Hong Kong’s Democratic Movement – A Unique Protest Culture that Guarantees Success Never

Hong Kong’s Democratic Movement – A Unique Protest Culture that Guarantees Success Never

Source: Guardian

When one thinks of protest, one can picture that the people are unsatisfied by the government and have decided to take action over certain matters, to show the government (whether or not elected democratically by the people) that what it is doing is against the will of the people. Ultimately, the function of a protest is to make the government listen to the people, with the implicit threat that otherwise the people will make sure their demands are met – even if that means overthrowing the government.

We have seen thousands and thousands of protests in the world, and many end in bloodshed. It is no doubt sad but one has to pay a price for what one wants, and on the road to democracy and to freedom, prices often are high. Yes, blood will be shed, and yes those in power, democratically elected or not, will most certainly use propaganda to label the protests as “violent” or “irrational”. However, when a government goes against the peoples will’, or worse, betrays its people, the rational response is to behave “irrationally” – it is only human nature. After all, not all violence is visible and will directly cause death: bloodless violence does not mean that no harm is done. This type of violence carried out by a regime, or by people in power, will almost certainly trigger violence led by angry people – the people who no longer trust the government and doubt the credibility of those in power.

People protest with the aim of changing what is wrong in society. People want to make sure the changes happen. For better or worse, changes will bring new ideas to the regime, or even a new government that will listen to the people and respect their will. Demonstrations reinforce to those in power the fact that it is the people who give the government the privilege to serve, reminding the world of the foundations of democracy: A government is accountable to its people.

We have seen how Ukrainians rejected their government earlier this year. Of course we have all seen the videos of musicians playing music in front of fully-armed police troopers. Of course we have all watched the videos of Ukrainians explaining to the world what they are trying to achieve. All of these seemed peaceful and rational. However, when their voices were not heard, they marched on. They threw rocks at the police, who are supposed to be the servants of the people and protect the people, but instead were obeying a regime that ordered them to kill civilians. The police used their truncheons on the people, and snipers shot to kill.

The word “riot” is always used by governments seeking to bolster their own legitimacy in the face of a people who have decided that they will no longer accept their lies and betrayals! Words are amazing things: they control how the public see a certain issue, they plant ideas in our minds without us knowing, they are the best invention for those in power to continue brutality, and they are the killing machines which those who are high up deploy to manipulate the world’s point of view in the international arena.

In Hong Kong, the situation is completely different. Not that Hongkongers do not wish to have democracy, not that the government is less tyrannical than others, not that there are not protests. The key difference is the existence of “professional protesters”. These are those who take pains to appear to be helping Hongkongers on different issues: may it be broad topics like referendum and democracy, or local-scale issues like the construction of incinerators or the expansion of land-fills in certain areas. However, their goal is to take control (or hijack) the issue by representing the people. These people are high profile and are shape themselves as the frontline fighters in Hong Kong.

They violate the natural rules of protest. They promote peaceful, rational, non-(physically) violent and non-verbally-violent protests, but all these strictures apply only to protesters: That is to say that when the police use violence against protesters, they would tell protesters to remain non-violent and accept their fate – to be brutalised.

How do they do that? Let’s sum it up in a ten step routine they apply to EVERY PROTEST:

