Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hong Kong Protest part 3

Lily & I went back to the protest site at central on Monday, about 10 days after it all started. I could say that the protest was still going strong 10 days later, but it was infinitely weaker. Last weekend, there had to be at least 100,000 people there. I still have not seen any official figures, but there was a massive crowd of people filling the streets. A week later there were still crowds, but they were not nearly as large. There were probably thousands of people, but it was much easier to walk from one end to the other.

The mood seemed to be the same. The impression I got was that everyone was optimistic that their demands would be met. I’m not really sure why. The optimism was understandable the week before. There is safety in numbers. By this point, it should be obvious to everyone – including Beijing – that this protest is not as popular as it used to be. The hardcore protesters might be in it for the long haul, but the longer this drags on, the less support they will have from the general population.

Last Sunday, when the police shot tear gas into the crowd, the protesters had most of Hong Kong on their side. Whether the average Chiang agreed with the protest or not, they were vehemently against the police using tear gas against a peaceful Hong Kong assembly.

Hong Kong is not a Middle Eastern dictatorship where most of the people are living in poverty under the oppressive thumb of a ruthless tyrant. The people protesting in Egypt and Syria were obviously willing to kill and die for the changes they wanted. The Hong Kong protesters are not looking for a civil war and are not about to kill anyone. I never heard anyone talk about dying for their cause. A civil war in Hong Kong would never work anyway. China would surround the city and put an end to that quickly and with a terrifying amount of bloodshed.

The Arab Spring may or may not still be going on. No one talks about Syria’s civil war anymore because they’re all talking about terrorist groups trying to take over. But this protest in Hong Kong will never be a Chinese Autumn. The governments in China and Hong Kong will not topple any time soon. Terrorism here will never be much of an option.

By this Sunday, much of Hong Kong was ready to go back to work. The protesters are starting to wear out their welcome. Instead of becoming the harbingers of true democracy in Hong Kong, they run the risk of becoming a nuisance to people who need this large road to get to work. Freedom to vote is an abstract concept in China. Paychecks are more tangible.

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