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Hong Kong protest: Why are pro-democracy supporters staging a sit-in? (independent.co.uk)
184 points by edwincheese on Sept 28, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 101 comments

Hongkonger here. I help out with a number of volunteer tech groups in HK, including a few resistance groups. I'm also on the Hong Kong Python User Group committee.

We are hoping for the best but would like to prepare for the worst, so I'd like to ask fellow HNers here who have been in similar situations before: what can we expect to encounter in terms of disruptions in communications? Under those situations, how can we counter them with technology? There were rumors that cell towers in certain areas would be shut down, which I don't think happened. The cell network slowdown was more like overloaded cell towers to me. We tried Firechat yesterday and it's terrible. With 100s of people on the same room, it's impossible to follow the feed. It's also very easy to be taken over by CCP spies who just won't stop polluting the room. Is there anything you'd recommend?

Thanks HNers in advance.

Updated resources on the situations on the ground:


You need to power devices and protect said devices. Water will come crashing in eventually so prepare for that. Tends to disrupt communications right quick. Those umbrellas did a bang-up job deflecting spray from police but won't for riot trucks.

Apps like Bambuser allow live streaming but also leak details like GPS coordinates if not careful about what settings are turned on. If you end up getting shot at, you don't want to lead aggressors right to you.

Malicious people will get users to spread malware, state entities like intel agencies just as well as thieves. People will be looking for 'things' that work, be aware of these 'things' be it a VPN or chat app.

You will be monitored via ISP level hardware like activists were in Syria via BlueCoat equipment. Encryption is your friend for anything outside of very public channels. Try to coordinate outside of the most public channels before broadcasting plans widely.

Moderation of chat as you mentioned is key, consider setting up chat channels in places that can be moderated like IRC. Having a wide assortment of moderators is good for eyes on the problem, but focus on technical problems like flooders instead of political/social. All but the most aggressive trolls can simply be ignored, they will flame out if not fed.

Overall depending on centralized communications is a problem, internet can and will be cut if deemed a problem. Walkie-talkies and other independent devices can help keep crowds coordinated. But really police and intel agencies are in love with the data mobile/internet networks yield. Expect IMSI catchers and other nefarious hardware sniffing communications.

edit: Many I knew from Syria no longer exist, don't get shot. That disrupts communications permanently.

I've been working on an application that might help with some of these issues. It allows protesters to communicate anonymously and securely in crowds using adhoc wifi/bluetooth and onion routing. Protest leaders can create a protest and add a password that spreads via word of mouth in the crowd and ideally isn't told to police/security forces. Leaders can designate lieutenants and the chat can be read-only to everyone except them. And it works even if security forces turn cell towers off. The work in progress is here: https://github.com/jackflips/Protest

I need help building an android version and fixing/auditing the current code. If that sounds interesting please get in touch :)

This is very interesting.

Create a sneakernet. If you get a note, read it (don't talk to the person who handed it to you), then pass it on if you approve. In a city the density of Hong Kong, that's almost unstoppable.

Tech solutions won't work if they put you inside the Great Firewall, and force you to use MITMed HTTPS certs (blocking anything that looks like HTTPS). That last step is unlikely (since blocking or MITMing HTTPS would really hurt Hong Kong), but an alternative (a sneaker net) would be good to have, and render technical attacks less effective (so they might not even bother).

Not in HK these days, but grew up there and have family out there.

I'm absolutely fucking horrified at the gwailo response to this. Looking at dozens of folks who I'd ordinarily think as level headed raging on social media against the "children" protesting.

Idiots. Do they really think that their western business interests will be neatly protected by a hand-selected Beijing puppet? I just can't understand why people who would directly benefit from a more democratic process in HK would be vehemently, bitterly opposed to those fighting for their rights.

That said, these people were all still at HKIS/etc. in '97, and don't really have a concept of "before".

Lynk is a messaging app that uses Bluetooth to identify all other users around you and lets you direct message them or create group chats of any size.

It's not anonymous or mass group like Firechat, so you can tune in to trust-worthy sources of information and keep track of your friends or people you meet at the protest.

