Hong Kong youth lead China to remember the spirit of Tian’anmen
China’s region of Hong Kong has been what some argue as modern histories most active area for democratic movement. With the launch of the Umbrella Campaign, proud Hong Kongers have so far spent two months rallying the streets with efforts of peaceful protest in the hope they will be given the fair choice to decide their countries future
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To give insight into the complexities of China’s political and social systems, WNOL Investigates spoke to Dan Zhang, ex Chinese journalist, now freelance journalist in the UK. Coming from a diverse background in journalistic writing, Dan’s experience in hard news and feature’s has taken him across his homeland. His experience with his nations community has equipped him with knowledge of the Chinese public picking up the China Journalism Award on the way. Dan has worked for a division of Xinhua known as China Features, which provided English-language feature articles for international publications. Dan’s feats in journalism have given him great scope into his homeland, he has seen many movements over the complex years in China’s history.
In an investigation into the complexities and implications of British democracy, Dan tell’s WNOL of the lasting effects that the British of Hong Kong has had on the region.
Why are Hong Kong authorities reluctant to work with pro-democracy demonstrators in allocating a panel prior the 2017 elections?
The Hong Kong authorities you are looking at today have to obey the Central Government in Beijing. This is the reason that agitates the protestors, because Hong Kong was promised autonomy for at least 50 years from1997. Secondly, the Hong Kong authorities have no legal standing to budge, because the announced method of electing the Chief Executive in 2017 was written as the Article 45 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Executive Zone. If you check that law, which is dubbed as the constitution of Hong Kong, it was written more than 20 years ago that the suffrage is through a “nomination board” with “wide representation”.
How do you think the British intervention had an effect on the infrastructure of Hong Kong?
The British rule created a prosperous Hong Kong that China was proud to take back. Today there is an argument made by the anti-democracy people that Britain didn’t give Hong Kong democracy, with the main evidence being that the Hong Kong governors were always appointed by the British Queen or the King. Their argument is also that China gave Hong Kong democracy with the China-U.K Communique and the Basic Law. This all attributes to the idea of “one country, two systems”.
Do you think the pro-democracy demonstrations are reflective of attitudes of people all over China?
The Chinese are divided in their view towards what is happening in Hong Kong. The voice of support is muffled. Most young people believe that the protestors are doing something illegal and are manipulated by “foreign forces against China”. With Mainland China becoming rich and powerful, many people believe Hong Kong’s prosperity today comes from its reliance on China. So Hong Kong is said to be ungrateful, if not betraying.
There is a fantastic respect for the youth that lead these protests. Why do you think people are looking to the young?
I think those young faces are sincere and passionate. They changed Hong Kong’s profile as a commercial-only city. They made me know about Hong Kong in a new perspective. These young people in Hong Kong led China to remember the spirit of Tian’anmen, which has been long forgotten.
Could the future of Hong Kong be run democratically?
I am not optimistic about Hong Kong’s future as being a democratic oasis in China. It will be tamed. It has already been. The powerful Beijing has just too many methods and too many resources to win the conflict. Today, Hong Kong still enjoys the reputation of a well-managed, transparent society where freedom of speech is tolerated. This demonstration indicates that most of its people still hold such social values. But the cleanness of authorities is questionable, it’s a society corrupted from the top.
What would you like the world to know about the people of Hong Kong?
I would assert that Hong Kong people are motivated by their own will. Beijing should not blemish Hong Kong people’s motives as been manipulated by “foreign hostile forces against China”. This is Vladimir Putin’s strategy that the former Ukraine government used to blame the early protestors. Then we can anticipate thug forces will be enlisted to create chaos. Then what?
The peaceful protests of Hong Kong persist. There are strong opinions on both sides of the protests. From speaking with Dan it becomes a saddening reality that the future of Hong Kong in the build up to the 2017 elections will be very much dictated by the superior Beijing. The saddening truth is that, a nation hosting such diversity, Christians, Buddhists, pro or anti democracy believers, people will most likely be denied a chance to be heard. And as a result, many proud people will leave Hong Kong disappointed.
Pictures: Alex Ogle