What do you think Beijing thought before? What a good boy you were being?
Beijing doesn’t want to give you democracy regardless of what you are doing. Now they just have to be way more overt about it.
First, there's a ton of misinformation out there. Few sources have entirely accurate information, but the best English-language resource I've found on the subject is the local paper South China Morning Post (scmp.com). They have pretty accurate and unbiased live reporting of the protests as it flares up. Twitter and private groups have unfiltered live information.
The movement is still described as "anti extradition bill," but has long stopped being about the extradition bill that triggered it all. At this point, it's simply a revolution against an increasingly worrying shift towards Beijing-controlled authoritarianism.
The mood has intensified and darkened since the beginning of the movement in June. There is a lot more disagreement now about whether the protester's tactics are justified. The protests are losing a lot of general support, but still attract overwhelmingly large crowds. Police has stepped up the aggression, the gov't isn't budging, and dissidents are increasingly angry and willing to resort to violence and guerrilla tactics. There's also the added element of the white shirt counter-protesters (allegedly triads, allegedly China-backed) inciting indiscriminate violence to attempt to scare the public into distancing themselves from the movement.
Nobody has died yet, but the violence is getting worse and some people are getting seriously hurt. Yesterday's flare-up at the airport was in response to anger about a female medic protester being shot point-blank in the face by police and losing an eye. There were some pretty horrific scenes of police shooting tear gas rounds at close range in Kwai Fong MTR station (which is against the rules for how to use tear gas and which endangers both protesters and bystanders and MTR employees alike).
My life here hasn't been affected much, but I do make an effort to avoid the protests area which aren't exactly safe. There have been quite a few of regular transit disruption. I've definitely have had several days of cancelled plans due to transportation issues. I've had friends crash with me because their neighborhood was in the middle of a protest fight. I've had a friend get tear gassed walking home a bit too close to a group of protesters.
Hope this all gets resolved peacefully soon, but let's be real… it won't. I expect this will continue to escalate. I'm watching China's response carefully, because there's a risk they make some pretty unprecedented moves.
For perspective, here's a comment I wrote the day of the first violent protest on June 12th (which I attended): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20167292
Happy to answer any questions from the perspective of an expat on the ground.
1) Traditionally the Chinese government largely left the affairs of HK to HKers (in reality just the few families), so there is no reason to step in and be the bad guy right now.
2) This protest/riot is far more complicated than it seems, considering the meeting with the US diplomat as well as the involvement of the boss of next digital. Geopolitics plays a hand here.
3) Protesters should target the ruling families (e.g. the realtors) instead, thus would gain the psychological support of mainlanders. Targeting the tourists doesn't help.
4) Hope nothing really bad happens and everything goes as peacefully as possible.
Edit: As for the triad thing, it's far more than that, the Hong Kong Police Force itself is suspected to be in collusion: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=16CiwPChpr0
If anything, I think the threats of involving the army are more about (1) deterring supporters and (2) planting the seeds of this idea that this is something they can do, to give themselves the option in the future. I could be wrong, but I certainly hope not.
If the army rolls in, I'll probably seriously reconsider sticking around and might book a one-way out of here, because at that point it might well turn into a war zone.
Personally I think the PLA option is a non-starter at the moment. HK for all its bads is still vitally important to the Chinese economy especially during the current trade war with the USA.
This is why I said "openly."
Economically, Hong Kong is increasingly irrelevant to China - it's only like the fifth largest city by GDP, and there are 10 more catching up quickly. HK is far more important as a symbol, and if I were Xi Jinping headed into a turbulent global economy with flagging growth at home I wouldn't want it to look like I couldn't control my people.
That said, it's a delicate balancing act. Too little response and you seem weak; too harsh and you draw international condemnation and confirm the worst fear of everyone who is counting on China to join the world order rather than try and upend it.
BTW, HK while definitely not the economic powerhouse it once was, it still has a pretty special place as a truly international city for the PRC government, which is something intangible and cannot be expressed in pure GDP number.
Whatever one's opinion of what the protesters are demanding they are breaking the law and rioting (as per Hong Kong law that dates back from British rule), and many of their actions are simply not acceptable. They are really not helping themselves.
