Hong Kong Government’s Strategy on Protesters: Wait Them Out

The city’s top leader and his aides are said to hope that the disruption of the demonstrations will eventually turn the public against the pro-democracy protests. .

Comments: 127

  1. Contrast this with US approach to Occupy movement -- tear gas, arrest. In neither case did government attempt to address the cause of the protests.

  2. Your post displays the problem with perception/reality that causes so much conflict in the world.
    The occupy protests were confronted by the local Police not the US or the US government. Every place the protests took place went differently from the anarchists trying to cause riots in Oakland Ca. to all the places we never heard about because it was peaceful.
    "Contrast this..." Indeed, are you even aware of the slaughter that took place in Tienanmen Square in 1989 after weeks of "patience" from the PRC Government and the Peoples Army sent in to scare them away showing signs of sympathy?

  3. It ain't over 'til it's over…….

  4. How about not making it about you, or us for once? These are Hong Kong people that should be treated under Hong Kong law and standards. It speaks to how narcissistic we are to see ourselves in every world event.

  5. This protest is a good opportunity to practice negotiation and compromise, for both residents in Hong Kong and in PRC. But it can get real bad quickly too. On the positive side, it's only Hong Kong, not Beijing, and will not affect the power base in Beijing, so it can be compromised. But, Hong Kong is also a place inside China where even Chinese citizens cannot travel freely. You don't hear a British citizen cannot travel to Hong Kong before, right. Yesterday, while Chinese flags were raised, demonstrators turned their back on Chinese flag. If things like this angered Chinese netizens and millions showing up in multiple cities demanding government be tough on Hong Kong, thing can change quickly.

  6. These "netizens" should be more angry they have to bypass a firewall or use a proxy to get unfiltered news about these protests.

  7. Can you tell the difference between a Chinese netizen and a brainwashed cyber employee? Hong Kong can barely handle the already tens of millions of visitors right now, and you expect that tiny island to handle hundreds of millions? Try living in Hong Kong and getting your facts from the ground first before painting them as snobs.

  8. Well, we'll see how much "patience" Beijing has with this. The last one ended very badly with about 6 weeks of "patience." HK has never forgotten June 4, 1989 and neither has the Communist Party. This city is the one that still honors the protesters each year while the world has moved on.
    Beijing is probably very, very unhappy that this is happening during their once a year meeting to rally the party and announce changes.
    This is a territory that wants self determination, much like Tibet, but HK has much more visibility due to its mutil-national business.
    This region has already started to lose companies to Singapore, and many HK executives spent early years in Canada getting a passport to protect themselves.

  9. China will either have to confirm by concrete actions it supports 1 country 2 systems policy for Hong Kong or admit this whole policy is a sham roll the tanks into Hong Kong. This whole strategy of waiting is pointless stupidity. The constant backhanded interference from afar by China into Hong Kong affairs is just making Hong Kong less competitive and is already very much adversely affecting the economy of Hong Kong. One can see this in that Hong Kong is falling behind Singapore, a similar city with less population but whose economy is still leaping ahead of Hong Kong.

  10. Question is Hong Kong is falling behind even China mainland cities, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. China's interference simply can't explain that.

  11. @liu
    I have always seen the rise of PRC China militarily and economically as the begin of the sunset for Hong Kong. Shanghai and Hong Kong have always vied with one another as the economic center of China. Hong Kong has the advantage of a "Mini-Constitution" for democracy, an independent judiciary (very important) and a well funded welfare system that many PRC Chinese make use of liberally and illegally.
    Singapore likewise will see its relative importance and influence in East Asia rolled back and play a lesser role.

  12. We support you, stay the course.

  13. Sooner or later, agent provocateurs will be infiltrated among protesters. It is just a matter of time before an act of violence be reported by Hong Kong news media.

    Street protest movements start always peaceful but always end in violence. Regardless which side -government or protesters - being the guilty party.

  14. Not always. But your suggested scenario seems the most likely here.

  15. A big round of applause for the protesters' peacefulness and orderliness and the Hong Kong government's restraint! Mahatma Gandhi would be proud!

  16. China will use the same strategy the USA did with the Occupy Wall Street protests. First ignore, then deride with the media, then change city ordinance to prevent future protests.

    There is anger brewing in the world and the ruling class has prevented even minor changes to appease any of yhe anger. It will continue to grow until it boils over.

  17. Same 1% strategy used in America to squash any protests except in the African-American communities where government supplied bullets are cheap.

    So for a change we can say, "Here is a product made in America and used by China."

    Americans can be so proud that the 1% can transport not only labor and capital but the necessary strategies to ensure that they stay in power.

    BTY for those now in the know, it appears those 1%-ers listed by Forbes shows that the top American billionaires have a net worth of $2,300,000,000,000 (trillion) or about 13.5% of the total US Gross National Product. While most Americans have watched their lives fall in an endless hole of reduced real and nominal income, higher expenses to live especially for the basics and little gains from any claimed growth, the 1% have seen their net wealth increase at about 10% since just last year.

    So the next time anyone wants to join a group for tea, or vote for less government and less regulation of the corporate and business world and their taxes, do so knowing that the Koch Brothers ($80 billion), the Wal-Mart heirs ($110 billion), Gates ($76 billion) etc., send their love and thanks for your generous support. Buffet seems to be the only democratically bound billionaire ($50 billion, give or take).

