Many thousands of people have been in the streets in Hong Kong this week, most of them young, because young people believe in hope. They are protesting the decision of the gray old men in Beijing to impose fake democracy on Hong Kong. The umbrella has become the symbol of these protests, beginning with the students’ practical idea of using umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray used by the police.
When the people of Hong Kong have the audacity to say they want control of their own lives, what does a government like China’s say to people around the world who are sympathetic? We always know it’s coming. Every authoritian government in the world says it. We’ve heard it from Arab dictatorships. It could be carved on the side of a mountain in Russia.
Don’t Interfere In Our Internal Affairs. As a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry phrased it, “We firmly oppose any country, by any means, interfering with China’s domestic affairs.” As he also added, “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong.”
This line about internal affairs is NEVER made by democratic governments of free people. In America we are not afraid of what news services in other countries say. We are not afraid that the government of another country will “influence” our otherwise peaceful, satisfied citizens into rebelling. Only the authoritarian governments—China, Russia, Bahrain, take your pick—are afraid of their own people.
As an indication of how much the Chinese government fears the people, consider the group Scholarism, formed three years ago in Hong Kong to protest being taught Chinese government propaganda in school. The group was started by Joshua Wong, who has been arrested as a danger to the government. Joshua Wong is 17 years old.
Thus the totalitarian argument: “No matter how corrupt we are, no matter who we club, or jail, or torture, or kill, it is totally our businesss.” All dictators support one another on this essential point (remember Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad of Syria).
Since I’ve mentioned the butcher who rules Syria, a Chinese official statement this week said that like the Arab spring and the various “color” revolutions in Europe, the problem in Hong Kong was “instigated by western governments”. Is there anyone in the Chinese government who knows enough to be embarrassed for China to stand in front of the world and speak such words?
Oh yes, Beijing masters, you’re right, people living under brutal governments all over the world were perfectly content until we sneaky westerners went in there and made trouble with our beguiling talk of “free speech” and “elections”. Indeed, Beijing masters, how can we help but be filled with respect for you when you say such things?
For now the protests in Hong Kong have been mostly peaceful (though there have been some attacks by the police or lately by their secret thugs), but even the optimistic young people know they are up against a brutal, murderous regime in Beijing. There have even been signs in Hong Kong reading “They can’t kill us all.” The protesters have remained peaceful, but they are also well aware of the mass murder on Tiananmen Square by Chinese troops in 1989.
It is painful that it takes so much time and so much blood to put an end to these evil governments, but in the end, they will all go. Someday there will be no vile governments, club in hand, snarling at the rest of the world not to “interfere”. I believe by the end of this century, most of the countries on earth will have real democratic governments, but we are still on the early end of the century. We seem to mostly see the struggle and the blood.
In end end, Hong Kong, you will win. I hope it can be now, but if not now, in the end you will win.