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Hong Kong Airport shuts down as protesters take over (rthk.hk)
162 points by improvehk 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 163 comments

The new protests happened because a new round of violence from the HK Police, towards both protesters and people unrelated to protests.

e.g. Firing less-lethal rounds directly at head level, causing permanent blindness


e.g. Planting evidence into protester's backpack


e.g. Firing tear gas in subway station, which was being used by the general public


I will add that there is now suspicion of police infiltrating protest to start violent clash: https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1474213-20190812.h...

I wouldn't be very surprise if it was the case as it is often a tactic use, even in our western democracies, to justify stronger and more violent police operation and also tarnish the image of the protest.

> justify stronger and more violent police operation and also tarnish the image of the protest.

Agent provocateurs. And, yes, that's exactly what they're doing.


Hong Kong is a matter of national security to China. Something countries go to wars till the last man over. So what you mentioned is nothing, China has a lot more goodies in the bag. Here's one: Granting pardons or giving immunity to top criminal gangs as a long as they kill xxx revolt leaders.

Why is this comment downvoted ?

In my country, Belgium, headlines were along the lines of "The real question now is: how patient is Beijing inclined to be ?".

There seems to be a lot of downvoting irrespective of post quality.

I wonder if this is i) thread-specific due to possible brigading, or ii) a more wider tribalistic phenomenon. I have perceived (lost my old account from years ago) that downvoting more and more is plain disagreement with the opinion, not whether a comment is substantive. Could be completely off and biased, but at least in this thread it seems to be the case.

Just a friendly reminder that "matter of national security" refers to the security of those currently in a position of power, the people here is incidental.

Hong Kong is viewed as a matter of national security to China. The only way it threatens the "national security" of China is by opening the door for people to question the goodness and wisdom of the Communist Party.

Where does the influence of China end and Western influence begin? Despite the political handover, there was no sudden change on this influence boundary in 1997. That is still being fought over year by year, and it's a highly legitimate national security issue.

I agree with your sentiments, except

> Planting evidence into protester's backpack

Look at the video. The officer bends over to pick something off the ground and is not being subtle in any way in placing the items into his backpack. It's impossible to tell from the video what the items actually are, but it doesn't look suspicious to me. Perhaps a length of tube he was using to transport a protest banner? Whatever it is it looks like the sort of thing that would easily fall out of a loose backpack like his in a minor skirmish.

It could be the planting of evidence, but I don't think we have enough facts to make that assertion without strong qualifiers.

Well, some of those 'protesters' threw firebombs toward the police. [0]

and some of them met officials from the U.S. [1]

[0] https://www.foxnews.com/world/firebombs-set-off-near-2-hong-...

[1] https://stillnessinthestorm.com/2019/08/evidence-of-cia-meet...

they met the "political unit chief of US Consulate General" from the article. Where is the relation with the CIA.

The fox news article also mention "one protester". Seems like a isolated incident. Why talk about "the protesters" ?

EDIT: The parent post was saying "meeting" the CIA before they change it to "official of the US", hence my mention of the CIA.

I am a mainland-born Chinese who studied in the US and have been living in HK for over a decade. Just want to share what I saw recently: an overwhelming majority of Chinese people who grew up in mainland, regardless of where they live and work now, disapprove of the HK protesters' activities. Many mainland Chinese living in HK, who were largely not interested in politics in the past, have started donating money to pro-government causes. Supportive comments of the mainland government have risen dramatically among private chatters. It seems to me that the HK protesters' messages do not resonate well with most Chinese people.

The Hong Kong protests are about democratic values, which were instilled in Hong Kong by the British for 150 years. Ideas like the Magna Carta (everyone has inherent rights and no one is above the law), freedom of the press, Common Law.

People who grew up in mainland china do not have that cultural context. Opposite values were taught (no 'inherent rights' outside of government policy, censorship of press to maintain harmony, no Common Law).

Unless they have advanced degrees in political theory, I imagine it would be very hard for people who grew up in mainland china to understand why the Hong Kong people are protesting at all, much less sympathize. The values are that far apart.

> everyone has inherent rights and no one is above the law

I don't see how these are "democratic values". They're extremely important things to have obviously, but they're orthogonal to whether the system is democratic or not.

How many non-democratic systems have you seen, which upheld this and the other principles GP referred to?

At least one. It doesn't matter though because the principle holds.

Hong Kong was very far from a democracy for the vast majority of British rule. Patten, the last governor, did start installing some from the 1990s, much to the everlasting ire of the Chinese Communist Party, and it's certainly taken root quite fast.


> Hong Kong was very far from a democracy

True, to an extent, yet it had civil liberties and the rule of law to a larger extent than China. So, I think GP's argument still stands.

I'd counter there're three reasons for the strong response from the general public of HK.

1. The suppression tactics used by the HK police affects both protesters and non-protesters.

Hong Kong is a very high density place. There was a recent incident where HK police threw tear gas in a residential district in Tai Wai; another one in Shum Shui Po. Let's say I'm not a protester and I live in some high density apartment complex nearby - I get gassed anyway. If I have someone with respiratory issues in my home it could be life threatening.

2. Triads are involved in protester suppressions

These people are lawless. If you appear in the wrong place at the wrong time, you get beaten, or worse, sliced. Again, this concerns both protesters and the general public.

