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The protesters are not calling for independence. They have five specific demands, which boil down to "uphold the law as written", including the right (guaranteed in the Basic Law) to elect their government.



It seems that the Basic Law is more subtle than that (Article 45):

" The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.

The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures."

Regarding "independence", when some protesters attack symbols of the Chinese state (inc. flag) and fly foreign flags they are sending a muddled message...


By definition, at a mass protest you're going to get all kinds of people. The five demands represent a broad consensus across a very large slice of Hong Kong society.

You can get a lot of attention bringing a foreign flag to a protest, but as Hong Kongers know it is a very small contingent of people who do it. One of them is a well-known, tiny, sweet old lady who got attacked by police last weekend.


They've effectively won on the extradition bill, which realistically is the most they could get.

Violence, disruption, and foreign flags might be from a minority but they have destroyed any sympathy the mainland opinion may have had towards the movement (and there was sympathy) and I think that they actually help the hardliners in Beijing.


The bill was not withdrawn. It is likely that some of the violence was from undercover cops. But yes, optics matter, that's why they apologised after the airport.


Many foreigners are perplexed about why people are still obsessed with the wording of the bill's situation.

Well, Carrie Lam the current chief executive of HKG, has a notorious nickname - Habitual liar.

She's been caught breaking promises again and again and cheating her way out of difficult situations in the past. That's why many people do not trust her.

Well, politicians and people cheat all the time, but when you keep cheating publicly without remorse, it's gonna bite you back, hard. And that's what's happening now.

FWIW, she's said during in one of the election forums, that she would resign if the majority of HK people think she's not fit for the office. Her rating stands at 27.9 points in the last survey.

Of course, there are other things at play here, specifically, CCP/Xi is not willing to let her go for now.

Hope this can give people some perspective on this issue.


> The bill was not withdrawn.

Same difference, really...


Then why not withdraw it?


To avoid total humiliation?

Even if they withdraw it completely nothing prevent them from introducing another similar bill at a later time anyway, so protesters would not gain anything apart from having humiliated the executive even more.


Not exactly. The govt can still proceed with the second and third readings and pass the law in a day. If withdrawn, the bill will need to go through the whole process. https://www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/bills/bill_1620.htm


Isn't that what I wrote? Than they can bring it back no matter what?

The protesters have also now made sure that the government will not bulge. Because that would send the message that they cave in to violence.


You wrote:

> so protesters would not gain anything apart from having humiliated the executive even more.

But that's wrong, if the bill is totally withdrawn the protesters would gain time if something similar was ever re-introduced. Time they can use to organize protests to fight it again, if need be. It sounds like the current "suspended" bill is fairly far along in the legislative process, and could be passed quickly.


If the only thing gained is the time to organise more protests it rather proves my point...


No, it doesn't. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on your misconception, but you seem to assume all time periods are equivalent and practically meaningless.

Withdrawal of the bill and gaining enough time to mount a response in the future, if necessary, is an absolutely important achievement. It means the protests can stop without the risk of fly-by-night passage. It means the potential of future protests can be a deterrent to future introduction of the bill.


Then why not withdraw it?


Who is to say what they can get. No sense giving up before you’ve started fighting.


Right, because they are smart about what sells, both to the international community and to China. But let's not kid ourselves that wants === demands


> They are smart about what sells

Alternatively, they are being influenced by people who have ulterior motives.

History says, if you get in a trade war with the US and we don't end up funding your opposition, an error has probably occurred or you are not very important.


And the five demands are not treated equally among the people:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1384380751713433...

Some of the core protesters (I don't have any objective figure) consider them a take it or leave it deal though.


Specific demands which amount to independence rather than integration.


No, there is an important distinction between independence and autonomy. A majority of the protesters support "one country, two system", they just want the two systems to be preserved.


They want autonomy which is functionally equivalent to independence.


Not really. And they are asking for the terms of an agreement made in 1997 to actually be honored. It's not like they are coming out of nowhere with original demands here. The demands boil down to something akin to: stop trying to fuck us over on the promises you made to us and the world!


It has nothing to do independence or not, but demanding CCP to keep its promises to Hong Kong people and using the usual legal framework now in Hong Kong to bring justice and peace back to the society




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