Monday, July 03, 2006

July 1st - Handover day

Saturday was the 9th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to the PRC.

The day was basically filled with demonstrations. In the morning there was a very nice, well choreographed parade by those who support the government . It had PLA troops marching, bands and all sorts of normal parade type things. There were about 20 to 28 thousand participants. It was odd to me that this was the first year that the government supporters had done this.

The afternoon was finished off by the annual protest march sponsored by the people that have problems with the government. There were over 50-thousand people at this march. The protesters were a really eclectic bunch. There were people that oppose the governments' lack of transparency, those that want a more universal suffrage, the Fa-Lung Gung goofballs and assorted anti-communist groups as well as those that do not think the PRC is communist enough. While the protest march was not as glitzy as the pro-government parade it was still an impressive event because of its shear size.

I have been and will continue to remain quite critical of HK government. However, I did not join the march. I watched from the air-conditioned comfort of the R-66 restaurant dining room 62 floors above street level.


Several reasons.

  1. Eventhough a I live here I still look like a foreigner. The Chinese, appear to me to be a very racist group for the most part and I do not want the process of political reform to be torpedoed by because someone looks at me and says "See, this is plot to return us to the British or make us like the Americans."
  2. The opposition to the government is not focused. There are too many groups with too many agendas. I cannot in good conscience support some of the groups in the opposition. Indeed, I can whole heartedly support many of the government positions. Therefore, I was somewhat conflicted. Not necessarily satisfied with the way things are but not completely outraged either.
  3. My wife wanted to go out and eat at this restaurant and I put my wife above my politics.

However, it occurs to me that there are several things that political groups in the US and Europe could learn from Hong Kong.
  1. There was no violence. One side rallied its forces and held its parade complete with waving banners and placards and then the other side had its turn.
  2. Everybody was polite.
  3. No windows were broken.
  4. Nobody was arrested.
  5. Nobody needed to be arrested.
  6. No cars were burned
  7. Each side got its point across.
If you think that the issues involved were of less importance to the people here than the issues involved with rioters in France or the political thugs in the US you are wrong.

We have less freedom here but behaved in a more tolerant manner.

If the "anti-war" or "anti-abortion" or "pro-war" or "pro-abortion" or "anti-Bush/Cheney/Haliburton" or "anti-CFR/Builderburgers" or the "The democrats are traitors" groups in the US would act this way I think the world would be a better place. Here in Hong Kong we are basically a free people. But, we live with the constant shadow of the repressive PLA government. There is a niggling fear that one day the tanks will roll down our streets because we refuse to tow the PRC line on every issue. China proabaly executes more prisoners every month than the US does in two or three years. Many more People in China are placed in horrible jails for simply speaking out against the horrible corruption and inhuman practices of the PRC government. We live under a threat, both real and implied that one day our freedom could be taken away. Yet, here were the people of Hong Kong engaged in peaceful, organized protest with no stones, no bullets, and no violence.

Yes, the people who wish to protest in the US and Europe could have learned a lot from us on Saturday. The WTO protesters should take a few notes.

Good job Hong Kong! I'm proud of you.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who doesn't Go To Political Marches


Nick said...

Hey, thanks for the link to my blog...I'll link to your as well!

Great write-up on the July 1st protests...I was interested in attending this as well, but didn't make it either.

I've only been here 4 months, but am developing an interest in the local political landscape. It's hard to gather what exactly all the issues are, but I know that the voting system is definately a major one.

Great blog, by the way!

Fai Mao said...

Thanks Nick

Beth Danae said...

Hi, this is Nick's wife (also a blogger) I thought the post was good as well, but I think the best part was where you said "We went out to eat cuz my wife wanted to and I put my wife before politics"

Always the way to go... :)