3. The government is breaking the rule of law

It is one thing for some protesters to break laws, but it's quite another thing for the government to do it. It means the government is not keeping the peace and let everyday people carry on with their lives. Which again, concerns a lot of people who were originally not protesters.

Hong Kong is a different case from mainland China, because Hong Kong is a small place. If something bad happens in Causeway Bay, it's very close to home if you're in Wan Chai. Mass protests and crackdowns also happen in China. But let's say it happens in Beijing, it doesn't really concern you if you're in Suzhou or Xi'an.

As a Canadian living in Shenzhen, I can confirm that most Chinese people here appear to genuinely resent/disapprove the HK protesters.

May I ask you why you are against the protests? Also would you support the CCP making a public statement taking a step back and agreeing to listen to the protesters' concerns?

Cannot speak for OP but my Chinese mainland friends do not condone of the protests because they simply do not want to rock the boat in any way. Just live life, make money (preferably lots of it, so expensive brands can be bought), raise a family, help your neighbor. Let the gov run the country and keep your interests and discussions out of it. They believe HK will be a better, easier, more organized and more peaceful place when it joins the motherland. Normal people will be able to get houses again as the gov will redistribute them and life will be organized; no need for all this noise and violence.

But it’s the CCP that’s been pushing changes. If they just stopped pushing for changes between Hong Kong and the mainland, they would largely (if not entirely) placate the protesters. The CCP is the one rocking the boat!

It depends on your analogy. Mainland Chinese “learned from experience” that the CCP is the sea (i.e. out of control of people), not part of the boat.

Yep, but that is not what mainlanders think. Well, the ones I know. Very small group of well-off engineers. I have not been to HK for a few months now but I have friends in both camps. I am pro HK (but I am western so).

> why you are against the protests?

Note that GP never stated that. They gave an assessment (correct, in my view) of mainland opinion about the protests, they never said that they subscribed to that opinion.

Regarding the second question, I felt humiliated by the protestors' vandalism on the Chinese flag and emblem, which are symbols of our national identity. If my government ended up making concessions to the protestors' demand, it would be a hard pill for me to swallow.

This got me thinking about my own situation.

I've been living abroad in various places for a few years now, and I feel like if someone were to vandalise the flag of my home country in an act of protest I don't think it would trigger much of an emotional response in me at all. No more, probably, than someone vandalising the flag of my sports team (that's to say, not much).

I wonder where this emotional attachment to tribal symbols starts and ends. I haven't done much at all in my life (voted a few times, otherwise just lived within the system) to create my home nation. It's just the part of the world where I happened to be born.

Even if I had fought hard to change my country and later become proud of what it had become, I would question whether someone defacing a symbol of that country would trigger an emotional response.

Am I alone in this? Is this tribalism something which is usually considered innate or learned / forgotten?

The emotional attachment is rooted in the rapid rise of China in the past four decades.

Before the 1990s the opinions and actions of Chinese people hardly mattered on the world stage. People living in China had relatively low quality of life, and those living overseas were often neglected or treated with biases. There was a society-wide desire to build a stronger nation.

Many factors contributed to China's subsequent success in this endeavor, but I would say that most Chinese people attribute it to their own hard work. And this is a source of immense national proud. This proud is frequently associated with the Chinese flag and emblem when, for example, Chinese atheletes won medals in international contests. They've become symbols that unite a wide range of Chinese people.

Many Chinese who grew up in this period genuinely felt that they lived in good times, and saw China very favorably. They're also likely in prime age today and form the backbone of "mainstream" society. When the HK protesters operate in a context where almost everything about China as a country is interpreted negatively, their messages immediately lose credibility in the mainland.

> and I feel like if someone were to vandalise the flag of my home country in an act of protest I don't think it would trigger much of an emotional response in me at all.

This very much depends on a country's history and it is impossible to generalise, although I would suspect that burning an American flag in the US (for example) would not go well with many Americans (and probably same for other countries).

China's current regime is partly a reaction to foreign aggression and humiliation.

An enduring symbol of this aggression and humiliation was Hong Kong itself.

This what makes attacking state symbols (or waving the British/American flags as I have seen some protesters do on TV) in Hong Kong so potent.

I think that for many Chinese seeing people protesting against the extradition bill and for more democracy is one thing (which they may be somewhat sympathetic to, actually) but attacking national integrity is quite another, which is guaranteed to produce general anger.

Two possibilities present themselves.

Either the protestors don't know any history, or have learned such a skewed version of history that they internalize the perspective of the 19th century British victors in an ultimately self-defeating way, or;

They know very well the potency of the symbolism and are deliberately declaring themselves aligned with the Western camp out of political expediency, and elevating the conflict to the level of a battle of spheres of influence.

Neither possibility will be looked upon kindly by mainland Chinese firmly rooted in their own historical and political understanding, because it is against their interest.

You are not alone in this. The country flag itself does not have any true meaning other than representing the country. To the people from mainland China, it may symbolise launching rocket to fly round the moon, the 2nd largest economy, etc., but to the people in Hong Kong, it may mean uighur genocide, tiananmen massacre, years of WTO rules violations, etc..

However people grew up in China are trained to be punished and even disappeared when they speak or act against the chinese official rhetoric, where as being patriotic in the officially approved ways is rewarding.

