Hong Kong

Why Hong Kong Protesters Are Channeling Bruce Lee

The mostly young demonstrators are calling for autonomy and democracy—and won't be silenced like the NBA.


Few stories are generating as much as heat and interest as the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, where mostly young demonstrators are taking to the streets to call for democracy, autonomy, and privacy from authoritarian leaders in Beijing. In just the past week, the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team caused an international incident when he tweeted support for the protesters. This was a big deal because the NBA is huge in China—in fact, there are more NBA fans in China than there are people in the United States! The Rockets' team owner and NBA leadership quickly apologized but not before the network carrying basketball in China announced it would not show any Rockets games this season.

The creators of South Park took a different tack: When an episode of their show mocking government censorship was shut down by the regime, Matt Stone and Trey Parker issued a caustic fake apology that read in part, "Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts….We too love money more than freedom and democracy."

A month ago, Reason TV producer Zach Weissmueller traveled to Hong Kong to document exactly what's happening in the streets of a place long known for nearly unbridled capitalism (watch his videos at Reason.com or YouTube). In today's Reason Interview, Zach tells how the protesters are using both high-tech and low-tech means to get their message out, why they're inspired by the old Bruce Lee saying "be like water," and whether they're likely to achieve their goals of securing democratic, representative rule and privacy from the government that is perfecting the surveillance state in the 21st century.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

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  1. They should be channeling Brad Pitt!

  2. “where mostly young demonstrators are taking to the streets to call for democracy, autonomy, and privacy from authoritarian leaders in Beijing.”

    Nothing particularly libertarian in that especially with the protesters ONLY demanding privacy,etc from authoritarian leaders in Beijing and not in general.

  3. I wonder why the MSM isn’t giving the Hong Kong protests more ink?
    Oh, that’s right.
    The people of Hong Kong are those vile and evil lovers of freedom and capitalism who refuse to bend over to their communist masters in Beijing.
    Such political incorrectness should not be rewarded with attention from the American press otherwise people here in the USA might get the false impression journalists in this country actually care about freedom.

    1. The president of the United States has ignored Hong Kong but you have an issue with the MSM?

    2. They’re protests that are not sanctioned by the oligarchs. Look at the yellow vest protests in France–no ink, no major politicians talking about it. Hell, Macron had to flee the country at one point.

      This is how you can tell the authenticity of a protest in the modern age. If it isn’t being pushed by your masters, it will be ignored and buried.

  4. More than ten years ago, I worked at one of the first companies thrust in the spotlight by China’s strong arm tactics.

    At the time, Yahoo had an office in China, from which it managed its properties that were offered to the Chinese markets. One day, Chinese police showed up in the office, threatening to arrest everyone there if they did not hand over (under order of a search warrant) the contents of several dissidents’ mail boxes. Yahoo complied, and this evidence (among much other evidence) was ultimately used to imprison the dissidents.

    There was a lot of soul searching in the country after that point. On the one hand, we had been collectively proud that our services were helping the chinese public. Indeed, the whole reason Yahoo Mail was targeted by the Chinese, was that it was hugely useful at the time to help dissidents get their information out to the press in the West. Ultimately, however, our leaders decided to cut all ties. We sold all of our properties in the nation to Alibaba, and cut ourselves completely out of the Chinese market, where many of these properties were #1 or #2 in rankings.

    Ultimately, it looks like Yahoo made a good move back then. By exiting the market in return for owning some stock in Alibaba, they had been able to benefit from the growth of that market, without the ethical dilemma of having to put up with Chinese demands to oppress its own people. Many pointed to Google for a different way- offering services, but hosting their data offshore where the Chinese government couldn’t access it. Flash forward 10 years, and we see that the corrupting lure of lucre has led Google to ease back these safeguards and even get in bed with Chinese officials.

    I still believe that companies should be allowed to choose the level to which they will participate in these markets. I still believe that Yahoo did much good to bring together opposition before it became a target of the Chinese. I will never support the US government trying to interfere here, because I trust the US government only a bit more than China (who I am sure could easily compromise some senators as easily as they have Google). Nevertheless, people should rightly smack around these companies that kow tow to Beijing. They have been enjoying this money for decades, and now it is time for them to decide whether it is more important than their dignity. And their customers need to decide whether entertainment is worth selling their souls.

    1. No. It’s time for companies to have to choose China or the US.

      Of course, Google is just as bad as the Chinese government, so they will choose China. Bon Voyage to them.

  5. ” “Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts….We too love money more than freedom and democracy.”

    Ask me again why I love South Park.

    1. Seriously agree! I actually haven’t watched an episode of South Park in Years, but that one statement makes me want to binge it!

  6. This imgur post about China is pretty interesting.


  7. “The mostly young demonstrators are calling for autonomy and democracy—and won’t be silenced like the NBA.”

    Are they ?

    Or just autonomy and democracy free from Beijing ?

  8. You can order an assignment about Hong Kong protests here https://supercheapessay.com/cheap-assignment-writing-service. This is a very intense topic!

  9. The young will rise and make the changes that need to be made. https://www.honolulu-concrete.com

  10. Lee was born in San Francisco while his father, a Chinese opera singer, was on tour. But his parents returned to Hong Kong when he was a baby. He was a child actor before his focus turned to martial arts. Business Directory

  11. will always love bruce lee movies and the characters he plays in his movies. That does not mean I have to love his personal life or support his opinions and ideologies.
    Towing Grand Junction

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