  1. An issue is brought up, and a small concern group is formed by the individuals being affected directly by the issue (e.g. Northeast New Territories Development Plan which will affect some villagers more directly than others, but it is important to acknowledge that the Plan will dissolve Hong Kong’s border which will lead to a catastrophic butterfly effect – so the issue is broader than it is being portrayed to the public)
  2. “Professional protesters” get involved and present themselves to be the approachable “protest experts” to the concern group
  3. When the “protest” comes around, the “professional protesters” will allow the concern group/the subject of the matter to speak on stage to attract more people and media, generating public support. These “protesters” will wait for the perfect moment, very patiently, sometimes days for days (e.g. the anti brainwashing-national-education-curriculum protest)
  4. When the moment comes, the “professional protesters” will take to the stage and hijack the protest
  5. The “professional protesters” will make a moving statement praising the concern group/affected individuals for their courage and determination to take the matter on, making everyone’s blood boil and bringing the atmosphere to a climax
  6. The “professional protesters” will then call for a photo opportunity for the media to take pictures to commemorate the event – a trophy for them, as their image as frontline fighters is reinforced once again
  7. They then will give the stage back to the concern group, and begin negotiating with them what the next step should be, behind the scenes. The group and the supporters will be left there to carry on chanting, shouting slogans, or worse, singing songs. They will talk the concern group down and the typical reasons they give to call it a day are, “we have achieved a great deal” (the ultimate goal is far from being achieved!), “you guys are really tired”, “the government and the public have heard our voice”, “let’s be strategic and focus our energy on our next move”, “the public is clearly on our side, look at the turnout!”
  8. The tired concern groups are talked down and their passion is weakened. Because of the “credibility” these “professional protesters” enjoy, the concern group believes in the key advice given by these “protest experts” – it is a long term game
  9. When they persuade the concern group successfully, the “professional protesters” retake the stage and announce on behalf of the concern group that, “we have made our voice heard today/tonight! We could not have done all this without you and the support of the people of Hong Kong, right? (every one shouts YEAH!)” and then, “let’s give ourselves a round of applause!”
  10. The “professional protesters” will then talk their way out and conclude the protest. The protest ends peacefully without challenging the regime, the government, the people in power – in fact the protest is concluded without achieving any of the goals originally set, let alone any demands being fulfilled.

Protests in Hong Kong end peacefully, every time, but no one ever asks why even though 99% of these protests preserve the status quo. No one follows up, and the “professional protesters” carry on looking for other topics and issues to dominate in order to build their reputations as the “face of democracy, and the power of the people” despite the fact that they have done, almost always, more harm than good.

Truth be told, people’s movements require no leader. Unfortunately, Hongkongers do not seem to be able to function without a leader in any circumstances – that is exactly why many Hongkongers began to use the term “Kong-sheep” to describe ourselves: desperate to follow.

In some recent occasions, anonymous protesters have volunteered to participate in protests even though the subject matter does not directly affect them. These protesters do not buy into the routine “professional protesters” practice throughout all these years, but believe that when the government is dysfunctional and can no longer be trusted, the people should overthrow it.

Source: Daily Telegraph

To Hong Kong’s eternal grief, these volunteers are always abandoned on-site without fail. The “professional protesters” will always stop them by taking the moral high grond: “this is not what the concern group wants! They want a peaceful and rational protest!” “Violence is bad in any circumstances (no matter what the government has done and what bloodless violence the regime has engaged in)!” All these may sound perfect at the point when a true peoples’ movement begins, but to a dictatorship or a government that is not accountable to its people, it is more than music to their ears!

Without disrupting the system by disobeying those in power, the people have zero chance to achieve what they demand – something these volunteering protesters understand. They are bold, but at the same time, they understand how corrupt the authorities and uniformed forces are. That is why they want to protect themselves with masks or cover – what we see as “black bloc” in many protests. However, the “professional protesters” will jump out to condemn these individuals as spies planted by the authorities and convince the “subjects of the protest (concern group)” to believe their story.

The individuals volunteering as protesters risk their personal safety for what they believe in, and for the concern group’s interests. However, they are being dismissed and often betrayed by the “professional protesters”.

Often times, lawmakers, who come across as being pro-democracy (a stand which once taken seems to lend a teflon quality to all adopters), are the first to condemn these “irrational acts” and even side with the authority to “prevent” any “violence” from happening again by endorsing the reinforcement of security around these events. Some even criticise protesters for wearing masks (surgical or otherwise Guy Fawkes masks) and demand that them surrender themselves to the police. If you read the news, you will find out who these people are.

Source: The Telegraph

Traitors of the people often come in disguise. Only when we realise who those traitors are can we break free from the burdens that have been laid on us all over the past decades, and really take control of the society that we want to make better.

If we continue to believe that the representatives in the legislative council will be able to resolve our problems, and lower our guard, we will be sold out. Because many of them, politicians or “experts”, are no different from the corrupt. Perhaps with the exception of the care with which they have painted their masks to gain the seats that you and I pay for.

