An Insider’s View on Hong Kong protests

by Jennifer Kwon

Hong Kong has been following a “one country, two systems” policy since it was handed over to the People’s Republic of China in 1997 by the United Kingdom, which has allowed its people to enjoy both civil liberties and economic freedom.

At least that was what the people thought until recently when a university professor and a large group of students brought attention to the undemocratic interventions of the Beijing government in elections held in Hong Kong. Aside from what the media has been reporting about the protests, opinions of Carleton students who were born or raised in Hong Kong help us look deeper into this issue.

Avery Cheng (undecided, 2018)

“My family, especially my dad, is on the opposing side of the protests and Occupy Central movement while most of my friends are in the pro-protest side, arguing for universal suffrage and such.

By listening to both of their arguments, I can empathize with what each party has to stand for. What anti-protest people are saying is that since China has given us so much freedom already and has so little interference, why bother and why disrupt this perfect government that is already working so nicely.

On the other hand, the protesters are arguing we have to change the existing faults and improve the status quo. The older generation regards the younger people engaging in protests as naive because they think the students don’t realize how powerful the Chinese government is.

Honestly, I also don’t think China will ever take its hands off Hong Kong, it will always have its mark on Hong Kong.”

Florence Wong (Computer Science, 2016)

“I noticed that the newspapers in the United States and the newspapers back home (Hong Kong) take a really different stance when covering the protests in Hong Kong.

Here, I think the articles are a lot pro-democracy. The protests have been getting violent these days but my mom also told me that Western media amplified the violence of the police and instead toned down the violence of the protesters to make them seem more civil and democratic.

Back home, there are a lot of opinion articles not only advocating but also criticizing the ongoing protests. What’s also interesting is that, in China, the government blocks the coverage of the protest from the media so if you search Hong Kong protests in Chinese newspapers, you won’t get any results.

That makes me realize it’s important to think twice about what we are exposed to the media around us, even in the US or in China.”

Anonymous (2016) from Hong Kong  

“I would say the protests will last around two weeks. An article that I read this morning said that there’s just a sharp decline in every form, including the turnouts of the protests. It will break down eventually. This needs to be handled through good leadership which they are lacking. The people who are leading the protests are students and they’re missing class. They’re missing work. After a while, they have to go back to school and work.

It’s been great so far and the intention behind the protests is very honorable but that’s what’s going to happen and that’s what has been happening recently. It is simply not big enough; it needs major governmental displacement. If you really want to see change, you need to topple down the big figures on top such as a reelection.

My family and I are pro-protest, believing that takeover shall happen eventually, but the timeliness of it needs to be respected and adhered to. We have a right to self-determination that shouldn’t be taken away from us, especially by force. Hong Kongese are Chinese, at the end of the day, and taking away the land of your own brethren is frankly quite disgusting.”

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