The police will respond to that anywhere.
(This is already another HN post "Chinese military entering Shenzen just across the boarder with HongKong": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20683940)
In the 1960s Singapore annoyed Malaysia so much they were essentially ejected from the federation against their will.
It was a major shock at the time, but decades later the two countries are still mostly amicable. I sincerely hope China would consider this route.
Recovery of lost territories and reunification of the country is a core policy of the Chinese government(s) since 1912...
And as noted in the replies, striving for national unity is an ancient theme of Chinese national psyche.
Stamford Raffles "took" Singapore from the Malay sultanate in the 1820s. In 1963, we finally got it back, but let them go barely two years later due to ingrained cultural differences that manifested during the meantime.
With the rise of so many capable cities on the mainland, perhaps pursuit of unification is just not worth the trouble anymore.
This is very different from HK and China.
Maybe to you? It's clear from China's actions that they think otherwise and they're willing to do whatever it takes to ensure control and unification.
7 and a half centuries before Yue Fei, there were Liu Yu. 100 years before him there was Zu Ti. They both tried to fight northern nomads, and were remembered till this day due to their success.
Unification of the nation IS in the genes of the people. There is no question of that.
Cherry picked facts are not universal truth...
I wonder how much of that unity sentiment is/was constructed and pushed on by leadership due to the area around current China being littered with competing kingdoms and a lot of internal strife and disarray throughout its history, not just the past 100 years.
In Chinese cinema, or at least some films, the theme of unity and to some extent 'glorious leadership' seems to be prevalent. Just came to mind that even in some Jet Li films (or equivalent) set in more ancient times you could probably be faced with some monologues or statements to that tune and at least I was a bit taken aback by how blatant it felt.
It's trying to push a narrative to argue what is part of the country...
Almost everything we appear to hold so dear and immutable or self evident seems kinda arbitrary depending on how far back you go and whether you consider yourself part of this team or that.
Nationalism or tribalism is a whole lot of make believe, is what I'm saying.
There is their whole mythology of "centuries of humiliation" and their warlord period for actual stand together or hang apart sentiment. However the sort of "unity" talked about is really just propagandized expansionism. I see it no different than Putin's foolish revanchism for the former USSR.
As one Chinese taxi driver in Kedah told me, they were supposed to keep quiet and stay away from politics. At least back then, especially influential Malays feared their absolute power is in danger. Didn't help that Li (who always wanted Malaysia to be a state were every ethnicity has equal rights) openly spoke about how poor Malays are held back both by their religious and lay leaders.
University starts again soon and it is expected that the protests will loose steam.
That's a boring story so people don't talk about it.
Because from my view, they are still going strong.
Marshal Law = halfway decent comic book
Martial Law = military dictatorship of an area
Not sure why your comment was killed, because I think it's a valid question. But since it was, responding here.
Yes, they're owned by Alibaba. I happen to know some SCMP employees which gives me confidence that they're still editorially independent. They of course have a pretty pro-status-quo stance, and I don't recommend on relying on them entirely as your only source of information, but I don't believe China has any editorial influence.
(Also important to note Alibaba isn't necessarily in the CCP's best graces lately.)
> You only just have to open the SCMP front page to find them calling military deployments in a stadium near Hong Kong "drills", citing anonymous sources that say "they are not of concern" and quoting liberally from anonymous posters on Chinese message boards spouting hate.
Of course the drills are sabre-rattling, a show of force intended to send a message, and preparation for a future assault if necessary -- but they're still drills, not use of the military in anger.
> Poland partly mobilized its troops on August 24, 1939, and fully mobilized on August 30, 1939, following the increased confrontations with Germany since March 1939. On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, which prompted both France and Britain to declare war on Germany.
> On 30 August, the Polish Navy sent its destroyer flotilla to Britain, executing the Peking Plan. On the same day, Marshal of Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły announced the mobilization of Polish troops. However, he was pressured into revoking the order by the French, who apparently still hoped for a diplomatic settlement, failing to realize that the Germans were fully mobilized and concentrated at the Polish border.
I find it very hard to believe that SCMP has both accurate and unbiased reporting after reading the Wikipedia article. This makes your comment read like a China-sponsored chill.