Does not use GPS to identify your location, and all traffic is encrypted over the wire. Does require a network connection, though.

Disclaimer: I'm co-founder of Lynk and was at the protests in HK last night. Happy to answer any questions for anybody interested in the tool.


edit: anyone in Hong Kong right now and interested in getting in touch, my email is in my profile

I'm from Chinese mainland, a student at Shanghai.there is not even a piece of information about this leaked to the mainstream media. many of my classmates managed to get information from multiple sources but more have no idea what happened.

it's quite strange that the blocking turns a political event into a technical one.

I'm not a 100% supporter for the protest, but I extremely dislike the government's passion of blocking everying. it makes me feel hopeless in the country knowing more and more interesting things are becoming far away from us.

I have seen this in my Twitter stream today, and I can't really believe it - does the PRC state media really try to re-brand the photos as a "celebration"??


Then again, I think that's pretty much what they did with pictures from the Taipei student protests earlier this year...

(Edit: Whoops, duplicate of a sibling post :) )

Source: http://www.chinanews.com/shipin/cnstv/2014/09-26/news500277....

They actually got some "celebrators" standing in front of the protesters claiming everybody is having a party.

Don't spread the FUD that others are creating.

This is a picture of a separate celebration event from the 26th (Friday). It's part of the celebration events leading up to 1st Oct.

The students were already boycotting classes and attending the protests around the CGO on Friday.

From what I've gathered, even protests within mainland China do not make the news there. Unless the protests involve Uighurs or the Japanese embassy.

I lived in Beijing from 2004 to 2006, and during my time there a bunch of websites became blocked, including Wikipedia. It drove me nuts.

They do occasionally - see last week's "terrorist attack" in Xinjiang.

I've seen screenshots of mainland media reporting the event as a massive celebration: https://scontent-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/t31.0-8/106...

That is not too bad - they'll probably not deploy army to crush celebrations after all.

By the way - there is a great democratic potential in play: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201105/how...

Why are you anything but a 100% supporter of democratic self-governance?

One reasonable train of thought is, that in a country containing a mix of several cultures with sharp divides, democracy will make 2nd-class citizens out of somebody - the tyranny of the majority will seriously rule.

There are many forms of citizen-participatory government possible. A republic for instance (what you meant when you said democracy?) can have houses formed in a variety of ways to insure minorities are heard.

Hongkonger here also (now going to out to see the latest situation)

For those who want a TLDR: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/28/6856663/hong-kong-democracy-pro...

Lot of protesters are just TEENAGERS/STUDENTS who want a peaceful protest , and the crazy police are fully armed and used countless tear gas on them.

This is going to be one of the largest events in HK history.

> Lot of protesters are just TEENAGERS/STUDENTS who want a peaceful protest , and the crazy police are fully armed and used countless tear gas on them.

The police must have taken a page from the Ferguson, MO playbook... Or maybe just Occupy Wall St....

Re Ferguson - I hope they didn't take a page from what was clearly one of the most inept police actions in recent history...one would think they were smarter than that.

Yeah of course they're smarter than that. Just pointing out that police over-reaction happens just as much over here as there (at least in the last decade). A few canisters of tear gas and riot gear is hardly unique to HK, pretty much every G8 protest ever is more violent...

Honest question: how effective are these sorts of protests in achieving their intended goals?

Maybe I'm suffering from confirmation bias, but it seems all the major demonstrations in the last few decades (Tiananmen Square, Iraq War, Occupy Wall Street, post-Iranian election, etc) have sizzled out and failed. The one exception I can think of is the anti-Proposition 8 protests, but Prop 8 was defeated in the courts through routine legal channels (ultimately culminating in the Supreme Court decision on Hollingsworth v. Perry) and it's unclear whether the protests held any sway over the rulings.

You're missing some big ones, I think. In the last few years protest movements have effected regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Ukraine. Those transitions have been at all smooth, but it's hard to claim the protests in each of those cases weren't hugely influential.

The protests in Ferguson, MO are still playing out so it's hard to say what exactly the effects will be, but I suspect not nothing.

In Hong Kong protests in 2003 helped stop the passage of a security law restricting activity that the mainland Chinese government doesn't like (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_1_July_marches). More recently protests helped prevent a "moral education" bill from being passed here also.

