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Hong Kong Descends into Chaos as Police use Tear Gas on Pro-democracy Protesters

September 29, 2014

ByoLdNJCAAEm_Sy

From the files of “What could possibly go wrong,” Police officers in Hong Kong have fired tear gas and pepper spray on thousands of pro-democracy protesters who are refusing to leave the Island’s main commercial districts of Central and Admiralty.

Students and activists are furious over Beijing’s decision to backflip on its earlier commitment to allow fair and democratic elections in Hong Kong in 2017.

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Despite assurances that China would not interfere in the governance of island as part of the handover of British rule to China in 1997, Beijing has since stated that it would “select candidates” for the forthcoming elections.

The decision has prompted mass protests that threaten to spread to mainland China as well as Taiwan.

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung called the protests “illegal” and declared that the elections would go ahead as planned by China.

Despite reports to the contrary, our exclusive sources say that the situation on the ground is “extremely chaotic” and that protesters are showing no signs of dispersing.

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The leader of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central pro-democracy movement has called for a mass civil disobedience campaign.

Mr Tai, a co-founder of the Occupy Central movement, announced the launch of a campaign to blockade the heart of Hong Kong’s financial centre, in a surprise announcement on Saturday.

Saturday’s demonstrations were joined not just by students, but by many other citizens disgruntled with China’s regime.

The numbers swelled from the hundreds to the tens of thousands, with police closing roads surrounding the area and urging demonstrators, especially minors, to go home.

The Hang Seng has tumbled as a consequence of the mass demonstration.

Meanwhile, government controlled media is in blackout with very limited reporting of the civil unrest being broadcast in mainland China.

 

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52 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2014 2:45 pm

    Instagram shut down as HK protests continue….

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/09/28/hong-kong-occupy-protests/16378965/

    This isn’t going to end well…. 😯

  2. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 29, 2014 3:13 pm

    China’s adoption of market economics inevitably resulted economic progress, the lifting hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty and an increase in the size of the middle class.

    The question is when the middle class will push for democratic reforms. Hong Kong is slightly different in that it had an established middle class when it was taken over by China. And it seems that here the middle class push for greater democracy is most advanced.

    The struggle now seems to be whether totalitarian China will prevail against Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations or whether, in effect, it will be a reverse takeover – with Hong Kong leading the way to democratic reform.

  3. September 29, 2014 3:32 pm

    “it will be a reverse takeover – with Hong Kong leading the way to democratic reform.”

    That would be nice, but personally I can’t see it happening…. I suspect the following prognosis is more likely…

    I wonder if Julie “humanitarian” Bishop will express her outrage when the tanks start moving in and mowing the protestors down?

  4. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 29, 2014 3:52 pm

    The evolution of democratic institutions in England is an example of trickle-down democracy. The Magna Carta gave limited rights to nobles. Over time the powers of parliament and the criteria for voting broadened. It took many centuries.

    In France the revolution (being leftist in origin) soon enough descended into a reign of terror and was supplanted by military dictatorship, then a restoration of a monarchy and a few more attempts at democracy in 1848 and 1870.

    The US was lucky enough to be able to start basically from scratch and to be guided by a brilliant collection of founding fathers who based their approach on the lessons of history.

    Germany saw its a democracy taken over by a virulent populist tyrant. Japan, in a successful example of nation-building had democracy imposed from outside.

    The Russian revolution saw the social democrats killed off by the radical left who imlemented a murderous dictatorship. It ended when everyone (except a few dumb western academics) saw that the emporer had no clothes and even the Communist leader Gorbachev could no longer continue the charade. It will be interesting to see how far Putin goes towards diminshing democracy or whether democratic reformers prevail.

    AS for China, there seems to be a taste for democracy, so maybe over time it will become more democratic. The recent attempts of the Communist Party to weed out corruption may be a reaction to that – maybe they think they are a chance if they are perceived at least not to be corrupt and acting in the nation’s best interests.

    This is all very interesting – is there a natural preference in China and Russia for strong autocratic nationalist leadership or a stronger popular yearning for democracy?

  5. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 29, 2014 3:56 pm

    “That would be nice, but personally I can’t see it happening”

    I remember after Tiananmen Square a Chinese friend who had been educated here and who eventually became an Australian citizen sided with the government and thought the protesters would bring chaos and were impertinent and ungrateful. She thought that China was not ready for democracy. Maybe they are now.

