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Citizens of Hong Kong Demand Change on 15th Anniversary of Chinese Rule

Citizens of Hong Kong Demand Change on 15th Anniversary of Chinese Rule

 

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the street on Sunday in Hong Kong. They gathered to commemorate the 15 years since Hong Kong was integrated into Chinese rule. Before 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony.

The many protesters wound their way around the city’s streets for more than four hours before dispersing. Reports vary on how many people participated in the massive march on Sunday. Authorities claim that only about 55,000 joined in the demonstration. Organizers claim that at least 400,000 were involved in the march.

Citizens of Hong Kong still have wider access to democracy, civil rights and commercial activities than citizens on the Chinese mainland. The very fact that such a large gathering of protesters was allowed in the city of Hong Kong illustrates this dichotomy. Still, demonstrators at Sunday’s proceedings expressed concern about the waning democracy in Hong Kong.

Sunday not only marks 15 years of Chinese rule but also the swearing in of Hong Kong’s new leader, a businessman named CY Leung. He was sworn in by Chinese president Hu Jintao. Many citizens feel that Leung was chosen based on political interests in Beijing. The BBC points out that a college of 1,200 business leaders elect the officials of state for Hong Kong, and most of those businessmen have extremely close ties to the power structures in Beijing.

Before the march on Sunday, CY Leung was sworn in in front of an audience of about 2,300 people. One heckler called on Mr. Hu to end one-party rule in China and condemned the 1989 massacre and military crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Other demonstrators burned portraits of Mr. Leung in retaliation of the debunked voting system.

The crowd was most likely bolstered by newly released reports that revealed Leung, a noted real estate investor, had built a number of illegal structures on his property. He has maintained ignorance in the case but has also made a public apology, NPR reports.

The Hong Kong government has denied any wrongdoing in the face of so much worry on the part of citizens. The New York Times quotes a statement issued by the government:

The Government will uphold the core values of Hong Kong and protect the freedom and rights of the people… The chief executive and his team will honor their pledge to hold themselves accountable to the people. They will go to the districts to listen to people’s views and aspirations and work together with them to address the deep-rooted problems in a pragmatic manner, improve people’s livelihood and promote harmony and stability in society.

Despite the clear tensions at Mr. Leung’s swearing-in, the march continued on in full force. A wide variety of groups were represented at the march, including a number of pro-democracy political parties shouting slogans. They were joined by singers, dancers and citizens holding up bold banners.

One vivid posterboard showed a large hand displaying the middle finger telling Beijing to go away, in so many words. Even a spiritual group, called Falun Gong which is banned on the mainland, made an appearance at the march. NPR reports that many citizens in Hong Kong do not align their national identity with China, but rather call themselves citizens of Hong Kong.

 

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Photo Credit: Ahleong

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26 comments

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3:11PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Contd from previous comment:

The purpose of the British empire was loot, land & labour (slavery or very cheap) and when the natives & the Irish resisted the response was pretty much the same everywhere: extreme brutality & atrocity.

3:08PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

It is always worth looking at history with fresh eyes & researching things anew. It is true that many Brits still to this day believe in a kind, benevolent, caring, kindly, gentle, compassionate & benign British colonialism – chance would be a fine thing – poor old Ireland has been the recipient of so called British kindness for 800 years – we promise never ever to forget each and every single act of “British compassion”. I guess it proves the old British adage that you have to be cruel to be kind! British colonialism was never really addressed in schools in the 1950s, 60s & 70s. Hopefully in time this shameful dishonesty will come to acquire a nasty social stigma and perhaps an apology is long overdue. The inmates in Kenya were used as slave labour. Above the gates were edifying slogans, such as "Labour and freedom".... That's just too close to "Arbeit macht frei" to pass without comment and remind people of British concentration camps in South Africa long before the Nazis! " I also think Stalin said on his camps “Through Labour - Freedom!" so British colonialism is in very good company! As George Orwell once said "British nationalism not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by it’s own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." I believe the British even had Paddy O’Bama’s father under surveillance in Hawaii “probably” in order to dole out some special kindness! The

2:49PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Dear David H
Thank you and I also have to admit I can find no fault with your facts.

However although I have a great love for Ireland and desire an end to British colonialism in Ireland and elsewhere for that matter – I look at this from a Londoner’s point of view and desire my British tax money spent in Britain. In the final analysis it matters little what the Orange bigots in the partitioned mini state-let want – they have no unconditional rights to my London tax to fund them whilst hospitals, schools, Libraries close and our old folks eat cat food the length and breadth of Britain.

It doesn’t matter what the 26 think or the six or the 32 for that matter – it’s tax raised in London (the only capital city in the world without it’s own national govt) that should be spent here in England rather than subsidising the Celtic fringe and especially not across an Irish sea in another country called Ireland. As you say “What happened in 1688, or 1949, or even in the conflict during the 1950s, 60s,70’s, 80’s and 90’s is not really relevant to what’s happening in 2012”. What is relevant is that it’s our money, not theirs (1 million orange unionists) and 62 million Britons also have a right to a view and consultation – after all we pay for it.

