The next round of political tumult in Hong Kong is underway this week, as thousands of university students started boycotting classes for a week and gathered in protest on Monday. They followed that up by trying to rush HK’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying for a “chat” on Tuesday and then going on a march Wednesday. They’re upset over Beijing’s refusal to grant Hong Kong open nominations for the 2017 chief executive election, though there will be universal suffrage for the first time. It’s noteworthy that on the same day, dozens of HK tycoons flew up to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping, reiterating their support for the regime and disapproval of the protesters. Occupy Central, the main pro-democracy protest movement, is planning an occupation of the Central business district next week, presumably on October 1, China’s National Day, and a holiday.
I feel bemused though somewhat sympathetic. I think the students’ boycott of classes by itself is not the best means of protest and won’t be much use in influencing the central government. However, I am aware that the students are giving up their time for a greater cause, basically caring about something other than money, materialism and themselves. I do respect that and especially as it’s something many Hong Kongers aren’t capable of doing.
My opinion piece was published Tuesday, in which I criticized the focus on politics by Hong Kong democracy activists, not because they’re wrong but they are misguided in their tactics. One, by openly fighting with the central government, rather than say taking on local HK tycoons, and two, by not focusing on socio-economic issues that have affected Hong Kong over the past decade. Interestingly, the BBC referred to my article in its report about HK student protests, but called it an editorial, and focused only on the critical comments about the protesters.