This extends to them enjoying watching people get punished and disappeared when they speak or act against the chinese official rhetoric. It's immoral and irrational, but it's also human nature. These brainwashing started even before they have the ability to reason.

The original extradition law weakened the strength of the Common Law system of Hong Kong - which, for many Hong Kongers, had concerns on both their ability to continue to do business with international entities; and the rule of law itself.

The more recent police brutality concerns Hong Kongers because, well, now your home and the subway station you use everyday is gassed. And the government is doing it. It's now beyond just abstract concepts like the rule of law and it's a concern of your personal safety - even if you're not a protestor.

The issue of the Chinese flag / emblem being dirtied / thrown away / etc. during protests may be a concern of many in China... but ignoring the more immediate and practical concerns from everyday HKers is not helpful for anyone. Even from the perspective of the Party, such rhetoric only creates more division and problems down the road.

So what about the problems themselves? The extradition bill? Police brutality? Unjustified arrests? And ultimately, the HK government not answering to the people's demand?

You'll never get perfect behaviour from even a military, let alone a barely cohesive group of random protestors. Requiring that for allowing concessions is just pretence.

I’m sure if concessions were made, the protesters probably wouldn’t be as likely to do such things. Would you be willing to meet them in the middle?

You are being way too charitable. The five demands materialized out of one demand ("don't rush the bill") after Carrie Lam made a concession to suspend the bill. Middle-of-the-road concessions are not what the protestors are looking for now, if they ever were. Indeed they have indicated a strategy to use this moment to extract the maximal concession. That's a fairly extremist position that is probably unwise, and leads to all sorts of problems like having to buttress their own weak power position with borrowed foreign leverage.

The PRC leadership is not stupid, either. They see the suspension of the bill as test of whether this whole thing was about the bill or something else. As suspected, it was about something else. Given that, no concession the PRC is willing to make will be enough. This is bigger than HK now and frankly out of HK'ers hands as to how it evolves next.

> concession to suspend the bill

Suspending the bill with the implication of rushing it through when the protests have ended is not a concession, merely a move achieve PRC goals more quietly. Protesters have recognized and called it out as such. The fact that you don't seem to know that makes your statements suspect.

Thank you for sharing your perspective!

Cognitive dissonance?

Complicating the nature of these protests is that the 5 overt demands put forth by protestors (all related to the Extradition Bill) do not reflect a large cause of the latent / tacit discontent: the inability of youngsters to buy a home and raise a family due to collusion between property developers and government to restrict land supply. This author has stated the problem better than I can:


Decades of this squeeze have placed youngsters in a position where they have nothing to lose: Hong Kong has so many shiny buildings and not a square foot to their name. I was once getting flowers for my wife and ended up talking to a couple planning for their wedding reception at the florist. I was shocked to learn that they had discussed it and will not be having children because it is unaffordable. In my opinion, the Extradition Bill is just the final straw that broke that camel's back.

I'm afraid that this argument is just a diversionary manoeuvre tying to shift the narrative. I do feel it is being planted by pro-BJ side, to allow Beijing to waltz in and say "Apartments for everyone, now go home"

It feels manufactured — the ones rioting are the higher middle classes, who despite astronomical real estate prices can still survive somehow, not the homeless youth living in McDonaldses.

To provide some context to outsiders: housing to HK is pretty much like the healthcare is to America. Patently broken, but is pretty much a part of the class identity.

Higher ups on the social ladder don't mind much to continue to "bite the cactus," and some even think of it as something normal, even actively trying to subvert efforts to fix the situation.

South China Morning Post to me doesn't have the credibility to make claims about representing Hong Kong's actual sentiment or discontents. When they interview Gui Minhai between torture sessions and publish his forced confession, not even questioning Beijing why neither his daughter nor Swedish authorities hadn't been allowed any contact with him, they lose a lot of faith from me in their journalistic integrity.


I don't think this will end well, the more this drags on, the more violent it will probably become. At some point the state will probably have a pretty good excuse to declare martial law and enforce order by military means, ultimately it might fasten the integration of Hong Kong into the PRC instead of delaying it.

You’re implying that the people should just lay down and take it? They are risking their lives for their principles and they are doing it the right way.

A pragmatist would lay down and take it, while preparing to emigrate out of HK as soon as possible.

I don’t speak for the people of Hong Kong, but I could imagine many people caring deeply about a place that is considered home, with a specific culture and set of people.

Its not easy to immigrate out of a country you realize

I don't understand why HK hasn't done anything about this? I mean, the protests.

This doesn't look like your average worker strike and people seem genuinely determined to get a change of direction.

Anyone who has been involved with this, can you comment on the latest government response to the "demands" from people?

Because the HK government are Chinese puppets. They can't (and don't want to) do anything, because their communist overlords don't want to.

There's too many protestors to dissapear them all.

Making simplistic caricatures won't help the cause. There is a constitutional path towards having these demands discussed off the street, but some people have no respect for process while denouncing the same of the other side. "My way or the high way." No sympathy for either side.

Is there? Because as far as I can tell, the protesters believe that they are under foreign occupation. And I tend to side with them?

“Constitutional path”? Hong Kongs self rule has been gradually eroded since 1997.

