A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog
We’ve seen the best and worst of Hong Kong in the last eight days. Around this time last week, we were all in shock as the police unleashed tear gas and pepper spray on protestors. That only seemed to strengthen their resolve and swell their ranks as key parts of the city were forced to shut down by the sheer numbers of those involved.
Then we all marvelled at just how civil this civil disobedience was! With medical stations, garbage collection and recycling points, and signs of apology for the inconvenience caused, we wondered if there had ever been a protest movement quite like this, anywhere. My personal favourite was the strict observance of ‘keep off the grass’ at the war memorial. Classy, HK; classy.
Then we all saw a very ugly (literal and figurative) side of the territory rear its head in the street clashes in Mong Kok. I’m sure there are people and businesses who have been deeply and distress fully inconvenienced by the protestors, as evidenced by sporadic street attack incidents by, mostly, older citizens. The TV pictures from the heart of Mong Kok, though, we’re shocking because they showed not only violent attacks but hinted at police collusion – the images of one agitator being dragged away by police, only to be bundled into a waiting taxi, sticks firmly in the mind.
So-called pro- and anti-Beijing activists have clashed in the streets before, but always in the Hong Kong tradition of passionate argument without any actual physical violence. The agenda of the Mong Kok anti-occupy protestors and their choice of methods, though, seemed rather obvious from the start and perhaps indicated the involvement of another, more sinister, Hong King tradition.
The movement has been a soul-searching experience for Hong Kong as everyone in the territory has been forced to engage with these issues. Ultimately, the question of what level of sacrifice Hong Kongers can tolerate to secure their perceived rights is still in the process of being answered. It has raised many more questions in its wake.
How did you feel watching the news this week? What’s going to happen next? Who are the winners and losers? Comments below!