    The wars in the mid-east and the struggle in Hong kong are all connected and have in common the fact that the ruling 1% know what they got and they want to keep it.

    It's not YOUR money but theirs.

  18. RE: "While most Americans have watched their lives fall in an endless hole of reduced real and nominal income, higher expenses to live especially for the basics and little gains from any claimed growth,"

    DUH! There is a global labor glut. Technologic advances have made it worse. (Why pay someone in developed economies $15 per hour when you can get a day's labor for that in emerging markets?) Anyone who things the anomaly of the 1945 - 1970s US economy for working class people was somehow normal is woefully ignorant. Wish all you want but the old days are gone and are not coming back. But still lots of opportunity in the US. Just not for people show up to work and watch the clock. Or for people who think they will earn more than a subsistence living for unskilled easy to fill jobs.

  19. They will continue to do nothing in the short term because there is nothing they can do. The Hong Kong government is essentially cornered. If they attempt to eradicate the protestors by force, they will provide ugly imagery for foreign press and local press to only fan the flames more. If they negotiate with the protestors, they will be condemned as weak by the central government (in Beijing), and motivate future protestors to organize similar tactics. If they do nothing in the longterm, however, Hong Kong loses economically, and future businesses thinking of opening branches or doing business with Hong Kong will remember the volatility of the political situation there.
    In any event, the HK government and the CCP has already lost. Any government that has such a large population of passionate, but peaceful and educated dissent has already lost because with any action, they will only come out looking worse. In this case, it is certainly deserved. Let this be a lesson for the CCP to move towards freedom and democracy, lest similar things occur on the precious mainland too.
    The fact that the protest has been so large was probably not by design, but is brilliant nonetheless. They have truly rendered a the Hong Kong puppet government, and the Chinese Community Party at a loss for what to do to both save face, and not give in. Let's hope that when the governments finally give in, they do so responsibly and without resorting to violence, which is a sure sign of being a sore loser.

  20. What the protesters are demanding is de facto independence from mainland China. They are effectively rejecting the notion that the central government (CCP or otherwise) has the right to influence political affairs in Hong Kong. This is a dead end. It might be true that Hong Kong government and CCP have already lost, especially looking across the lens of mainstream western media. However, the problem is that there will be no winner here. If the current course is pursued to the end, there will only be losers. So, why would this be a great strategy for the people of Hong Kong?!

  21. in what way the people in hong kong will lose out by insisting that they matter?

  22. There's only so big a rock a single ant can push by itself. It will be interesting see if Chinese ants can think collectively and push together, or have they become so fragmented and isolated from one another that their in no longer the instinct unite but continue individually to keep dragging back to the queen ant's nest whatever each finds?

  23. If you get in bed with the big dog you will learn that the big dog rules, one way or another. The time for these protests was when Britain first let Hong Kong go.

  24. As someone who was born and raised in HK during the Colonial era under British rule and experience first hand the riots and demonstrations of the 1960s, I think it is important to remind the demonstrators that when one " run a sit-in, it is important to know when to declare victory and leave while you are still ahead"
    Otherwise, the movement will eventually wears out its welcome, and just die.
    More seriously, HK residents cannot continually expected to be treated as a special class of Chinese that enjoys privileges not available to their brethrens in the Mainland. A prolonged series of demonstrations would only hurt the HK economy, and further dampen the income and job prospects of HK residents.
    The wait it out strategy will work not only because the students and their parents will want them to go back to school as exam time approaches, and there will never be a need to send the military in because HK is almost totally dependent on China for the supply of basic needs such as water and food.

  25. @Elizabeth
    As someone who was born and raised in HK during the Colonial era under British rule and experienced first hand the riots and demonstrations of the 1960s, I'd like to point out that many confrontations with the colonial police force were started by Maoist agent provocateur to discredit the peaceful movements.
    Other than that, yes, Hong Kong people need to be realistic about their future. Democracy with Chinese characteristics.

  26. As to your point that HK people are the same as mainlanders and need to have their rights stripped away to become just like the mainland, surely you, of all people and supposedly having spent a great deal of time in HK, are aware that the vast majority of Hong Kong residents either fled the mainland due to the Communist takeover and subsequent persecution and suffering, or their parents or grandparents did. They are ideologically, culturally, and linguistically different than the mainland.

  27. So ou just suggest it is good to give up freedom and democracy and succumb ?

  28. The Chinese government could consult with the US Homeland Security Dept on how to suppress a massive peaceful demonstration as was done to Occupy Wall Street.

  29. The Occupy Wall Street movement had no idea what they wanted. The Hong Kong protesters do know what they want. Big difference.

  30. @WA Spitzer. Not exactly true; they wanted justice for the gutted middle class. They wanted bankers in jail who profited. I still want both.

    Elizabeth Warren for president.

    @Independent: again, the US and Chinese systems are two very different systems, and to compare them lockstep like this only leads to silly conclusions that sound like TMZ or Fox News.

  31. The Chinese students also know that their What their oppressor is --- the Empire of the Rich --- which is both Global and Disguised (and HQed in our former country) --- none of which the domestic Occupy movement understood!

  32. The crony capitalist corporate plutocrat robber baron welfare king and queen American Hong Kong Lobby sees this occupy Hong Kong riff-raff in the same light as the Deng Xiaoping New Forbidden City royal elite in Beijing. They are really bad for business and media and public relations.