6:42PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Dear Mark J & David H

Why should 62 million Britons subsidise a Unionist minority in Ireland – they have never paid the price to be members of the British club! No conscription in Ireland in 1914-18, no conscription in partitioned Ireland in 1939-45 and no national service after 1939-45 and financially subsidised by London since Britain lost the 1918 election and cunningly tried a refined & trusted Divide & Rule policy and failing to deliver on the promised border commission which should have returned 3.5 Republican/Roman Catholic counties to Dublin. What’s more they denied half the population one man one vote and civil rights until the 1970s.

Why should we close schools, libraries and hospitals here in Britain to subsidise less than a million bigoted orange bigoted unionists who want to be British – who needs them and much more to the point – who wants them – good riddance is what most people say here in Britain and the sooner the better. How did less than 1 million orange unionists get to dictate to 62 million Britons? We must get to vote on this very contentious issue here in Britain for a change but then the politicians know full well that 62 million Britons would vote to be rid of colonialism in Ireland which is why we the 62 million British people have to listen to 1 million Unionists think they are the majority. Lets cut them adrift now and cut our financial losses.

3:30PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Dear Mark J & David H contd 3:

Ireland may well be going through hard economic times – nothing new there - 800 years of unsympathetic brutal British colonialism has seen to that. The harsh economic financial reality for Britain is that there but for the Grace of God and my poor old mum said that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones! I might live in London but my family is Irish and I put in a good few years on the British partition border so I speak with 1st hand experience of the injustice of British colonialism in Ireland.

3:01PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Dear Mark J & David H contd from last post:

The last time there was an election in Ireland that the whole 32 counties participated in resulted in an overwhelming Republican vote for Irish Independence – the British then promptly partitioned Ireland and called the British bit Ulster but they only took 6 counties of Ulster because if they took the whole 9 county Ulster they would never have won a referendum on Independence. Not just divide and rule but divide and rule so refined – its nauseating. By the way thanks for trying to belittle the situation by bringing Catholics & Protestants to the British colonial problem and although I agree that you could possibly generalise along religious grounds – the difference is Republican and Unionist with the British in bed with unionism.

The Republicans and the Unionists know the Brits will go eventually – its just a question of when the Brits realise! As a matter of information – no one in the USA (America is a huge continent north & south) wants to be subjugated to British colonialism and how dare people suggest what a complete hash America (sic) has made of itself. It has bailed Britain out of 2 world wars – I only just finished paying British war debt in 2006 - 36 years of my tax and my parent's crossed a partition border to help the British out in September 1939.
Ireland may well be going through hard economic times – nothing new there - 800 years of unsympathetic brutal British

2:32PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Dear Mark J & David H

The sheep on Las Malviinas and the monkeys on Gibraltar might want to be British BUT 62 million Brits paying tax here in Britain have never ever been asked if they want to continue to spend £billions upon £billions on colonialism while our local libraries, hospitals and schools face closure up and down Britain.

The same thing applies to partitioned Ireland – when do the folks in Britain who subsidise 800 year outdated colonialism get to vote on the Imperialist issue. It’s all very well for the Unionists to vote to stay British but why should 62 million Britons subsidise minority colonialism that didn’t have one man one vote or civil rights for the indigenous Irish population in the 1970s long after blacks in the USA were given the same rights .

The last time there was an election in Ireland that the whole 32 counties participated in resulted in an overwhelming Republican vote for Irish Independence – the British then promptly partitioned Ireland and called the British bit Ulster but they only took 6 counties of Ulster because if they took the whole 9 county Ulster they would never have won a referendum on Independence. Not just divide and rule but divide and rule so refined – its nauseating. By the way thanks for trying to belittle the situation by bringing Catholics & Protestants to the British colonial problem and although I agree that you could possibly generalise along religious grounds – the

2:32PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Dear Mark J & David H

The sheep on Las Malviinas and the monkeys on Gibraltar might want to be British BUT 62 million Brits paying tax here in Britain have never ever been asked if they want to continue to spend £billions upon £billions on colonialism while our local libraries, hospitals and schools face closure up and down Britain.

The same thing applies to partitioned Ireland – when do the folks in Britain who subsidise 800 year outdated colonialism get to vote on the Imperialist issue. It’s all very well for the Unionists to vote to stay British but why should 62 million Britons subsidise minority colonialism that didn’t have one man one vote or civil rights for the indigenous Irish population in the 1970s long after blacks in the USA were given the same rights .

The last time there was an election in Ireland that the whole 32 counties participated in resulted in an overwhelming Republican vote for Irish Independence – the British then promptly partitioned Ireland and called the British bit Ulster but they only took 6 counties of Ulster because if they took the whole 9 county Ulster they would never have won a referendum on Independence. Not just divide and rule but divide and rule so refined – its nauseating. By the way thanks for trying to belittle the situation by bringing Catholics & Protestants to the British colonial problem and although I agree that you could possibly generalise along religious grounds – the

5:02PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Be careful what you wish for.

4:59PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

and also don't forget - the Falklands and Gibraltar want to stay British...

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