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Hong Kong protest: What is mainland China hearing? (bbc.com)
80 points by onetimemanytime 58 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

> "The fastest-growing period of Hong Kong has already passed, so the young people there find no way to climb up the social ladder. They feel choked in an environment of expensive housing, sweltering climate and a neighbour [the mainland] that's becoming richer and richer,"

I think these problems will continue to re-occur until this root issue is solved. In the same way how I believe Caesar/Sulla/Gracchi brothers are all symptoms of an underserved common populace by the senate class and where the commoners are constantly ready to be incited into a mob rule when economic interests are not pinning them to vest in the system.

And now the vestigial, oligarchic functional/geographic-split legco voting system and the colonial parallel governorship (aka chief executive)/legislative system is failing the Hong Kong common class with 20% poverty rates and twice the housing to pre-tax median annual income ratio than San Francisco in a monopolistic/unregulated/colonial elite-serving economic framework. And that's without even counting in the half-million class-less filipino/indonesian domestic serfs.

I think their way out of their structural societal problems would be to emphasize the class issue and on decolonializing their governmental and economic framework as soon as possible (which I think part of the protest movement gets, and which isn't against Beijing's interests) or go the Chinese socialism route (since China holds humanity's record on poverty reduction, but the locals will obviously not accept this route). But re-glorifying their colonial past or preserving the status quo (which I find is the mainstream protest ideology) isn't it.

To put it in American terms, I think they need Bernie, not Trump.

Agreed, I'm an HKer who grew up there but am in the US now. There is a certain desperation that is palpable from talking to my friends back home.

They've been so let down by the HK govt that they've just given up all hope. Career sucks, family sucks, home sucks, can't marry cause houses are too expensive, rent is unaffordable so you can't move out, unless you're in the top 20% of your senior class, you can't go to college, it's grim. Most people I know are trying to move.

Unless the societal ills get solved, people will always find another proxy/reason to protest.

Right. Protests are a means to an end and the people should be clear about what the end is. That's the whole point of not being administered by China in the first place, where you would just voice your discontent and let the 'technocratic' 'leadership' figure out a solution. The people have to self-direct towards a long term goal.

I think the current situation is tricky in that the 2 issues are partly conflated in the sense that Hong Kong needs to be careful to not just give the half-democratic colonial leash to China. But that's the extent of it (since Beijing didn't setup that colonial structure), and it's important to not conflate the rest of the issues with it. The institutional/functional half of the legco basically seems like a collection of medieval guilds and I don't see it trying to, or having the financial incentive to resolve societal issues for the bottom of the society anytime soon.

The fight for political reform does seem like the right thing to do but I think the only way to success is to stay extremely focused and framing it as a people vs colonial oligarchy issue rather than a British vs China issue or a woke vs brainwashed wumao issue. And most importantly, to not make it about defending the status quo, where Hong Kong will fall deeper in the hole since it not being able to continue to skim off the top of all China trades like it could during the 80s can't float all boats like it could in the past anymore. If Hong Kong fails to prove that its current political system is an advantage rather than a disadvantage that translates to economic and social wellbeing, Beijing will have little incentive to not scrap its system come 2047. And from the present perspective from the Beijing side, all signs would point to it looking like a disadvantage so far when comparing the relative deltas of urban and rural development and wellbeing vs the mainland. This, of course, ignores the fact that the CCP system will hit a glass ceiling in economic development vs countries with mature judicial systems, checks and balances etc, but that’s a limitation for its future potential rather than a present problem for Hong Kong and mainland.

Every dynasty in china for the last few thousand years has ended in revolt. The people eventually rebel against a uncaring ruling class.

I agree and I support their struggles for economic fairness. But what does it have to do with CCP/Beijing? The CCP didn't put in a taxation system that protects the monopoly of the real estate tycoons.

It was GB that gave people more freedom, but the kicker is that the kids that were young enough to remember the 90's and are living in this corrupt system have seen it only get worse. There is nothing they can do except stand up. It wasn't good for them under GB, but it is worse under CCP.

