My thoughts on the recent Hong Kong Pro-Democratic Movements and Protests

With the influx of social media, information flows quickly and freely on the dire pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong, educated and subsequently moved to Canada while Hong Kong is under British management. I was proud to be a citizen of Hong Kong, one of the world’s finest city.

Sitting on the sideline in Vancouver, bombarded with information from both sides, it took me a while to form my view on the issues because I want to proactively seek the truth rather than being fed with propaganda from either sides. Trump’s “fake news” is everywhere, it wasn’t easy to weed through the massive information available with a few clicks, however I felt much more educated after all the readings.

The movement started off with the Hong Kong China Extradition Bill or known official as Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill would establish a transfer of fugitives between Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Macau.

While I am not oppose to extraditions, it is a common practices between countries. However, China’s criminal system is vastly different and harsher than Hong Kong as it is under Chinese political control, thus the proposal of the bill could threatened the once-renowned independent legal system of Hong Kong; it may also erode the built-in safeguard of Hong Kong’s legal system where many locals and foreigners have been enjoying. Other implications include the proposal could be used a tool to intimidate freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

In my opinion, China runs an authoritarian system rather than communism, power concentrated to a few and there is little to no political freedom. While Chinese citizens may be happy with the party’s control, it is definitely a hard sell to the people of Hong Kong where they run a democratic system which is completely opposite of China. Many Hong Kong people sees the proposed bill as dissolve of One Country Two Systems (where Hong Kong has their own independent government, legal, economic entities) and their democratic system.

There is also the ongoing and accumulated hatred and discrimination between Hong Kong resident and those from the mainland China. The word “locus” is used to described the Chinese from China whose arrived in Hong Kong to exhaust its resources and affected the local’s daily lives. Example includes buying out and smuggling daily necessities such as diapers and baby formulas because of poisonous fakes in China; not following rules; lack of etiquette; and more affectedly the Chinese has the ability to expedited application in public housing. Many Hong Kong people believes the influx of China Chinese had artificially inflated Hong Kong’s standard of living and they are suffering from the sudden increased in disposable foreign money from the north. While I cannot confirm these accusations, the Hong Kong people’s distrust of China is likely the spark of the events later on.

With massive peaceful protests years after years in July 1, the government still is turning a blind eye to acknowledge the need of the grass-root and working-class. Events were escalated into protestors clashes with law enforcement. To me, this is understandable when people has lost faith in “peace” where the government officials are ignorant, something stronger is needed to gain attention…

There is always 2 sides to the story, in the recent conflicts, while I see police brutality towards the protestors, there are also evidences of protestors provoking the police. In my opinion, both parties are at fault here. Police were given the elevated authority to control the crowd, they are trained professional and must need to control their emotions when they are provoked. On the other hand, protestors should know better, the police are just doing their job, they are better equipped and it’s a losing fight physically and legally. Many protestors also have forgotten the goal of the protests – it’s a message to say no to extradition to the Hong Kong government, not to the police. There are many unanswered questions and I am still waiting for the government officials to clarify.

Since I mentioned the total authoritarianism of China, further research has shown that China criminal system has a 99% conviction rate, majority are convicted through confession alone. The Chinese criminal code is designed with the benefit of the party first and ruled by the powerful. That idea is very scary to me and intimidating to people who has were liberally educated. Also corruption is normal occurrence in many places and I cannot blame the people in Hong Kong for fearing the Chinese criminal system due to the closed-door and swift trial process. To them, Chinese criminal system is potentially a dark, unfair system and benefits the ones with associations.

Some told me that the extradition bill do not affect them because they are law-abiding citizen. It needs to pass to stabilize the legal system because they don’t want Hong Kong to become a safe-harbor for criminals (that’s how the government tries to sell it). I would agree completely based on the context, but several questions keeps me wondering, “why now? why not years ago?”, “how many fugitives Hong Kong has?”, “has Hong Kong experienced an increased of serious crime?” – these are the questions I have yet researched into and may make edit once I find out. Hypothetically, if someone with the same name as I committed a crime, and China requested extradition; they have presented some compelling evidence to convinced a Hong Kong judge for my extradition. I stand very little chances in China’s the criminal system if the criminal system is as efficient as they say.

Business and professionals are also worry about the extradition bill will impact the business climate. Hong Kong has been neutral and mostly free of political interference and business can operate freely. I would worry if China is allowed to meddle with the legal system, it could opens up the Pandora box for more undesired outcome.

12th weeks of protects and conflicts, the movement escalated to multiple city centers and significantly affect people’s daily routines. This caused a huge division between the people: Blue Ribbon refers to pro-government/police and Yellow Ribbon refers to pro-democratic. It is very sad for me to see Hong Kong society is fractured. I kindly hope both sides could come to a mutual agreement.

While I tried to be as factual here, my preference is a democratic system because I grew up in a democratic society. There is no absolute correctness is each societal system, and the media generally painted China as the bad guy, not much more different than North Korea. I would recommend everyone to do a bit of own research before forming your own opinion. I never liked to be fed, I like to find out the optics on my own.

Confucianism has been the root of Chinese culture, myself included. We were taught in our younger days to listen and obey to the elderly and authority. While I am not disagreeing with the teachings, but I will not mindlessly obey without questions. Many of the law-abiding Hong Kong citizens particularly the baby boomers believe it’s their duty to follow the authority without doubts, thus unintentionally allow the government to decide on their behalf so that they can maintain the status quo. This idea of people putting self-interests first before everyone is something to reflect about; what kind of legacy you want to leave for your future generations because of your inaction?

On the other hand, the younger generations were taught to solve problems from multiple angles. When they notice the government actions could possibly lead to implications on their future and are willing to break the mold and voice their concerns. I am very proud of them for standing up for themselves. As their predecessors, their actions maybe often rushed and aggressive, but keep in mind in 2047, we are about to retire and the younger kids just reached their prime. It is their future that is at stake.

According to National People’s Congress Standing Committee in 2007, chief executive in Hong Kong can be elected by universal suffrage. I think now it’s that time to let people to elect their leader.

Political reform takes time and will cause various disruption in lives. Although many chose to be the silent, but please don’t put the blame on the younger for creating chaos because they are likely acting on your behalf even you may not admit to.

Eventually in 2047, Hong Kong will be absorbed by China. But how much Independence Hong Kong has then will likely results from the pressure Hong Kong people will shown to China. As much as I hope the movement will yield something a good change at the end. There is really no need for violence and suffering if both parties can drop their self-interests and openly discuss the issues on hands.