    If only they would cease being so reasonable and peaceful and persistent then they could bring in the People's Liberation Army to "educate" them. The "lesson" of Tiananmen Square is to bring in the PLA drawn from a far away province to insure that heads are cracked and bodies broken if the order is given.

    China's rulers fear the chaos of revolution and war and civil conflict that World War II, civil war, the Great Leap Forward, the Hundred Flowers Campaign and the Cultural Revolution unleashed killing and wounding and starving and imprisoning millions.

    There is no longer any one man forever tyrannical cult of personality rule. A collective leadership gets two five year terms to rule in a Deng Xiaoping free market capitalist system with Chinese characteristics. China feels threatened by American and Japanese militarism. There is one party rule riding the dragon of uncertainty.

    The Hong Kong Lobby has a fellow traveler in the American Taiwan Lobby that subordinates and harms American interests and values to a foreign entity that every one recognizes is part of China.

    Who are the people who matter the most in the People's Republic of China is the ultimate question? How can we know that?

  33. Good luck freedom

  34. Now we get to see what one country two systems really means to the Chinese government. Will they keep their word or not? It is a big test of their sincerity. The best of British luck to you Hong Kong.

  35. When Deng Xiaoping proposed "one country, two sytems" Chiang Ching-kuo , then president of Taiwan, said, "How about one country with one system that works."

  36. As Occupy found in NYC (and elsewhere), the wait-out strategy is effectively checkmate. Massive corporate propaganda will increasingly vilify the protestors as economic pressure mounts. Besides militarized police and security armies, the institutions also have all the money. Unlike the diverse group of protestors, institutions only allow the most slavishly loyal and vetted to rise to positions of power. (Non-sociopaths need not apply.) To summarize: the machine cannot be shut down. As an added bonus, those who had enough and thought that real change on behalf of the collective betterment of society was possible have now been clearly identified by those in power as dissenters or a "contagion". As such, they will find themselves replaced at work by those with less moral sense, empathy or social decency. It is amusing to watch Western corporate media try to spin this all in a way that ignores the links between the Arab Spring, Occupy, Turkey and Occupy Central. As with Occupy, it's hard to watch the ideals and hope of some of our best youth being boiled out of them, all to be tossed away by the madness of state capitalism and the "elite" who rule such a system.

  37. You got it brother! The hilarious irony is that having worried about Communism as a threat to our freedom, it is capitalism that had done the dirty deed.

  38. I always bristle when your ilk seem to compare the Chinese system and the US system, as if they were suseptible to being posited *together* as two examples of "capitalist elite." Are you serious?! The Chinese system is TOTALITARIAN. And yes, absolutely, I'm with Elizabeth Warren; we must bring bankers to justice. But to ridiculously suggest that the Chinese system and the US system are somehow in lockstep is silly beyond the pale.

  39. Pablo, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are inches away. Average Americans cannot recall any of the politicians when they perform badly, can't be heard at the table when it actually comes time to legislate, because politicians answer to lobbyists and millionaires, and when we vote, we get to choose between two equally bad choices who are but the puppets of the 1%. On top of that, the media conglomerates stake more of an interest in making profits than reporting news and their heads walk arm in arm with the corrupt and powerful, even sending their kids to the same schools: they will never report investigatively if it means losing the Upper East Side Address, and their omission is just as dangerous as outright censorship.

    Sounds to me like we are getting eerily close to what China has: rule by a few hundred people at the expense of millions. One horrible day a politician is going to confirm what everyone suspects (he only cares about power and getting rich off the office) or some exec is going to get shot by a wronged employee. And it will be like pouring gasoline on a fire. I wish the protesters in Hong Kong luck, because when the tanks finally roll in I suspect their country will not be the only one tempted to use force if the people finally get tired of being robbed, lied to, patronized, and crushed under the boot of the elite.

  40. Shortly after the Tianamen Square Massacre, A friend of mine visited China and was told by a Chinese that the notorious incident happened with approval by the new rich middle class. Similarly, Chinese Government tries to pit businessmen/middle class against demonstrators.
    Question is how US Government/ Western allies are prepared for the worst news from Hong Kong. Chairman Xi will not compromise for his own prestige and things will deteriorate soon. Unless the US government passes strongest message to China, tragedy may occur if the demonstrations continue. Here, I am talking about the impossibility, which Xi and his party also assumes, that the US and allies give China massive sanctions if China commits atrocities. Unless the US shows serious determination, otherwise Xi would just laugh at us.

  41. Serious determination from Obama?

  42. "Unless the US government passes strongest message to China..." If past is prologue, President Obama will wait two years to speak up about Hong Kong and then blame U.S. intelligence as reason for not taking action sooner.

  43. China will send in provocateurs to cause violence and than China will have "no peaceful options" but to send in the troops to restore "peace". Who doesn't see this coming.

  44. That's unlike. With time on its side, HK government has no reason to resort to force.

  45. I see the exact same thing coming, except that the provocateurs are sent by CIA from United States.

  46. On the contrary, the waiting out strategy of the city administration might make the public impatient and angry about the administrative aloofness to the just cause of democracy turning it rather in support of the pro-democracy protest and thereby lending it a new momentum.