In general I think it's a bit shortsighted to look at protest movements and think they're ineffective because many of them do not produce change. Protests are (generally) a way for people without a lot of political power to have their voices heard. They're going to fail a lot of the time, because protest movements start when people don't have other kinds of leverage or power.

Also, I think it's important to remember that at least part of the goal of a protest movement is getting attention. The Occupy Wall Street protests didn't directly change much, but they did create a national (and international) conversation about equality that didn't really exist before. It's a lot harder to evaluate that kind of indirect result, but I think it would be a mistake to discount it. (The OWS protests also spurred the creation of Occupy Central, one of the organizations that's leading these protests in Hong Kong.)

The Ferguson protests are a good example. It's already resulted in some sweeping changes to their municipal court system[1], which has been described as, "One Big Shakedown Racket Targeted at Black People"[2]. These are changes the activists and lawyers had long sought, but was refused by the City Council until these protests made that untenable.

It is continuing to force the local police to a higher standards of accountability and transparency then they would have done without[3]. Additionally, this along with the recent national attention to other unarmed black men being shot by cops, has played a huge role in getting police officers equipped with dashboard and body-mounted cameras[4].

eta: grammar

[1] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/policymakers-eye-big-cha...

[2] http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/09/04/st_louis_f...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Poli...

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/us/todays-police-put-on-a-...

Oh, also apparently the iconic 'hands-up, don't shoot' gesture from the Ferguson protests has migrated to Hong Kong: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/28/6860493/hong-kong-protests-mike....

That's pretty cool.

It's a pretty universal gesture when someone has a gun pointed at you.

At the climate change protest in NYC (over 300k in attendance), there seemed to be consensus & understanding of the necessary systemic change.

A complaint about Occupy Wall Street is there was not much unity. There seems to be unity & respect among the groups now.

I heard that criticism about Occupy Wall Street.

Pretty pathetic, that because there are so may things that Occupy were complaining about, then they should just be ignored. (The real message was that people want a fairer more just system. I managed to get that, why did none of the critics work that out).

There is the Arab Spring which started as demonstrations and ended up as full fledged revolutions which overpowered long standing regimes. Different dynamics, admittedly, but who can claim they can predict the dynamics of a society in turmoil.

The most worrying phenomenon, which I think you allure to, is protests with no clear intended goals which act as a massively confused way to defuse anger. It's like if we need volume for our fundamentally egocentric revolutions and this is why ideology is less of a bonding element in a range of protests lately. Or like crowdsourcing loud proclamations of the least common denominator.

In my opinion, that's a very good question and one that demonstrators rarely think about. Frankly, and until somebody convinces me otherwise, I think that Occupy Central was and is a strategic failure if the end goal is gain a better form of democracy in Hong Kong. China has shown time and again that it will not back down when things get physical, and in for example, the case of Tiananmen square, the government got more paranoid.

So rationally, I don't think it's a good move by the pan-democrats, as it essentially shuts down any possibilities of negotiation - the pan-democrats have very little leverage now that they've already "done their worst".

On the other hand, protests are not about strategy and rationality. People strongly believe in their ideals and they want to do something rather than sit around waiting for negotiations that may or may not happen. I can understand that which is why I'm not as quick to criticize the protesters as many in HK would.

The movement does not happen in vacuum. The Occupy Central movement was initiated by Tai Yiu-ting in January 2013, and Hong Kong democracy movements dates back to 1990s. From the very beginning, Tai Yiu-ting and the two other leading organizers of Occupy Central have stressed that they want to negotiate with Beijing. They even took a very mild stand in the political reform discussion that many other opinion leaders in Hong Kong condemned as "too mild".

Yesterday's events is triggered by Beijing's "ruling" for Hong Kong's 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a largely Beijing controlled nominating committee. Beijing's plan is obviously non-democratic, and it is no different than a categorical rejection of all demands made by previous Hong Kong democracy movements.

