I have been delighted to read about the protests occurring at the moment in Hong Kong. While I don’t particularly wish to dwell on the reason for these protests, it is worth mention for a little background – China wishes legislation to be adjusted to allow the part to extradite citizens accused of something to the mainland for investigation and trial. Fears trials will be unfair and courts unjust have led the citizens of Hong Kong, already having to adjust their lives to live according to a party which controls the media and restricts information, to protest, sometimes violently, this new infraction on rights agreed to when Britain handed back control of the island.
While the problems the Chinese citizens suffer under, and having lived in China for some fifteen years I’m very familiar with the people and the culture, and find Chinese people to be generally cheerful, despite their circumstances (although they are kept from understanding their circumstances), are serious, it is the protest itself upon which I wish to focus.
Protest, complain, and action – so very different from a couple of people hanging around a smoking area, or over a dinner, or comfortably in their houses just after a bottle of wine and a challenging game of charades… When large numbers of citizens come together and shout out their outrage… to the very people who are employed by the citizens, to make the citizens lives easier… I get a warm and tingly feeling… perhaps there’s just a little hope left after all.
At some point… or perhaps it has always been so… the officials elected to administrate the larger issues of a community, allowing the majority to focus on the everyday concerns of their lives, have deluded themselves into thinking they know best (best for who is exactly why “politician” is now synonymous with “corrupt”). Rather than either acting purely on the wishes of the majority, or persuading the majority with reason and honesty why a particular path is the more sensible option for “enlightened self-interest”, they simply make the decisions… and in order to maintain control resort to manipulation (whether through media control, propaganda, religious fanaticism, or just outright lies).
They have installed themselves as kings, and have created foundations of bureaucracy, where the individuals filling the posts are loyal to the system due to rewards, or in hopes of one day having more influence within the system.
What we have recently witnessed in Hong Kong is an action of the majority, grouping together to [sometimes violently] remind those in charge who really allows them to remain there… I bet it has sent a shiver up the spine of the communist party (although rather than covering the immense protest they showed images of the leader having a successful handshaking tour of an international sycophant – both nation and leader).
Unfortunately, the majority of the Chinese people will never even hear of the protest, never consider the possibility, but for those of us who still have ears to hear, a clarion call has re-awoken our understanding of possibility – so very difficult to do as those in power (both political and financial), do their very utmost to compartmentalize our lives and then offer us sensational distractions as substitutes for meaning… but that is a rant for another day…