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Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests & police crackdown, explained
September 29, 2014
Protest marches and vigils are fairly common in Hong Kong, but what began on Friday and escalated dramatically on Sunday is unprecedented. Mass acts of civil disobedience were met by a shocking and swift police response, which has led to clashes in the streets and popular outrage so great that analysts can only guess at what will happen next.
What’s going on in Hong Kong right now is a very big deal, and for reasons that go way beyond just this weekend’s protests. Hong Kong’s citizens are protesting to keep their promised democratic rights, which they worry — with good reason — could be taken away by the central Chinese government in Beijing. This moment is a sort of standoff between Hong Kong and China over the city’s future, a confrontation that they have been building toward for almost 20 years.
On Wednesday, student groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy (see the next section for what that plan was such a big deal). Protest marches are pretty common in Hong Kong so it didn’t seem so unusual at first.
Things started escalating on Friday. Members of a protest group called Occupy Central (Central is the name of Hong Kong’s downtown district) had planned to launch a “civil disobedience” campaign on October 1, a national holiday celebrating communist China’s founding. But as the already-ongoing protesters escalated they decided to go for it now. On Friday, protesters peacefully occupied the forecourt (a courtyard-style open area in front of an office building) of Hong Kong’s city government headquarters along with other downtown areas.
The really important thing is what happened next: Hong Kong’s police cracked down with surprising force, fighting in the streets with protesters and eventually emerging with guns that, while likely filled with rubber bullets, look awfully militaristic. In response, outraged Hong Kong residents flooded into the streets to join the protesters, and on Sunday police blanketed Central with tear gas, which has been seen as a shocking and outrageous escalation. The Chinese central government issued a statement endorsing the police actions, as did Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, a tacit signal that Beijing wishes for the protests to be cleared.
You have to remember that this is Hong Kong: an affluent and orderly place that prides itself on its civility and its freedom. Hong Kongers have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to China, and see themselves as beyond the mainland’s authoritarianism and disorder. But there is also deep, deep anxiety that this could change, that Hong Kong could lose its special status, and this week’s events have hit on those anxieties to their core.
This began in 1997, when the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong, one of its last imperial possessions, to the Chinese government. Hong Kong had spent over 150 years under British rule; it had become a fabulously wealthy center of commerce and had enjoyed, while not full democracy, far more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. So, as part of the handover, the Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”
A big part of that deal was China’s promise that, in 2017, Hong Kong’s citizens would be allowed to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever. That leader, known as the Hong Kong chief executive, is currently appointed by a pro-Beijing committee. In 2007, the Chinese government reaffirmed its promise to give Hong Kong this right in 2017, which in Hong Kong is referred to as universal suffrage — a sign of how much value people assign to it.
But there have been disturbing signs throughout this year that the central Chinese government might renege on its promise. In July, the Chinese government issued a “white paper” stating that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that “the high degree of autonomy of [Hong Kong] is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership.” It sounded to many like a warning from Beijing that it could dilute or outright revoke Hong Kong’s freedoms, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens marched in protest.
Then, in August, Beijing announced its plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a special committee just like the pro-Beijing committee that currently appoints the chief executive. This lets Beijing hand-pick candidates for the job, which is anti-democratic in itself, but also feels to many in Hong Kong like a first step toward eroding their promised democratic rights.
Go back to hell where you belong.
How To Make an Apology Post for When You Fuck Up
- Defend yourself. Make sure you protect yourself and what you’ve done at ALL COSTS.
- Make sure you stress how LONG ago you fucked up. Doesnt matter if it was last night! Say shit like “at the time” and make sure you…
"teen girls are super crazed!! it’s unhealthy!!" u ever seen a grown man when his stupid ass football team loses
Yeah when was the last time a mob of 1d fans flipped a car or set a couch on fire I forget
I have been waiting for this for 84 years
It is…how you say a…metaphor
#DidYouKnow #Deaf #DeafAwareness #education #SignLanguage #advocacy #NMSCares
This is actually sadly relevant. I had a lecture this summer about sign languages and Deaf culture and when I was finished, one hearing girl from the audience stayed behind to ask me some more question.
She asked me: “And your parents use sign language, right?” Like it was the most obvious thing in the world and why is she even asking this, of course my parents must know sign language.
"No… They don’t, actually."
"And how do you communicate, then?"
"But… isn’t that complicated for you?"
"It is, sometimes."
"They probably didn’t have time for it…" she said. And I haven’t the heart to tell her that my father was offered sign language courses several times, that I offered to teach them some signs and that they always refused.
But I did told her: “It is not that rare. Most of deaf people I know have hearing parents who don’t sign.”
It’s the sad truth. People are willing to pay for surgeries to “repair” their children, but they are not willing to learn something to communicate with them.
i’d like to add onto this with my own personal experience, too. i was born hearing, but as soon as i was diagnosed as HoH, my parents didn’t do anything to learn ASL. they were quick to put me in classes, but they wouldn’t when i suggested to them that they take the classes with me so that we could learn.
i’ve tried to teach my mom how to sign numerous times, but she always says that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” to which i tell her that she can learn, she just doesn’t want to. which is true. neither of my parents want to learn how to sign, but they want me to be able to hear perfectly so they don’t have to repeat themselves.
little do they know that their frustration with me not being able to hear them would be solved if they would just learn how to sign. maybe signing something to me once instead of repeating themselves four times and then getting mad would be more beneficial.
I’m absolutely shocked at this, it’s never crossed my mind that many parents wouldn’t even try to meet their hard of hearing kids halfway.
What the fuck kind of parenting is that? I’m appalled.
Listen, man. If you’re going to be a parent, then that means you have to be prepared to pull your finger out and do things for them, even when it’s inconvenient for you. Your kid didn’t ask to be lumped in with you; you did that, and now you’re going to have to do everything you can to make that kid’s life as decent and balanced and good as you can possibly manage. That’s what being a parent means. Your kids don’t owe you shit.
Now normally when I explain that it’s because someone is bitching and whining about having an ungrateful child who doesn’t want to do X, Y or Z with them or for them or who isn’t living up to expectations, like that child is indebted to them because they fulfilled the basic criteria of human decency by raising them with some semblance of compassion and care, but this? Horrendous.
I’m sorry, does learning a new skill so that you can communicate with your child seem like it’s above and beyond somehow? Sorry, matey, but it isn’t. You’re a parent, this is your job. Pull your fucking socks up.