20/Oct Demonstration – Justice for HKTV Hijacked by Pseudo Lift-wingers

The police in Hong Kong said there were 20,000 took it to the street yesterday, but being there from the early time (skipped the rally, but went straight to the Government Headquarter) to observe the flow, I am pretty sure that the number was closer to 80,000 or even 120,000.

Why did people take it to the street? According to BBC: “Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against what they see as a lack of government transparency and accountability”. My attention was drawn to two words in this sentence “they see” – It’s either the journalist failed to investigate into the core of the issue, or they simply cannot be asked to report about Hong Kong properly. If that’s the case, do us all Hong Konger a favour, don’t report at all.

There’s a trend here, since the handover of sovereignty:

  • The HKSAR government dropped all charges against Sally Aw claiming that her prosecution involves “major public interest” and didn’t give any further explanation
  • Timothy Tong’s case is still lingering after all the evidence has been pulled out
  • The government continues to allow ATV to operate despite major scandals and horrendious quality of TV production (e.g. reporting a false exclusive story on Jiang Zemin’s death, producing close to zero programmes but repeatedly broadcasting the same shows over and over again for years)

Exactly why ATV still holds one of the two free-to-air TV channel licenses is beyond believe. Bear in mind the fact that HKTV only applied for an free-to-air TV license that does not take up any of the public air wave, meaning that even if HKTV can get the license, people won’t be able to watch any of the programmes without a decoder box.

The Executive Council refused to disclose details about the evaluation and claimed that it’s all confidential. When public interest is involved, the government has the obligation to disclose details to ensure that the fairness and transparency of the evaluation is understood. If there is nothing to hide, of course!

Reports have been leaked, and all pointing to the fact that the recommendation made by independent consultant(s) and Executive Council’s original proposal was to issue licenses to all three applicants, including HKTV. Why the sudden change of tune? Why only iCable and PCCW, two telecommunications giants that have pretty much dominated the industry for years, are granted the licenses?

Ricky Wong, HKTV’s founder, years ago founded CTI which basically targeted the telecommunications industry and forced the then monopoly, PCCW, to engage in a price war – introducing competition in the market and bring the service prices of  internet and international direct dial (IDD) down dramatically. We used to pay US$2 a minute for IDD back then if not more. Now, we can spend no more than US$0.1 a minute!

Combining the fact that Li Ka-shing, the ultimate owner of PCCW, had been saying to the market that he’s going to sell off a couple local businesses, including ParkNShop, which triggered the market’s nerves – IS LI KA-SHING RETREATING FROM HONG KONG?

Coincidentally, Li announced that he’s not selling ParkNShop after all, soon after the license was granted to PCCW.

This is only one conspiracy theory, but I believe there’s a lot more behind – the China government has no doubt be involved in the TV license matter. Why would China, which has been suppressing the language and the free thoughts of Hong Kongers, be happy to see a TV channel that only service the people of Hong Kong? Soft power can easily be created once again if Hong Kong’s TV drama became internationally recognised – back in the 70s and 80s, Hong Kong movies, TV series and songs were known to our neighbourhood countries (Japan, Malaysia, Korea, etc) as well as the Western countries. This has long gone.

Once again, I cannot help but start to feel the creepiness of this all – about how a tyrannical regime controls the people by altering the language and making it impossible for the people to think…

Mind you, as long as the Chinese government continue this global brainwashing programme, the free thinkers in the world will cease to exist… Doesn’t take too long, a couple of generations, all people fought for and democracy and freedoms that you and I cherish will perish.

I’m not sure if you’ve experienced a demonstration or a rally in Hong Kong. The script is pre-set, and that’s exactly why we still haven’t achieved anything from all these festival and weekend parades:

First people walk from Victoria Park or thereabout, then arrive at the Government Headquarter or China-Hong Kong Liaison Office, then shout slogans a little, then start singing songs (same old songs every year, including “Do you hear the people sing”, I kid you not), then the organiser would announce “Our voice has been heard. We’ve achieved interim progress. We shall continue to fight, but now that we should all rest before the next round of protest.”

There organisers are the pseudo lift-wingers (I’d try to write a bit more about this), that the Hong Kongers called them “left plastic”. “Plastic” in Cantonese is “Gaau1”, and it sounds just like 鳩 (Gau1), a rude word that refers to penis, but most often used to refer stupid, dumb and useless gits. So instead of “swearing”, we often call someone “plastic” if he/she does something dumb – the full term, in case you’re interested, is “Ngaang6 Gau1”, which literally means “hard plastic”.