They can believe that rhetorical fantasy, but HK being a part of China isn't going to be re-litigated. Everything else is theoretically possible, though the more protests try to tear down the "one country" part (anti-Article 23, 2014 protests, etc.), the more the "two systems" part becomes endangered. That's a cold-headed assessment of what has been happening since 1997.

"Not sure what the HK protesters endgame is here." People are fed up about how the system works and about their life and the life of people they know. They want things to be "better" without having to clearly define and write a 167 page law that will probably not benefit them.

People are expressing their dissatisfaction and IMHO that's a valid justification for protesters and good enough for me.

They have very specific "5 demands"

1. no extradition to china

2. retract characterization of protests as riots

3. exonerate arrested protestors

4. investigate police misconduct

5. resignation of the PRC-appointed executive and... democracy

they are literally protesting for democracy


> they are literally protesting for democracy

Protests don't achieve democracy, voting does. If all participants in the recent protests were willing to volunteer, printing a few million ballots and distributing them to improvised polling stations wouldn't be insurmountable. The Hong Kong Identity Card means that voter ID can be implemented without access to government records, simply by assigning a range of ID numbers to each polling station. The only drawback is that they'd need to somehow record who already cast their vote, which could be abused by the government to crack down on participants if they decide to ignore the outcome.

> Protests don't achieve democracy, voting does.

History strongly begs to differ - assembly to address grievances is just as crucial a step in achieving democracy as a vote.




The Magna Carta didn't result in anything resembling democracy, so it's not terribly relevant. The civil rights movement and the the end of apartheid may be better examples, but they both involve existing democratic institutions agreeing with the protest movements and passing legislation to fulfill their demands [1, 2].

My point is that although protests are a way to force a vote to occur, it's the actual act of voting that makes a democracy, and protests are neither necessary nor sufficient for that.

It seems to me that the protests in Hong Kong don't have to wait for the government to "allow" them to hold a vote, so long as they can manage the logistics.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_South_African_apartheid_r...

Without the protests, when and how are the residents of Hong Kong going to be allowed to vote for democracy?

Have they tried doing an improvised vote? Even just among protesters, too see what the level of support for certain positions is? I genuinely don't know.

Regarding being allowed to vote, the Hong Kong government is certainly taking a hardliner stance, but I'm not sure whether they could justify it to themselves to criminalize stuffing a piece of paper into a ballot box.

Are you aware that people officially voted for pro independence representatives and those representatives were dismissed for being insulting to China?


No, I wasn't, thanks for the information. FWIW, I wasn't suggesting an election within the existing system, where formal requirements like the oath-taking ceremony matter, but rather an improvised referendum with no such restrictions. On a purely legal basis, the government would be free to ignore the results, but in practice that might not be so easy. Since voting requires less effort than participating in a protest march, turnout is more likely to reach a majority of the population.

There are really only two possible endings. One is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1956 , and the other is Taiwan.

Either China consolidates control over HK and it loses critical political freedoms, ceasing being a democracy even in the slight way that it already is; or, somehow, incredibly, the protestors win and HK gets to retain its quasi-independence while China claims to be sovereign but lacks practical ground control.

(I suppose a third ending is somehow they return to the status quo ante of nominal control with little practical interference, but that was never entirely stable from the British withdrawal onwards. Getting back there would require everyone forgetting the whole thing, disabling injuries and all.)

Without guns it's hard to see how Hong Kong ends up free as Taiwan is. Like, seriously, what sequence of events gets us from here to there?

Think about this next time governments talk about taking away your guns and anti-tank mines for the public's own protection.

As an American who has lived in Hong Kong for many years, I can comfortably say that if every Hong Kong citizen were armed with an AR-15 and 1,000 rounds of ammo they still wouldn't be able to hold off the PLA for any meaningful length of time.

An armed populace is not now nor will it ever again be the answer to this or any other geopolitical debate involving an advanced, militarily powerful national adversary.

A small segment of well-armed and determined citizens can still win a war of attrition against any foe. See Afghanistan.

This is just straight up not true. It's all about the attackers aversion to force and end goal. Americans did not want to raze the country, they wanted to take out a small subset of the population which was hard to identify and find, and create a well functioning democracy in its place. In china, if they dont care about killing civilians or about what the land will look like after the war, they can certainly eliminate the uprising very easily. Simply bomb the crap out of the city, invade and shoot anything that moves. An army wins everytime, especially China's.

> anti-tank mines for the public's own protection

Seriously can we not? Mines are such a horrendous lingering danger to the public that most militaries restrict them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_Treaty

Everything you say seems correct.

The problem is that movements without specific, clearly defined policy goals tend to fail.

It is easy to come together to oppose some bad thing, but it is really hard to find consensus on what to do after the bad thing has been defeated. So while movements without specific policy goals can win elections, the usually cannot bring effective change.

Is independence the goal here?

That's what's different about this protest, there in fact five basic demands that they have been pretty consistent with.

The first demand that originally sparked the protest was to have the extradition to China bill officially withdrawn, not simply referred to as dead yet left in legal suspension but still theoretically possible to push through as soon as the protesters went home.