    In any event, I think the pressure for democracy will grow with economic prosperity, even if it is not successful this time around.

  6. September 29, 2014 4:03 pm

    ” I think the pressure for democracy will grow with economic prosperity, even if it is not successful this time around.”

    No doubt.

    I’ve been to HK quite a few times both before and after the handover on business and pleasure.

    The key to HK’s success was the fact that China pretty much let it run it itself independently.

    As long as everyone’s making money no one seems to care…. Perhaps this recent and quite dramatic protest is part of the post GFC global fallout, where the less well off are becoming increasingly pissed off that most govts these days seem to be well funded by big business, with big businesses being propped up at the expense (and taxes) of the less well off?

    It does seem to be a growing global movement with similar events in the US, Europe, the UK and here is Australia.

    Or maybe it’s just a coincidencement.

  7. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 29, 2014 4:07 pm

    “Perhaps this recent and quite dramatic protest is part of the post GFC global fallout, where the less well off are becoming increasingly pissed off that most govts these days seem to be well funded by big business, with big businesses being propped up at the expense (and taxes) of the less well off?”

    Good point. People will be pissed off when they are losing ground economically, particularly those who are barely breaking even.

  8. September 29, 2014 4:24 pm

    Like I was saying, most ppl in HK were quite happy while everyone was making lots of money, but it now seems that some are waking up to the fact that something more sinister is going on….

    “Occupy Central was highly controversial, with many worried that such a movement would taint Hong Kong’s business-friendly reputation and negatively affect its freewheeling markets…..

    …….Multiple surveys conducted prior to September 2014 all showed that more than half of Hong Kongers did not support Occupy Central, with a significant minority in favor. Two separate surveys released in August 2014 showed that more than half of Hong Kongers were willing to accept the flawed nomination process.

    That narrative has now changed for good after Hong Kong police’s rash response on Sept. 28….

    The images of Hong Kong as a war zone – where police used tear gas, batons, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against unarmed protesters – were deeply unsettling to residents here. Local online discussion boards are now full of discussions of police brutality.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/09/29/comment-turning-point-fight-hong-kong

  9. September 29, 2014 4:29 pm
  10. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 29, 2014 5:00 pm

    Echoing Tiananmen, 17-year-old Hong Kong student prepares for democracy battle:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/21/world/asia/hong-kong-joshua-wong-democracy-protest/index.html

    …But the teenage activist won’t back down. “People should not be afraid of their government,” he says, quoting the movie “V for Vendetta,” “The government should be afraid of their people.”…

  11. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 29, 2014 5:07 pm

  12. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 29, 2014 5:16 pm

    OCCUPY CENTRAL – THE FIRST 12 HOURS: Full report as events unfolded
    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1602958/live-occupy-central-kicks-hundreds-classroom-boycott-students-leave

    …6.02pm: Just before 6pm police fired tear gas has been fired into Harcourt Road, scattering protesters.

    Police have fired three volleys of the gas, but the wind has blown the smoke plume back towards the police line.

    5.50pm: Police have warned that they will “use a higher degree of force” if crowds do not calm down…

  13. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 29, 2014 5:42 pm

    http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1603762/live-severe-disruption-expected-day-dawns-occupied-hong-kong

    1.13pm: Condemnation of yesterday’s heavy-handed police tactics continues.

    Lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man, supporting protesters in Mong Kok, said: “Not a stone or a glass bottle has been thrown over the past week, but police decided to resort to tear gas. All people did was raise their hands.”

  14. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 29, 2014 6:01 pm

  15. September 29, 2014 8:08 pm

    ”””This isn’t going to end well”””
    ”””most ppl in HK(#china_too) were quite happy while everyone was making lots of money”””

    #yeah, l tend to agree, l can`t see china letting hk get away from them again

    .

    ”””Meanwhile, government controlled media is in blackout with very limited reporting of the civil unrest being broadcast in mainland China.”””

    #china is using the `rupert-model`

    .

    #yep, makes sense to me, #echosOfTienamen

  16. September 29, 2014 8:12 pm

    ””””Police have fired three volleys of the gas, but the wind has blown the smoke plume back towards the police line.”””” 🙂 #haha

    .

    ””””5.50pm: Police have warned that they will “use a higher degree of force” if crowds”””’ #l_have_no_doubt

  17. Tiananmen Tank Driver permalink
    September 29, 2014 8:25 pm

    I’ve got huge sympathy for the protesters’ cause. Such a pity they’ve associated themselves nominally with the moronic “occupy” movement. I’ll give the rank-and-file the benefit of the doubt, but have my suspicions about the motives of some of the so-called leaders.