Here’s the emotion icon for of calling someone “hard plastic”, widely used in Golden Forum, and can simply be replaced by this one :o)

So these “left plastics” aim at essentially achieving nothing – in any society with 100,000 people participating in a demonstration, it can essentially overthrow a government. Not in Hong Kong! These left plastics aim at raising money for themselves (obviously) and most importantly “raising their own profile” and created the illusion that they represent the people of Hong Kong, and the proxy of all social movements.

At the demonstration yesterday (20 Oct 2013), however, when two of these left plastics (they are new faces, as the public resentment against the well known left plastics grows) hijacked the stage of the HKTV staff (started encouraging people to leave the government HQ and proposed their “plans” as if they are in charge of the movement), someone went up to the stage and tell them to stand down and give the stage back to HKTV which should be in charge. This brave man has done a good job by telling them off, and was supported by many. There was a little incident happened at the same time that NO MEDIA reported – another young man went up to the stage and waved the pre-97 Hong Kong flag (with the union jack at the corner), and shouted “Hong Kong should declare independence!”.

Of course he was arrested#, but I wonder what happened to him?

Over and out

# Sorry, thanks to a reader’s comment, this chap was taken off stage, not arrested. Please see comment of this blog post

Billy, a Protester got Arrested but Released TWICE

Billy Chiu, an activist who’s participated in various rallies, was arrested on 4/Aug during a rally to support freedom of speech and against suppression imposed by the CCP and HKSAR government.

The reason? A police officer claimed that Billy tried to snatch his gun!

I wonder if the police did actually feel Billy’s hand touching his gun or was that all a bit of a made up story – because he was RELEASE unconditionally and the police simply said it was just a misunderstanding… What they accused Billy of doing was pretty serious crime, shouldn’t they have handled it more carefully – i.e. at least to have clear evidence? The police officer had his hand covering his gun… Exactly how was that possible? Also, was it really necessary to have eight policemen to move a skinny young lad?

Billy met his misfortune once again yesterday (18/Aug). This time round he was arrested for “disorder in public places” after he shouted “Hong Kong is my country”. Again, he was released unconditionally the same evening because the police hasn’t got sufficient evidence.

Many believe that the police is trying to set an example. Billy is an easy target – let’s face it, he doesn’t have the “good boy” face, and he was caught in cameras repeatedly for shouting out loud, and what’s more: he’s young and pro-HK independence.

I’m sure you know that Anti-Secession Law is very strict in China, a random blog post could be sufficient enough for years of imprisonment. But thankfully, after 500,000 people took it to the street in 2003, Article 23 didn’t go through in Hong Kong.

Imagine if Article 23 goes ahead (it is believed that pushing for Article 23 is one of CY Leung’s political missions alongside of National Education), this chap could be sentenced for life!

Treasure our freedoms, and continue to fight for what we want. Why is it a crime to demand democracy? If democracy doesn’t fit China’s taste, let us be. Leave us alone. Why is China so obsessed with the “unification of Greater China”? Taiwan is an independent country, there’s no doubt about it. Why can’t they simply stop harassing yellow skin and black hair folks?

The world, be warned. China’s expansionism isn’t going to stop until it conquer the world. Look at the number of Chinese immigrating to every countries in the world! They want to be the only power in the world, their ambition is so clear. Why isn’t any of the world leaders aware of it? Why isn’t any of them doing something about it? Kowtowing to China will not warrant you safety, but it’s like a famous ancient saying from The Six Nations Theory “…bringing firewood to extinguish fire. Unless all firewood is burnt out, the fire will not die”. What the world is doing is dangerous, do not be fooled by the Chinese.

Over and out.

Future president of Egypt? What about Hong Kong?

I stumbled into this video the other day, and I couldn’t help but think “why isn’t a single Hong Kong child able to do this” (of course, there’s a big assumption here: the English subtitle is accurate).