It is fair to say that the large-scale non-violent civil disobedience movements in last few days and very likely in coming weeks are the result of failing to negotiate, which I think the government with the power should take the responsibility. Since the economic and diplomatic situation of China today is very different than that of 1989, it is not likely that the government could repeat what it has done before. Reopening the negotiation is not something unimaginable IMO.

What other alternatives do you have to suggest to fight for a true democracy?

Who has a 'true' democracy? In the US all candidates are vetted by business leaders and party backers, and 2 parties are hardly any more democratic than 1 big one...

A democratic system that is being abused is better than no system of democracy at all. There are many efforts in the USA to get money out of politics and try to get true democracy again. Those efforts are happening within a democratic system, that you seem to be taking for granted, of which Hong Kong and China do not have.

First of all, you must not have read anything about the HK situation, because they ARE being given the right to vote, candidates just have to be approved by Beijing (which is the problem).

Second, do you really think there's no democratic mechanisms at all in China? The communist party still needs to chose leaders from within itself...

And I'd argue that it's better to know one is under a dictatorship than to think one is free whilst being oppressed...

Finally, things in China aren't that bad, especially considering the past. Things are changing there, always for the better, I wouldn't be surprised if they're democratic by 2020. But it has to be at their pace, on their terms. Look how they embraced capitalism...

I'm from Hong Kong, I'm sitting in Central Hong Kong right now. Read again what I said. If you think being able to vote between 2 or 3 CCP approved candidates is a real democratic system then I don't know what to say to you.

No less democratic than being able to choose Democrat or GOP. Freedom in the US is an illusion.

Do you think any amount of protests in the US would change anything at all? The protesters would be arrested, beaten, then charged with crimes and convicted by corrupt judges, and the whole memory of the affair would be swiftly swept under the rug by the mainstream media, who would be pressured by various government agencies to forget about it...

Protests don't change a damn thing in western countries, because the whole illusion is propagated by idiots who buy into the government propaganda. What did Occupy Wall Street change? Not a damn thing. Ferguson? Again, nothing.

> No less democratic than being able to choose Democrat or GOP.

Wrong, it's much less democratic because it isn't just (A) which names are preprinted on the ballot or (B) candidates likely to be elected. No, you literally cannot make a valid choice beyond those pre-approved by Beijing.

> Protests don't change a damn thing in western countries

You're telling me that every single change to the US since ~1870 has been from something other than protests?

> Wrong, it's much less democratic because it isn't just (A) which names are preprinted on the ballot or (B) candidates likely to be elected. No, you literally cannot make a valid choice beyond those pre-approved by Beijing.

And do you get any choice other than those approved by the Dems or GOP? What do you know about the vetting process of those two parties? How about third parties?

> You're telling me that every single change to the US since ~1870 has been from something other than protests?

How about changes in the last 3 decades? Once upon a time you had a semblance of a democracy, not so much lately...

> You're telling me that every single change to the US since ~1870 has been from something other than protests?

how many of them ended with gunshots?

Nice try, commie

Two thing come to mind as a starting point: Negotiation and focusing on building Hong Kong's economy.

Negotiation: The truth is, HK politics is very much like American politics. It consists of people blocking any progress on anything because the two sides are so deeply divided. Instead, I suggest making an honest effort to negotiate and take things step by step. For example, the central issue to the protests - the universal suffrage framework described in the Basic Law is strictly better than the current system. Accepting it while signaling that something even better is desired and will continue to be brought up would have been more productive. (Note that the whitepaper came out after the threat to occupy central).

Economy - One of the subtexts of the whole issue is Hong Kong's decreasing relevance in relation to China and indeed on the world stage. The stronger HK is, the more leverage HK has. Instead, real wages are barely increasing, rent continues to skyrocket, and there is basically no economy besides finance - and in that HK's competitive advantage shrinks every year. Instead of saying things like "we are willing to sacrifice the economy if it gives us true democracy", I think it should be accepted that destroying the economy is not likely going to get democrats what they want, and that a better economy would a) free up more people to be able to worry about politics rather than just putting food on the table, and b) make China think harder about killing the golden goose.

Occupy Wallstreet was a game of brinksmanship, but unfortunately that only works when both sides have something to lose. China has nothing to lose today.