  47. The Chinese will do the following:

    Ignore [the protesters]
    Attack [them via the media when they tire of the situation]
    Eliminate [the problem as they did in Tiannamen Square]

    in that order.

  48. hong kong was the poison pill china swallowed, but can't get to stay down.

  49. I see Hong Kong as less of a poison pill and more of a medicine, that perhaps now will finally begin to change the way fellow people in China, their brethren, think about the role of government in their own lives, and the importance of living in a just, free, and democratic society. Hong Kong is the beacon of hope for China.

  50. It is only fit that most of the protesters are students, for it is their future that will be lost. My hope is that they will never, ever allow the CCP to convince them that their universal rights as human beings are not worth fighting for;

    The right to gather
    The right to a free press
    The right to the freedom of religion
    The right to a fair trial
    ETC

    The free world is with you, Hong Kong.
    We are with you.

  51. Pablo, I see that you live in Miami. Would it be ok with you if a bunch of people decided to shutdown I-95 around downtown Miami, because they don't like something (say Obamacare)?

  52. I think different voices are good. However as a mainlander, I care more about how mainlanders' voices can be channeled out without suddenly paralyzing cities,...cause people will starve after the resulted economic blow.

    I think Hong Kong government/police 's reaction is very appropriate. Many compare it with Occupy Wall street, however, the later only occupied parks and other area allowed by the law. If they tried to block 5th ave. or marched into congress buildings. Would they be stopped?

    Of course, Taiwan's government is more tolerant, who did let students occupy their buildings. Their leaders are fully elected with democracy, however also least favored...

  53. Of course protesters in NYC have plenty of different ways to effectively protest beside street demonstrations. They do have the right to vote, write articles critical of the government, go on the internet and post articles, etc. With the repressive government in place in China, the only maybe effective way for Hong Kong people to protest is to shut down streets and march into government buildings.

  54. We should look at this and be thankful we were either born in and/or emigrated to the United States.

  55. How is it different here? In China, the central party decides who will be on every available candidate position on the ballot. In the United States it is the ultra wealthy that make these decisions by evaluating who they will fund before the primary.
    A small group of insiders deciding the candidates before the election in both cases.
    We NEED public funding of elections, and free air time in equal amounts for both/all candidates.

  56. And, again, where is the American response? The American political "leadership" just backed a coup in Ukraine and downgraded Russia-US relations to the worst they've been since 1985, and sanctioned Russia to the point where Western Europe is seeing a cold winter in front of it. This was some under the banner of "freedom" from autocracy and corruption. Why is Hong Kong different? China is far worse than Russia

    Oh, wait, American corporations haven't spent the last thirty years offshoring jobs and production to Russia because the oppressed people there cost pennies to the dollar compared to Americans. I forgot. That's right, American corporations now rely on the oppressed labor of China, and the government there could really wreck the bottom line for some people.

  57. Look, I am no fan at all of China's political leadership, but they have not invaded a foreign land (although they are very close in the South China Sea) as did Putin in The Crimea and Ukraine. Putin's invasion has been terribly violent and destabilizing. The analogy just does not work.

  58. Though I agree with your 2nd paragraph, to be fair Russia and Ukraine are different countries. China and HK are not really. Besides, this isn't over yet.

  59. CAF:

    Most if not all of those cheap labor jobs are now in Cambodia and Bangladesh. The Chinese government is now in the second stage of the two stage Stalinist model. The issue is, will they make it to completion?. It is not as simple as cheap labor.

    The US response is muted on purpose and will stay that way for the time being.

  60. There's another alternative. Reject a system you consider illegitimate. Refuse to participate or cooperate. Instead of protesting, "Just say No."

    If the system needs you to function you will hear from them. If it does not need you, go live your life in peace.

  61. Well, suppose you don't agree with the way the US is doing business, and you decide to just ignore them. Like, let's say you decide to stop paying your taxes . . . Yep, you're in for a bag of pain, including having your entire life destroyed. You can't win that game unless you leave everything behind, and that, my friend, takes a good deal of fortitude.

    The Hong Kongese have the gumption to stand up, and I wish more Americans would do the same. Wouldn't it be some sight if several million Americans went into the streets---peaceful and organized as the Hong Kongese---and demanded just a little. Instead we cower alone and do what we're told.

  62. Americans are fortunate enough to have ways to shape their government, you can vote, write like here. FREEDOM!!!, Americans, look at what WE Chinese have, thank your blessings.

  63. They did. It was called Occupy Wall Street.

  64. Keith,
    This is a quite informative report. Thank you.

  65. Can the Chinese government yield to the demands of the protesters?

    Such protests have happened many times before and they have always come to nothing. When mass demonstrations occur, the Chinese government will put on hold all 'reforms' and simply wait out the storm. Sooner or later the fervor dies out as the needs of everyday life intrudes and people go back to the pressure cooker life they lead.

    Hong Kong has become a very Chinese city and soon it will be just another Chinese city. The Chinese have always interpreted 'one country two systems' as a way to merge different polities into one unit with the central government in China calling the shots.

    In my opinion, nothing much is happening. All the power, including basic control over Hong Kong's economic well-being, is in the hands of the Chinese government. They will no repeat the mistake of Tiananmen because they do not have to. All the Chinese have to do is nudge Hong Kong's cheese a little and everyone will fall in line.

  66. people quoting history will be inevitably be wrong in the end.