I'm talking about this as someone who is neither if favor of any party. Media is going to be either pro or against. It's very hard to find an unbiased media. An unbiased media needs to earn their reputation with time and a lot of effort. They also must have independent and verifiable funding that does not cross with neither party.
I'm not denying that they have a pretty pro-establishment point of view when it comes to their editorial. I'm not convinced that China has a major influence over their reporting, however.
Anyways, others recommend the Hong Kong Free Press as an alternative. Or you could also follow along on Twitter or join the private groups.
One hears of sporadic unrest through China, I take the economy hasn’t yet faltered so people aren’t too disgruntled.
I take it this qualifies as “Interesting Times”
In fact, what I have sensed is that there is certain fraction of the general public wants the government to take more drastic measures, and quickly.
Of course, in the West, we don't admit the CCP as truly rightful rulers of China for many reasons, but mainly because they're not democratically elected. There is no refusing, there is no dissent. The Chinese aren't dumb, they see that too, but they see it as the price you pay for orderliness. And maybe it is? This, coincidentally, is also used to justify censorship: it is the price you pay for running a large society effectively. And maybe it is. We see censorship on our side of the world too, in the name of combatting fake news, child pornography and terrorism.... Exactly how you justify it in China.
The CCP's largest issues all stem from not truly being of the people and thus lacking that pressure valve: unchecked corruption, and an inability to uphold ethical standards. We've seen this with authoritarian regimes time and time again, with the Nazis, with the Soviet, and now with the CCP.
This was a rant about nothing, thanks for reading.
The chances of mainlanders being inspired by this is zero. Most seem to want to see the protesters disappear, and I don’t mean just going home and giving up.
People seem to love hyping up the idea that the young people in China will “wake up” and want democracy, free speech, etc. It’s going in the opposite direction and fast.
There are hundreds of small riots happening all around China nearly every month.
I don't think this will make a difference, unless it happens in numbers comparable to number you see in HK.
Paradoxically, Xi's rule saw less riots than during Hu's term, when "something serious" was going on almost monthly.
Each time the national government has stepped in and supported the protestors.
Now is the time to email your local Chinese embassy. Carrie Lam, the top HK politician. Michael Tien and Ronnie Wong, leading pro-establishment politicians.
Let them know dialogue & political solutions are needed, violence is not acceptable, and that PEOPLE ARE WATCHING AND CARE.
Mention any connections to China you have. Your voice can make a difference to the political calculus. But time is very short. Act now.
> The two sides no longer seem to recognize each other’s concerns.
This kind of language is why the NYT is the subject of so many centrism memes. There are no "two sides" that can "recognize each other's concerns" and get along. There are democracy and authoritarianism. I'm kind of flabbergasted that they can't find the courage to take a stand on even such a black-and-white issue. It's always "two sides."
- a full withdrawal of a proposed bill that would allow Hong Kong people to be extradited to mainland China
- a retraction of any characterization of the movement as a “riot”
- a retraction of charges against anti-extradition protesters
- an independent committee to investigate the Hong Kong police’s use of force
- universal suffrage in elections for the city’s chief executive officer and legislature by 2020
Why can't they just be reasonable?
After all that's what we are really talking about here, and the only thing the CCP will accept long term, period.
There is no "recognizing differences and agreeing to disagree" here, here is a head on collision between fundamentally opposing values.
I really don't think there is any doubt among NY Times readers as to which of the two value systems they support, and if there was, it wouldn't be the job of the NY Times to tell them.
Editorials will reflect individual journalist's stance towards the conflict, though. That's why I personally find them boring and rarely read them.
What's strange is Fox News seems to not be reporting at all on the HK protests?
The recent inversion of the norm of the neutrality of the media is bad. You talk as if it is good. Look at an AP or Reuters report directly from their website if you want to read the news with minimal spin. They keep to the facts, and they don't pitch each story as part of a grand moral battle. Any moral stance the media takes should be seen as a demerit, even if it is one you agree with. The exception being the editorials, or their equivalent.
