Starting on Monday, thousands of university students in Hong Kong have been gathering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tamar Park (outside the government offices) to protest the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China’s decision to restrict the right to vote for Chief Executive, the city’s highest political leader in 2017.
Article 45 of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s own mini-constitution implemented after the handover from Britain to China in 1997) states that the Chief Executive should be chosen by universal suffrage as an eventual goal. Time and time again the Communist Party of China have dodged/shut down any democratic progress. Last month the NPC announced that they would continue using the 1200-member committee, consisting of members loyal to the Communist Party, to vote for our CE. THIS IS ILLEGAL. THIS IS SHAM DEMOCRACY AND SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.
The sit-in of university students belongs to a movement called ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ and is led by The Hong Kong Federation of Students (schedule and declaration of the strike included). This act of civil disobedience consists of absolute non-violence. It consists of free public lectures offered by university professors and writers on topics like Orwell’s ‘1984’, history of Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy, Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight to end injustice etc etc. I was one of the students sitting in Tamar Park on Tuesday and Thursday and it was one of the most rewarding, educational and, I must emphasise, peaceful political activities I have ever witnessed.
On Friday, high school students led by the student group Scholarism joined in the protest. They marched to Civic Square, pleading for our current CE to come out of his offices and listen to their requests, just like he promised during his ‘campaign’ in 2012. More and more citizens joined in the protest after work.
The police started cutting off access to Civic Square, which is a publicly owned area. They used shields to form a blockade against the protestors and started pushing them back. When people resisted with umbrellas, they started using clubs and pepper spray on the protestors, who started putting both of their hands up to show they are unarmed. Many students who managed to rush in Civic Square are arrested, including the leader of Scholarism. Many of them have visible injuries caused by police brutality and some of them still haven’t been released from police custody.
THE FIGHT IS STIL GOING ON. PEOPLE ARE STILL CROWDING OUTSIDE CIVIC SQUARE AND TAMAR. Resources are running thin and the police are still threatening violence. Some of my friends are at the protest and they are continuing the struggle despite the risks. It is predicted that the police will escalate their brutality with tear gas, more pepper spray and water cannons against innocent, peaceful protestors, many of them teenagers.
You can watch Occupy Central live here: x (Apple Daily livestream)
I know tumblr is a US-centric place but PLEASE PLEASE SPARE A SECOND TO REBLOG THIS POST. Hong Kong is a tiny city. We are anything but a formidable force in international politics. The only thing we can do is raise awareness among the world and force our corrupt government to answer to our protests.
PLEASE HELP US.
Articles on Occupy Central (English): x (The Economist), x (BBC News), x (Mail Online), x (Newsweek), x (CNN), x (Right Now I/O), x (NY Times)
Updates (Chinese): x (Campus TV, HKU), x (Apple Daily), x (Amnesty International Hong Kong), x (InMedia HK), x (926政總現場消息發佈)
Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests & police crackdown, explained September 29, 2014
Protest marches and vigils are fairly common in Hong Kong, but what began on Friday and escalated dramatically on Sunday is unprecedented. Mass acts of civil disobedience were met by a shocking and swift police response, which has led to clashes in the streets and popular outrage so great that analysts can only guess at what will happen next.
What’s going on in Hong Kong right now is a very big deal, and for reasons that go way beyond just this weekend’s protests. Hong Kong’s citizens are protesting to keep their promised democratic rights, which they worry — with good reason — could be taken away by the central Chinese government in Beijing. This moment is a sort of standoff between Hong Kong and China over the city’s future, a confrontation that they have been building toward for almost 20 years.
On Wednesday, student groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy (see the next section for what that plan was such a big deal). Protest marches are pretty common in Hong Kong so it didn’t seem so unusual at first.
Things started escalating on Friday. Members of a protest group called Occupy Central (Central is the name of Hong Kong’s downtown district) had planned to launch a “civil disobedience” campaign on October 1, a national holiday celebrating communist China’s founding. But as the already-ongoing protesters escalated they decided to go for it now. On Friday, protesters peacefully occupied the forecourt (a courtyard-style open area in front of an office building) of Hong Kong’s city government headquarters along with other downtown areas.
The really important thing is what happened next: Hong Kong’s police cracked down with surprising force, fighting in the streets with protesters and eventually emerging with guns that, while likely filled with rubber bullets, look awfully militaristic. In response, outraged Hong Kong residents flooded into the streets to join the protesters, and on Sunday police blanketed Central with tear gas, which has been seen as a shocking and outrageous escalation. The Chinese central government issued a statement endorsing the police actions, as did Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, a tacit signal that Beijing wishes for the protests to be cleared.
You have to remember that this is Hong Kong: an affluent and orderly place that prides itself on its civility and its freedom. Hong Kongers have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to China, and see themselves as beyond the mainland’s authoritarianism and disorder. But there is also deep, deep anxiety that this could change, that Hong Kong could lose its special status, and this week’s events have hit on those anxieties to their core.
This began in 1997, when the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong, one of its last imperial possessions, to the Chinese government. Hong Kong had spent over 150 years under British rule; it had become a fabulously wealthy center of commerce and had enjoyed, while not full democracy, far more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. So, as part of the handover, the Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”
A big part of that deal was China’s promise that, in 2017, Hong Kong’s citizens would be allowed to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever. That leader, known as the Hong Kong chief executive, is currently appointed by a pro-Beijing committee. In 2007, the Chinese government reaffirmed its promise to give Hong Kong this right in 2017, which in Hong Kong is referred to as universal suffrage — a sign of how much value people assign to it.