The second demand is to have all of the people who were officially declared as rioters to be officially declared as peaceful protesters on a protest from early June because people who are declared rioters can face up to 10 years in prison. These protesters were once occupying the legislative house and even though they were graffitiing the walls with slogans, people went around and posted papers on refrigerators holding drinks and foods that said 'we are protesters not thieves' and no one took any of the food. Talk about being polite. Yet they were declared rioters (ok clearly I've come to a conclusion)

The third demand is for Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam to resign.

The fourth demand is for an independent commission to be formed to investigate police brutality as alleged by the protesters during the protests over the last 10 weeks. Heavy use of tear gas and rubber bullets.

The fifth demand is for all protesters to be unconditionally freed.

I'd recommend reading https://www.hongkongfp.com to keep up with what's going on in HK. I've followed it since May and it has been quite insightful.

It's made more difficult (partly due to the lessons learned from the umbrella movement) because this has been a leaderless movement, which while making it difficult to disappear the people managing it, also must make it more difficult for defined policy goals to form (although some have emerged).

It seems to be developing organically as the people come to understand how much momentum they have and how much their peers agree with their frustrations.

I'd speculate that if they somehow gained enough momentum that it appeared to be within reach then independence would probably be the end goal, but who knows.

I searched and found the five demands:

one, the bill must be withdrawn; two, the chief executive must resign; three, the government must retract its characterisation of the violent clashes as “riots”; four, there must be a full independent inquiry into the actions of the police and; five, everyone arrested in respect of the clashes must be unconditionally freed.

More here:


This movement (which has been building for years) has one very specific goal: true universal suffrage and free elections. Whether that comes as a protectorate of China or as an independent state seems almost inconsequential to many people.

Everything else (extradition, the five demands, et cetera) is just a series of sub-plots leading to self governance.

They had that chance in 2014, but rejected all compromise or incremental improvement.

Elections aren't free if you can only vote for candidates that have the government's blessing.

Ask the question whether CE being elected with more direct votes is a better or worse outcome than now. There is an element in HK that only has one possibility in mind, ending up with nothing. That's called extremism.

It would be exactly the same outcome with different numbers. Do you really believe the CCP would allow someone like John Tsang to run in a situation where he might actually win? Of course not.

While there's certainly small parts of protesters whose aim is independence, the movement at large has very clearly communicated 5 well-defined demands since the end of June and by and large stuck with them.

The protesters may not clearly understand their own endgame, but the CIA certainly understands its own... which is to precipitate an armed crackdown that diminishes Chinese prestige - giving the U.S. further leverage in the current battle for global pre-eminence that is occurring between the two powers.

And no - I don't have evidence of CIA involvement, except for the somewhat co-incidental timing of the unrest relative to the trade war and the long well-known history of CIA involvement in such events. I will nonetheless consider disbelief - as conspiracy - to be the height of naivety.

Ironically - despite it's flaws and incumbent president, I still would much prefer the U.S. to win this particular bout of dirty Realpolitik - over an authoritarian regime that truly deserves it's comeuppance.

It's just a shame that the U.S. does this shit to authoritarian states and democracies alike (while also aligning itself with authoritarian states as well)... if and only if such choices promote U.S. interests.

It's also a shame that the HK people are going to be made to suffer deeply for this. They can't win - China can only lose... a little status. I have friends there. I hope they will be ok. :(

Julie Eadeh (a diplomat at the US consulate in Hong Kong) was seen meeting a leader of the protesters. It certainly smells fishy.

The extradition law, which was proposed by CE Carrie Lam, was indeed proposed and supposed to be passed by the legislature, at around the time frame as the Trump-Xi meeting.

If you infer the cause of the protests is the CIA, then CE Carrie Lam would be a CIA agent.

The much more likely explanation to all these is incompetence, rather than conspiracy.

>The much more likely explanation to all these is incompetence, rather than conspiracy.

Given the sensitive nature of the bill, and its timing, and She has shown her understanding in how US / China / HK operate in both Financial and political levels.

And it was clear the bill wasn't put forward by CCP either, it was someone else ( or Carrie Lam )'s idea.

I find it hard to believe all of these are incompetence and coincidence. Not saying Carrie Lam is a CIA agent, but something is definitely not right.

Just a thought, but the cause-and-effect relationship you suggest between the protests and the trade war might be the other way around? I.e. the protests causing the timing of the trade war?

Economic realities tend to determine political events - not the other way around... historically speaking.

The tension has been building up for a while, way before there was any sign of a protest.

why has this been downvoted? Of course everyone who plays the game will evaluate what they can make out of a new situation.

pjc50 - it won't let me reply to you directly. I just mean it as a demonstration of the links between local HK authorities and foreign intelligence services. It wouldn't take much for the CIA to leverage those links.

Keep in mind also that Chinese state media has publicly accused the CIA of involvement in the HK protests. Haven't seen that reported much have you? You wouldn't.

This is very interesting, but what does it have to do with the CIA?

Looks like an operation that CIA assisted in spiriting away protesters from the 1989 Tiananmen square massacre.

The reader is expected to see that article and see that the CIA took some action in HK in the 90s and come to the conclusion that because they helped protesters to flee the country in the 90s they are behind the current protests by inference.

I personally see a coincidence or red herring.

Do you claim that the establishment of precedent has no value in increasing the plausibility of a claim?

