Breaking through streams of propaganda and speculation about the democracy protests in Hong Kong, today’s guest, Occupy activist & law school leader Jonathan Ip, describes the exuberance and hopefulness of the Occupy protests finishing a third week in Hong Kong.
“Peacefulness is the strength of our appeal. We’re mindful of that commitment at all times. We’re doing this to help our community achieve universal suffrage (to elect the Chief Executive/Governor of Hong Kong in 2017) for the benefit of everyone. We want others to see our cause is stable and orderly.” China’s agreement with Britain in 1998 guarantees that right as of 2017, however in August, China’s Parliament announced it would reneg on those voting rights, and would continue to control that appointment. That decision prompted student protests.
Student protesters say they only want the rights that China has already agreed to. Scattered images of violence and beatings have not marred the overall peaceful tone of the demonstrations, he says. Acknowledging there have been some arrests, Jonathan who is a law student, says the legal process in the courts & the behavior of police is mostly responsible and adhering to procedures of law. Importantly, Jonathan does not think protests would disintegrate into another Tianammen Square, when violent clashes in Beijing in 1989 resulted in many student deaths and imprisonment in Chinese labor camps. Asked if the US is financing the protesters, he laughed and denied it, saying he wished it was so, because they are all so poor, but he insisted it was absolutely not true. “We are self motivated, and we are receiving donations from the restaurants and local shops who see that we are trying to help all the people.” Nor has enthusiasm died off: students have organized into shifts, so that everyone’s attending classes, while the square is manned at all times. Listening to this show, you’ll wish that all democracy protests in the world could stick to those principles.
Will it hold? We’ll bring you updates as the protests continue! So far Hong Kong is proving to be one of the bright spots in global democracy!
To watch developments, check out this Facebook page managed by a group of Global Studies students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with English updates: https://www.facebook.com/TheWorldNeedsToKnowHK
Global United for Democracy: Global Solidarity with Hong Kong: https://www.facebook.com/globalsolidarityHK
Art has been another surprise of the movment!