But there have been disturbing signs throughout this year that the central Chinese government might renege on its promise. In July, the Chinese government issued a “white paper” stating that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that “the high degree of autonomy of [Hong Kong] is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership.” It sounded to many like a warning from Beijing that it could dilute or outright revoke Hong Kong’s freedoms, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens marched in protest.
Then, in August, Beijing announced its plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a special committee just like the pro-Beijing committee that currently appoints the chief executive. This lets Beijing hand-pick candidates for the job, which is anti-democratic in itself, but also feels to many in Hong Kong like a first step toward eroding their promised democratic rights.
People from all over have converged on St. Louis for #fergusonoctober after 24 hours many have expressed fatigue…props due to the youth of Ferguson who have been going non-stop for 63 days now. No time to be tired when you’re fighting for your life!!
Bryon Rich works at the New Hartford Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT. And he is advocating for the mass murder of college students for peacefully protesting. I’m supposed to trust this person with my safety?
He is also the captain of the Killabrew Bar Room Brawlers, a hockey team. Their Facebook page is here.
Everything included in this post is accessible to the general public. I have neither met nor otherwise interacted with this man, have no desire to, and have no access to any information other than that which he has made available to the public at large.
Hundreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver on Tuesday in protest over a conservative-led school board proposal to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority, in a show of civil disobedience that the new standards would aim to downplay.
The youth protest in the state’s second-largest school district follows a sick-out from teachers that shut down two high schools in the politically and economically diverse area that has become a key political battleground.
Student participants said their demonstration was organized by word of mouth and social media. Many waved American flags and carried signs, including messages that read “There is nothing more patriotic than protest.”
“I don’t think my education should be censored. We should be able to know what happened in our past,” said Tori Leu, a 17-year-old student who protested at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada.
“Last December, the Dallas city council enacted Ordinance No. 29595, which makes it illegal to serve food to the homeless without jumping through a statist myriad of bureaucratic hoops, including a fee, training classes, and written notices.
One should not need to file multiple forms and pay a fee to obtain a permit to give food to those in need who are willingly ready to accept it. The folks at Don’t Comply know this.”
A skin-tingling speech which speaks to the heart of #Ferguson – Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal on Missouri Senate floor Sept. 10, 2014. Chapelle-Nadal delivers a gripping speech calling Gov. Nixon to the carpet for allowing Senators and constituents to be stripped of their 1st Amendment rights while being tear gassed and treated like animals. She details how MO Governor Nixon allowed the state of emergency to escalate while he did nothing. Senator Chapelle-Nadal brings it all into perspective, detailing personal experiences as well as the racist history of #Ferguson which culminated into the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting when the MO Governor treated #Ferguson like foreign enemy territory. A must watch speech!
54 arrested in LA during Walmart protest November 8, 2013
Dozens of Walmart workers and activists were arrested last night protesting the company’s labor practices and retaliatory behavior in Los Angeles’ Chinatown last night in what organizers are calling the largest act of civil disobedience in Walmart history.
Workers, clergy and activists sat down in the middle of Cesar Chavez Avenue in a circle outside the company’s new Chinatown store last night. Some 825,000 Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year, workers say. Richard Reynoso is one of them, despite having a rare-for-Walmart full-time position as an overnight stocker.
“I got arrested today because I believe that taking this step will encourage others to be brave and step forward and stand up to the world’s largest retailer,” Reynoso said in a statement. “Walmart can’t silence me.”
The civil disobedience followed a protest outside a Walmart store in the working class Los Angeles suburb of Paramount, where 100 people gathered. The actions are supported by OUR Walmart, a union-backed workers group which organized the first strike in Walmart history last year.
TODAY at UT Austin, 5 Abortion Rights Freedom Riders, including intiator of Stop Patriarchy, Sunsara Taylor, were singled out and arrested when they joined with dozens of others in protesting the impending closure of abortion clinics in Texas, on the first official day of classes outside of UT Austin.
Thousands of students gathered as the freedom riders blocked traffic for over half an hour. About a dozen people joined in the action on the spot, incredibly inspired by what was happening. Hundreds took videos and photos, and watched on in awe.
There were many different reactions, both positive and negative. A few cars nearly hit some of the protesters, frustrated by not being able to get to lunch, or to work on time, etc. Yes, some people were inconvenienced today, but this is so much bigger than the day to day grind.
As we await the result of HB2 in Texas, it is still the case that most people do not even know that this law is scheduled to shut down all but 6 abortion clinics in the state. It is still the case that people think this is just a question of opinion, meanwhile this right is being stripped away, and affecting real women every single day.
It is long past time that students, not only understand what’s going on nationally with this abortion rights emergency, but actually understand the implications of this, to half of humanity, and fight back. It is long past time that this complacency be challenged, that these lowered sights be raised, and that students throw in on this fight.
Today, students were confronted with the reality of what it means when abortion is illegal or inaccessible. The question that poses itself in a moment like this: What will your life be about? What will your college career be about? Throughout history, students have always played a major role in movements against injustice. That needs to be the case today, in this abortion rights emergency.
Every single student, who does not want to see women forced to bear children against their will, who does not want to see women dying from self-inducing abortions due to inaccessibility, who does not want to see women’s rights be slammed back, and this backwards view of women be codified into law, needs to act NOW. It is not too late, we have not lost this battle. This is one of those moments in history where what we do really matters, and could have society wide impact.