That's a common myth. The British ruled HK for 156 years and HK was never democratic. Movements toward democracy had some momentum after WWII for fear of HK joining the decolonialization or communist movements but was put down. Mass killings of populist movements in the 50s and 60s are common place. But exactly one year after the sino british declaration, UK decides Hong Kong was a 'democracy' but a sham democracy nevertheless since the commoners can't vote for the 70% of the seats in the functional constituency and legislative votes are counted differently for the queen-appointed, unelected governor proposed bills.

Yes thing are indeed worse these days under the CCP because a- Hong Kong can no longer do nothing productive and parasitically skim off the top of all China trades, finance and logistics and b- because HK and the CCP did nothing to reform this conservative, wealth monopolizing, oligarchic colonial government structure. The self serving oligarchs who monopolize finance, media, real estate are doing well for themselves by monetizing Hong Kong's ultra neoliberal legal system in sectors like wealth management, real estate, private banking etc but the lives of the common people are getting deeper and deeper in the hole with 20% and increasing poverty. If I were in HK, I'd be protesting too. But it's important to know the reason and not just being religious and saying eagles good communists bad.

> I think their way out of their structural societal problems would be to emphasize the class issue and on decolonializing their governmental and economic framework as soon as possible (which I think part of the protest movement gets, and which isn't against Beijing's interests)...

A bit stronger than just "isn't against Beijing's interests" - this lets them cast it as a win for Beijing against colonial oppressors. Beijing gets a propaganda win, and doesn't lose a face-off against the protesters.

> To put it in American terms, I think they need Bernie, not Trump.

They can have neither. They have Xi. CCP controls the elections....

Oh ya, he absolutely does. Like I'm stating above, both the legco and the governorship/chief executive setup is a sham. But you're just criticizing the queen of england.

The situation is basically like someone kicks down your door and steals your kid. Locks the kid in a cage for 100+ years, and right before giving the kid back to you, puts the kid on a leash (governor/legco dynamic) to market it as 'cage-free'. And right after handing the leash back to you and telling you "don't you mess with how the kid is handled", goes around screaming "oh my god, you're leashing your kid! someone call child protection".

Aspiring political reforms is a noble pursuit which I fully support. But if you want to fight for a novel structure which neither the UK (House of Lords, powerless MEPs) or Hong Kong under British rule or China ever had, you can't get it by moral grandstanding or acting like China owes it to you.

I lived in Hong Kong for 30 years. What was happened in these 3 months did not come out of nowhere.

1997 - now: HK gov allows 150 people from China to immigrate to Hong Kong every day, even there are strong opinion to suspend immigration due to lack of housing and crazy population density problem. Even worse, HK gov does not pose ANY restrictions of the immigrant about their education, language, or criminal background. There was one case that one pro-Beijing arsonist killed 2 immigration Officers but still obtained residency in HK.

2012: HK gov tried to introduce a compulsory brain-washing subject to high school. 500 thousands (out of 7 millions) people protested.

2013: HK gov used crappy reason to turn down a well-known HK businessman to obtain free public broadcast license. So that HK has effectively only one company to run free TV channel. And the news of that channel is highly biased.

2019: HK gov tried to pass extradition law to China. Even after 1 million people protested, HK gov still continues legislation. After 2 millions people protested, the CEO of HK gov only said "the bill is dead" in TV but did not formally withdraw the bill in legislation council.

This is only a tiny list of what gov did in the past 22 years. What gov is going to do is to pass a construction that cost trillions of HK dollars (app. 120 billion USD). That will basically empty the treasury of HK, and the future of every HK people. That's why people are so frustrated and protest in that extend.

Article 23 and the National Security provisions is also a big one.

I'm not sure it matters so much what they're hearing now. What matters more is what they've heard for the last decade or two - that it's all about great China and uniting to follow the CCP leadership, that anyone disturbing that is an antisocial troublemaker, and that such people deserve negative consequences. After having that mindset drummed into you for long enough, it may not matter what perspective they hear about the Hong Kong protests, at least if they don't hear it for too long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4GXZOss6J4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdxXCTpHARQ

This is the scene that mainland Chinese people are seeing. A reporter of Global Times was bound by protesters in the airport and attacked until unconscious.

Those are on YouTube, so law-abiding citizens aren't seeing them. The search results for Hong Kong on Weibo are a bit different: https://m.weibo.cn/search?containerid=100103type%3D1%26q%3D%...

