Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What do the Hong Kong protesters want now?

If you thought that the Hong Kong protesters had achieved what they wanted, and are not sure why they are still protesting, then you are not alone.
The initial mass demonstrations were in sponteneous opposition to Carrie Lam's administration's plans to allow extradition of Hong Kongers to mainland China for trial in the Communist Party-controlled Chinese courts, which was widely seen as an erosion of the "one country, two systems" policy and of the civil rights of Hong Kong citizens. So large and so successful were these demonstrations that the administration backed down and suspended the extradition bill. So, that's it, right? Job done, back to work.
Not so, say the protesters. They want:

  • The complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, not just its (possibly temporary) suspension.
  • The resignation of chief executive Carrie Lam for even considering the bill.
  • The official withdrawal of the use of the word "riot" by the government in relation to the protests.
  • The unconditional release of all arrested protesters, and the dropping of all charges against them.
  • An independent inquiry into police behaviour during the protests.
  • The implementation of genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

Now, you might think that some (even all) of these demands are fanciful and unlikely ever to be acceded to, and you may well be right. You might think that the protesters are pushing their luck, and that they should have stuck after their initial victory and crystallized their gains, and you mighte right there too. But the protestors obviously see this as their last best chance to rectify a whole bunch of grievances, while.they are still on a roll.
Me, I understsnd to where they are coming from, but I think they may have overstepped the mark in practical terms, and now risk bringing down the prodigous weight of China on their heads, and possibly even losing everything they have gained thus far. But maybe that's just me being a timid old fogey.

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