Hong Kong Protests: Occupy Wall Street Failure All Over Again?

Credit: Stock Logos

Credit: Stock Logos

A 400 square mile island in the South China Sea is trying to defy China’s government. Hong Kong is approaching the 8th week of pro-democracy protests, but many are wondering how much longer the demonstrators will hold out.

Originally 100,000 strong, the number of protesters has dwindled down to a few hundred. On November 18th, police cleared barricades near government headquarters with the protesters’ help. Many people see this as the beginning of the end for Occupy Central With Love and Peace, others as a sign the movement will remain a peaceful resistance. The joint effort occurred following an appeal from former Hong Kong chief justice Andrew Li not to damage the ‘rule of law‘.

The largest protest to hit the city since the transfer of power from Britain to China in 1997, there are those who aren’t giving up so easily. In response to the police action on November 18th, a small group of protesters tried to force their way into the city’s legislative building. Four of which were arrested.

The leaders of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the catalysts for Hong Kong’s protests, denounced this aggressive action saying the movement has been and will remain peaceful.

Even so, negative feelings toward the pro-democracy movement have grown as business continues to be disrupted. Polls now say 70% of people want the Occupy Central demonstrators to go home.

Still some are unclear as to why the protests started in the first place. The Occupy Central With Love website released an English statement citing two reasons behind their protests:

OCLP has two demands:

(1) The immediate withdrawal of the NPCSC’s decision on the framework for Hong Kong’s political reform

(2) The swift resumption of the political reform consultation. The Leung Chun-ying administration has failed in the political reform process. We demand Leung re-submits a new political reform report to the central government which fully reflects the Hong Kong people’s aspirations for democracy. If Leung refuses to respond, the action will escalate.

But what does this even mean?

The NPCSC, or China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee was supposed to allow free elections for the territory’s leader, according to Basic Law.

But, in August the NPCSC ruled out any more voting reforms, making it so only the candidates Beijing approves can run.

The protest’s goal is to force Leung chun-ying, Hong Kong’s Communist- Chinese appointed leader, to force China into following up on their previous promises for universal suffrage.

Some pro-democracy advocates call for the move to more aggressive protests to spur action, while others still call for the end to the demonstrations in general. Whether or not the movement is fading remains to be seen.


China’s 9/11: Communists vs. Xinjiang

Asia, Regions, Uncategorized

1264420596_a9cf8500ba_oMany are hailing the recent March 1st terrorist attacks on a railway station in Kunming  “China’s 9/11”. And while this may prove to be the most grotesque attack, it is not the first instance of terrorism.

With 29 people stabbed to death and 140 others injured at the railway station attack, China can no longer hide the true issue. Government authorities have refused to take any responsibility on previous attacks, blaming outside sources or even withholding details from the public.

This attack, and most previous terrorist attacks, has been attributed to Xinjiang separatists. Xinjiang is a region in Northwestern China made up of Uighur Muslims. It makes of 1/6th of China’s entire empire.

China claims Xinjiang has been a part of China for 2,000 years, but history tells a different story.

In the mid-18th century the Qing dynasty attempted to incorporate these lands into the Chinese Empire, but Xianjiang, meaning “new frontier” fought back.

In the 1940s Xianjiang achieved a short moment of independence as East Turkestan, but in 1949 Communists forced their integration into China once again.

That integration developed into oppression when the Communists started restricting Muslims’ right to fast during Ramadan, teach religion to their children, and use the Uighur language.

Xinjiang isn’t the only Chinese colony facing oppression though; Tibet has long faced China’s discrimination. But the Dalai Lama’s influence has kept Tibet’s protests small, whereas Xinjiang’s are growing to branch out into Eastern China.

Up until the recent attack on Tiananmen Square, where a car plowed down tourists, most of the attacks had remained contained to the Xianjiang region.

My Map of Recent Terrorist Attacks in China

The most recent attack on the railway station shows another radical transition from attacks on government authority symbols to civilians, one that must be regarded as a serious warning sign.

The expansion of attacks into Eastern China locations like Kunming show the need for increased security, and more importantly a change in policy towards China’s minorities.

If China does not react to this recent, most brutal attack on civilians then it will only face another 9/11 in the future.