Monday, September 1, 2014

"Let's Talk" and "Avatars of Nonviolence" in Hong Kong

While in Hong Kong earlier this year during January, I saw the following signs posted publicly in several locations by Hong Kong's government:

signs in Hong Kong saying "Let's talk and achieve universal suffrage" and "Please participate and express your views"

One sign said the closing date to "express your views" about "methods for selecting the chief executive in 2017" was May 3rd. After yesterday's announcement that Beijing will "filter" the possible candidates for the position of Hong Kong's top leader, some Hong Kong citizens still want to "talk and achieve universal suffrage", but they are "facing tough choices":
In the near future, the protests will achieve nothing, said Brian Fong Chi-hang, a political science scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and a supporter of the democracy movement.

“The most important challenge is that even if they succeed in mobilizing a large-scale Occupy Central movement in a peaceful and orderly manner, they will finally get nothing,” he said. “We cannot change anything.”

But leaders of the movement expect to wage a protracted struggle nonetheless.

“This is a long, long cause,” said Chan Kin-man, an associate professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and co-founder of the movement, known in full as Occupy Central With Love and Peace. “Civil disobedience is the starting point. Look at what happened in Martin Luther King’s case.”
The mention of Martin Luther King Jr. is a sign of how some will "look to avatars of nonviolence":
[T]housands of people gathered in intermittent rain to protest a decision by China’s legislature to put firm restrictions on a plan to expand the franchise to allow all adults in the territory to vote for their leader, the chief executive.

The demonstrators, many of whom wore headbands emblazoned with the Chinese characters for “civil disobedience,” said they drew inspiration from thinkers and practitioners of nonviolent protest, including Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dr. King.
And this reminds me of something else I saw this past January: shirts for sale at Hong Kong's Lunar New Year Fair pro-democracy booths.

"Civil Disobedience" shirt

shirt with Nelson Mandela's quote "It always seems impossible until it's done"

It wouldn't surprise me if the shirts are available again at next year's fairs.

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