Negotiation: We have been doing that for at least 30 years.

Economy: I in general agree but let's not forget most of China depends on the banks in Hong Kong for lending. There's a lot of capital at stake here.

right. how about previous 150 years? woo, I forget, the Queen sent a Governor who suddenly realise HK needed democracy!

It's more like the previous 150 years were ruled by benevolent dictators like Linus so relatively few people complained, but now it's turning into something like XFree86 so people instead wanted to become like Debian.

Only if Linus had initially moved into your house to deal heroin after beating you up.

The people in Hong Kong demanded the democratic reforms, however they never got universal suffrage while an outpost of the UK, which is something the UK should quite frankly be utterly ashamed of.

Give up or emigrate. The CCP aren't stupid and they'd prefer a Hong Kong with an imploded economy and massive emigration because they sent in the PLA to one in which they backed down over protests and showed everyone they can be beaten.

I'll just note here that the current protests were not started by the pan-dems at all, rather it was led by high school and university students.

Nobody can predict the future. What I can tell is, this is unprecedented in terms of persistence, organization and scale. All of the resistance just self-organized into multiple areas now. We are very very very upset with the government in Hong Kong right now. More and more people are joining the strike today. There's reason to expect the situation will escalate peacefully, and hope will shine thru. Honestly, justice is on our side, this is the most civilized resistance I've personally participated. We even pick up our own trash after sit-ins!

Okay, so this is not their intended goal, but this protest has probably been pretty effective in waking up Taiwan. It would be even more effective if the Taiwanese media wouldn't self-censor itself so brutally to avoid "trouble". (Look at the goddamn China Times, where the protests are the second-to-last dot in the slideshow!! http://www.chinatimes.com/)

I don't know anything about Taiwan. Could you explain why these papers self-censor so heavily?

In addition to what the sibling commenter said:

* Top industry leaders like the Foxconn boss are deep blue, the blue side has VERY deep pockets * The Taiwanese media is heading towards a pro-China monopoly, see these protests in 2012: http://www.thechinastory.org/2012/12/the-anti-media-monopoly... * Write something critical about China and you might realise that gangsters are also pro-unification: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/hongkong/1066... (during recent student protests in Taiwan, a high-profile pro-China gangster also tried to intimidate participants) * and last but not least, I got the impression that the Taiwanese public is completely tired of the whole pro/contra China conflict and would much rather look at cat pictures or try to fix their income gap.

I was shocked when I was changing planes in the PRC with Taiwanese friends and they did not know that the internet there is censored. Can you imagine that, in a country that is semi-doomed to be annexed by neighbouring China?

It's complicated, and I'm not Taiwanese, but briefly -- Taiwanese politics is split into two camps, "pan-blue" (pro-Chinese) and "pan-green" (pro-independence). Taiwan's economy relies very heavily on good relations with China, so the pan-blues do the best they can to butter up China, while the pan-greens try to swim in the opposite direction as fast as they can without incurring an outright invasion. 3 of Taiwan's 4 biggest newspapers are controlled by the pan-blues, so they self-censor (to varying degrees) things that reflect negatively on China, like teargassing peaceful protesters in HK.

There have been loads of popular demonstrations that have toppled governments recently, from Egypt to Ukraine. Tunisia is one of the few where you could say they have achieved their intended goals though, toppling the government is the easy part.

All this "article" says is that Hong Kong protesters are using two hashtags on twitter, while giving no further information on the nature or purpose of the protests.

Much better to read the linked Independent piece: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hong-kong-prote...

Can you add this live stream to your comment so others can see it?


The live stream has been covering the whole protest and also shows recaps (picture in picture). Jimmy Lai, who has been seen protesting in a poncho and goggles, owns a media empire in Hong Kong, including the Apple Daily newspaper which runs this YouTube channel.

From a tech perspective, they've been running without interruption and they even used a drone, I think a helicopter, to take footage swooping over and around the protestors and police.

This has been, by far, the best produced livestream I've ever seen. Maybe it's just due to stationary locations for some of the cameras and better bandwidth, but it's on another level.