In response to the protests, the government line has been to continue to stall and to claim that everything happening in Hong Kong is magically just the result of foreign interference by actors like the CIA, that way they don't have to actually listen to their own people, they can just plug their ears and say lalalalala the CIA did it all.

This comment appears to support that general narrative, so I suspect people are seeing that and not wanting to see the standard government obfuscation line here are downvoting it.

Just ask yourself, if the CIA has such control over Hong Kong that it could cause 10 weeks of protests by large large amounts of the population, whether or not they wouldn't have already declared independence and declared themselves a mini United States state or something to that effect.

The Hong Kong government's accusation and Beijing's continual messaging that this is all just the United States messing with them is untrue, a bald faced lie and ridiculous on its face if you think about it, but they haven't come up with anything better just yet so they're just sort of holding onto that line for anyone who will listen.

How are the ringleaders surviving? Not a lot of bank to made protesting I suspect.

I resent the claim tho that my comment supports the "general narrative" - I explicitly disavow the Chinese regime as authoritarian that "deserves comeuppance". I'll add here that I think the protesters have a genuine cause that deserves support.

I do, however, think that the CIA, the U.S. and the west generally - doesn't actually give a fuck about the interests of the HK people. It's just convenient to them currently to make China look bad.

My apologies for painting with too broad a brush. I do believe that the same sort of people who downvoted the original comment jumped to the same conclusion I did, which was that your comment was intended to support the government line about foreign interference and function as a distracting debate rather than commenting on the merits and effects of the HK protests.

I personally think the CIAs involvement is limited to none, completely without evidence and fueled by optimisim that the HK protesters are doing all this completely by and for their own people.

Eh, I don't doubt the US is helping the protestors, but surviving is not really a problem when you're the leader of a mass protest. You'll have plenty of followers willing to give you the necessities of life. If you read the histories of revolutionary leaders, they often lived for years from the support of regular people.

Do you really think that a protest movement with such widespread support has leaders that need to be supported financially somehow by the CIA?

I'll grant that in these days of crowdfunding etc... your counter has more plausibility than it would have in days past.

Not sure what the government is trying to achieve by shutting down the airport and sending in the police to clear the scene. AFAIK the protesters are not causing any trouble there, no flights are affected.

There are many who chose to sit-in at the airport since they do not agree with the escalation of the protests in other districts. Also there are elderlies and parents who have to carry and look after their children, who just cannot bear tear gas and rubber pullets.

This act by the government will only catch more foreign attention, and put more pages on the pile of recent police brutality.

PLA was doing innuendo charged manoeuvres for the past 2 months all over the province.

Today, they were finally moved to the HK bridge terminus.

They even plastered banners with something like "you got it" on their APCs

I have been wondering how long it will be before the HK gov calls in the PLA to 'restore order'.

The day it will do it, will also be its last, so they will both sides in HK have interest to drag it out.

New to Hacker News - Is there a reason why this has disappeared from the front page within minutes? It was on the top of the front page as of 9:02pm AEST (4:02AM PDT).

It may have been gaining far more comments than upvotes for a time?

This is seen as a red flag by the algorithm, as it suggests that the thread is overly controversial.

Many people might have flagged it as offtopic of this forum.

This is intensely interesting because everything points towards China never backing down, and protesters having nothing to win. The default assumption is continuity of the party and the system.

Yet, looking at history, systems are not that stable. The Berlin wall and Sowjet union seemed like they would not end.

I assume 3-letter agencies have vast amounts of resources dedicated to analyzing how to create the instabilities that may ultimately make such systems collapse.

Bottom line, historically speaking, we should not be surprised if China collapses. We should also not be surprised if the party keeps its tight grip for another 100 years.

The Soviets were bankrupt.

As the Chinese are heading toward now, at a dead run.

HKIA is the critical lifeline of Hong Kong, the economy is already suffering, i think its matter of time before PLA gets involved. I'm very concerned for Hong Kong and its people.

What could force possibly accomplish? Do you think an economy would operate after you massacre thousands? Do you think people would show up to work? They could sack the city, guaranteeing no money would come out of it. If it’s profit they want then they will need to bend, not break.

I agree that force would only result in more pushback. But Beijing increasingly sees Hong Kong as a problematic territory. At the time of handover Hong Kong almost constituted 18% of China’s GDP and now it’s less than that of what Shenzhen contributes. So Hong Kong is losing its leverage to claim autonomy and if Hong Kong’s economy further contracts, what choice people in Hong Kong have?

Not sure what the HK protesters endgame is here. It's unthinkable that China would step down. If anything, they are forcing China to take direct action, because if they let HK do its own thing, it won't end there for China.

I am a Hongkonger. I think the protesters have shifted their target to HK airport because of its value in logistics and tourism. The airport is also a place with lots of visitors, who may be the potential witnesses if HK police did anything unreasonable.

What's the alternative? China is already taking direct action to control HK more tightly, all HK citizens can do is rise awareness via protests, push forward their political ideology and hope for the best.

China will probably crack down on them anyway, but they could still reinforce the vast number of regional separatists present in various areas of the nation, and sooner or later they could bring down the whole despotic government (or not, but it's worth trying).

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests and the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (to be celebrated on October 1st).

In January the Presidential election will also take place in Taiwan.

And, of course, there is also the tense situation between China and the US at the moment.