  18. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 30, 2014 10:09 am

    When China shuts down Instagram there is an app for that:

    The Firechat app allows smartphone users to talk to one another “off-the-grid”, in the absence of a mobile signal or access to the internet. By making use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, messages are spread in a daisy chain fashion, jumping from one user to the next. The system is particularly effective when large numbers of people are congregated together – like at a music festival, or a political protest.

    Micha Benoliel, CEO of Open Garden, the firm that makes the app, tells BBC Trending there has been a huge surge in downloads from Hong Kong, as more than 100,000 new accounts have been created in less than 24 hours. Usage spiked during protests in Taiwan and Iran earlier this year, but never before on this scale, says Benoliel.

    Technology has been fueling the quest for liberty since the invention of the printing press.

  19. Tony permalink
    September 30, 2014 10:47 am

    “Technology has been fueling the quest for liberty since the invention of the printing press.”

    Yep. Go the pamphleteers!

  20. armchair opinionator permalink
    September 30, 2014 2:19 pm

    technology fuelling the quest for liberty:
    https://www.yahoo.com/tech/why-hong-kong-protesters-are-using-firechat-for-98734282244.html

    Why Hong Kong Protesters are Using Firechat for Peer-to-Peer Communications on Their Mobiles

    Protesters in Hong Kong are using WhatsApp, Twitter and any number of messaging and social media services to communicate and coordinate their activities as tensions with local Chinese authorities intensify. But one app in particular is getting more attention than usual: FireChat.

    technolgy subverting liberty:

  21. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 30, 2014 2:48 pm

    “Such a pity they’ve associated themselves nominally with the moronic “occupy” movement. “

    ToSy, this lot are clearly not your usual leftist rabble:

    Ali Moore reports from in Hong Kong that the protesters have been taking the time to clean up after themselves.

    cf Occupy Wall Street

  22. Meta permalink
    September 30, 2014 3:14 pm

    (Yep. And yep. And yep.)

  23. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 1, 2014 9:06 pm

  24. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 1, 2014 9:25 pm

  25. eggboxtroll permalink
    October 2, 2014 8:19 am

    ‘Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung expected the protest to last for quite a long time, which will impact the city’s economic development and its international reputation.

    ‘He reiterated that the government respected the people’s rights to express their views, and hoped that they would also respect the rights of road users.’

    China Daily

  26. October 2, 2014 2:44 pm

    Protestors have issued an ultimatum for CY Leung to reside by midnight tonight (HK time)…

    http://news.yahoo.com/protesters-press-hk-leader-quit-china-tells-us-024728695.html;_ylt=AwrTWVXmvixU1HwAzG_QtDMD

  27. October 2, 2014 3:41 pm

    ””””””’The protesters are furious at the central government’s refusal to allow free elections for the city’s next leader in 2017, insisting that only two or three candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee will be permitted to stand.

    They call this “fake democracy”””’

    # hey teabags, hk seems to agree with me, they don`t like non-choices either

  28. Tony permalink
    October 2, 2014 3:51 pm

    “# hey teabags, hk seems to agree with me, they don`t like non-choices either”

    Not only do they agree with you, they’ve probably been reading your online “work” and were inspired by you. 🙄

    Deluded much?

  29. public toilet permalink
    October 2, 2014 4:32 pm

    Unholy shit!

    Now dats a (so far) peaceful occupation.

  30. October 2, 2014 4:49 pm

  31. October 2, 2014 4:53 pm

    Unholy shit is right Boss…

    I’ve wandered around those streets of HK on many occasions and what is going on is simply extraordinary….

    I am quite uneasy about what is going to happen…

    Beijing has said it’s not going to budge, and past form suggests they won’t back down.

    I have a looming sense that it’s all going to turn ugly fairly soon..

  32. October 2, 2014 4:54 pm

    they`ve been (hk_cops) throwing some smoke bombs around but so far haven`t been seeking parking spaces for the tanks

  33. October 2, 2014 4:57 pm

    ””’what is going on is simply extraordinary….

    I am quite uneasy about what is going to happen…

    Beijing has said it’s not going to budge, and past form suggests they won’t back down.

    I have a looming sense that it’s all going to turn ugly fairly soon..””’

