Hong Kong: Two months and counting
For two months campaigning ‘Hong Kongers’ have taken to the streets in a call for democratic justice ahead of the 2017 elections. Seeking a fair say in who is shortlisted for the role of Chief Executive, protesters have met the force of government authorities aiming to suppress their democratic political desires
In early September the streets were home to over tens-of-thousands of protesters varying in their backgrounds. Old and young united representing groups such as Scholarism and Occupy Central in the hope of great feats to achieve systematic change. For the first time since Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong showed signs of breaking through the Chinese legislative stronghold of Beijing.
Through the use of peaceful public speaking, art and creative methods in promoting democracy, Hong Kongers hope to seek change. Mild demonstrative activities shortly turned chaotic however, as protesters were met by police force under orders by the empowering voice of the Chinese mainland. Fraught altercations between students and protesters ensued and for over a number of weeks the count in city damages and protester injuries has escalated.
From what began as mild force, policing methods aggressively transformed into acts of violence with the use of batons and pepper spray.
A survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong between 5 November – 11 November states over two thirds of Hong Kong people think pro democracy demonstrators should bow down to Chinese authorities. Of those surveyed, 43.5 per cent said they opposed the movement, meaning an increasing 10 per cent neglected the actions of pro democracy campaigners from October. 40 per cent stated the government response was inadequate and 49 per cent voiced that the government needed to make modifications.
Following the survey, Hong Kong protesters have suffered greatly as three of the of the main occupied zones such as Mong Kok, the British Consulate and Admiralty have been shut down with the use of what some say as “excessive force”. In just weeks, orders by the mainland have caused thousands of protesters to be squeezed out of the movement as the number of protesters stands at just a few hundred.
Reduced to a hunger striking, leader of Scholarism Joshua Wong, 18 year old student denounced his last chance attempts in achieving the time and attention of Chinese leaders.
“We have been on the streets for two months, and now it is getting damp and cold. Still the government is so heartless and refuses to talk to us. Will they care if we starve ourselves?” a protester denounced under the name of Cherry to The Guardian.
The world watches in awe as the youth that sparked revolt back in September remain firmly grounded to their beliefs in seeking change ahead of 2017. Time is running thin for those protesters left as 2015 draws nearer – in 60 days time, will there be any protesters left on the streets at all?
Pictures: Alex Ogle