Tag Archives: protests

Cyber-assault on Hong Kong Umbrella Movement

9 Mar

Here’s a striking graphical account of the cyber-spying and online attacks activists faced during Hong Kong’s Umbrella movement last year. It also describes how news about the HK protests was first blacked out then altered in the mainland. This is from January but better late than never.

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement overview

17 Oct

For the past month, Hong Kong has experienced an incredible street movement that sprung up to demand open candidacy for the 2017 chief executive election. It started with a week-long student boycott and protest, then continued into a public occupation that took place in several key sites including outside the main government offices. It captured the world’s attention and admiration and China’s disdain and heavyhanded censorship, but more importantly it seems to have forced Hong Kongers to think deeply about their society and its problems. The movement seems to have decreased in the past few days with HK’s chief stating his administration will meet with the protesters, though the latest controversy involved police brutality earlier this week. The protesters, many of whom are university students, may not be victorious in getting what they wanted in the short term, but they have proved an inspiration to many and shown that a new generation of HKers do care a lot about society rather than shopping.

Here are a few key links to help you understand the protests and some interesting aspects.

The BBC covered the protests quite well, providing a lot of indepth reporting and analysis.  Actually they covered it so well that they were blocked in China just this week, while Instagram was blocked from the very beginning of the protests. On the mainland, the HK protests were first ignored, then censored, and finally covered but in a very slanted way. In addition, mainlanders who expressed support for the protests were also arrested and detained.

Political reform and full democracy are widely known to be the main stated goal of the protesters, but the problems with Hong Kong lie beyond politics and this article provides a very good take on the property curse that afflicts HK. Home prices have skyrocketed, while good jobs are inadequate and the economy has not diversified enough, meaning that many young HKers see a dismal future, one that is reinforced by the current political system where business and property tycoons have enormous influence.

The protests became famous worldwide, helped by the use of a popular symbol – the humble umbrella. As a result, the protests have been termed the Umbrella Movement or Revolution (the latter I don’t quite agree with).

While the main sites were led by students outside the HK government offices in Admiralty, protesters in Mongkok, a working class district in Kowloon, created their own feisty protest zone, one which involved a more diverse mix of people than the Admiralty site.

A lot of Western media, politicians and observers showed support for HK protesters, but so did Taiwan where members of the public and even the president himself spoke out about democracy. This cross-strait support is not surprising in a general context, as ties have grown between young activists who detest and fear China’s government and its increasing influence. For many Taiwanese who cherish their democracy and abhor the mainland’s system, it was natural to support and be sympathetic towards HKers striving for democracy as well in the face of mainland opposition.

Hong Kong’s democracy putdown from Beijing

5 Sep

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists suffered a big blow this week when the central government not only refused to grant open candidacies for the 2017 chief executive election, but tightened the nomination process to run, in effect restricting the electoral process rather than granting any freedoms. Now, to run for the chief executive post (HK’s top official), a candidate must obtain approval from half of an electoral committee, which is higher than previous elections, albeit this election will be the first one regular Hong Kongers can vote in.
This has caused leading figures including leaders of Occupy Central, a movement that threatens civil action such as occupying the Central business district, to ponder their next move, such as if they’ll be able to take the next step and really take action. Beijing was rather bold about its uncompromising decision, even making some wacky claims that limiting democracy is essential to protect the wealthy.

Hong Kong now faces some hard questions because Beijing has made its stance clear. Hong Kong has some stark issues, including on the economic end though this might seem very dire – a report that claims Hong Kong might become a “second-tier” city by 2022 as it becomes overtaken by multiple mainland cities in terms of GDP. As it is, there is much, much more to a city than just GDP and that same article lists them- “The city boasts superb infrastructure, a well-established legal system, and a cosmopolitan culture that no mainland city, including Beijing or Shanghai, has yet been able to replicate.

Murky murder cases, and Sunflower aftermath

12 May

Strange and disturbing events happen in China a lot but this one is especially so- basically people have been charged and imprisoned for murders only for the supposed victims to appear years later, alive and well. It’d be one thing if it happened once, but there’ve been several instances, and it’s an indication of big flaws with the justice system and police behavior. Forced confessions, the use of torture during interrogations, the detaining and threatening of a convict’s mother and brother, ignored petitions, and the acceptance of sketchy evidence without verification are some of the ugly events that took place with in cases.

Taiwan’s “Sunflower Movement” got a lot of attention with its 3-week long occupation of the legislature in March, during which it succeeded in getting a cross-strait services act to be halted and earned a lot of public support. However, things haven’t been as smooth ever since, with fragmentation and radicalization. Growing awareness and interest in politics and democracy have a result, which isn’t such a bad thing if it succeeds in making more Taiwanese care.