О насVOSTOK Magazine - это первое независимое медиа об обществе, культуре, истории и политике стран Ближнего и Дальнего Востока. Мы пишем обо всем, что кажется нам важным и интересным.
It's been already 5 days of protests in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, this event is only highlighted in foreign mass media, not in Russian or Ukrainian. This protest movement, let us call it like that, looks like another colored revolution: for example, yellow has become a symbol of the protests (after the initiator of protests named Wong, which means "yellow"). But this revolution drastically differs from the ones we saw in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.
What is the main difference? From my point of view, it is the age of the participants, most of who are aged from 21 to 23. It is the young generation which has just entered universities. It's not the national revolution, it's a student one. And now this young generation challenges the system, which has been building up for years, challenges Beijing and the whole country. Apart from the age difference, there is another important difference – the requirements of the protestors. They are not fighting for democracy, as it was in Ukraine or other countries, they are fighting against its restriction. We should note that people in Ukraine were fighting for freedom which they never had, getting only promises. In other words, Hong Kong citizens are not the donkeys who follow the carrot, as they already have the carrot, they're just aftraid that someone will take even a small bit of it. They probably know that the appetite arrives with the food, and after the first bit another is ought to follow.
But let's return to out young protestors, whose leader is 17-year old Joshua Wong, who has successful experience of the organization of mass protests. The first time he led people in the streets was when he was 14. 14! I am asking myself: "Is it possible in Russian society?". The answer is NO. One of the reasons for that is rather undeveloped civil society that is not able to believe a 14-year old boy. Joshua, a schoolboy at the time, gathered 120,000 people and demanded the Hong Kong authorities to stop the communistic propaganda in their schools. And they succedeed, as the government did what they'd asked for. But this time Joshua was followed by even more young people who are ready to fight for democracy till the end. Why did the number of protestors rise so much this time? Because the government has made the same mistake as the government of Ukraine in late November, 2013, when few thousands of students went out onto Maidan and were met by "Berkut" special forces, who fastly smoothed out the groups and that started the chain reaction. The authorities used tear gas in Hong Kong and this led to increasing of the number of protestors. The thing is, such uncivilised methods of dispersing seem like wildness to young people, as Hong Kong had been under British rule for a long time, so they are not used to brutal measures — the've never experienced anything like that. Moreover, the truth is with the young – they demand the democratical elections of the head of Hong Kong (promised by Britain while giving it away to China), where they can choose not from the ones sent from Beijing, but from those who the locals want and trust. However, after the dispersing with tear gas one more requirement was added – government's resignation.
Official Beijing is still silent. Probably, it gives the local authorities the chance to deal with the situation by themselves. But the silence can't go on forever, as the situation is dangerous. None of the sides is going to give in. Local authorities have already stated that Beijing won't compromise, although, I repeat, official Beijing said no word and won't say in the near future (from 1 till 3 of October a national holiday takes place in China – National Day of the People's Republic of China). Anyways, we should not wait for the commentaries till October, 3. But anything could happen, e.g. force majeure.
Official Beijing got itself into, let's say, an unpleasant situation for several reasons, and now faces the dilemma, which is: to satisfy the ambitions of protestors (ensure the democratical elections and accept the resignation of Hong Kong's head) means to create the precedent for other Chinese provinces. Not satisfying the protestors means jeopardising the Main Land (continental China), where at any moment the protest bacteria can enter, and this process would be hard to control, considering the high density of population not only in megacities but even in small towns.
It's also become rather obvious for official Beijing that use of power will just worsen the situation, as the experience of tear gas suggests, that would lead to a completely different outcome. Moreover, as we said, the age of protestors is 21-23 years, and they are just students, after the dispersing the age may rise up to 60, as it happened in Ukraine, when student protest turned into national, and the motto "Ukraine is Europe!" became "Away with the gang!". In this case the Central Square of Hong Kong will count not several hundred people, but several millions, if not more. Anyways, we'll see everything soon.