Issue :   
Happy Dussehra and Diwali to all Readers.          October 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Protesters ask U.S. President to
“liberate them”

M. R. Dua

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing asked the city government to be
lenient towards the young people involved in the protests
De s p i t e i n n u m e r a b l e atrocities being inflicted on Hong K o n g ’ s undeterred young pro-democracy protesters, they are continuing their struggle for the withdrawal of the ‘extradition’ bill.
It seems that this unequal, albeit strife-laden struggle, will continue until the forthcoming celebrations from October 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. What will happen thereafter will vastly depend upon the turn of events and orders from the mainland Chinese government in Beijing.
Mounting pressure on Beijing, last month, the protesters marched to the US Embassy in the city and asked American President Trump to ‘liberate’ their city. They sought enhanced freedoms and restoration of the legal system guaranteeing democratic rights like freedom of speech and assembly, as provided under Hong Kong’s ‘Basic Law’ and Hong Kong residents’ ’‘right to elect their own leaders’, instead of being ruled by the present unelected Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, imposed by Beijing.

The protesters keep marching carrying placards- - “Resist Beijing.” “Liberate Hong Kong ”flashing the US flag. They were chanting “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong.” The marchers also appealed to the US senators to pass the ‘Hong Kong Democratic and Human Rights Act.’Some senior officials in the Trump administration have reportedly galvanized support across the political spectrum in Washington.

It may be recalled that the widespread protests were sparked off by the Beijing-proposed highly controversial legislation that would have ‘allowed extradition of those convicted of criminal activities against mainland China and Taiwan,for trial in Beijing. ’Being aware of China’s atrocious and onesided legal procedures, justice could hardly be expected to be delivered to the aggrieved parties.

Hong Kong was a British colony for 50 years. When it was transferred to China in 1997, a joint agreement between Britain and China had guaranteed a semi-autonomous status to the City of Hong Kong,as it enjoyed under the British control. It assured a ‘legal system,’ bereft of Beijing interference. This legal system was: ‘One Country, Two Systems.’

Meanwhile, as the protests continue, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement group,called Demosisto’s,three young leaders, 22-year-old Joshua Wong, 20-year-old Agnes Chow, and Jeremy Tam Nok-hin, were arrested early September at the orders of Beijing-appointed, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s much-detested chief executive. The arrested young persons are the elected members of the Hong Kong Council. Besides, over 1,000 arrests have been made since the movement commenced. Police records reveal five deaths,nearly 2,500 injured.

Ever since the protest took the shape of a vigorous movement, there have been umpteen media reports saying that these arrests are immensely infuriating the pro-democracy demonstrators. Recently, a prominent Washington source was reported to be directly supporting the anti-China protests in Hong Kong. After reaching the American mission building in the city, the protesters had planned to continue their march, but they were denied permission. Instantly, perceiving further invigorated trouble, the arrested protesters were released on bail. The extradition bill was, first withdrawn. But finding that there was no effect on the protesters’ the bill was declared ‘dead.’

Later students boycotted classes all over the territory. They formed labyrinthine human chains chanting: “Reclaim Hong Kong.”Soon after, Hong Kong’s government employees threatened taking to streets. The New York Times has reported that members of almost every section of the territory’s society, be it teachers, parents, lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers, professionals, senior citizens...are standing up for the protesters.

Chinese authorities in the city keep reiterating that Hong Kong’s problems are ‘purely China’s own internal affair’ adding, ‘Hong Kong belongs to 1.4 billion Chinese.’ Besides, discouraging protesters, most Chinese leaders have warned Hong Kong protesters in blistering words: “If we burn, you burn with us.”

On the other hand, reports have it that Beijing is ‘weaponizing social media to put down the Hong Kong protests.’ Chinese-owned Global Times has reportedly described the protests as “nothing more than street thugs who want Hong Kong to go to hell.” The Chinese media are said to be girding up their loins and confront protesters with all the ammunition at their command after the 70th anniversary celebrations are over.

The Chinese authorities in the city keep reiterating that Hong Kong’s problems are ‘purely China’s own internal affair’ adding, ‘Hong Kong belongs to 1.4 billion Chinese.’ Besides, discouraging protesters, most Chinese leaders have warned Hong Kong protesters in blistering words: “If we burn, you burn with us.”

Be that it may. The protesters are adamant on acceptance of their five demands if the demonstrations have to be withdrawn. These include: inquiry into police excesses against protesters; direct election for the ruling officials in Hong Kong; release of all arrested protesters and withdrawal of all cases against all individuals who have participated in protests over the weeks and months.

We are not sure of the fate of Hong Kong’s over eight lakh highly articulate people, who have spent years in the UK’s open society. Chinese President Xi is said to be keeping his options close to his chest. Possibly he will open up after the October celebrations.

“Glory to Hong Kong”

As the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters continue their movement, confrontations with the police or pro-Beijing stalwarts are a regular routine. On one occasion, the activists were seen singing their own composed Hong Kong anthem: Glory to Hong Kong. It is sung at common meeting spaces, malls, streets, and playgrounds by those demanding ‘greater democratic freedoms in the semiautonomous city of Hong Kong. It runs as under:

From all our tears on our land
Do you feel the rage in our cries?
Rise up and speak up, our voice echoes
Freedom shall shine upon us