Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hong Kong Protest part 5

The big democracy protest is now officially over. Thousands of people camped out in the streets demanding something from their government that they were never going to get. China has historically not had the most open government in the world. Killing people is preferable to them than listening.

In the beginning, the protests were interesting. People were excited to be involved. Local and international media were excited to see some action. Then everyone got bored. With instant everything these days, several months of protests are never going to hold everyone's attention. The international media left soon after they arrived. Even the local news stopped talking about it – except to complain that the protesters were blocking traffic and interfering with sales. Since most local Hong Kong media is owned by people with business connections to Mainland China, they were never going to be in favor of the protests. Most simply chanted the Chinese government mantra.

The world basically ignoring the protests is exactly what the Chinese government wanted. They could always block content in China – apparently, even this blog was blocked after I mentioned it – but there was never anything they could do about the rest of the world. Fortunately for China, the rest of the world had its own problems. The protests in the United States were always going to be more newsworthy – and they turned out to be far more violent. The protests in the Arab world were always going to be more violent. Say what you will about Hong Kong protesters or Hong Kong police, but they're far more polite to each other than you get in most countries. There were a few minor issues with police assaulting their people, but it was nothing compared to American and Arab police killing their people.

When Hong Kong officials started clearing the protest sites, not a lot of people outside Hong Kong even noticed. When they closed down the protests at Admiralty and Causeway Bay, most of the people I know who don't live in Hong Kong thought it had all ended a long time ago.

In the end, the government agreed to nothing. The new election laws that started the protests are still in place. CY Leung is still in charge. Some of the protest leaders are in jail. Some will probably quietly disappear. I was hoping that more would come of it, but at least it ended peacefully. There was no Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.

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