Hong Kong Protests & The Umbrella Movement

AlchoPwn

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The main problem I see with the umbrella movement is that it isn't winning over the mainland Chinese. For the movement to ultimately work, it needs to become China-wide at this point. People think that the CCP and Xi Jinping are monumental and unassailable, but this is more illusion than reality. Xi and the CCP are only in power while they keep the people prosperous, and they know it. This means that a total crackdown cannot work, as it will cause a collapse in the Chinese economy as foreign investment abandons it, but giving in to the umbrella movement won't work either as it will be seen as weakness (apparently). Ultimately the CCP has decided to simply wait out the protests I think, applying only enough policing to make life hard for the movement. Now, if the movement began to spread into other cities, the story would change, but thus far that hasn't happened.
 

James_H

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The main problem I see with the umbrella movement is that it isn't winning over the mainland Chinese. For the movement to ultimately work, it needs to become China-wide at this point.
It's really hard to tell. One can't speak openly about such things in mainland China so the only two possible options are: ignore the issue or come out pro China. Who knows what people actually think in such a situation?

The strong pro China sentiment shown among Chinese students abroad is also not necessarily representative: for one thing, they come from a monied middle class and don't represent the whole of society on the mainland. For another, I've heard that their activities get monitored back at home and they won't want to cause social credit problems for their families.

There are various videos and social media posts from mainlanders saying (anonymously) 'in fighting for Hong Kong, you are also fighting for us', and similar sentiments. Surveillance society runs so deep on the mainland that people don't have the chance to object.

I've also personally met people from the mainland who have visited Hong Kong to see it with their own eyes, as any reasonably intelligent and educated person knows they can't trust the media. Certainly people who have travelled abroad and kept their eyes open has had the opportunity to question why the representation of facts in Chinese media is so different from in other countries. I also have friends from the mainland who got the hell out as soon as they could, of course.

As to what proportion of the Chinese populace these people represent, it's hard to tell. It could be one percent of one percent.

There are similar but contrasting generational issues in Hong Kong and China. The young generation of Hong Kong, which the protestors/rioters are mainly composed of, grew up in a peaceful and secure time. The final days of the colony were apparently pretty rosy, but the rest of its history wasn't, with notable anti British riots in 1967 because of the hardships, as well as fighting when the new territories were given to Britain in 1897. Young people won't remember this: their grandparents might. This might be a reason for a generation divide in Hong Kong politics right now which has seen some families not even talking to each other while living under the same roof.

In China, the young generation has also grown up in a time of prosperity. They won't remember (won't even learn about, lol) the cultural revolution or the great leap forward - arguably the worst human atrocities in history. But again, their grandparents might, from first hand experience. There might well be a few grannies and Granddads out there who don't absolutely support the party but know better than to talk about it.

This is not to mention the many members of ethnic minorities in China (of whom the uyghurs and Tibetans are the best known) who may have their own reasons not to love the party.

It's a more extreme example, but if you met someone in North Korea, would you expect them to give you their honest opinion about issues there?
 

James_H

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James_H

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Hong Kong's biggest mosque (it's pretty big) was spraypainted blue today by the police's dyed water cannon, in a move that is unlikely to win many supporters in the Muslim community here.
 

James_H

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Here's an interesting video interview with a mainlander who has come to see what's happening for herself, as previously discussed upthread (subtitles).
https://streamable.com/s7mig

SOURCE CHECK: This is from the Epoch Times, a NYC-based newspaper run by members of the Falun Gong cult. Thus it has a strong anti-CCP bias and is not generally a trustworthy source.

Things seem to be running out of steam a bit here. The MTR stations and some shops and banks are still showing damage and there is still a lot of graffiti everywhere but there seems to be a decrease in large violent protests and things feel more normal again.
 
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And now it's recession time.

HONG KONG, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by five months of anti-government protests that erupted in flames at the weekend, and is unlikely to achieve any growth this year, the city’s Financial Secretary said.

Black-clad and masked demonstrators set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs at police on Sunday following a now-familiar pattern, with police responding with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hong...b6c215e4b079eb95a6a986??ncid=newsltushpmgnews
 

James_H

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And now it's recession time.

HONG KONG, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by five months of anti-government protests that erupted in flames at the weekend, and is unlikely to achieve any growth this year, the city’s Financial Secretary said.

