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Violence poses conundrum to Hong Kong protest movement

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By Laurence THOMANN and Emma CLARK

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Without Malcolm X, Martin Luther King would have gotten nowhere. Peaceful protest does not work by itself because the moral high ground and sympathy don't work with bullies. Bullies only understand fear and violence so you need a good cop bad cop situation. Look at Ghandi. He got nowhere for decades until the bad cop showed up in the form of the Japanese threatening to invade. Then suddenly Britain was willing to strike to a deal.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I both admire the people of Hong Kong and worry for them. We have seen how the Chinese government deals with dissenters.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

CrazyJoe: Do you also "admire" the Portland protesters? What about the arrests, do you condemn the police for their heavy handed tactics?

Do you also condemn the police for seizing "weapons including chemical sprays, shields, metal and wooden poles, knives, and a stun gun from multiple groups." Or do you only condemn this when done by HK law enforcement?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

People in government who condemn "violence" should practice what they preach: police, thugs and soldiers sent in to intimidate protesters and to blunt or stop people's legitimate right to protest are never non-violent, as historical precedent proves. Humans are driven by emotions as well as guided by reason and will always respond viscerally to any violence organized by the state. The responsibility for the ongoing mayhem lies with the ruling authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong whose autocratic intransigence has stymied the people's demand for transparency and a resolution that befits the principles of true democratic rule.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Because portlanders are not fighting a dictatorship for the future of their freedom.

There's also the fact that portlanders wouldn't be fighting anyone if the right wing crazies didn't go to Portland merely to provoke others.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The brutality of HK police is not going unnoticed.

Beijing has seized on the unrest, with state media pumping out articles, pictures and videos damning the protesters.

Of course - the state depends on demonizing protesters as "terrorists" - it's what they do.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

While the prodemocracy protesters are, unlike in Syria, actually protesting for democracy, they are quickly becoming publicly seen (by the mainstream majority of Hong Kong) as violent and unreasonable extremists.

Which is why there are those (apparently invisible to reporters who didn't grow up in Hong Kong) large counterprotests. And a few more incidents of the protesters attacking ordinary people, or running riot in transportation hubs, will first create a situation where the police are so busy trying to keep violent counterprotesters and violent protesters from killing each other that they can't intervene when the protesters are roughing up ordinary people who just want to go about their day unmolested, and then demands from ordinary people that the police END THE PROTESTS by arrests and charges against the protesters.

PS, the protesters in Syria had a legitimate grievance, and were satisfied when the government addressed those grievances (in the usual manner in a democracy, both sides compromised some) but the violent elements did not go home peacefully and instead made a play to become the dictators and warlords with foreign backing. You may not have been allowed to learn this, but a lot of the Hong Kong public could, and did. And that fact is going to affect how tolerant of the violence and escalating demands even after the Hong Kong government compromised on the original issue.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Conundrum? There is no conundrum.

The protestors are not violent, nor do they plan violence. For the very simple reason that is they are not stupid. And they know violence is all Beijing is waiting for.

And when the violence doesn't come, agents from Beijing will plant "weapons including chemical sprays, shields, metal and wooden poles, knives, and a stun gun from multiple groups." And the Communists will scream "Lawlessness! Terrorism."

And they ban all protests. For safety, of course.

And the protests will continue. And then they will arrest anyone and everyone.

And then things will get very interesting.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And when the violence doesn't come, agents from Beijing will plant "weapons including chemical sprays, shields, metal and wooden poles, knives, and a stun gun from multiple groups." And the Communists will scream "Lawlessness! Terrorism."

This is already happening.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I support the protesters 100 percent, in their fight for freedom from communist China and for democracy. Carrie Lam, almost all HK politicians, the HK police, and the mainland Chinese gangs that were sent to HK by bus, starting the violence, are all instruments of single-party communist dictatorship. All should be destroyed!

An 8 million person army cannot be held back, as much as the PRC will try. Anyone who does not support the HK citizens fight is not a lover of freedom or democracy. Simple as that.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Without Malcolm X, Martin Luther King would have gotten nowhere. Peaceful protest does not work by itself because the moral high ground and sympathy don't work with bullies. Bullies only understand fear and violence so you need a good cop bad cop situation. Look at Ghandi. He got nowhere for decades until the bad cop showed up in the form of the Japanese threatening to invade. Then suddenly Britain was willing to strike to a deal.

What if turns out that the "good cop" is the Hong Kong Police, and the "bad cop" is the People's Armed Police? What then? Violence begets violence.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Freedom is not a conundrum .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I support PEACEFUL protests against any government, but I do not support RIOTS against any government be they Chinese or US.

It appears about 1.7mil in HK are/have protested. This represents about 25% of the HK population. So, 25% of the population want change. If 25% of voters voted for a president, would that be sufficient for him to be voted in? I thought democracy was the wishes of the MAJORITY of the voters. If the whole of the Chinese population is consider, 1200mil, the percentage of population protesting for change is about 12%. Would a vote of 12% get a candidate voted in for President? And, yes, HK is part of China.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Strange article at this time.  Massive and wholly non violent march on the weekend seems to indicate that the violence is being ramped down and not up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

By and large the protests initiated by the Hong Kong people are peaceful-the police are the violent ones!