We can imagine a lot of scenarios and competing interests at play here.

Forcing China to take direct action may indeed be the goal of some of these interests, and China knows it.

Well fuck me if there is no organization here. The longer this goes on, the more it seems strategically planned and logistically organized well beyond the capability of naive 17-year-olds.

So they should stay at home and accept anything that comes from China?

I thought they should have stopped the protests when the administration suspended the extradition bill. But then again as it is, people are disappearing from HK and reappearing in Chinese jails, so maybe they are right to push on. It's hard to see them winning though.

The protesters announced that suspension seemed like a ploy to wait for a time when the public lost focus and reintroduce it again later. It's a pretty legitimate concern IMO.

I can understand that, I fear they are fighting a losing battle though.

I listened to a commentator over the weekend talking about this whole business. He said that China have very many economic levers they can apply to HK to get their way and that military force is still a very distant option. The first thing that will happen is that Carrie Lam will be pushed aside and replaced with someone more hardline. They won't do it now because it would look like a victory for the protesters.

No, do something that has a chance of helping them, their friends and their families and start the process of emigration. The Chinese government is no more going to back down now than they were in 1989. They have much less sentimental attachment to the people of Hong Kong than to the students who protested then. The PRC will absolutely send in the People’s Liberation Army to occupy Hong Kong if that’s the only way to restore order with them in charge. They’d prefer a broken, bowed and destroyed Hong Kong with them in charge to anything that looks like them losing.

They’re forcing China to change their current strategy which was to slowly and quietly impose their sovereignty. They’re putting China into a position where there are no good moves.

Maybe we’ll see a unilateral declaration of independence.

I would imagine their end game is "civil disruption".

In that case, they force China to show its real intentions. Most of the world already know, but getting them to, by action, admit it publicly would be a victory for the protesters.

Not that it will save the HK they live in.

China has already stated their real intentions. After 50 years of autonomy, there will be no 1 country, 2 systems. They stated this when they took over control of HK and Macau.


From the very first paragraph of your link

> Under the principle, each of the two regions could continue to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries.

Yet they're trying to pass a law that essentially allow China to extradite people in HK to mainland China, for any reason mainland China makes up. That is not 1 country, 2 systems as the legal system in mainland China can dictate what people they want extradited from HK. Even the EU have made a formal complaint against the law.


This is not a factual description of the bill.

The extradition bill would allow mainland China (and Macau and Taiwan) to request HK authorities that some accused of having committed a crime there to be extradited. The request would then be examined by HK courts as is the case in extradition cases.

I understand that HK people don't trust mainland courts and perhaps also that they don't fully trust their own, but this is not about allowing anyone in HK to be sent to the mainland.

Mainland China has extradition treaties with some western countries, by the way.

>The request would then be examined by HK courts as is the case in extradition cases.

The keyword here is examined, not trial.

This is how extradition cases are heard everywhere (including Hong Kong, which has extradition treaties with several countries)

They are not trials. They are meant to decide whether the person should be extradited following a request to do so from another country.

Yes, except extradition assumes they will have a fair trial. Which is where the problem lies.

Well, as I mentioned a few Western countries have extradition treaties with China.


My impression would be that China isn't going to flip a switch after 50 years and suddenly switch to the Chinese system.

I would imagine they would do it gradually like they're doing now.

That's exactly what they're trying to do. In this case, they could have made the law such that any extradition would have to go through the HK legal system, and mainland China would have to present enough evidence for a HK judge to come to the conclusion that the person should be extradited by HK law. But they didn't as far as I have understood.

So by forcing this law, and forcefully silence the protesters it will be clear that they're not going for the 1 country, 2 systems; but rather 1 country, 2 systems except for ... until it's just 1 country.

There's no evidence that China makes up the law. The HK government draft this law to extradite a criminal who commits murder in Taiwan. The law also excludes a bunch of crimes.

To look at potential endgames, one needs to look back at history and see how people protesting for more freedom against dictatorial regimes have gone ( either through independance, or regime change).

French revolution was a blood bath, soviet union collapsed after 80 years for economical reasons (among other things), and i don’t know of any independance gained without some kind of military conflict involved.

My best bet for HK would be if someone living there could release massive financial information about china’s largest companies proving most of them are fraudulent (if that’s the case), and cause a major economical meltdown ( hoping for a regime change in china itself)... But that means aiming for the head, which means you only get one chance.

Agreed. I don't think that HK have an actual plan here. They just protest for the sake of protesting. China will never step down and if anything HK makes it really really easy for China to claim more control now over HK because HK proves itself to be not in control of its citizen. China is the most important market in the world, no other country will intervene with China, especially not given that the largest country in this world - Russia - would always back China in a geopolitical conflict, so nobody has the balls to challenge Russia and China at once for good reasons.

EDIT: Besides that, I am pretty confident that the media makes it look a lot worse than it actually is too.

I've been to China and Hong Kong. In China people looked relaxed, spent time relaxing in parks and socialising. I went to Hong Kong and it was unbearable crammed, people were stressed and over worked and there was no escape from the hamster wheel. No wonder mainland Chinese have little sympathy for HK.