Black-clad and masked demonstrators set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs at police on Sunday following a now-familiar pattern, with police responding with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hong...b6c215e4b079eb95a6a986??ncid=newsltushpmgnews
Yes, the economy has taken a big hit. Tourism is way down and apparently hotels currently cost less than actually renting a place. Some have been enjoying the lack of tourist crowds. But a lot of shops have had to close down. There are boycotts of a lot of businesses with connections to the pro-china side, including many popular restaurant chains, Starbucks and Vans. If housing prices fall, that would actually be good news for the average person, who hasn't currently got a hope of getting on the ridiculously overpriced property ladder.

Of course the economy has been a deliberate target of the protestors: in a city founded on hypercapitalism, that's where it really hurts to hit.
 

James_H

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And they say satire is dead: very widely read newspaper Apple Daily has given over its front page to a cut out riot police mask this Halloween. The mask ban law hasn't gained wide acceptance yet, to put it gently, and this Halloween night is going to have a lot of people wearing masks in open defiance of the law.

IMG-20191031-WA0018.jpg
 

INT21

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Of course the economy has been a deliberate target of the protestors: in a city founded on hypercapitalism, that's where it really hurts to hit.
An action known throughout the thinking world as 'shooting yourself in the foot'.
 

AlchoPwn

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An action known throughout the thinking world as 'shooting yourself in the foot'.
On the contrary, it is the very best leverage they can use. The CCP is only in power while it keeps people rich. The best thing that HK protesters can do is collapse the Chinese economy, as that will go a long way towards delegitimizing the CCP and forcing political reform. So far it has been hard for the HK protesters to hit the CCP where it hurts, but this actually works.
 

James_H

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Beijing is planning something to affect how politicians are chosen in HK but it's not clear what yet.

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/11/...-leader-selected-safeguard-national-security/

“We should educate Hong Kong and Macau society, especially public officials and teenagers, about the constitution… and strengthen the national consciousness and patriotism of Hong Kong and Macau compatriots through the education of history and Chinese culture,”

Which sounds ominous
 

AlchoPwn

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And you think the CCP will just sit back and allow this to happen ?
The CCP knows that if they crack down, there will be a mass exodus of foreign firms from Shanghai and HK that will further crash the economy. That is why the CCP are keeping up the police pressure, but have dropped the extradition bill. They would badly like the protests to stop, but can't be seen to pull another Tiananmen Square Massacre, so they hope that they can edge the protest into stopping by a combination of enough force to make life uncomfortable, and enough concessions to make the protesters think they got a partial victory.
 

Yithian

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We're considering moving this to MAINSTREAM NEWS. Despite a number of interesting 'conspiracy' angles from our man on the spot (which are very interesting), it seems to have lapsed into regular news updates.
 

INT21

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The conspiracy angle is 'who would be stirring up the masses?' They don't usually start this kind of thing themselves.

I would guess it's the 'mericuns'. They have the most to gain. Everyone else has the potent to lose. But as many of the American multi millionaires relay on China to provide the goods that makes them wealthy, it is more likely to be simply people who wish to see world wide disorder. Same people who stir up the Middle East.
 

James_H

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The conspiracy angle is 'who would be stirring up the masses?' They don't usually start this kind of thing themselves.

I would guess it's the 'mericuns'. They have the most to gain. Everyone else has the potent to lose. But as many of the American multi millionaires relay on China to provide the goods that makes them wealthy, it is more likely to be simply people who wish to see world wide disorder. Same people who stir up the Middle East.
That's one. Another would be 'are there underhand tactics involved?' eg agents of China or some Western country posing as protestors, or 'are a lot of Westerners living and working in Hong Kong secret agents?' or 'are the Chinese army already on the streets in the guise of Hong Kong police officers?', or 'has there been a cover up of multiple deaths at the hands of the police' or 'has the police been using expired tear gas illegally?' or 'has there been collusion between the government, police and triads (criminal gangs)?', or 'has there been collusion between the MTR corporation (public transport) and the police/government to facilitate and/or cover up acts of brutality?' or 'have either side been staging events for propaganda purposes?' (for example the alleged attack on the cross border train) or 'is a propaganda war being waged on the internet, using troll farms?', or 'are the protestors being funded by the USA?' side question: 'are individual protestors being paid to turn up to demos?', or 'are counter protestors being paid to turn up to demos?' or 'are triad members being paid to beat up members of the public?'. There are lots of questions to be asked.

For the original question, because of Hong Kong and China's highly divergent history throughout the 20th century*, it's not a surprise that many Hong Kongers would respond like this to an act perceived as a cultural invasion by the mainland. It's also not surprising that people will be disposed to viewing any action by the mainland related to Hong Kong as a cultural invasion. It's a powderkeg.

