It’s 100 days since the protests in Hong Kong burst onto TV screens around the world. Since last week [9-14 Sep], the Government has started to make some moves to address the deep structural problems of land and housing, and attempting to copy Macron’s rounds of public consultation.
Even Beijing has issued a statement indicating that young protestors with heavy student loans and poor job prospects faced with no housing solutions could do better by seeking jobs in China!
Hong Kong’s richest tycoon, Lee Ka Shing, has appealed to the Hong Kong government to mend bridges with the “future masters and mistresses of the city”. However, the Hong Kong police force continues to ride roughshod over protestors and blatantly show its bias whenever democracy protestors clash with China loyalists in various guises on the streets.
The Hong Kong government still will not yield over the most substantial demand – setting up a Commission of Inquiry.
After the relative calm of the mid-autumn Moon Festival on Friday night, last Sunday [15th] saw yet another massive demonstration which took over the main streets of Causeway Bay, Wanchai and Central.
This time the march went ahead without police permission, and was therefore deemed illegal. However the sheer size of the march meant that the police could do nothing other than pick off demonstrators towards the end of the day.
The most militant sections of the demonstration are now equipped with plenty of Molotov cocktails, and one of the newly deployed water-cannon vehicles was briefly set alight.
The demonstrators have turned on the Mass Transit Railway system, angry about the MTR’s management decisions to close stations and stop trains seemingly to aid the police, with the bitter memories of riot police entering Prince’s station on 31 August in huge numbers, beating and arresting protestors and passengers indiscriminately.
Station entrances, corridors, ticketing machines etc have been extensively vandalised and set alight. It is unfortunate that the protestors have not yet managed to reach out to the MTR groundstaff and their union. If only the MTR workers can be mobilised alongside the protest movement a wider strike movement could spread and bring the city to a halt.
A section of the protest movement is waving the colonial flag of Hong Kong, the Union Jack, and the USA flag, marching to the US and UK consulate buildings, hoping to bring some pressure on US and UK governments to take action in support of the protest. Many holders of the British National Overseas (BNO) passports are hoping that the UK Government would allow them to have the right of abode in the UK.
This sentiment is naive, as the track record of the UK Government over many of its former colonies have shown. The protest movement badly needs its own emblem rather than rely on those other flags.
However, it now has its own anthem, a brilliantly composed song recorded by a 150-strong orchestra of volunteers. The spirit of resistance remains high as we enter the last two weeks before the People’s Republic’s 70th anniversary on 1 October.