  67. The harder Beijing pushes in Hong Kong democratic anti-unification forces in Taiwan will grow that much stronger. PLA troops in Hong Kong would be an admission Beijing cannot manage the place after decades of calm prosperous British rule.

    No way around the reality that many of the planet's greatest destinations align democratically with the potent allure of freedom. It's the essence of Hong Kong. Beijing will squander its value in every sense and the kids know it.

  68. The "anti-unification forces" in Taiwan are the overwhelming majority already. This action by Beijing against HK simply is a nail in the coffin for the "One country, two systems" policy to be considered viable in any form in Taiwan.

    Taiwan will have to be taken by force, because the citizens of this country will not want to voluntarily give up their full democracy.

  69. Indeed. Watch the HK Chinese leaders show the Arab dictators how to deal with massive unrest. The stupidest thing to do is use violence. Simply let the protesters have their day, their month or whatever time they want.

    Assad could have done that, even fed the protesters, and have won world approval. Same in every case of the Arab spring. Give the people something good.

  70. Beijing fed the protesters in 1989...
    Its soldiers were burnt alive and some ignorant media still call it a massacre...

  71. To my HK brethren, ADD OIL! (popular phrase of support)

  72. Thanks again to Margaret Thatcher for selling out Hong Kong's de facto independence to the financial interests of the land developers and moneyed interests that demanded guarantees for mortgages and other long-term contracts. China was quite willing to let the modus vivendi go on and on. Now, they must crack down. Guangdong Province historically has been an independent unit, always a breakaway threat. Should Hong Kong lead the way to democracy (a.k.a. independence, that would set an dangerous and unacceptable precedent that, in the eyes of the ruling class, might lead to the breakup of the PRC. Chinese media will not be allowed to cover the demonstrations. The fate of the USSR is an all-too real lesson to the leadership. The stakes are very, very high.

  73. I was born in from Guangzhou (Canton City), Canton. The proportion of Cantonese-speaking people in Canton has been decreasing since 80s, thanks to the influx of immigrations. I don't really see the possibility that people from Canton would align with Hong Kong.

  74. That's why the West's shift from containment (which took time but worked) to 'engagement' vis a vis China was so stupid. That's what happens when leaders hand the reins over to corporations.

  75. There is another NYtimes article entitled "Mainlanders in Hong Kong See Standoff as Inconvenience and Inspiration"

  76. Let me preemptively reply all the "so we do it too" cliches by pointing out how many arrests are going on RIGHT NOW on the mainland, just for expressing support for these HK protesters, just for forwarding news, just for wanting your friends to KNOW that they EXIST. How many times have we forwarded links and news for our own family and friends, and posted pictures and words of support? How many times have we taken our own freedom for granted when billions halfway across the world can be arrested just to forward news about a protest happening nearby?

  77. If I were in mainland and writing this kind of comments or even just sharing them, Chinese officers would come to my door sooner than I thought.

  78. They are foolish children, but fortunately for them, the Chinese government is led by wise, mature grownups who will know how to deal with the situation.

  79. Hypocrite much? Funny you choose to live in the States instead of a country led by "wise mature grownups" who's too stubborn and afraid to let information outside their firewall leak in.

  80. These "wise mature" grownups covers their ears with firewalls, censorship and conspiracies like children.

  81. Thanks for a good laugh!

  82. Mr. Xinping, tear down this firewall!

  83. "The hope of the Hong Kong government, and of Beijing, is that this economic pressure will turn owners of small businesses and other members of the middle class against the demonstrators."

    Based on post-Tiananmen Square behavior by businesses and China's trading partners, they may be correct. Still, general attitudes toward China, even by foreign businesses, have worsened considerably in the past few years due to lack of market access, theft of IP, etc.

  84. The leaders of the protesters have all received money from the NED/NDI/CIA -- another US-funded attempt at a "color revolution".

  85. I am afraid just like with our recent protests in America this will end with tear gas , water hoses and arrests there is no other outcome possible.

  86. Do you see any protestors shooting guns, looting stores or throwing Molotov cocktails at the police “like our recent protests in America"?

  87. What is your point Jim ? I am talking about the powers that rule us all . Hong Kong protesters are clean & civil up to now however push anyone harder enough and they will snap. I do not condone looting , I did not see guns or looting from OWS. I did see guns , water canons , mace , clubs used on our people.

    Shame on you sir.

  88. I was referring to the riots in Ferguson where those activities in place. And please cite where water cannons and guns were used against OWS. I'll let you keep the "shame" all to yourself.

  89. Time to quit buying products built in China.

  90. You can buy all the cheap stuff from Cambodia and Bangladesh noe. Those jobs left the mainland a long time ago.

  91. Not very difficult to see what's coming ... the Set Up! Publicly announce we're letting the protestors carry on - then seed a 'violent' outbreak to crack down. A tried & true tactic. After all ... who better then China knows how to intimidate the opposition then government liars. Emphasis here on political types as China's people put up with heavy handed freedom limitations daily.

    As an American who spent a few gratifying years living in HK - do wonder how the Expat community is adjusting. Suppose the entertainment districts are feeling the crunch without Westerners running from one bar to another - or filling the expense account restaurants. Sweet Expat life is now the party you can't quite get to?

    Be that as it may: Resentment of mainland influences effects Hong Kong citizens of every Class. The differences between them only begin with language - it continues into every phase of their life.