* A point that can never be understated is that Hong Kong never belonged to communist China. The PRC is the second successor state to Qing China, from whom was taken from in the first place. I expect very few peoples around the world would like to be handed over to communist dictatorship they were never part of.

***

Fans of memes will be interested to know that because tonight is November the fifth, a March in 'v for Vendetta' guy Fawkes masks is going ahead. A few symbols from the movie have been co-opted by the protestors, among several other pop cultural tropes. Some of these, such as Pepe the frog, often associated with the radical right in the West, have been repurposed.

PS while typing this reply on my phone I walked past a large group of riot police at the ready at a station entrance. Tear gas rifles slung over shoulders, batons, body armour, no visible faces or IDs - very futuristic, very RoboCop.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The conspiracy angle is 'who would be stirring up the masses?' They don't usually start this kind of thing themselves.

I would guess it's the 'mericuns'. They have the most to gain. Everyone else has the potent to lose. But as many of the American multi millionaires relay on China to provide the goods that makes them wealthy, it is more likely to be simply people who wish to see world wide disorder. Same people who stir up the Middle East.
Not sure anyone needs to be "stirred up" to oppose brutal totalitarianism.
Whilst I'm sure the USA was delighted to see the Berlin Wall come down and the collapse of European communism, the credit needs to go to the courageous Germans who put their lives on the line and, indeed, before them, to Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement.
 

INT21

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BMCS,

Poland seems to be sliding slowly into totalitarianism again.

There used to be a joke about the Communist love of 'Five Year Plans' leading to fields full of unneeded tractors. The plan called for their construction thus no one could say 'enough is enough'

Passing part of our town today that has a collection of car sales companies reminded me of the same thing.
we have fields full of new and part used cars that can't be sold. market is saturated.

Yet no one can say 'Stop production, we don't need any more'.

Kind of ironic.
 

INT21

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On the contrary, it is the very best leverage they can use. The CCP is only in power while it keeps people rich. The best thing that HK protesters can do is collapse the Chinese economy, as that will go a long way towards delegitimizing the CCP and forcing political reform. So far it has been hard for the HK protesters to hit the CCP where it hurts, but this actually works.
I think you are wrong on so many fronts there it is hard to know where to start.

The CCP is in power because it wishes to be.

It may be rather direct in it's methods, but it gets things done.

The few (relatively speaking) yuppies who are at the top, i.e head in golden trough, will not be happy when the trouble makers push the HK economy past the point of no return.

The CCP only has to wait.

If things haven't stabilised by the time Lam leaves I predict they will very quickly afterward.
 

AlchoPwn

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The CCP is in power because it wishes to be.
Correction. The CCP is only in power while it retains the loyalty of the Red Army. If wishing made things so, well, we'd live in a magical world of candy trees and soda pop oceans. As Maos said "Power grows from the barrel of a gun".
It may be rather direct in it's methods, but it gets things done.
But it often gets them done very badly indeed.
The few (relatively speaking) yuppies who are at the top, i.e head in golden trough, will not be happy when the trouble makers push the HK economy past the point of no return.
No doubt they are very upset.
The CCP only has to wait.
That strategy has not been working so far, and can they wait until 2046?
If things haven't stabilised by the time Lam leaves I predict they will very quickly afterward.
Lam is a symptom not the problem. In fact the CCP have denied her the right to leave office despite her wanting to resign, as they don't want to lose face. While Lam is an apparatchik, she isn't so bad, she's just a mouthpiece, but I think she understands the situation better than Beijing.
 

James_H

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Correction. The CCP is only in power while it retains the loyalty of the Red Army.
Another thing to add is the surveillance state, used effectively by Stalin, Saddam Hussein and others but really only coming into its own in modern China with near universal use of phone software and hardware made by government linked companies which report on users plus social credit and CCTV linked to facial recognition AIs. A society with built in surveillance is very good at maintaining its power system.
 
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"It may be rather direct in it's methods, but it gets things done."

Bit like Mussolini making the trains run on time I suppose?

Almost sounds as if you have a sneaking admiration for totalitarianism.
It's more than that though. If the CCP were to lose power chaotically rather than through a process there would be a real risk of societal breakdown. The scenario of hundreds of millions of refugees is not a pretty one, China has never known Democracy, Mao beat another dictator, Chang Kai-shek. Taiwan was a One Party State until 1991.
 
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