Anyone know what is happening in Hong Kong - why the violence?

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  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    This opinion piece from the Hong Kong Free Press is well worth reading:
    ... When Hongkongers who used to have a professional police force worthy of respect see the police beating unarmed, peaceful protesters with batons, spraying tear gas and pepper-spray directly into their eyes at point-blank range, firing rubber bullets at dangerously close quarters, chasing people into the subway and spraying tear gas at them on the platforms and trains underground, assaulting elderly people in their eighties and children as young as twelve, it is hardly surprising they feel angry. And then when reports began to emerge of torture in detention and allegations of rape, the enemy lines have been drawn.

    The language used by the Hong Kong police is every bit as troubling as the physical brutality. Describing protesters as “cockroaches” has genocidal echoes and while no one is remotely suggesting Hong Kong has reached such a level of international crime, such dehumanising language is profoundly dangerous. So too are the frequent examples of the police denying access for paramedics, first aiders and ambulances to assist the injured. ...
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    What intrigues me is the level of restraint exercised by the Beijing authorities. They don't seem to know what to do to restore law and order. They appear unwilling to use the force they have at their disposal to bring the Hong Kong demonstrators to heel. Perhaps we might speculate as to why that is so.
  • My guess is Beijing has more to lose from a crackdown than waiting and seeing. US politicians cheering for “democracy” know the protestors haven’t got a chance. What Trump, Rubio, etc really want is a new Tiananmen massacre to justify further sanctions and allow “decoupling” from China’s economy because they are all freaking out about US hegemony being challenged.

    The HK economy has suffered but hasn’t collapsed so far. The people suffering the most are ordinary people. Beijing is hoping that as the protestors descend further into nihilism and stupidity that more HKers will turn against them. So far there have been incidents of counter-protests, people clearing roadblocks, etc though nothing massive to turn the tide.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    The HK Free Press has an interview with Jasper Tsang (a founder of pro-Beijing party DAB and former President of the HK Legislative Council). He sees the fundamental causes of unrest as failure to keep promises of democracy and growing social inequality, both of which severely damage the government's perceived legitimacy. He also thinks the chief executive's weakness and inability to face down anti-protester hardliners is preventing her from de-escalating the crisis by offering a reasonable concession on an independent commission to investigate police conduct, but the prospect of big wins in upcoming local elections might enable moderate protesters to rein in the more radical ones.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Hong Kong. Kashmir. Palestine. Made in England. 'andsome. Makes yer prard dunnit. Burma come to that. Oh yeah, Cape ter Cairo too. Banjul to Lilongwe.

    Yeah and the sacred US Constitution and its' Second Amendment. Forged in reaction to English bad governance.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal have reported that members of the People's Liberation Army are in the streets of HK, in what protesters are calling an attempt to intimidate them. And Xi Jinping is threatening the city, "saying it urgently needed to 'end violence and restore order'."
  • They’re literally just going out in t-shirts and cleaning up bricks.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    And when Xi Jinping orders them to do more?
  • They might start helping old ladies across the street.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Here’s the BBC report and here’s The Guardian’s report including the same footage.

    There may have been some calculation that protesters wouldn’t act violently against unarmed PLA soldiers clearing up, but it seems a bit steep to call this intimidation in itself.

    Of course those who felt a need to erect barriers will feel more vulnerable now that they’ve been removed. But again, in itself, the action doesn’t seem very different to what any other city authority would do in the way of a clean up.
  • My guess is Beijing has more to lose from a crackdown than waiting and seeing. US politicians cheering for “democracy” know the protestors haven’t got a chance. What Trump, Rubio, etc really want is a new Tiananmen massacre to justify further sanctions and allow “decoupling” from China’s economy because they are all freaking out about US hegemony being challenged.

    The HK economy has suffered but hasn’t collapsed so far. The people suffering the most are ordinary people. Beijing is hoping that as the protestors descend further into nihilism and stupidity that more HKers will turn against them. So far there have been incidents of counter-protests, people clearing roadblocks, etc though nothing massive to turn the tide.

    I think that probably sums up the attitude of many US and other Western politicians to this crisis. It's Machiavellian for sure, and I think only a very few would actually be hoping for a crackdown. I know when it began I expected a crackdown, now I'm not so sure.

    When the move towards engagement with China began, people hoped for political liberalisation as well as economic changes. I don't think many of us thought about how the process of political liberalisation would happen. Perhaps we envisaged a collapse of authority like in the Warsaw Pact countries. But the struggle for political liberalisation in Europe in the post-Napoleonic era was not like that at all. It was rather like what's happening in HK now - mob violence towards not only authorities but each other, the identification and murder of suspected Government informers, the destruction of infrastructure, violent repression. Maybe this all means that it is too soon to give up on political reform.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    They might start helping old ladies across the street.
    I suppose that stranger things have happened. As long as they're not escorting them to re-education centers...

  • Cross posted with another thread: My hunch is that the strategy of the subset of Hong Kong antigovernment protestors who are using violence or occupying universities, to the extent that these more radical groups of protestors have a strategy, is to provoke a violent crackdown by the police or military so as to win global opinion over to their side. And that is why, aside from economic considerations, I think, the police and military have not cracked down harder than they have.

