Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

One Country, Two Systems and A Multitude Of Demonstrators For Democracy

Known for its opulent and modern skyscrapers, Hong Kong has become a synonym for a series of democratic demonstrations in international news. That is because hundreds of thousands of its citizens have been coming onto the streets in recent weeks in order to block a bill that facilitates extraditions to mainland China. It is another turbulent chapter in the relationship between the residents of this special administrative region and the authoritarian Chinese government.

The latest protest took place on Monday (July 1), 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the United Kingdom to China. It is estimated that half a million people attended the city’s three main avenues claiming for a democratic agenda. At one point in the evening, the regional parliament was surrounded and a group of demonstrators managed to break through the repressive blockade and entered the building, where they remained for about five hours until the local police were able to disperse the occupation in the early hours.

This ferocious Monday follows the June protests, which also reflected a strong indignation of the streets. On 4 June, a gigantic vigil was organised to remember and honour the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre, that had just completed 30 years. Since then the mobilisations against the attempt by Xi Jinping’s regime to extend the influence over Hong Kong’s judicial system took shape, threatening to undermine even further the institutional arrangement known popularly as “one country, two systems”, in which the island has relative constitutional and political autonomy. The fear of many activist organizations is that the new law may support the capture of people who criticize Beijing (something that the Chinese police are already doing in hiding), while those suspected of white-collar crimes remain unharmed. It is worth remembering that since last year, Hong Kong has been considered the world capital of the super-rich, surpassing metropolises such as Paris, New York or Tokyo.

On 16 June, around 2 million people (or 30% of the local population) attended the largest protest in recent history in the region. A day later, Joshua Wong, leader of the “Umbrella Revolution” (2014), was released from jail after serving three months in prison as a result of 2014 events and joined the tsunami of protesters. The fact is that on June 18, the massive force of the protests caused the regional government to paralyze the bill indefinitely. But this the tactical retreat from the authorities was not enough. Most of the demonstrators are now demanding not only the extinction of the project, but also the fall of Governor Carrie Lam, whose image is that of a Chinese regime puppet.

The streets of Hong Kong appear to be calling into question the local Chief Executive’s system of indirect choice, which in practice leads to power for a vassal of Beijing and the island’s resident mega businessmen. Universal suffrage and an end to political persecution are increasingly on the agenda of the protests. And more than a localised issue (which in itself would be very important, given that it has put Xi Jinping’s strong repressive apparatus against the wall), the protests in Hong Kong are part of an international cycle of democratic rebellions against authoritarian regimes. Hong-Kong’s streets express a desire for real democracy similar to what we have seen recently in Sudan and Algeria (where governments have fallen) or in the Czech Republic (where its population has just led the largest demonstrations in the country in 30 years against the attempts to distort the judicial system made by its Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, a corrupt billionaire identified as equivalent to Donald Trump).

It is the duty of all those who encamp the flags of democratic freedoms to observe, salute and support the tenacity of the people of Hong Kong, who, five years after the “Umbrella Movement”, are unleashing a storm against the instituted powers.


TIMELINE:

 

SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER (2014)

Claiming for more democracy and autonomy, thousands of young Hong Kong students are leading the “Umbrella Movement”, whose equipment is used to protect itself from tear gas bombs thrown by police forces.

SEPTEMBER 2016

Young leaders of the 2014 demonstrations (including Joshua Wang and Nathan Law) were elected to the regional parliament.

MARCH 2017

Supported by Beijing’s high bureaucracy, Carrie Lam is elected Chief Executive by a majority of the Electoral College of 1194 members.

SEPTEMBER 2018

Accused of threatening local security and order, the Hong Kong National Party (an unrepresented independence force) is banned.

APRIL 2019

Nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy protests are sentenced to prison.

Carrie Lam submits a bill that accelerates Continental China’s extradition requests

JUNE 4, 2019

Thirty years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, about 200,000 people in Victoria Park in Hong Kong .

JUNE 6, 2019

A march by congressmen against the extradition bill.

JUNE 9, 2019

More than one million people attend the call of those against the changes in the extradition law.

JUNE 12, 2019

Hundreds of thousands return to the streets for the withdrawal of the extradition bill. Despite strong repression, the government is forced to postpone voting on the bill.

JUNE 15, 2019

Carrie Lam apologizes publicly and postpones the vote on the project indefinitely.

JUNE 16, 2019

About 2 million protesters are protesting against the government of Carrie Lam.

JUNE 17, 2019

The pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong, is released from prison expressing support for the new cycle of protests.

JUNE 22, 2019

Thousands of young people surrounded police headquarters demanding that police authorities take responsibility for the ferocious repression of other acts.

JUNE 27, 2019

Protests against the Lam government bring thousands of people back to the streets of Hong Kong.

JULY 1st, 2019

On the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, half a million people occupied the city’s main streets demanding the government’s resignation. Some of the demonstrators were able to enter the parliament and occupy it for five hours in a dangerous challenge to Beijing.

P.S.: From the point of view of the struggles of the young people of mainland China against the CCP’s bureaucratic dictatorship, it is interesting to recall the persecution of the marxist students of Beijing who were in solidarity with the strike of the workers from the Jasic Technology factory in the southeast of the country in late 2018. Although the bureaucratic regime expands control over the circulation of information in China, the interest of a new generation in rescuing the dream of marriage between socialism and freedom, three decades after Tiananmen, is increasingly perceived.

A new page to support and build new alternatives in Latin America and the world, defending the power of the workers and people against the 1% of the rich and privileged, and a society without exploitation.

Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder