Hong Kong’s Fight for Freedom Against China’s Authoritarianism

The protests that have consumed Hong Kong for more than three months started because of a proposed bill that would have made it easier for mainland China to extradite citizens from this semi-autonomous city. Violent clashes between protesters and police culminated in a confrontation at a subway station on August 31st when police appeared to beat demonstrators with batons possibly resulting in one fatality, though
authorities dispute that claim. The activists, politicians, and academics we spoke with said that the protest movement has become about much more than the extradition bill, which the government has since withdrawn. It’s a fight for the survival of an island of liberalism in the shadow of an increasingly authoritarian super state with ambitions of global dominance. Hong Kong’s peculiar one country two systems governance model began when Britain handed over its former colony to China in 1997 on the condition that it be allowed to maintain its existing governance structure for another half-century. This city of more than 7 million prospered economically with China mostly holding up its end of the bargain. Hong Kong’s Constitution protects freedom of speech and assembly, but the city enjoys what’s been
described as liberty without democracy. The government, including the city’s chief executive, isn’t entirely elected by the people. If you did this interview with me in 1997 and asked me, when did you expect that people in Hong Kong would get this universal suffrage? I think most people at the time would say, well maybe 10 years. That was almost like part of the promise, in the basic law. But as time goes by, you know, promises were broken. Though he supports the universal suffrage, Charles Mok wasn’t elected by popular vote to his position in Hong Kong’s legislature but rather selected by a smaller pool by a smaller pool of stakeholders as an official representative of the city’s tech sector. Like Mok, the majority of representatives didn’t get there via the ballot box, and not surprisingly most members of the legislature who were not voted in by the citizens side with mainland China and not the protesters. As one journalist put it, Hong Kong is controlled by a conspiracy of local tycoons and mainland communists colluding against the citizenry. So the citizenry has turned to the streets. Largely because we are not a democracy. Because the government is not yet acted. I think street level protests, largely peaceful, are actually important means for the Hong Kong people to protest government actions. And protest has often worked. The 2014 Umbrella Movement led the government to withdraw a proposal to pre-select a limited slate of presidential candidates. And the recent uprising led to the withdrawal of the extradition bill. The 2014 protests also spawned a mostly youth-led movement to increase democracy as a way of preserving the city’s autonomy. Joshua Wong was just 15 when he led a successful movement overturning a plan to impose a pro Communist Party history curriculum in Hong Kong schools. He then started the political organization, Demosisto. Which has played a central role in the protest movement and even elected a candidate to office, who, along with other youth activists elected in 2016, were later disqualified from serving. At their swearing-in ceremony last month Sixtus Leung and Yayoi Ching unfurled banners calling for an independent Hong Kong. One of the more controversial youth leaders is six despacio Leung who is part of a right-leaning movement advocating for full independence from mainland China. But the problem of course is that there seems to be no institutional channel by which you can do this. And also I don’t see, really tangible movements to actually make that into a reality. So a lot of that is just talk. Long’s pro-independence position is still considered radical in Hong Kong. And experts point out that Chinese state-controlled media often highlights independence activists in an attempt to portray the protests as part of a radical separatist movement in need of violent suppression. They’re using this sort of propaganda to cater to the domestic audience to justify for the kind of force they use on Hong Kong. Do you think that strategy might backfire on China? It is backfiring. More and more people in Hong Kong particularly opposed to young people are beginning to say that I’m only a Hong Kong it’s all because of
this action reaction the more you push We see the 96% of the entertainment scene silencing themselves and really just trying to keep out of trouble. Pop singer Denise Ho is one of the few local celebrities who is publicly supporting the protesters. Others like Jackie Chan and Liu Yifei,
the star of Disney’s live-action Mulan reboot, have praised the Hong Kong police and criticized the demonstrators for being too destructive. Right now we are at a point where the communist government they do not accept this stance of neutrality. For them staying silent means that you are with the protesters. They are trying to force everyone to choose a side. Most of the people they would be afraid to go against this huge machine because everyone wants a piece of the Chinese market. Ho has been banned from performing in the mainland. She says her records have also been removed from Chinese stores, and some of her international shows have been cancelled because of alleged security concerns. Mainland China detained employees of a Hong Kong bookstore known for selling literature critical of the Communist Party on dubious charges. Prospective candidates with certain controversial views are barred from running for office. Leaders of the protests have been imprisoned, and there’s talk of making it illegal for Hong Kong residents to boo the Chinese national anthems such as that this recent soccer match. The core values that we are safeguarding
are the freedom to speak our minds, to take our political stance to protest without fear of being prosecuted that has been something that has been given to us in
the earlier days as a British colony a lot of Hong Kong people think that like
15 years ago we had a higher level of freedom or freedom of speech in or in in
various aspects but now it seems that we can feel a Hong Kong becoming more and
more like China in terms of political values I I always believe that one of
the biggest capture in Hong Kong and the Beijing government the emphasis on rough
law freedom freedom speech human rights and also maybe to a lesser extent
democracy activists see the fight for more democracy as a path to securing
more Liberty they’re demanding the citizens be allowed to fully elect the
city’s legislative body and chief executive but winning that right
requires approval from Beijing it’s really not only about Hong Kong and
Hong Kong government or the communist government behind it it’s really a fight
of these universal values that we as a more hybrid city might be aligned with a
lot of different Western societies and then the set of covenants values that
the Chinese government and maybe even other author Terran governments around
the world they are trying to bring into the world with their powers personally I
feel this is a very global fight of these two different sets of values the
activists are also appealing for help from the US Denise Howe Joshua Wong
Demasi Stowe and some other pro-democracy activists appeared before
a u.s. congressional committee on September 17th and urged US lawmakers to
pass the Hong Kong human rights and democracy Act which would make the
city’s bilateral trade and travel agreements with America contingent on
China maintaining Hong Kong’s autonomy it would also levy sanctions against
Chinese individuals accused of violating the rights of Hong Kong citizens and
would instruct immigration officials not the punished visa applicants who’ve been
arrested for participating in the protests with America already in a trade
war with China such a move could escalate tensions but advocates say it
would be easy for China to comply Hong Kong issue is quite different from the
trade war Hong Kong issues is actually preventable after the u.s. passed the
law is up to China to design they can just doing what they did in the past
they do not have a tighten control on Hong Kong at the moment I have to say
that I’m pretty pessimistic because it’s just so difficult to stop China from
extending the kind of power and control that they wish for particularly with the
current leader of the country region pain it seemed to be a very much of a
total control type of mentality type of person in a way I think many of us are
probably even thinking that what we’re trying to do right now is to slow down
the change in the wrong direction preserving whatever we got throw one
country to system at the moment despite that pessimism the movements
leaders say they have no choice but to keep fighting for liberty and democracy
or else Hong Kong will be subsumed into an authoritarian state there’s only wing
or nothing if we lose we lose a generation ok this generation they will
be put in the jail they will be harassing so or nothing and now whenever
there is a Cantonese saying that this is the end game of the Hong Kong people
they if they do not take to the street they will have no future for the next