The  people of Hong Kong are not encouraged for individual thinking. Education is all about reciting materials and getting good grades in exams. Back in the old days, the British Hong Kong government encouraged people to study but never encourage people to think independently. The Hong Kong SAR government, even worse! They inject the pro-Peking and pro-Communist thoughts into the students’ brains before they are old enough to “think”…

A so-called Basic Law handbook for primary school students says that Taiwan is China’s sacred land, and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong must “love China and love Hong Kong” – none of these are related to the Basic Law.

The worse I’ve seen so far is “Chief Executive enjoys a more superior legal status than the administrative, legislative and judicial functions of Hong Kong”. It also says “administrative, legislative and judicial functions balance each other’s power but also cooperate with each other, cooperation amongst these three functions is more important” – this is NONSENSE!! Separation of powers is what Hong Kong always practices, and there isn’t a need for cooperation between the three functions.

The younger generation in Hong Kong, thankfully, especially those who have not got a “professional” job tend to be more aware of the social issues – the reason, as I gathered, is that they are not afraid of rocking the boat. Those who have a high paid job and/or own properties worry about the property and stock market and stability of their jobs more than whether they have freedoms, democracy and fellow Hong Kongers’ livelihood (no formula powder for babies, sky high rent, expensive daily necessities, property hegemony, etc.).

They are very similar to the last generation of Hong Kongers who often nowadays say that the Brits did not give Hong Kong democracy (they would even say “you never had democracy and why suddenly want it now! we’ve got more freedom then before 1997). Epic fail in logic. Isn’t it? I am always in awe when they say this – since when democracy is something that’s given? It’s always something that people need to fight for. A metaphor: you never had anything but bake potato, and now you want more than just bake potato, you want a bit of corn beef as well! Why is not insane?

If Occupy Central is violent (breaking the law, woohooo!!), what about the protests in Turkey and Brazil? Blood was shed! The police in Hong Kong have become so bent that I do believe one day they will point their guns at the protesters (whether or not they can aim properly or know how to use their gun is another question). The convener of the Occupy Central movement did say though “if they see blood at the movement, they will retreat”. Without being prepared for the worst, there is no point to occupy anywhere. They still don’t understand that China will not back down unless you show to them that you have got the upper hand and have no fear. Chinese only bully those who are show weakness or weaker than them, fact! Have they done anything to Japan yet? No! Even though China’s been claiming that Senkaku Islands belong to them for all these years. If you engage China to negotiate, they will present you all the things that they want before speaking with you (just like what they did to the Brits in the 70s). By agreeing to their terms, means you’ve already lost half the negotiation – they know that you’re prepared to loose all of those they want. They can then try to take more from you and if it goes no where, they’d still get the “least they’re prepared to accept”, win-win situation for the Chinese. See?

Over and out

1 July Rally 2013

I didn’t want to write about it because so many people have written about it.

I was there, expecting something to happen, but nothing did – all I had was disappointment. If only the Occupy Central organisers could have mobalised the people on that day to occupy the Hong Kong Island from Central all the way to Causeway Bay and force the HKSAR government and China to action. How easy was it when you’ve got over 400,000+ people already on the street? Why wait another year and limit the number of participants to 10,000 people?

Favourite photos from the march:

sina.com.tw


Golden Forum

Facebook

Golden Forum

Some international news:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-01/hong-kong-protesters-start-march-as-strong-storm-signal-hoisted.html

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130702171955

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/357727/hong-kong-sets-anti-china-rally
(I like the title of this article)

http://news.sky.com/story/1110117/hong-kong-protesters-march-for-democracy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/01/thousands-march-hong-kong-democratic-reforms

http://hongwrong.com/july-1st-2013-roundup/

Quiet enough of reports, don’t you think? I won’t bombarded you with more.

A little question for you: How many people do you think participated in this rally?

The police said at peak there were 66,000

Organiser of the rally said 430,000
(don’t ask me why a demonstration needs organiser, this shows how politically immature the people of HK are… I love my home, but HK folks really need to rethink about what people’s power is and what we are capable of as citizen of Hong Kong  instead of hiding behind the big organisations and public figures and become their chess)

This video by The House News is pretty helpful:

The number of participants isn’t really that important – if people only follow the “designed route” (every single one of the police is placed there) and go home afterwards it achieves absolutely nothing. If the people of Hong Kong can stop being cowards and simply stand in the middle of the city on a random day a random time, the government (both HKSAR and China) will have to surrender or send tanks over to town. People’s power can be peaceful but more effective, the first thing is to have the guts to stand up and stop worrying about “breaking the law” – the police  have forgotten the fact that it has always been the people who pay their salary, and they should stand by the people when the government is suppressing the people because they are “the people” too.