The use of tear gas, beatings with batons and driving vehicles into protestors to punish peaceful assembly is an assault and battery.

The Hong Kong police are breaking their own laws...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Norman Goodman

Look at Ghandi. He got nowhere for decades until the bad cop showed up in the form of the Japanese threatening to invade. Then suddenly Britain was willing to strike to a deal.

What's the actual point of this analogy? Are you suggesting that Gandhi should have raised his own mechanized army of millions to take on the British? Because I don't remember that ever being a realistic option. Gandhi's non-violence bought him time to wait for the pieces on the global chess board to re-align in a more favorable way. The decades of getting nowhere (as you put it) allowed him to choose his moment and topple the British when they were at their weakest.

As far as HK is concerned, China is now at the height of its military and economic power, there is currently little support on the mainland for these protests, there are no clear divisions in the CCP to exploit, and no external enemies threatening China. Any violence would be suicidal at this point. The protest leaders would just be killed or disappeared and the entire movement would be delegitimised and demoralised for a generation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find any discussion predicated on the idea that violence is "wrong" is inherently flawed.

While violence is not to be desired, sometimes it becomes inevitable.

All revolutions throughout history have started as a result of the absence of any other mean to effect change.

And that includes China, where Mao and his merry band of revolutionaries believed that armed, violent revolution was the only way to effect change. Because there was no other way to do so.

The same is true of the American revolution. Taxation without representation. No ability to influence / change the policies that the UK was imposing on the American colonies.

Which brings us to Hong Kong.

The PRC and its dictatorial leaders in the CCP will never allow the people true democracy. That is, to allow the people to directly choose their leaders based on their wishes.

So how do the people effect change??

If you eliminate the democratic process, then what options do they have???

Peaceful protests are a starting place.

But what if the unaccountable, arrogant government does not respond???

Then what are the people to do??

THIS is why revolutions happen. This is why sometimes violence is required.

I love the sanctimonious statements of the PRC and the CCP, decrying revolutionary tactics, when these are the very tactics they used to seize control of mainland China!!!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

China's democracy is

Nonexistent.

tolerance based, inclusive

Tell that to the Uighurs and Tibetans.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

rlperez@hotmail.com.auToday  10:28 am JST

It appears about 1.7mil in HK are/have protested. This represents about 25% of the HK population. 

For one thing, you hadn't cut the kids (which would not be part of the voting population) out of the equation. For another thing, to equate a protester to a voter is flawed, simply because the time investment, not to mention the risks are simply incomparable. I'll say an "iceberg" rule, where if you see one protester you assume at least 10 more people that are leaning in that direction, is more realistic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

 Let the world see with their own eyes, why would the freedom pro-democracy mask their faces ?

I agree. In fact, China is far too secretive overall.

What are they afraid of ?

People who the state does not agree with have a strange habit of going missing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All US propaganda and talk will not change the fact that HK is, and will remain, part of China. No US covert operations will change this. HK is as much a part of China as Texas is part of the US.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All US propaganda and talk will not change the fact that HK is, and will remain, part of China.

So what do you think, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable Riperez?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Those rioters have never been outside of HK.

What? The rioters are from China. The protestors caught one of them the other day and turned him over to the HK police.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Haaa Nemui, what kind of experiences ? Don't you think they look the same as some people in middle east ?

Experiences in the UK of course. Like that which you were trying to tell us they don't have. I don't care if they look like some people from the middle east. I do care that they look like people who are fighting for their lives. I do care that authoritarian China is starting to look like Nazi Germany.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangerland, China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

1.4 billion people never supported the rioters, is it non democratic ? where is human right when a journalist was almost killed, in public, reported live by the west human press ?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Strangerland, China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Yes, that is correct.

1.4 billion people never supported the rioters, is it non democratic ?

Um, this has nothing to do with democracy.

where is human right when a journalist was almost killed, in public, reported live by the west human press ?

Which has nothing to do with democracy.

Again I ask:

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Strangerland, HK is China's HK, that is basic fact. If you don't like China, leave, no one ask you to subject to anything or anyone.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If you don't like China, leave

Um, that's exactly what the HKers want to do. China won't let them.

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Strangerland, on behalf of 1.4 billion Chinese people, those rioters can leave, the sooner the better.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Strangerland, on behalf of 1.4 billion Chinese people, those rioters can leave

It's their country. Why should they leave? China can stay home.

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Strangerland, on behalf of 1.4 billion Chinese people, those rioters can leave, the sooner the better.

How about HK just leaving China and becoming independent state. Problem solved.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

zichi, so you are not supporting democracy and rule of laws, are you ? You just want China be spitted, and that is why you supported the inhuman violence, don't you ?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

zichi, so you are not supporting democracy and rule of laws, are you ? You just want China be spitted, and that is why you supported the inhuman violence, don't you ?

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Akie Today 02:14 pm JST

zichi, so you are not supporting democracy and rule of laws, are you ? You just want China be spitted, and that is why you supported the inhuman violence, don't you ?

