Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong


This is only tangentially connected to the stuff we’ve covered in class so far, but as you may have heard, there are massive and ongoing protests in going on in Hong Kong. At issue is the question of how candidates for upcoming elections will be nominated. Officials in Beijing have decided that they will not permit open nominations for candidates for election (which is to say that nominees will be chosen in a closed process). The protesters argue that this closed nomination process will produce candidates who follow Beijing’s direction*. Anyway, protests like this will become more directly relevant in our discussions of Arendt in a few weeks. In the mean time, you should just keep up on current affairs. So Ingrid Robeyns has a very useful post (and links) here. As Robeyns points out, many news outlets in China (particularly the state-run outlets) have not commented at all on these protests. Part of the reason for this post, then, is to share the news of these events as widely as possible.

*For those of you who don’t know, Hong Kong has a special status within China (it’s a “special administrative region” that maintains greater autonomy within the PRC than most regions do) . It was a British colony until 1997, and after the British withdrew, there was a general agreement that Hong Kong would retain a system separate from China, including a separate and independent judiciary, multi-party elections, and so on (“one country; two systems” was the slogan). So part of the protests have to do with the protesters’ worries that this separateness is being threatened.


2 Responses to “Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong”

  1. skylifeapple Says:

    I have always been hearing that the CCP always prefers persuasion over coercion. It is something that most Hong Kongers do not understand.
    I am not sure if Hong Kongers are simply vain or something, but there has been a division between the people living in Hong Kong, and the people living in the normal part of China. Hong Kongers tend to think that they are more superior and more cultivated than the other Chinese living in China. They look down upon the other Chinese. They even tell the other Chinese people and CCP that they would rather be ruled by the British again because Hong Kong was better before 1997. To certain extend this is true, because Hong Kongers used to enjoy freer speech and a more democratic representative assembly. Hong Kongers could not elect the chief governor under the British rule, but apparently the British government sent some governors who did care about Hong Kong.
    So Hong Kongers love the British and hate the Chinese. Unfortunately, when this goes into the Chinese’s ears, it pissed them off. This brings us back to the first sentence. What Hong Kongers should do is not to piss CCP off and threaten it. CCP is a bunch of harsh and tough people who will not give in easily. Under the constitution of Hong Kong, people could elect their governor through universal suffrage in 2017. What Hong Kongers are asking for now is a civil nomination of the candidates in the election so that CCP wont be able to pre-screen. This will certainly threaten the CCP’s rule because people could easily elect someone who go against the CCP and lead to something that ultimately overthrown its power. CCP does not want that happen and will not permit “civil nomination” whatsoever. There are indeed other ways to make the election more democratic and not threatening the CCP’s rule, but Hong Kongers are not very much into those. So, they just don’t want to compromise, where compromise is such a crucial element in politics.
    Even though they are having this civil disobedience movement, the CCP does not seem to want to give in. The CCP is way more powerful. There are only 7 million in Hong Kong and what they are doing is hurting their own economy. And not every Hong Konger supports this movement. Hong Kongers should think about their next step.
    By the way, My dad is a Hong Konger.

  2. Civil Disobedience | Eastman Concept of Power Blog Says:

    […] this post, I would like to engage in the post on civil disobedience in Hong Kong and analyze the movement in reference to Arendt’s article on civil […]

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