1st Jan 2013 – Major protest in Hong Kong

This protest was first talked about by a bunch of netizens who detest China Government’s illegal (according to Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration) influence in Hong Kong. These people started talking about a protest on the new year’s day back in around November 2012.

Unfortunately, various political parties heard about this protest and started taking credit for this by claiming that they initiated it. Those who are truly independent and initiated it were not happy about it but if these politicians and organisations genuinely want to make Hong Kong a better place and share the same view (Mr. CY Leung, the Chief Executive of HKSAR to step down, universal suffrage, and a referendum on people’s constitutions), there is nothing to worry about.

The truth is, demonstration has long been dominated by a handful of political organisations. Every march in Hong Kong follows the same routine: gather at Victoria Park (the largest public park on Hong Kong Island, which is close to the heart of the government HQ) , then walk along the main roads which will be blockaded by the police ahead of time, within a certain period of time people in the rally have to arrive at a designated protest zone -> the “organiser” announces that the demonstration is a success (yet what’s been achieved is always the question) and urges protesters to go home…

This is exactly why nothing ever results from the numerous protests in Hong Kong in the past 15 years – Hong Kong is a colony of the People’s Republic of China, which is communist, perhaps more preciously, dictatorship. No dictator would ever listen to its people unless riots and violent demonstration kicks off.

“If you make peaceful revolution impossible you make violent revolution inevitable” – J.F. Kennedy

Somehow, people in Hong Kong are always very proud of themselves for being “peaceful, rational, and non-violent” during demonstration. They condemn the slightest anomaly (e.g. shouting at the police so that they will allow people to continue to rally) in a rally.

The “protest” in the 1st January 2013 march were once again hijacked by a political organisation. It seems like no body dares to walk on the street without a couple of “leaders”. Unfortunately, given their standard formula of demonstration, it was a complete failure, once again. Nothing’s achieved, nothings changed.

This year, a very very different form of protest happened. Around a dozen or twenty people who were wearing Guy Fawkes masks marched down to the cross road in the middle of Central, the centre of the Hong Kong Island and the financial and business centre of the city-state.

They sit down in the middle of the cross-road on a public holiday during non peak hour, blockading two main roads to make a clear statement to Hong Kong people, SAR government and international media that they are no longer content with what’s happening to their home.

This is the reason I detailed the “standard way” of Hong Kong style demonstration earlier. This group of Vs (V for Vendetta) is not from any sort of organisation, and they have one thing in common – passionate about Hong Kong, their home. Here’s an impromptu statement given by one of them who holds a handheld amplifier gave on the spot. In short, he was raising the questions about why Hong Kong people are tolerating the SAR government’s incompetence.

Very soon, people who were walking on the street started shouting at the masked protesters:

“You have the right to protest, but you should protest outside the government headquarters!”
“It’s wrong to cause inconvenience to people who aren’t in the protest! If you want CY Leung to step down, go to the Government House and tell him!””You people have nothing better to do! A bunch of losers!”
“You are blockading the road making your point, and I can’t go home!”

I was watching all these and feeling heart broken – why are these people so blind? There is no violence involved in this demonstration, and yet people do not appreciate what some of them put their liberty and safety behind to fight for them? (One of them got arrested at the end)

There were some, however, who read about the masked protesters online (Facebook, online media, etc), and went down to support.

The masked protesters were soon surrounded by police – no more than 20 masked protesters and over 200 hundred police officers. The protesters were about to retreat and head for another spot, and one of them who was further away from the rest was tackled by at least one police officer like in a rugby game, and fall over.

