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When the People Arise…

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions When the People Arise…

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  • #95444
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @seekjustice @rochellaine @jenwriter17 @catwing @dekreel @anyone-else

    Hey guys. Has anyone been following the Hong Kong protests?

    Whether one is for or against the protestors aside, having a group of rebels/revolutionaries rising up against the authorities is a common trope in fiction and I think the events in Hong Kong are making a great case study. What I find really interesting is that there are no clear leaders per se and that it really seems to be an uprising by the people against their government. I find the way the people are aiding each other for the protest (e.g. leaving money at ticket machines at stations so that those who can’t afford a train ride can get to the locations) to be really fascinating.

    #95449
    Jenna Terese
    @jenwriter17

    @valtmy

    I don’t think I’ve heard of what’s going on in Hong Kong. What are the protests about?

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther
    www.jennaterese.com

    #95453
    Emberynus The Dragonslayer
    @emberynus-the-dragonslayer

    @valtmy I don’t know anything about the Hong Kong protests

    Sold souls and dead promises

    #95479
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @valtmy

    I don’t usually have TV but I was away last week and able to watch 7News every night so I saw a lot about the protests and I also thought they were quite interesting and have been planning to do a more in-depth study on them.

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #95517
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @jenwriter17 @emberynus-the-dragonslayer @seekjustice

    The situation in Hong Kong is very complex so you may wish to read some news articles and do your own research on the matter but I will try to explain what I know as best as I can.

    First, a little background… The Hong Kong island is technically a part of China. While China’s Communist government is, for the lack of a better description, very authoritarian, Hong Kong is a democracy that is autonomous and self-governing (i.e. it has its own parliament, judiciary and legislature).

    How this strange situation came to be is this: Back in the 1800s, the British took Hong Kong from China in the Opium Wars and ruled over the territory as one of their colonies. Thus Hong Kong has developed differently compared to that of mainland China. In 1898 after the Opium Wars, the British government signed what was essentially a 99-year lease for the Hong Kong territory with the Chinese government, which was set to expire in 1997. As 1997 came close, both governments worked out a deal. In 1984, the British agreed to return Hong Kong to China on the promise that China would give Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years until 2047. China wouldn’t impose its government on Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s capitalist system and society would remain unchanged for that 50 years. The setup became known as “one country, two systems”. Thus Hong Kong became a special self-governing administration region of China. This was intended to protect Hong Kong’s economic policies, democratic freedoms and position as a major international trade and financial hub.

    All this is very nice in theory but as you can guess, it did not work out so well in practice. Although Hong Kong is supposed to govern itself, over the past years, pro-democracy activists have claimed that China has not upheld its end of the bargain and has meddled in Hong Kong’s legal rulings as well as its elections to ensure that their preferred candidates are chosen. While Hong Kongers enjoy many freedoms that people in mainland China do not have, these freedoms are perceived to be on the decline as China works to consolidate its power. As the year 2047 approaches (well within the expected lifetimes of many young people in Hong Kong today), there have been cases of people in Hong Kong disappearing (e.g. the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers) and later reappearing in custody in China.

    What sparked the current protests is an extradition bill proposed by the Hong Kong government in response to a homicide case in 2018. A Hong Kong man was accused to have murdered his pregnant girlfriend while they were on holiday in Taiwan. The man then flew back to Hong Kong. As the crime did not happen in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong authorities could not pursue the case. However, they also could not extradite the accused for prosecution in Taiwan as Hong Kong does not have an extradition treaty with Taiwan, and negotiating one would be problematic since the government of China does not recognise the sovereignty of Taiwan (Taiwan is another island region that regards itself as independent but is also officially part of China… but that is a story for another day). To resolve this issue, the Hong Kong government proposed an extradition bill that would allow the extradition of fugitives on a case-by-case basis. However, the Hong Kongers began to worry that this new extradition bill may be used by the Chinese government to detain and punish Hong Kongers under the Chinese justice system and erode their rights and freedoms.