    MONEY: in one form or another will have a major impact on next steps. If China wrecks HK's reputation as a stable & safe financial capital - there are other regional Cities - like Singapore - ready to pounce.

    Perhaps China can suppress or diminish Hong Kong Chinese from enjoying their promised freedom - but remember they're occupying their Country ... and the 'locals' are not going anywhere. For this cause: they'll 'fight the good fight' for as long as it takes.

  92. Vt: The answer to your question is that the expat community is just fine. Walking more, less crowds in LKF, Wyndham Street and a minor inconvenience of going around Pok fo Lum and Aberdeen to CWB, if necessary. This is a small price to pay for promised or implied freedoms. Many expats are joining the sit ins and bringing food, beverages and even preparing a bbq.

  93. By giving masses of young people the chance to protest and participate in preserving their rights, Beijing is creating an entire generation of Hong Kong residents who will refuse to be their puppets, and who will also tell their children about how difficult but necessary freedom really is to maintain. China's central government is staffed by fossils.

  94. "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
    — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

    People only have the rights they are willing to fight for. That's true in HK, the U.S., the PRC ... everywhere.

  95. The "disruption of everyday life" is a small price to pay for Freedom of Speech, of Assembly, and of Representation. If executive Chun-ying thinks these Protestors are going to turn into little, obedient robots, and just "go away", he's got another guess coming.

    Hong Kong is just feeling the weight of the boot that has been on the neck of Mainland China's population for the last 60 years. The Chinese Communist Party does not allow dissent in any way, or form. They kill or jail all who will not submit to their very strict doctrine.

    Margaret Meade once said; "never doubt that a small group of concerned Citizens can change the World. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has".

    As a "small group" grows larger by the day in Hong Kong, we wait to see who will blink first. It takes enormous courage to stand up to a monster like the CCP. I greatly admire the People of Hong Kong, who are hanging onto their Freedoms with all their might. They are an inspiration, not only to mainland China, but to the World.

    Good luck, Hong Kong !! Hang tough, and stick together. It takes so much work to create positive change - but when your heart, and your passion know that its right, nothing can stop you.

  96. I think the message is pretty clear when the west keeps hinting at 1989: as a protester in China, to gain full western support, you have to be violent, or have someone do the violence for you - so that government has to crack you down. That's why even the 2008 Tibetan riot gained even more support, even when majority of the victims are Han civilians.

    So the strategy to wait it out is good as long as the students do not turn violent. As suggested several times in Daodejing, the reverse of acting, and the non-acting, is often the best action. The first to act will be the first to lose.

  97. This "wait-them-out" strategy is wicked! The authorities in Beijing and China are hoping that supporters' patience and sympathy will wear thin if these protests drag on, affecting their businesses and daily life.
    There are always people who opt for short-term convenience than for long-term gains.

  98. If the government plans to wait out the protesters then the protesters need a different strategy. I cannot think of any really good ones. The target would ideally be those that gain the most from the current system and are against more democracy. Would it be possible to flood these entities with requests, such as opening and closing bank accounts, setting up and closing accounts, waiting in line for repeated deposits and withdrawals. Spending a lot of time in their stores. Filing legal paperwork with anti-democratic legal firms that has to be responded to. Instead of sitting around, could the protesters be calling the phone lines and help lines of the governments supporters to request information or to convey information that they are legally entitled to do. Over and over and over again. When the mechanisms of profit that are used to bribe the rich into compliance with the regime are suddenly at issue then the government might become more willing to compromise. This is a peaceful yet effective form of civil disobedience. On another note, have you noticed the comment effort of government stooges with seemingly English names. There are thought to be over 100,000 full time censors in China, and some have been assigned to "manage" comments in newspapers. A recent research study indicated that you can say anything in China except you cannot suggest anything that organizes the people. Clever.

  99. if the government in beijing does not change course and keep its original promise, the people of hk i believe need simply to boycott the next election.

  100. I don't think wait them out will work as this demonstration did not just appeared out of thin air and will not disappear back into it. It will be a constant debate for many many years and generations to come and a bit of a headache for the communist. It will persist until the party gives an answer to the people of HK. As stated China should really stick to the Hong Kong agreement which is one person one vote.

  101. Many references to 1989 have been made recently. Well, I was in the Tiananmen square in late May 1989. As a high school student, I participated in the demonstration enthusiastically. Looking back, the biggest mistake made by the student leaders was not to compromise at all, in any shape or form, with the government. In the end, the moment did not advance the goal of a more democratic society. Democracy is the art of compromise and politics is the art of the possible.

    The current demand that the central government reverses itself is not realistic. It is better to push for gradual changes in the makeup of the nominating committee. Forcing a showdown now, just like shutdown the US federal government to overturn ObamaCare, is a fool's errand.

  102. @Quan Your point on needing to compromising is well taken. However, what is a good compromise? They are not going to get free elections. They are now asking to CY to resign. If he does not, then what is the "compromise"? Asking the police chief to resign? Then they might as well walk away empty handed.

    I just don't see what the end game for the student is, and for this reason I am very worried for them.

  103. hong kong is not beijing. i would not say the students in beijing had much of a real goal during the 64 event. however, everyone can see that while for the rest of China, 64 might as well never have happened, in hong kong it has been a living on going thing, up front in people's mind, and memorialized every year for the past 15 years.

    where the people of beijing failed, the people of hong kong will succeed. the reason is the people in hong kong, unlike the people in Tienanmen Square, have power--they know who they are, and what they want clearly. they will succeed, mark my words.