In China people looked relaxed, spent time relaxing in parks and socialising. I went to Hong Kong and it was unbearable crammed, people were stressed and over worked and there was no escape from the hamster wheel. No wonder mainland Chinese have little sympathy for HK.

I don't follow. If life in China is so nice and life in HK is so stressed and unbearable, wouldn't the people of mainland China have more sympathy for HK?

Why would they? You need a pretty convincing story to justify protests that disrupt 'normal' life, especially to mainlanders who saw a miraculous improvement of their living standards in their life time. It's pretty easy to exploit the scenes of protestors throwing a Chinese flag into the sea and drumming up a patriotic sentiment with it.

You realise that you don't see dissent in China because dissent is a death sentence there?

There are people on HN that has never been to China neither Hong Kong and they simply downvote cause they only think. True experience of being harassed in China for being white is something they have never experienced.

> I've been to China and Hong Kong. In China people looked relaxed, spent time relaxing in parks and socialising.

I assume you did not visited Xinjiang where Uyghurs are not really relaxing in parks.

Have you visited there then? What I know is there haven't been major terrorist attacks for quite a few years.

His point stands when you compare the streets of the major cities to the onslaught of Western propaganda that ignores everyday life. Propaganda against "communism" which just isn't there. A large portion of the lawmakers in Beijing are industrialists.

Can you point to some representative examples of that onslaught of Western propaganda against communism in China?

WP, NYT, BBC etc – mostly negative articles. It's like nothing outside of a few contention points exists over there. It's ridiculous.

Luckily, for their own sake the people of Hong Kong aren't cowardly and acquiescing to the loss of their freedom.

Letting China get away with dominating Hong Kong isn't going to do them 1 tiny iota of good long term, if they ever hope to make a stand, the time is now.

> Luckily, for their own sake the people of Hong Kong aren't cowardly and acquiescing to the loss of their freedom.

Luckily how? They’re going to lose. If they want freedom they’re going to have to leave China for it, emigrate. All the protest isn’t going to buy them victory. The CPC isn’t going to allow Hong Kong to publicly defeat it; that would be domestically politically disruptive. They’d rather abrogate the one country two systems agreement and just abolish the SAR’s freedoms altogether.

Or maybe the people in China are happy with their system? Not sure how that makes them cowards.

Nah, they don't really think anything will happen to them in HK. While admirable in certain respects, they are not even taking half the risk that Tian'anmen Square students took, hiding behind their masks.

Perhaps slightly unrelated, but do people believe a dictatorship like China can thrive as a first world economy by suppressing people's basic fundamental human rights?

Maybe? It's too early to tell. So far they've survived that way, but they haven't been a first-world economy for very long.

Yes. I actually do. People have been saying communist can’t survive, but look what China has achieved and continues to achieve. It’s scary but saying dictatorships can’t survive dismisses any possible understanding that it might.

China is not communist under any political scientific definition.

So far China has been extremely calm and restrained itself from doing anything premature and yet they are being portrayed as the absolute worst people.

On the other hand there are governments like the US which immediately respond with military action even in countries where people protest which have nothing to do with the US and they are being portrayed as the heroes.

It's funny how the HK protests and the immense media coverage coincide with the trade war escalations between the US and China.

Even this forum is being gamed by people who come here and specifically post and upvote a narrative which they want to push on us. Anyone who doesn't see through this bs is naive.

Why would mainland China do anything? They have complete control over HK and plan on doing what they did in 2014: waiting. In the default case they win and they know it. If everyone in HK knows this too and wants change the protests will continue to grow in size until mainland China has to come to the table.

Edit: also proposing that anything other than believing a stretch conspiracy qualifies as “naiveté” is a waste of typing. People will come to their own conclusions, as you clearly have.

> governments like the US (...) are being portrayed as the heroes.

Where, exactly? Please demonstrate who and where is the US portrayed as a hero by more than a handful of non-Americans.

> So far China has been extremely calm and restrained itself from doing anything premature and yet they are being portrayed as the absolute worst people.

Ah yes, the calm and restrained Chinese Communist Party. A party that:

- gunned down its own citizens, erased the fact, and continues to harasses the grieving mothers

- sends its Muslim population to concentration camps

- decimated Chinese society in the mid 20th century

- disappears people for crimes like demanding democracy

"are being portrayed as the absolute worst people".


Word on the street is that the airport is being cleared of passengers so police can violently crack down on the peaceful protesters who have been staging a sit-in inside for three days now.

Unfortunately Hong Kong can't be saved. Government officials are puppets of Beijing and they are all afraid of their future. They want to avoid hard labour and re-education camps...

You gotta ask with a critical mind, why is it that things are going just fine in Macau with the same One Country Two Systems setup?

Macau is 1/10 the size with an economy mostly focused on gambling? Macau has a significantly weaker democratic tradition having been part of the Portuguese military dictatorship until 1974?

If I remember correctly, Maccau was a troubled place with a lot of gang violence (probably related to the large number of casino's) when it was handed over the to Chinese from the Portuguese. I don't think they enjoyed quite the same level of democratic and independent rule that Hong Kong-ers became accustomed to.

Macau's economy is also largely based on casino's.

Macau is small.. like real small. Macau is more akin to a neighborhood in some American cities. And it’s not really working fine in Macau. Take a look at it’s leader, clearly corrupt and put in place as a puppet.

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