    #fcuk reb, you just summed up my thoughts perfectly

  34. public toilet permalink
    October 2, 2014 5:06 pm

    I think uneasy is a sensible default position, Reb.

    We don’t really know just how far along the sliding ‘giveafuckornot’ scale the mainland Chinese authority is, with regard to tolerating/crushing dissent.

    I’d be concerned that, if the protest isn’t put down with vigorous violence, mainland citizens might start acting up too; if I was them.
    One thing’s for sure. A precedent is about to be set.

    The world is about to learn how much contemporary China cares about negative PR…post Tiananmen Sq.

    Could be horrific…or a pleasant surprise. If I had to guess, I’d say god is angry with the people of Hong Kong for not speaking up strongly enough about ISIS & abortion, so they might be a fair way up Excrement Creek in the proverbial barbwire canoe.

  35. October 2, 2014 5:08 pm

    “A precedent is about to be set.”

    Yep, and Taiwan will be next.

  36. Tony permalink
    October 2, 2014 5:12 pm

    “I’d say god is angry with the people of Hong Kong for not speaking up strongly enough about ISIS & abortion”

    Not to mention Ebola!

    *tremble*

  37. October 2, 2014 5:30 pm

    ””””””’how far along the sliding ‘giveafuckornot’ scale the mainland Chinese authority is, with regard to tolerating/crushing dissent.”””””’

    about an hour ago one of the news-clips was fcuking john kerry ear-bashing china on fcuking democracy, with china telling teh-usa to stay the fcuk out of internal china affairs,

    (it seems to me, the more the fcuking yanks `pick` at other nations `sores`, the more-likely the other nation solidify`s its position away from what the yanks want anyway)

  38. public toilet permalink
    October 2, 2014 5:44 pm

    * I think that’s a reasonable point there, tbag.

  39. public toilet permalink
    October 2, 2014 5:53 pm

    “*tremble”

    Haha. One of the amusing (to me, at least…the members of cohabiting inertia hate it) things about our accomodation is the foxtardtel. I haven’t seen it for several years, so I chucked on insHannity, Bill O’Religitard & the gang. Well, all I can say is, same dog, different leg action; even after all this time!

    They really are at peak fearsquirt just now (funnily enough, they were 3+ yrs ago too) what with ISIS, Iraq redux, Healthcare, Teh Secret Service, Ebola/West African Travellers & suchlike!!! And guess who’s to blame for it all? ……….Obama! Whodathunkit?

  40. October 2, 2014 7:35 pm

    obama`s an islamic terror-fearist without a birth certificate #squirt #squirt

  41. October 5, 2014 12:51 am

    l noticed on tonights news it started to kick-off a bit, it seems the `aspirational-to-be-rich` teabags started fighting with the protesters because they want the roads opened again for business. lt seems tho, it backfired against the teabags as many more citizens came out to defend the protesters. #stillFeelUneasyAbout.HK.tho

  42. October 5, 2014 9:38 am

    It’s all going to turn to custard in the next 24 hours…

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/04/hong-kong-protesters-cleared-monday-chief-executive

  43. October 5, 2014 4:10 pm

    ”””It’s all going to turn to custard in the next 24 hours”””

    #yeah, agree, it seems the govt teabags are doing all they can to make it `custard`, using `triads` and assorted goons to go around starting violence

    ”””””””””’police had stood by as men trying to remove protesters hit, punched and sexually assaulted them.”””””””””””

    ”””””””””the government “used organised, orchestrated forces and even triad gangs in [an] attempt to disperse citizens”,””””””””””’

  44. Meta permalink
    October 5, 2014 4:42 pm

    (“Trust is a tremendous issue.”)

  45. eggboxtroll permalink
    October 5, 2014 6:19 pm

    The British were in HK for a 150 years and the locals didn’t get suffrage, so the Communists are a little miffed to say the least.

  46. Meta permalink
    October 5, 2014 6:32 pm

    (The involvement(s) of violent, secretive, pro-Chinese shadow-societies (and some rather fine equine specimens) seems somewhat out of character, historically, too.)

  47. eggboxtroll permalink
    October 5, 2014 6:56 pm

    Ji is caught between a rock and a hard place, what to do? He would be wise to relent and give HK a measure of political independence for the time being.

  48. October 6, 2014 9:20 am

  49. October 11, 2014 8:35 am

    Thousands of protesters flock back on to HK streets after talks with Beijing break down…

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-29563788?ocid=socialflow_twitter

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