In Hong Kong in the early 90s – before China’s takeover in 1997 – I spent a night sitting ont the 66th floor at the very top of the restaurant Revolving 66, rotating around the pulsating iridescent city, while glimpsing China behind the dark woods on the horizon. Since those times, the liberal population has experienced the growing presence of Communist China, fearing extensive control and surveillance. And with the China-friendly Hong Kong government’s proposition for the extradition of «criminals», its inhabitants got infuriated this summer. An unprecedented 2 million people, out of a total population of 7,4 million were protesting in the streets.
But can we glimpse something different and far deeper going on this time – which sets this incident apart from the umbrella-movement in Hong Kong in 2014 and the demonstrations at Tiananmen square 25 years ago? There might be something else happening, comparable to the yellow vests in France or the extensive environmental protests of Extinction Rebellion.
Today, more anarchist-oriented collectives in Hong Kong claim that the demonstrators are consciously presented as stereotypical rebels. Disquieting scenes with police, organized marches and oppositional leaders are seen as something to be avoided since they can easily be taken hold of, termed «criminals» and renegades, and the consequence is years of bitter disappointment. This is what happened with the umbrella movement, which started with the slogan of the intellectuals «Occupy the center with peace and love» – but without tangible results.
In Hong Kong, many protesters have chosen direct action, while others chose a pacific non-violent approach. And the groups dislike each other. The first groups don’t want small discussions, a search for consensus or endless talk, but chose direct action instead. YouTube videos show them cutting down surveillance cameras. They use masks and umbrellas to avoid being recognized. An action can be to crowd the subway to jam the network, another can be letting big groups cash out their money from the banks, causing a significant commotion.
That USA or foreign powers should be behind the …
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