  104. The leadership in Beijing has never truly understood the meaning of democracy, and probably never will. Totalitarian governments, whether imperial, communist, or national socialist, have always viewed democracy as a threat to their entrenched power, position and privilege. The process of democracy may not be perfect, but it is the only system that safeguards against the abuse of power by one party and the human tragedy caused by one-party tyranny.

  105. right on, doc wilson! otherwise how could they ever promise to let hong kong have a system different from the one they run in the rest of the country? or they would have to see it's too risky a promise, in this age when there's no more bamboo curtain around. one party tyranny btw has too often turned into one man tyranny.

  106. I know how hopeless these protests are, but I remember Tienanmen...the fact that so many of these protesters were young children or perhaps not even born in June 1989... and I applaud their courage and bravery with every fibre of my being.

  107. I heard two days ago, President Xi has refused request from field to crackdown and gave the following firm two sentence order -- "No compromise; no bloodshed".

    This is the best, smart "move" under the circumstances --completely ignoring the protest, and refusing to meet or even listen to any of the protesters, and carrying out the business as usual. Pretty soon, the protesters will have to find some face-saving ladders to climb down to answer to Hong KOng citizens and business community about the mess and economic loss they have caused. Chinese leadership simply has nothing to lose but everything to gain -- it will set an unprecedented example for any future protesters - China have the determination, patience and national will to rule Hong Kong according to the the national interests of China, peacefully, but firmly, without any bloodshed and without any compromise.

  108. What an inspiring authoritarian manifesto.

  109. I think that this "Wait them out" strategy is the right decision, yes, only for now.
    If you look at those so called organizers (you rightly pointed out that there is no real leaders of the movement), they won't give up and they do want to escalate.
    Up front, they bet on the Chinese government to be "more civilized" or "don't have the guts to crackdown" (well, using Xi's comments on the break up of the Soviet Union: men with no balls!).

    What I don't understand is: this movement was planned more than a year ago and the government has been "fighting against it or trying to deter it, I can't believe that the Chinese government does not have an "action plan" to deal with it? The "worst case" scenario should have been considered and action plan mapped out... or even prepared/drilled about. The HK police action is an evidence of this planning. Of course, they did not know that the tear gas could not disperse the crowd and it would invite more people to the streets. However, the Chinese government should have prepared for this... if not, how can you expect the White Paper being issued right before the Occupy Central sign up/demonstration? Or the NPC decision? I would be really surprised if the Chinese government has not considered this outcome and be prepared for it. If this is the case, then the issue of the White Paper and the NPC decision were all dumb decisions.

  110. Never underestimate the dumbness of an autoritarian regime.

  111. The strategy of the Hong Kong government has high likelihood of working in part because the fight is over an abstract concept of election procedure. The day the protesting public can rally around a popular candidate that Beijing dislike, it would be a different story. When majority of the voting public either refuse to take part in an election or write-in the name of candidate they really want, it would be quite impossible to ignore. Of course, it is more difficult to develop real leadership than street protest but to achieve real democracy, there must be strong and visionary leaders.

  112. Beijing is very saavy on PR. Some time in the 90's, the Chinese Communist Party discarded the ridiculous Mao-style propaganda, and imported Western style advertising and PR management strategies. A lot of its modern propaganda campaigns might have come straight out of Don Draper's mind. They are glossy, comforting, and insidious.

    The wait it out strategy, versus Tiananmen style crack-down, is very much an example of this shift in propaganda strategy. Beijing has become the master of anticipating and manipulating public perceptions, both internally and abroad. As an authoritarian regime, this makes the modern CCP much more difficult to defeat.

  113. There is a provably false equivalence between dictatorship and economic prosperity. Hong Kong's neighbor, Taiwan, experienced its biggest economic growth in the 1990's, concurrent with its move toward democracy from single-party dictatorship.

    Likewise, Germany and Japan's post-war economic revivals came with democratic governments at the helm, after long histories of autocratic governments.

    The United States - still the biggest economy in the world despite its recent woes - never needed a dictator to prosper.

    Hong Kong doesn't need the iron hand of Chinese Communist Party to continue as one of the most important economic centers in Asia, and there is nothing incompatible between a fully democratic Hong Kong and a prosperous Hong Kong.

  114. what is the divide between hong kong tycoons, and hong kong people? and between them and beijing? presumably no one wishes to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. but what happens if the eggs are par boiled?

  115. I would like to congratulate the Chinese government on conferring much more democracy to the Hong Kong people merely 17 years after it took over than the British had done over the previous 150 years of its rule. At least according to the newly proposed law Hong Kong people can cast votes in an election for their top leader. During the 150 year of preceding British rule they had no such luxury but to passive accept whatever Governor London appointed.

    The Obama administration should criticize and condemn the state of dictatorship imposed on Hong Kong during every single day of the British rule right up to the last day in 1997!

  116. Hey! Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbayah!

    Please list specifically how the HK people were traumatized, disadvantaged, subjugated, impoverished, and killed off by those nasty Brits.

    Prior to this week the biggest cause of civil unrest in HK came from Mao's Red Guards in the late 60s.

    Or we could look at how HK grew & thrived under colonial rule.