    Is there any way that the protest movement could have prevented a radical minority from being violent in the way that it has and, if it had succeeded in doing so, would the protests have been more effective?
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited November 24
    I don't know stonespring, but my feeling is that violence is inevitable on these types of demonstrations. I was on the periphery of the organisation of anti-Govt protests in the 80's over changes being made to the funding of tertiary education. Even over such a small issue, although important to students, it was necessary for there to be plans to counter the activities of the far left, who try to incite violence and/or chaos at these types of events. The thing especially to look out for was the splitting of the crowd, as the far leftists would attempt to lead part of the protest elsewhere for their darstardly activities.

    FYI, the far left were the International Socialists, trotskyite in approach, the organisers were students involved in the left of the ALP, called the Socialist Left at the time, whereas I at that time styled myself as centre-right.

    The demos in HK are over much more central and important issues. I can't see how they couldn't be violent, given humans are involved.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Here’s the BBC report and here’s The Guardian’s report including the same footage.

    There may have been some calculation that protesters wouldn’t act violently against unarmed PLA soldiers clearing up, but it seems a bit steep to call this intimidation in itself.

    Of course those who felt a need to erect barriers will feel more vulnerable now that they’ve been removed. But again, in itself, the action doesn’t seem very different to what any other city authority would do in the way of a clean up.

    I'd call that a brilliant, softly-softly, inexorable, thin-end-of-the-wedge, intimidatory approach which will have the - worldwide - support of most people.

    As for the world is watching which is why this wasn't crushed six months ago, it seems more pragmatic to me. The world would have done nothing if it had been. China has moved on, materially. The state is not in danger; it doesn't have to wage war on its citizens, so why would it?
  • How long did they wait before crushing Tiananmen Square? Mind you, you are right to note that China is a different place now. Perhaps liberalisation remains possible, and not crushing protesters is a sign of that.

  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    How long did they wait before crushing Tiananmen Square? Mind you, you are right to note that China is a different place now. Perhaps liberalisation remains possible, and not crushing protesters is a sign of that.

    This is liberalization. Due to economic development. As good as it gets for the next couple of centuries before the climate collapse. They didn't wait patiently before Tiananmen. They couldn't find general to crush it until they did.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    I wonder how Xi, who doesn't care for contradiction, will handle this?
  • It's a beautiful result Rossweisse, proof of the level of support the protesters have, and proof that the results were not fiddled by the gummit.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    How long did they wait before crushing Tiananmen Square? Mind you, you are right to note that China is a different place now. Perhaps liberalisation remains possible, and not crushing protesters is a sign of that.

    This is liberalization. Due to economic development. As good as it gets for the next couple of centuries before the climate collapse. They didn't wait patiently before Tiananmen. They couldn't find general to crush it until they did.

    I have some sympathy with the view that the West should place economic sanctions on China now that the Govt's treatment of the Uighurs is proven beyond reasonable doubt. If the judgement of our betters is that political liberalisation is happening fast enough, they will need to be carefully crafted. I am worried too about how people in China might react, who may not be aware of the full extent of the genocide going on there.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Well, we in the West must find ways to publicize the extent of the genocide. And our governments should definitely sanction China; the PRC's actions are monstrous.
  • Yeah, but roughly 40% of American voters reckon Trump is a brilliant man, if not a demi-god so that's kind of tough even in an open democracy.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    How long did they wait before crushing Tiananmen Square? Mind you, you are right to note that China is a different place now. Perhaps liberalisation remains possible, and not crushing protesters is a sign of that.

    This is liberalization. Due to economic development. As good as it gets for the next couple of centuries before the climate collapse. They didn't wait patiently before Tiananmen. They couldn't find general to crush it until they did.

    I have some sympathy with the view that the West should place economic sanctions on China now that the Govt's treatment of the Uighurs is proven beyond reasonable doubt. If the judgement of our betters is that political liberalisation is happening fast enough, they will need to be carefully crafted. I am worried too about how people in China might react, who may not be aware of the full extent of the genocide going on there.

    What genocide? And what sanctions would achieve what?
  • The Uighur genocide. On sanctions, I leave that to our betters to make that judgement. There are far too many variables, including many beyond my ken, for me to even guess at what might work or what their aim should be.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    I think large scale internment and “re-education” is pretty much proved.

    Mass killing of Uighurs just because they are Uighurs, and/or in order to eliminate the Uighur people (which would be genocide) is not what seems to be happening.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    The Uighur genocide. On sanctions, I leave that to our betters to make that judgement. There are far too many variables, including many beyond my ken, for me to even guess at what might work or what their aim should be.

    What Uighur genocide?
  • cultural genocide me old mate.
  • Yeah I know. What is that? And how is it happening to Uighur culture?
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    I wonder how Xi, who doesn't care for contradiction, will handle this?

    There's nothing to handle.
  • Kwesi wrote: »
    What intrigues me is the level of restraint exercised by the Beijing authorities. They don't seem to know what to do to restore law and order. They appear unwilling to use the force they have at their disposal to bring the Hong Kong demonstrators to heel. Perhaps we might speculate as to why that is so.

