The first wave of protesters have been reported to be angered by the Chinese government dictating who is allowed to be a candidate for the elections of Hong Kong’s leadership, the “patriotic education” imposed on students, and the amount of involvement of the Communist Party in Hong Kong. For a brief background understanding, Hong Kong was passed on from Britain to China 17 years ago, since then, Beijing has had to allow Hong Kong to retain a certain degree of autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems.” The involvement of the Communist Party in Hong Kong posits a threat to the people of Hong Kong that are firm about this idea; two groups of protesters responded to China’s ruling: the democracy activists Occupy Central who promised demonstrations against the government, and the students of Hong Kong who initiated action by breaking into the main government offices in September 26th. In a timely manner, Occupy Central started its demonstrations early due to the activity of the students. This was resisted by the Chinese police that used tear gas on protesters on September 29th which only strengthened the opposition to the government. Nonetheless, the Chinese government has publicly responded in support of its administration at handling the situation through the Communist Party’s newspaper, People’s Daily.
However, there is a polarity of opinions in Hong Kong, for there is reluctance from the economical aspect the city. Anti-Occupy protesters began conflicting with the pro-democracy demonstrators at the Mong Kok site in Hong Kong. Claiming to be the silent majority, the pro-Beijing and pro-business parties of Hong Kong have had conflict with the pro-democracy protesters which has resulted in violence. The movement of the silent majority claims that the Occupy Central movement is trying to reach democracy through the wrong methods:
“Occupy Central used phrases like “paralyze the Financial Centre for a long period” and “hundreds of thousands of people occupying Central District” and once referred to their movement as “a weapon of mass destruction”. After all their contradictory statements what does OC really want?” (Source: silentmajority.hk/index.do)
The silent majority movement claims to oppose the violent approach to gaining democracy in Hong Kong which it attributes to Occupy Central. The central claim from the silent majority is that civil-disobedience causes unrest and chaos. However, one must bear in mind that fundamentally speaking, Occupy Central is a fairly moderate, non-violent movement, whereas Hong Kong’s Student Federation may not act according to that ethic. Thus, it is uncertain as to whether or not the silent majority’s claim against Occupy Central is correct.
One of the central issues in Hong Kong is that the pro-democracy movement has demanded to Hong Kong’s leader, Leung Chun Yin, to resign, to which has responded that his resignation “will not solve the problem.” Mr. Leung has demanded the protesters to cease their activities for according to him the “mass movement… has spiraled out of control.”
And as these protests continue, China’s Communist Party is concerned that the protests for democracy will expand outside Hong Kong. Government insiders claim that Beijing is directing Hong Kong’s strategy for dealing with the protests, thus the central government is once again involved with the local affairs of Hong Kong. “President Xi Jinping of China, who is also the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, has been briefed at least once a day on developments in Hong Kong, according to two people involved in Hong Kong’s and Beijing’s decision making.” (Source: The New York Times) With the supposed involvement of Beijing in Hong Kong’s affairs, there is been a change on the tactics of response shifting from a confused local government to a delicately, calculating expertise. It seems that the intention behind such an approach is to prevent a conflict to the level of the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989, for this would leave China with further political scars. Meanwhile, Beijing condemns the pro-democracy demand illegal and politically unsound, while Leung Chun Ying insists that Beijing will dictate how his successors will be chosen.
Recent reports state that the pro-democracy protesters have pushed through police forces to gain control again of the Mong Kok camp. However, “around 500 to 600 police carrying wire cutters and riot shields stormed the Mong Kok site, a smaller offshoot of the main downtown protest area, catching the 100 to 200 protesters by surprise.” (Source: CNN)
As this is going on, Leung Chun Ying said that the government is looking forward to continue the discussions held with the main student group starting October 20th. However, the Hong Kong Federation of Students has commented on this claiming that it is willing to have dialogue but said “it hadn’t been approached by the government or its representatives.” (Source: CNN)