47 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s Fight for Freedom Against China’s Authoritarianism

  • I hope the politicans of all western nations act now. This could be the only chance to bring this dictatorship down for a long time.

  • The rise of China is getting more and more scary by the day… I believe if the US and Western Nations do not confront China, we will begin to see a very evil world

  • And instead of helping our hong kong brothers we got leftists here crying about 'problematic' words. Embarassing.
    And while Jackie Chan enjoys western freedoms outside chinas borders, he openly criticizes a people trying to preserve the same freedoms he enjoys.
    Thats some leftism thats painful to watch. I feel sorry for you Hong Kong. You deserve better.

  • THis is heart breaking. My family although is not from Hong Kong directly we are Cantonese from Macao (South East China) originally. My grandparents escaped china because of the genocide from the Japanese, and before Mao had a chance to genocide them. We speak Cantonese like they do in Hong kong . So hard to watch these videos.

  • Isn't it amazing that if you simply love freedom that you can connect to anyone else who does, no matter what culture they are or you are.
    I'm just a kid from Texas, but I feel more of a connection to the Hong Kong citizens than I do to some people from my hometown.

  • The people of these United States of America are with the Hong Kong people! God bless them, as they fight for Republic-democracy, liberty and justice for all!

  • There is no fight for freedom the day HK was handed over was the day freedom ended. Just like the USA every year more anti-freedom laws are passed and upheld by both parties. The world will soon be run the the old world Jesuit standards, which Hitler modeled the SS from,.

  • These people realize that there’s no compromising with the principles of liberty. Meanwhile in this country, you have morons advocating for socialism and gun confiscation. Strange times we live in.

  • This is just propaganda. A one-sided version of the story and not showing US and UK meddling. Unsubbed.
    They don't show the Chinese administration trying to calm things down and the report does not show the brutal beating the protesters gave to some people (one in a come)

    Honk-Kong is part of China and the western countries are having a hard time accepting that.

  • Mao got everything he wanted from Nixon & Kissinger. Dick made GHW Bush trade envoy. This has been a New World Odor op since day one. China played the long game against politicians who only think in terms of the next election, and corporatists focused on quarterly earnings. What happens when they stop supporting US treasury bonds and the dollar?

  • "Christianity is allowed in China where it wasn't allowed before."
    –Lew Rockwell
    September 13, 2019

    Dissidents are now free to fiercely pray from their jail cells.

  • Yeah, I can't support any movement that promotes democracy. The only reason why the Hong Kong govt is so fiscally responsible is because they're not elected. Drop the democracy crap, and I'll support this movement.

  • lieberals pay attention, this is what will happen when Democrats take control of congress..
    loss of rights..
    already offering lies to get elected..

  • in china communists run the government and freedom protests happen. in the US republic we have freedom and communist protestors.

  • It's amazing to me that Little Hong Kong is standing up to China and the rest of the Nations got their tails between there leg's.. Hong Kong then Taiwan now they're at the NorthShore of Australia building fake islands in the South China Sea Panama canal it just goes on and on and on people better waking up give a little push back and slow this regime down

  • This is why we have the right to own our AR15s and AKs. These people want liberty and almost can’t even fight for it. I commend them for standing up to the extremely oppressive Chinese government and telling them to go fuck themselves.

  • The guy at the end was absolutely right, from what I can see: it is the End Game, which if not won will mean the subsumption of the Hong Kong people into Communist China. I am anxious over my own country's (UK) fight for freedom from the EU, but Hong Kong is that situation x1000. Scary.

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