    Whining about a situation that ended 17 years ago serves no purpose.

  117. If any fool actually believes a 17 year old will accomplish anything by "standing up" to the Chinese Communists. I'd like to offer a bridge to them in Brooklyn, at a fair price of course.
    Are all New Yorkers so gullible as to believe any of this fairy tale?
    China will tolerate this for a while -then crush them. Dictatorships do not like bestowing freedoms to its' subjects, it gets in their way.

  118. hong kong teenagers happen to be just a little more sophisticated and a whole lot more public minded than your average hometown ny teenagers. your problem is that you simply label people, failing to see even dictators and subjects have blood going through their veins.

  119. Just like the March on Wall Street, if the marchers are ignored they will eventually go away. The general population of China will likely support this treatment of protestors since the Chinese economy is expanding an including more and more Chinese citizens into their economy.

    US protests against Elites is likely to succeed before those in China - due to the continual worsening of the US economy under US Elites - which is the likelihood Chinese leadership are correctly betting on.

    The real question is, "Where will political revolution first succeed?" in China or the West - and the current World Class intellectual star, Vladimir Putin, is betting it will happen first in the West.

    The rumblings of Democracy are everywhere - but WHERE will they actually succeed?

  120. Americans care about democracy in Hong Kong? Great: the question is, what can we do on the other side of the world to support it? Here's a few suggestions:
    1. Don't travel to China until it ensures freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and multiparty elections. Want to see Asia? Start with beautiful Taiwan instead, a country that has moved from military dictatorship to vibrant democracy (2000-today) quite peacefully. Think that traditionalism, individualism, and socialism are at odds? They mix here effortlessly to show what our future can be.
    2. Don't buy Chinese goods. That's you, Walmart. It's also those companies with a big China footprint, those willing to "play ball" with tyranny in return for market share. Find out who they are, avoid them, and tell them why. Start with KFC.
    3. Divest. If you own stock in Chinese companies, or Western companies supporting dictatorship in China, get out. It's bad politics, bad karma, and a lousy investment. Long term, all dictatorships fail.
    4. Show solidarity. Wear a yellow ribbon, and let folks know why. Carry an umbrella and explain why you do. Twitter, facebook, do all that stuff. Get other people's attention.
    5. Tell one person today what you know and what you think about what's going on in HK. Ask them to tell someone else, and agree that you'll do the same tomorrow, and the next day.
    The enemy isn't China: it's silence, inaction, and apathy. Talk, keep talking, then *do* something. Tom Paine was right!

  121. The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan

    LYRICS

    Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
    For the loser now will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is rapidly fadin’
    And the first one now will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Copyright © 1963, 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music

  122. My heart goes out to these idealistic "generation smart phone" kids who have had the misfortune of being born into repressive governance.
    They can smell freedom blowing in from the west and Japan via the internet etc.,
    but most likely they are going to be bitterly disappointed by an unyielding Bejing.

    As messed up as we are in the west, stories like these from around the world remind me of how lucky I was to have been born in the USA.

  123. One way out is for CY Leung to plead to the students to give him time to negotiate with Beijing regarding the vetting of the candidates for future Chief Executives of Hong Kong.

    He could promise them if he can't get Beijing to change their mind, then he would resign.

    Doing this would let the protesters know he has the interest of HongKongners at heart. It would also buy him time to convince Beijing this is the right way to go. Although the Chief Executive position will then be universally voted upon without Beijing interference, the man ultimately would still have to placate his real bosses in China.

    I believe the protesters may agree to that and return home to their parents and their school. Whew!

    And finally, Malala Yousafzai, meet Joshua Wong. Theses two Asian kids are AMAZING!

  124. Hong Kong has its unique value in the international community because of its relative political neutrality and stability. The young protesters are now destroying the investors' confidence and Hong Kong's own prosperity. I hope they will still have the guts to stand up on the day when people realize how much damage they have brought to the Hong Kong.

  125. In other words, Beijing wants to win the "hearts and minds" of average Hong Kong residents because Beijing knows it cannot survive a Tienanmenin Hong Kong.

    That's a loud subtext. This is a form of democracy, in a way or "kowtowing" whether Beijing likes it or not, because Beijing knows Hong Kong (and their breadth of market intelligence) is simply too powerful and important for China's future.

    Hong Kong is wining this round and with it, China. May peace and progress reign for the good people of Hong Kong and China.

  126. What is it with Commenters who can't seem to tell the difference between the American and Chinese governments? I would hazard a guess that few if any of them have actually lived in China, except, of course, those who stand to gain financially from keeping the Chinese government and Communist Party happy.

    Do they really believe the pressure and repercussions faced by American Occupy participants is even vaguely equivalent to what those in Hong Kong face?

    Do they even understand that their online criticisms of America in these columns would never be allowed in China?

    I am most certainly not defending America's plutocratic realities, but let's get real with a sense of proportion and some genuine perspective.

  127. I understand the most likely outcome is that Occupy Central's energy dies out and the whole movement peters out. That's what happened with every Occupy movement in the USA. But imagine some changes did come to fruition. Wouldn't that seriously shame the USA? A small city (by Chinese standard) that has never enjoyed democracy brings about change by civil and law-abiding citizens taking to the street orderly. Yet in the USA, the stalwart of democracy, we can't even get people to bother to vote.