    So the protests calling for the withdrawal of the extradition bill began. It began with peaceful assemblies and rallies. However, the situation has since escalated with clashes between protesters and the police (along with the alleged involvement of triad members supported by China), allegations of police brutality and all the pent-up unhappiness due to the increasing living costs and social inequality faced by the people over the years. What we are seeing now in Hong Kong is a society without any trust in their government and authorities. The fights are happening very frequently and are getting more violent and intense each day. Even though the extradition bill looks very dead right now, the people have continued to protest, making more demands for things like the stepping down of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the release of the protesters who have been arrested and greater democratic freedoms.

    I think it is quite certain that Hong Kong will never be the same again after this though I am not sure how this will all work out. China, as you may have guessed, has been sending their troops to the border.

    #95542
    Jenna Terese
    @jenwriter17

    @valtmy

    …wow. I’ll have to study this some more too.

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther
    www.jennaterese.com

    #95563
    Grace
    @literatureforthelight

    @valtmy

    (Taiwan is another island region that regards itself as independent but is also officially part of China… but that is a story for another day).

    As someone who hails from Taiwan, I’d say that we are independent, but not internationally recognized (because of pressure from China, a big world/economic power). So to kind of add to what you’ve been saying, political tensions in Hong Kong might have ramifications for Taiwan and Tibet, two other places that have their own controversies regarding the Chinese government. So this event hits a lot closer to home.

    I think I talked with you on Kingdom Pen… are you from Hong Kong? I think I get this inkling that you live in Singapore, but I can’t be sure 😛

    To be honest, I never really made the connection between mass protests and revolutionaries in fiction. I think that in general the rebel movements I’ve seen in stories have been largely undercover… until they’re not, and then the plot plays itself out at a remarkably fast rate. Of course, Hong Kong is different as it’s like a real-life siege, and remarkably peaceful for the amount of protestors showing up. Maybe it’s a good example to enhance the trope and let the plot unfold in what seems to be a stalemate.

    You’ve probably also seen the signs and pictures honoring the woman who was shot in the eye… it’s crazy how much impact one person can have on a crowd who’s angry. If somebody actually dies, it will be an even bigger deal. Martyrs do influence movements hugely, both in real life and in fiction.

    INFJ // The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

    #95568
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @literatureforthelight

    I like your explanation for Taiwan’s situation. 😛

    Yes, I’m from Singapore, though I was in Hong Kong until recently (managed to make it out before the airport sit-ins). 😀 I must say, the Hong Kong people truly know how to protest. I am very impressed by what they are doing.

    Personally, I think there is a link between mass protests and rebel/revolutionaries. If not, there should be one because I do not know how an undercover group can possibly gain popular support and win public trust if they have always been operating secretly until the last minute. Maybe that’s why I have never really liked rebel groups in fiction. To me, most fictional revolutionaries seem to be sorely lacking in leadership qualities and, you know, the knowledge and skills necessary to govern a nation after the story ends. Such stories also tend to focus only on a special group of rebels. In contrast, the movement in Hong Kong is decentralised and leaderless so it really does seem like a pure uprising of the people, which I find really interesting.

    #95634
    Emberynus The Dragonslayer
    @emberynus-the-dragonslayer

    @valtmy WoW!!! I didn’t know anything about this! I never look at the news.

    Sold souls and dead promises

    #95639
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @emberynus-the-dragonslayer

    We learn something new each day I guess. 🙂

    While this whole situation is very interesting, I do feel bad for the Hong Kong people because I don’t think democracy and/or independence is feasible for them. They don’t even have their own army and it is not as though they have a foreign power willing to back them up a la the American Revolution. The best outcome I can see is for them to become a nice little Chinese city with an interesting history.

    I also pity the Hong Kong policemen who are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Whatever the government has done, it can’t really be attributed to them and I can only imagine how stressful everything is for them. The protests have been going on for months but considering how largely peaceful it has been, it shows restraint on both ends.

    My worry is that the violence will increase and China will use that as an excuse to send their troops in. There will be implications for places like Taiwan as well (though I think Taiwan may be in a slightly better position since the Taiwanese actually have their own army). Other than that, I really don’t know how things will turn out.

    God help us.

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