EDIT: I feel like I've done a disservice to my position. I need to mention that neutrality in media is connoted with sticking to the facts. If you want to do a good job as a reporter, fill your articles with accurate, unembellished facts. Make the dang article 90%+ factual information without hystrionics or fluff. I've seen plenty of yellow journalism lately, but the accusation that excessive neutrality is just fluff is silly when you look at this article or at the corpus of NYTimes's articles.
< If Beijing's side has been watered down so much as to be comically neutral, the reader should be able to pick up on this and understand the lack of positive traits attributable to Beijing's position.
If you truly believe this is the case, please get outside of whatever bubble you are living in and see how other people think.
Let's say you run a newspaper that has to report on 50 different stories every day. A large fraction of these stories involve the moral plights of two or more aggrieved parties. Any moral stance you take inevitably skews the perception of the story, when the reader has the responsibility for forming an opinion without it being tilted by anything other than the facts. Sticking to the facts of the story is paramount. Taking a moral stance is a shortcut- an easy way to excite your crowd and get them addicted to more high-adrenaline reporting.
>Equating two sides when they are starkly different is not neutral and reporting the facts.
Sticking to the facts is not the same as equating the two sides. Neutrality in reporting is connoted with sticking to the facts.
>If you truly believe this is the case, please get outside of whatever bubble you are living in and see how other people think.
The practices I am recommending are (part of) an antidote to the failure modes of how people think. Yellow journalism is on an uptick because of social media- the most emotional news stories are the most viral ones. There's a reason that they teach best practices for media objectivity in grade school. To hopefully constrain our emotions enough to make good judgements and decisions about the events we read about.
People that make fun of NYTimes's neutrality seem to prefer a world where the Huffington Post, a slew of shared facebook news reports, and the Drudge Report dominate the news outlets. Is this the world you want?
Let's go back into the story to discuss:
>The two sides no longer seem to recognize each other’s concerns.
The GGP highlighted this quote as being ridiculously neutral. I imagine you would call this "equating the two sides". When I read it in the context of violent protest, I took it to mean that they are not communicating through any other means than violence, i.e. there are not currently productive talks between the two sides.
They're a newspaper, not a political blog. This isn't an op-ed. They're not meant to be "taking a side."
For example, perhaps Ukraine says they've been invaded by Russian troops without insignias; and Russia says it isn't them.
Some would say the ideal in journalism would be not only to report the conflicting statements, but also to determine and report what the underlying truth is.
China has a legitimate claim to Hong Kong, Hong Kong (arguably) has a right to self-determination.
They're a newspaper. Present both sides, let me make a decision. Don't tell me what to think.
The New York Times is a newspaper built on free speech.
There really aren't to sides to be report about.
"China is bad. Hong Kong should be free."
Removing nuance is fun.
What wrong claim have they made? China has a legitimate claim to the territory, Hong Kong has a legitimate right to self-determination (in my opinion).
Claiming they're wrong or otherwise conveying false information because they haven't picked a side is just wholly wrong.
If you want propaganda that only reports on your side, there are subreddits for that. This is a newspaper.
Well that's an actual, great complaint!
What important details are they leaving out or, perhaps better, what's a more accurate reporting?
It seems clear to me that there are indeed exactly "two sides." It is also clear that their relationship is now more contentious, and less symbiotic. What exactly is your disagreement with those propositions?
If someone says it is bright & sunny, and someone else says there is a huge dark angry thunder storm in the same location, the BBC will present both view points instead of looking out of the window to check if one seems more accurate than the other.
I am not even certain though that most cases they actually realize what they are doing if their paternalistic language ... of imposing their will on others for our/my/your own good ... can be taken as an honest indication. It's very much the same kind of authoritarians/abusive mindset and action that is common among western "liberals"/leftists and the CCP. Ironically too is that as most here are left leaning, if not largely leftists (whether they realize it or not), they also don't realize that this situation with HK is only a petri dish of what is to come due to leftist/liberal/globalist delusions of world wide kumbaya and hand holding amidst global world peace and tranquility. On the contrary actually, the liberal/leftist/globalist actions and values are a black swan that struts around right before us, but none are permitted to see, and even the supposed smartest people around dismiss off hand out of idle narcissism.