In 1998,the Indonesian students stage a mass protest to demand what was then thought impossible and insane. They demanded that president Soeharto step down, the end to the military rule, and a free democratic election. After the students face real bullies and tanks, they finally bought down a 32 year old regime and a president once considered one of Asia strongman. In 2014 this year, Indonesia was internationally (UN) acclaimed to held the largest (150 million voters) and free direct presidential election ( 1 man 1 vote). The winner is mr jokowi who is from an ordinary background, non- millitary and not from any elite families. In a Democracy, NOTHING is Impossible. However, reforms need to take place before it can really happen. BLood, tears , time and sadly lives are the cost for it. When the hk students is face with ak47 from the PLA and stood their grounds, only then they can claim they are willing to “die for democracy”. Only then the hk students can say they are In the same league as the “tiananmen students”. I will also like to remind the hk students that the students at tiananmen 89, jakarta 98, Tunisia 12, Ukraine 14 did not wear googles, as nothing can stop a bullets from a automatic rifle. If you are all having second thought, then. I suggest that you guys go home and maybe come back next year. The world are watching and waiting to see if the cute hk students are really the “legendary” Chinese students at tiaanmen who let PLA tanks roll on them and haunts your communist leaders till now.

I'm in Shenzhen and we're getting a little news trickling in since there is a lot of back and forth daily traffic. They seem to be making some use of mesh-network (FireChat) for communication: http://www.pingwest.com/firechat-hongkong/?from=timeline&isa...

This would also be an ideal scenario for PirateBox. I roll the LibraryBox version on a regular basis for under $20.

Mainland-resident here. Been in and out of HK since 1998. Usually only a few days. However, a FOAF is a just out of jail old-school dissident in Hong Kong.

I can see why people are protesting: partly its the want to stay independent, partly it's fear of the steadily increasingly mainland presence - not just in government, but people. Regular HK'ers are studying Mandarin (very different from their more historically significant and representative dialect, Cantonese) and aiming to do mainland business.

My main observation would be: heard about it from foreigners, got bugger-all details from purely foreign media, saw no mention in mainland media (which, to be fair, I rarely see). So just to confirm: there is zero coverage in the mainland, and not much elsewhere as far as I've seen.

Anyway: good luck Hong Kong, you have a really unique situation in which you can exercise your rights. Make it worthwhile.

It's also fairly well documented that not unlike Mossadegh etc, CIA branch-offs like NED and NDI are openly funding Uyghur "East Turkistan" and "Occupy Central" etc https://www.ndi.org/hong-kong-designing%20democracy http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-openly-approves-hong-kong-ch...

I'm going to be pretty cynical there. China's shown it is willing use force (and bigger army diplomacy) if necessary. Spreading the word about this in China's even more difficult (internet censors). Unless the CCP buckles I can't see HK coming out on top.

I know and I don't even have a VPN. I'm sure its getting around among those who care.

I don't think China will involve the PLA in this; that would cause a huge scare internationally. Instead, they'll just let the HK police deal with it (and they seem to be hard enough). The HK elite basically run the territory and are incredibly friendly to the central government.

I think the outcome of this will be super interesting. HK is now a part of China and I'm sure that the CCP is concerned that these protests will spread to the mainland.

My guess is that they will handle this in a very non-public way (no surprise there!) working through the HK authorities. It will be brutal, but the CCP knows what a heavy hand will get them (Tiananmen Square).

Unfortunately it's very unlikely this will spread to the mainland. Much different from 1989, 100% of mainstream media in the mainland is heavily censored. They have been brainwashing the last two generations for tens of years. If you go weibo (Chinese version of Twitter) you will see the majority of mainland Chinese think the unarmed students were extremely violent and the police should shoot them.

The CCP has been doing very good at creating class conflicts and isolating enemies.

I won't be surprised, self-censorship is rampant in the mainland community.

This is going to be Tianmen all over again: kill the chicken to scare the monkey. I remember seeing a photo of military vehicles coming into HK a couple weeks ago. If West did little with Russia you can bet they'd do even less with HK.

Highly unlikely for same reasons that the 2003 protests didn't result in a crack down. The rest of the world (especially business) actually cares about Hong Kong. It'd be economic and political suicide to send in troops.