I don't understand why you keep using this word. Nor China nor Hong Kong are democratic.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Strangerland, do you feel embarrassed when you repeatedly demonize China's human rights ? What can you do to feed 1.4 billion people, just for a day, at the same time make them happy and proud for being the most peaceful place on earth ?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Eppee, what is you definition of democracy ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Strangerland, do you feel embarrassed when you repeatedly demonize China's human rights ?

China does not respect human rights. This is not me demonizing it, it's simply stating a fact.

Why do you have such a problem with that fact?

What can you do to feed 1.4 billion people, just for a day, at the same time make them happy and proud for being the most peaceful place on earth ?

What does this have to do with China's atrocious record on respecting human rights? And why are you so afraid to answer this question:

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Eppee, what is you definition of democracy ?

There can be various definitions of democracy.

And China doesn't fit any of them. Not a single one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Strangerland, I see. Your democracy has nothing to do with people, especially Chinese people. You don't care if they are suffering, if they are hungry, if they are treated unfairly. That is your human right, right ?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Strangerland, I see. Your democracy has nothing to do with people, especially Chinese people.

I believe Chinese people are entitled to human rights and democracy, same as everyone in the world. It is China that does not respect these rights of its citizens.

You don't care if they are suffering, if they are hungry, if they are treated unfairly.

On the contrary, I would support the Chinese people in protesting against their country's lack of respect of human rights as much as I support the HKers.

I love China. I love the Chinese. I feel sorrow that they do not get to live in a country where they can choose their government, and that they live in a country where if they say the wrong thing about the government, they "disappear".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

rlperez@hotmail.com.au: It appears about 1.7mil in HK are/have protested. This represents about 25% of the HK population. So, 25% of the population want change. If 25% of voters voted for a president, would that be sufficient for him to be voted in?

Your premise is centered around a very illogical assumption. Why are you assuming that the total number of people who would vote for the protestors' cause is exactly identical to the people who are on the streets? I don't think it's any stretch of logic to say that there are many, many more people who support (and would vote for) the protestor's ideals who haven't marched on the streets. Plenty of people are at work, elderly, sick, unable to leave their young children or elderly parents, or simply have a fear of being attacked by the HK police.

What makes this protest a remarkable one is the sheer numbers of people who DO appear on the streets, when it's a very difficult thing (anywhere) to get that number of people to organize publicly. Going to vote is an easy action, even for a lazy person. Marching all day in the hot sun is terribly difficult. The numbers that DO appear on the streets should suggest to you that the number of total supporters (i.e. voters) is very large indeed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland, you are not a judge, are you ? If you were a judge, which international law says that China has to be as democracy as yours ? let alone yours is a fake one. Democracy means tolerant, democracy means inclusive, democracy means respect others choices. Your democracy has none of them, true ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

zichi: "How about HK just leaving China and becoming independent state."

How about HK leaving China so that the US can establish a missile base in HK? This is what will happen and this is why China will never relinquish HK.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

AkieToday 02:43 pm JST

... Democracy means tolerant, democracy means inclusive, democracy means respect others choices.

Heuuu... no.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

means inclusive, democracy means respect others choices

Just ask the Tibetans and Uighurs how included and respected they feel.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How about HK leaving China so that the US can establish a missile base in HK? This is what will happen and this is why China will never relinquish HK.

And you know this how?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland, you are not a judge, are you ? If you were a judge, which international law says that China has to be as democracy as yours ?

Where did I ever bring up law?

Stay on topic please.

Democracy means tolerant, democracy means inclusive, democracy means respect others choices.

No, those are not what democracy is. They are often the results of democracy, but they are not what defines it. Maybe you should do some research to find out what it is, before criticizing it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your democracy has none of them, true ?

Um, I'm not from a democracy.

So what do you think Akie, should the protestors sit back and allow themselves to be subjected to China's non-democratic dictatorship that does not respect human rights?

Or should China start respecting human rights? Which do you think is preferable?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Strangerland and Akie, you are just going around in circles. No further comments on this thread, thanks.

People are all talking about democracy, but Hong Kong had not democracy under British rule, it was just something that Patton did immediately before handover to piss off the Chinese (who incidentally allowed it to remain)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is from the WSJ and how the protesters are behaving. Democracy is one thing but preventing paramedics from reaching an unconscious man in need while all the rest just watched is not going to help your cause.

https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/chinese-reporter-assaulted-at-hong-kong-airport-becomes-mainland-hero-11565789917

1 ( +1 / -0 )

quercetum: This is from the WSJ and how the protesters are behaving.

It's an awful and disgusting story, but it's unfair to say that this story is how "the protesters" are behaving. Take absolutely any segment of society that's 1 million+ strong, and you're going to have some terrible people included in that group. Considering the numbers of people involved in the protest, and what's at stake, they've actually caused very little harm or damage overall.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think we see a blueprint how this will play out. The Peking government will eventually use the violence as a reason to march in and declare martial law. That they will will infiltrators to create more violence is a given.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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