Soon, other organised groups went to the same location. They had no choice because the police were blockading all the routes to the Government House, and all these routes were agreed by the police when the organisers applied for the demonstration. The police blockaded all the roads, which major traffic go by 24 hours, and soon one of the representatives of the police force went on TV and condemned the protesters for disrupting the peace. Kwok-Hung Leung (nickname: Long Hair), one of the Legislative Council members participated in numerous demonstrations, was surrounded by over 300 hundred police in the middle of the road on his own, and was later on charged for illegal assembly.

In different parts of Central, some of the protesters were trapped between police cordons, and one senior officer (recorded on tape) shouted at the protesters that “do not let them leave” and ordered his subordinates to surround the protesters.

VJMedia, an independent online media (relatively new), published a very detail and probably the most unbiased article illustrating the details of what exactly happened during the march. I’m not translating it here, but if i receive any request (even one!) I’ll translate it for the English readers.

Please leave your comments.

Freedoms erode – a blatant violation of the Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration

In light of recent rapid decline in freedoms in Hong Kong, the people of Hong Kong must not stand and watch Hong Kong burn. That’s why Hong Kongers took it to the street and the demonstration on 1st January 2013 opened a new chapter of Hong Kong’s continuous battle for freedom and universal suffrage.

I believe that every human being is born free. Before I go into the details of the demonstration, it’s important for me to talk about how freedoms in Hong Kong erode after the handover of sovereignty in 1997.

In the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law stated clearly that Hong Kongers’ freedoms are protected:

Sino-British Joint Declaration

(5) The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, and so will the life-style. Rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief will be ensured by law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Private property, ownership of enterprises, legitimate right of inheritance and foreign investment will be protected by law.

The Basic Law

Article 27
Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike.

Article 28
The freedom of the person of Hong Kong residents shall be inviolable.

No Hong Kong resident shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment. Arbitrary or unlawful search of the body of any resident or deprivation or restriction of the freedom of the person shall be prohibited. Torture of any resident or arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of the life of any resident shall be prohibited.

The truth is, the freedoms we enjoy in Hong Kong is gradually being taken away. Not ripped from us all at the same time, but bit by bit…

News reports (over the past years) are clear evidence of these. A few recent news reports are used below to outline what’s been going on in Hong Kong. You’d notice that only one publication is quoted – this is another evidence of the self-censorship amongst the Hong Kong media. Note: some other publications follow up with these reports, and a number of them are relatively unbiased whilst some completely ignore any of the above and continue supporting the Hong Kong SAR government and the China government.

Apple Daily (8th Jan, 2013) “Limiting access to records of registered companies, stops media from investigating and confirming identities – harms public interest”

Investigative journalism is important to a free nation, where people are informed the stories that matter to their livelihood.

Apple Daily (1st Aug, 2012) – Mr Paul CHAN Mo-po, Secretary for Development, was found to own sub-division flats under a company (sub-division flats are illegal in Hong Kong). In light of this scandal, the government stopped the public, including journalists, from obtaining drivers’ identity via going through records of licence plate number. (Mr. CHAN, who’s also recorded in camera for drink driving, is free from any prosecution and charges Apple Daily (4th Oct, 2012))

Apple Daily (13th Dec 2012) – End of 2012, Apple Daily also exposed a massive scandal about “ditch oil” (basically “processed” used oil that’s dumped by restaurants (some even “collect” it from the drains, hence the name), it’s proven to be cancer causing and China has been producing and selling within China for years). The story revealed that a China company has been selling ditch oil to at least one Hong Kong distributor and many restaurant chains have been using such oil. This China company is owned by a State-Owned-Enterprise, which emerged in recent years and already became one of the largest (cooking) oil companies in the PRC.

When the newspaper further investigated the matter in China, the journalists were taken to the police in China and threatened they will not be welcome to China if they report the story. One of the China journalists who first uncovered the ditch oil in the first place was found dead with multiple stab wounds soon after the news was published. The ditch oil business is believed to be owned by the powerful.

Censorship in Hong Kong is not done by the government nor in the form of active involvement. With the number of newspaper in Hong Kong, only one or maybe two would report government’s inadequacy or scandals related to local government officials as well as the government in China.

I’ll follow with another piece about the 1st Jan 2013 demonstration, and media in Hong Kong once again were clearly categorised into two groups: pro-China (the majority) and pro-democracy (minority).

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