    It's sustainable.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    I wonder how Xi, who doesn't care for contradiction, will handle this?

    There's nothing to handle.
    Martin, it would be really helpful to having a discussion* if you were to support your statements instead of just flopping out brief, barely-complete sentences. There certainly is something for Xi and his buddies to handle here; I just hope he doesn't settle on using violence, as happened at Tiananmen, or "re-education" as is being done to the Uighurs.

    *Discussion is, after all, the stated purpose of Purgatory.
  • He's handling it just fine. By doing nothing. Nothing needs to be done. There will be no repetition of Tiananmen, why would there be? No re-education of Wahhabists, there are none.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    I don't think that most of the Uighurs in the concentration camps are Wahhabists. And since Xi cannot stand opposition of any kind, I fear that some sort of retaliation is on the way for Hong Kongers.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Yeah I know. What is that? And how is it happening to Uighur culture?

    I'm going to stop this right now. You read the papers.
  • Yeahhhhhhh. Isn't importing Wahhabism a form of cultural genocide?
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    I don't think that most of the Uighurs in the concentration camps are Wahhabists. And since Xi cannot stand opposition of any kind, I fear that some sort of retaliation is on the way for Hong Kongers.

    I agree. Communism was very effective at preventing Islamist extremism. At dominating and conditioning the fish shoals that extremists swim with. The Soviets used to say that The East Is Red of their Stans. China - which relaxed a little too much in the west, took it's eye off the ball - will squeeze Hong Kong if necessary. Blockade it. Cut the power. The water. It's not necessary. Yet. They've been doing this for four thousand years. They can wait.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Yeahhhhhhh. Isn't importing Wahhabism a form of cultural genocide?

    The Wahhabists aren't staffing the re-education camps, which you already know because you read the papers.
  • I never read newspapers. The odd link. But I knew that anyway, funnily enough. China is well on the way to the society of Heinlein's Starship Troopers. They ain't going to become WEIRD any time soon. As in ever.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Not reading newspapers was your first mistake.
  • Why? And the second? Third?
  • We are all mistaken at our core Martin.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited November 29
    Aye Ess Tee. We are. Cognitive bias being what it is. But Rossweisse doesn't mean that. Demonstrating your point...
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Why? And the second? Third?
    Keeping up with the news is imperative if one is to be a good, informed citizen. Newspapers (or their websites) are the best way to keep up with the news: TV skims over the surface, but reading allows one to learn more in depth. The informed citizen can have a greater impact than the uninformed.

    I'm sure you can figure out your other mistakes on your own. (I can expect another gnomic response, of course.)

  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Why? And the second? Third?
    Keeping up with the news is imperative if one is to be a good, informed citizen. Newspapers (or their websites) are the best way to keep up with the news: TV skims over the surface, but reading allows one to learn more in depth. The informed citizen can have a greater impact than the uninformed.

    I'm sure you can figure out your other mistakes on your own. (I can expect another gnomic response, of course.)

    I watch BBC24 and read the BBC website. What do you know that I don't that you get from newspapers?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    The BBC website is good, but it's not complete.

    I read several newspapers every day: my local paper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and Slate. (Well, I don't read Slate as carefully as the others.) I get depth and different points of view. I do not watch television. "Television news" is an oxymoron: If it bleeds (as the saying goes), it leads.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    The BBC website is good, but it's not complete.

    I read several newspapers every day: my local paper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and Slate. (Well, I don't read Slate as carefully as the others.) I get depth and different points of view. I do not watch television. "Television news" is an oxymoron: If it bleeds (as the saying goes), it leads.

    With respect to Hong Kong, the important thing is to read the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Free Press. The first is still unquestionably the paper of record for Hong Kong (and the paper read by pretty much anyone who is fluent in English, regardless of political afflilation) but is markedly pro-Beijing. The second is pro-democracy/anti-Beijing but much more limited in its coverage. I've just returned from Hong Kong myself. Bad stuff is happening, but the city is much calmer than international news media would suggest.



  • I'm very glad to hear it. The media does tend to telescope things.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    The BBC website is good, but it's not complete.

    I read several newspapers every day: my local paper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and Slate. (Well, I don't read Slate as carefully as the others.) I get depth and different points of view. I do not watch television. "Television news" is an oxymoron: If it bleeds (as the saying goes), it leads.

    If one wants details, 'depth', 'analysis' on Hong Kong or any other 'news' subject, by reporters, great. What has that got to do what is actually going on and what will be done about it?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    @Columba_in_a_Currach, I have been following the coverage in the Hong Kong Free Press.

    @Martin54, reporters are the ones who tell us (sometimes at great personal risk) "what is actually going on and what will be done about it". One cannot have freedom without a free press. Dictators try to stifle the news media; crooked officials love it when there's no one keeping tabs on them. Indifference like yours plays into their hands.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    I've just returned from Hong Kong myself. Bad stuff is happening, but the city is much calmer than international news media would suggest.

    If you wouldn't mind going into more detail, I'm sure I'm not the only person here who would be interested in your impressions of what's happening in Hong Kong.
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