Hongkong: United States and Hong Kong Essay

Submitted By rroasted
Words: 1591
Pages: 7

Hong Kong Protests A situation is developing in Hong Kong where students are protesting recently made changes in how they can elect a leader. In 1997 the British returned control of Hong Kong over to mainland China. This hand over was expected to cause problems but actually went relatively smoothly. This return of power allowed China to get a taste of capitalism, and greatly boosted their economy. The peaceful coexistence between these two entities came to an end when a decision was made to lower the amount of political power that Hong Kong holds. This decision sparked large protests which have become known as the “umbrella revolution”, for the umbrellas used by protesters to block pepper-spray fired from the riot police.
Soon after organized civil disobedience began information leaked which indicated these operations were largely funded and supported by the United States, through many had suspected this from the beginning. This is only the latest development on the world stage which is quickly becoming something reminiscent of the cold war. In response to this development the United States government claimed they are only trying to support democracy. This statement contradicts itself, as a democracy does not include outside entities asserting control over power. These moves have only worsened relations between Beijing and Washington, and removed credibility from the protest leaders. I wholeheartedly support an independent Hong Kong, but this needs to be achieved by true grassroots movements, not the United States getting involved in yet another type of proxy war.
On August 31, 2014 the tenth session of the standing committee in the twelfth National People's Congress set new limits and procedures for the 2017 chief executive election. This decision states that a 1200 member nominating committee will be formed for the election. This nominating committee will vote on two or three candidates, each of which must receive at least half of the vote. After winning the popular vote the nominee will still have to be accepted in the Central People's Government. This will allow Beijing to ensure that a chief executive is elected which will act in their interests, which are usually not aligned with the interests of Hong Kong.
The change in policy by Beijing sparked off a number of protests and boycotts. Civil disobedience protests now known as Occupy Central were organized. On September 13 secondary-school students staged protests outside of the central government offices and announced a week long class boycott to begin on September 26. The tertiary school students announced their own week long class boycott to begin September 22. These students came up with four demands: universal suffrage (right to vote), the resignation of chief executive CY Leung, the withdrawal of the decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the submission of a new electoral reform plan which includes civil nomination of Hong Kong's chief executive.
On September 27 the police surrounded the protestors in the center of Civic Square. The police initially allowed protesters to leave if they showed their ID, but the peace soon broke down and the police began to pepper-spray and arrest protesters. By the end of the night 78 people had been arrested. The plan to occupy Hong Kong's Central Government Complex was initially set to begin on October 1st, but protest organizers decided to begin the occupy movement on September 28th to take advantage of the momentum and large numbers of protesters in the area. During the late morning of the 28th police again began to encircle the students. Protest leaders called for reinforcements, and soon the riot police were themselves encircled. Through the use of tear gas the police were about to route the protesters, who took up positions in strongholds located in commercial neighborhoods of Hong Kong.
For the next week civil disobedience continued, and plans were made for protest leaders to meet with