"You don't have the right" to post separatist opinions on a wall in Canada? Boy, that makes my blood boil. Yes, they DO have the right to post separatist opinions there! They can not only say that Hong Kong should secede, they can even say that Quebec should.

Sounds like CCP did a good job of stoking division between HK and mainland China leading up to this powder keg being lit.


Some people have Chinese friends and don't realize what the app is doing in the background. I didn't when I installed it, just assumed it was Chinese LINE.

I had it on my phone for a while for a couple friends that were new to the country. They eventually switched over to other things and I forgot about the app. I hadn't opened it in a couple months but noticed I had been going through data quickly. WeChat, an app that once again hadn't been opened in two months and I talked to less than five people on a handful of times, had uploaded two gigs of data in that time frame. I immediately uninstalled and explain the reasoning every time I'm asked to reinstall. Most people have no clue how egregious it is.

> WeChat, an app that once again hadn't been opened in two months and I talked to less than five people on a handful of times, had uploaded two gigs of data in that time frame.

Was that just upload or all data usage? If your contacts posted to their "moments" during that time frame, I'd expect WeChat to download the content in case you want to look at it.

I don't remember, it may have been a combination or just upload. I just uninstalled it after seeing it had such massive data usage in comparison to everything else on my phone and I hadn't even opened it in 2 months.

Is that on iOS or Android? If it's Android I'm not surprised, the permissions system was a disaster last time I used it (admittedly a while ago), but I would hope that iOS doesn't allow WeChat to run in the background.

Any studies on the type of data that WeChat is uploading in the background?

as I recall, it hashes all of your photos and videos in preparation for comparison against a list of known-banned things, because one of its centralized one-to-one chat and group-chat features is implementing CCP government policy censorship. Try sharing to a group chat an image of something going viral that the CCP doesn't want mainlanders to see. You might see it as posted to the chat, but nobody else receives it.

That happens when you share that specific file, I don't think they preemptively scan the filesystem in the background.

It’s probsbly not too different from why people have Facebook even if they don’t like the platform. It’s a convenient gateway to communicate with parents or friends who are otherwise hard to communicate with (asynchronously or what have you).

I do business with Chinese contract manufacturers and have WeChat installed to communicate with them. Can you tell me what the app is doing on an iPhone when it's either in the background or not running at all? My assumption has always been that communications over WeChat are accessible by the Chinese government, but is there more to it than just that?

I don't see it too different from the big players in North America that don't guarantee end-to-end encryption (and for those apps there's also an assumption of honesty when it comes to that guarantee). Just because Facebook isn't directly owned by the US government doesn't mean it can't be creepy as all get-out.

> Just because Facebook isn't directly owned by the US government doesn't mean it can't be creepy as all get-out.

Sure, but being "creepy" is hardly the issue here.

I had an app "camscanner pro" that I believe was purchased by tencent along the way and then they tried to put everything "in the cloud".

Also TikTok.

Check out the manifest of their Android app and trace the traffic - they are definitely uploading more than they should.

That's largely the belief system that is behind Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc being banned in China.

Eh better be spied by the goverment in the other side of the world than in yours.

So you end up being spied by both.

They can certainly try, but they usually cant, and you see China banning american services, US against Huawei,etc

i guess you probably already forgot all the information leaked by Snowden and the PRISM project.

Might be ignorance of that fact. A chinese national posted a tour guide on reddit for an esports tournament in Shanghai, and this was their description of WeChat.

>Wechat: Chinese Whatsapp and Facebook rolled into one, you should set it up beforehand. This is THE most used app in China, just about everyone uses it and it is an essential means of communication. If you meet anyone you want to stay in touch with, add them through Wechat and you’re good to go. Perhaps someday you might even discover the fabled meme trove of China that is Wechat Stickers…

If you don't do your own research and just listen to mainland Chinese opinions, it could seem like an innocuous app like anything else.

At the same time, wechat IS the most used app in China. So if you do want to keep up with Chinese mainlanders you're somewhat stuck (and I realize all the shit that comes with the app)...

this is partly why I have reservations about installing TikTok

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