy respect for civil liberties.

    Brits respect civil liberties? Like owning a gun? Or a knife? Or saying unpopular things?

  8. Alt-text:

    Donate to reason so we can hire this liberty-minded Hong-Konger as a writer!

  9. As sympathetic as I am to these people, other than resolutions condemning China, I don’t see a compelling interest for the U.S. China is doing a lot worse shit to the Uirghurs if the reporting is accurate and I don’t want to fight a war over that either. Hong Kong is fucked sooner or later in any case and if they don’t want to secede I don’t see any reason that we should fight their war. Seems to me that by 2047 one or both of two things will have happened. The U.S. dollar will collapse and China will be the only remaining world power and/or China and the U.S. will fight a full blown war for global dominance. Hong Kong will be a footnote.

    1. Doesnt require us to go over there. China is so economically dependent there is a lot we can do from over here. Problem is the media and leftists were less outraged of Feinstein paying a chinese spy for 20 years than they are even the most mild of sanctions or tariffs against china.

      1. Here’s a puzzling question about China.
        What explains otherwise virulent, hyper-activist, and volatile Islamic countries and jihadist groups being completely subservient to China?
        https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/30/why-havent-we-heard-a-peep-from-islamic-powers-about-china-brutalizing-1-million-muslims/

        1. Is that because they worry about losing Chinese investment, or is that because they know that if they provoke China to the point of a war, Chinese military will not follow human rights rules during engagement?

          Yeah, because Islamic states are well known for their strict adherence to the Geneva Conventions.

        2. They owe them money.

        3. It’s not a puzzling question at all.

          As it turns out, regimes that are willing to lock you up and or shoot you in the face over pretty much anything are a far less attractive target than countries that believe in some form of freedom.

          In short it’s easier to bomb American targets since you have a presumption of innocence. In China, there is no such belief. It’s hard to set off a bomb when you’re put into what amounts to a concentration camp simply for being in their borders.

          That isn’t to say we should emulate them, but rather it shouldn’t be a surprise.

  10. This impeachment hearing is, as expected, a travesty.
    But watching Nadler make up shit on the fly and try to defend or ignore when called out on it is hilarious

  11. The people of Hong Kong should embrace the joys and wonders of communist totalitarian rule and should be ashamed of themselves for refusing to accept the kind and generous offers of arrest, imprisonment and death their obvious betters in Beijing are offering them. As we all know, a communist nation is paradigm in which we all dream for our country to be. For too long the masses have been wallowing in the morass of freedoms that only adulterates the soul, poison society and make life miserable for everyone. The people of Hong Kong, indeed America as well, should welcome all the joys of socialist totalitarianism like abject poverty, mass murder, oppression and terror. It is only through these benevolent conditions can one truly appreciate the hard work our ruling elitist vermin engage in when they suppress daily.
    Therefore , let us break free from our capitalist shackles and wholeheartedly turn our lonely eyes to someone brave enough, strong enough and prudent enough to starve, torture, oppress and kill us in a socialist slave state in order to improve all our meaningless lives.

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