The Umbrella Revolution – Hong Kong
Last week, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens took to the streets to protest against the government in what is being referred to as the “Umbrella Revolution.” What are they protesting? They want Democracy! They want representative government! They want freedom! These protesters argue that certain rights were granted to them in 1997 when Great Britain gave this territory back to China, specifically that Hong Kong would be granted the right to govern themselves and not be ruled by Communist China. However, this right is fading away. As evidence of this, an individual wishing to run for government office needs to be approved by the Chinese Government. Protesters claim that this is censorship and a “puppet” government (meaning China controls who is elected and ultimately the policies of those elected).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMaAfiye-X0 (quick video on this revolution)
Later in the week, the local police fired tear gas into the crowds, managing to disperse many of the protesters. A small nucleus of young people have remained and are rejoined by others after they attend work and school on a daily basis. Local business owners are complaining because customers can’t or won’t make their way to their stores. Now, there are just thousands of protesters.
Author’s Perspective #1: Much of these protests sound eerily similar to what happened in America some 250 years ago. America was then ruled by King George of Great Britain. He imposed taxes and laws that were good for England, but not necessarily for the new territories in America. Americans thought this was unfair and likewise wanted a representative government. Citizens from each territory met secretly in Philadelphia and created the Declaration of Independence. Of course, England didn’t like this much and the Revolutionary War was fought to establish the rights, laws, privileges and freedoms of the citizens of these United States. Fortunately, for you and I, England lost this long war.
Author’s Perspective #2: I’m sure I am biased as an American, but I say “Good for the protesters.” Freedom, while not always perfect, is worth fighting for. In America, if you are unhappy with how your school, city, state or country is being run, you can either 1) run for office yourself or 2) nominate/vote for a candidate that represents your views. People sometimes forget that in America, it is the common citizen that holds the power. Every two to four years, we, the people, have the opportunity to vote “out” old politicians and vote “in” new politicians. This means that politicians should be acting in our best interest and are representative of the views that we hold true. And, of course, if you can’t find a politician that holds your beliefs, you can run for office and inspire others to vote for you. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Author’s Perspective #3: Starting a revolution takes time, commitment and resolve. I don’t believe that these Hong Kong protesters will be successful by protesting on a part-time basis – when they get off work or when class is over. George Washington didn’t fight a war after he planted the south 40, Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t lead the Civil Rights Movement on a part-time basis and Gandhi didn’t lead his people after dinner was over (get that joke?). I’m quite sure that the Chinese dictator and the Communist Government have no plans of allowing Hong Kong to have free and open elections. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether the Chinese government or the protesters have more resolve.
Your Turn: Please place your comments below, (2) like and share our Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership using #fairness)
1. Do you agree that the citizens of Hong Kong have the right to protest? Do you think they will be successful in gaining the right to have representative government?
2. Do you think every country should have a representative government? Why or why not?
3. For what beliefs and ideals would you be willing to go “all-in” and protest?