The government backed down in 2003, which is why this could be different. Unlike 2003 when China was still emerging, China is now legitimate and increasingly assertive superpower. China is now much more hawkish than it had been in the past. This is also a new government.

> I remember seeing a photo of military vehicles coming into HK a couple weeks ago.

FYI, there is a Chinese military base in HK since 1997. So seeing that is not even news. It's a norm.

> Chinese military base in HK since 1997

the drinkbottle? Passed through last week and didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

I feel sad for HK.

A protest led by teenagers? Where are the adults? If these teenagers were devised, where are their parents? Do they have any idea whom they are fighting against, fighting for?

Shame on all HK adults.

As a result, Instagram was blocked in China a couple of hours ago. An unfortunate collateral damage.

Last time OneDrive was blocked. Who knows what will be blocked after this...my money is on CNN.

Instagram has been blocked in Shanghai for over a month.


...in case people forget about the clean up needed in their own backyard first.

The amount of hyperbole in this thread (and in the protest) is unbelievable.

Protesters are quick to talk this up as the next Tiananmen Square when in fact looking at the ground it's nothing like it.

You just need to look at Hong Kong culture to see that this is being overblown. It's the HK style, there's no middle ground, it's either the end of the world or nothing worth mentioning.

Of course the people have a right to protest but people should really think about what they are doing instead of getting delusional in the name of "freedom".

Show some class for once, have a measured response not this circus that is clearly going to end in a terrible car crash. It's already being hijacked by troublemakers.

Those delusional freedom lovers with their low-class demands for better representation. Next thing you know, they might start looting tea and throwing it in the harbour.

Sorry if you missed the sarcasm. The looting comment was making a comparison with the Boston Tea Party to point out that many countries are founded in protest and that to belittle the effect it can have makes a mockery of history.

Moscow 2011/2012 winter protests were like this too. I guess we barely hit 50k/event.

Unfortunately results are really discouraging.

Now you jinxed it.

I for one am waiting for the looting of LV and Gucci bags.

It's going to be epic.

I should probably have laid the sarcasm on a bit thicker.

That's not HK style, that's the corporate media's style, and you see it everywhere. The protesters have actually shown a lot of class - it's the police and government who need to show some class and have a more measured response to peaceful protests.

No worse than what US authorities did in 'Occupy' protests...

I don't understand this (American?) tendency to insist on comparing everything that happens in the world to what happens in the USA. It's almost as if you are expected to first check what USA has done, and then apply equal amounts of criticism to the USA for that, before you are then allowed to say anything on any topic.

Hongkongers and other people around the world, don't care about the USA. We don't feel the need to use USA as a benchmark when discussing issues in our own countries.

There is a single rule to see tell the true motivation of a protest: is the biggest protest sign written in English (if the general public in the area/country not native English speakers)? If yes, it's probably a show to leverage CNN/BBC. Otherwise, why would protestors use a language unable to deliver messages to their own people?

According to this pic: http://www.popo8.com/host/data/201409/28/3/f864d6c.jpg, this Occupy Central is a show.

Judging from your analysis, you couldn't tell the true motivation of a protest if it bit you on the arse.

Protests are shows. That's why they call them demonstrations.

And given signs are for informing people outside the protest, it is no surprise that folk will write an English one if they know there will be an English speaking news crew around.

so according to your opinion, a protester bits your arse and it's a show?

I'm a programmer and I have proposed a straight forward rule to help me understand the situation. If you have a better way, show me. If what you are saying is any protest should be supported unconditionally, and any means to attract media attention is legit, then go to Iraq and join ISIS' protest.

Are you sure you don't work in politics?

should I take it as a compliment?

No, better not. I should probably take it back really and put it in a little box marked 'Do not Disturb Any Further'.

Cantonese (written in Traditional Chinese) and English are the de facto official languages of Hong Kong. I'm not sure how well your rule applies.

I was wondering why they're using the Occupy brand. Is it now just used for everything remotely related to protests?

Well they're literally occupying Central, the financial district, aka Hong Kong's Wall Street.

Whether or not this is the next Tianmen Square will depend on Beijing's reaction.

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