Movement, or Revolution? Big Power Wrangling behind Occupy Central
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
October 63, 2014
Executive Summary: The Hong Kong Occupy Central movement has been internationalized. It has led to a struggle between Mainland China and Russia on the one side, and the United States and Britain on the other. It will make human rights the chief bone of contention during the APEC Obama/Xi meeting. It is making waves all across the pond. The CCP is particularly wary of interference by 'foreign forces.' To expect it to continue allowing the protesters to occupy the streets of Hong Kong, is wishful thinking.
Full Text Below:
The Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong has been going on for over one week. Public demonstrations have recently turned into factional strife between Occupy Central and Anti-Occupy Central elements. Student demands for "genuine universal suffrage" have morphed into "opposition to China." Fueled by the foreign media, a pro-democracy movement has turned into a political revolution.
The Hong Kong Government's attitude has changed in response to this development. Leung Chun-ying was originally playing a waiting game. This weekend however, he issued an ultimatum. He threatened to clear the protest grounds completely before work resumes on Monday. The CCP has also taken a tougher line. Originally it resolved to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and the resolution reached by the NPC. Now it talks of upholding the rule of law and attempts to foment a color revolution on Mainland China. Clearly foreign intervention could become a reason or excuse for the CCP and the Hong Kong Government to take action.
The foreign media has spun the Occupy Central movement as an "Umbrella Revolution." The demonstrators used umbrellas to ward off police tear gas attacks but the umbrella tips are actually pointed at Beijing. The term "revolution" is highly loaded. Hong Kong protesters refer to the campaign as a "take cover/strike out revolution." What they mean, is that the purpose of the protests is not merely to seek cover, but also to strike out. It is not only to overthrow Leung Chun-ying, but also to overthrow the National People's Congress resolution.
Semantic differences have led to political wrangling over the terms "movement" and "revolution." The campaigin was initially merely a demand for "geunine universal suffrage" in the Hong Kong chief executive elections. But the foreign media spun the movement as a "revolution." It made no difference whether it was an "umbrella revolution" or a "take cover/strike out revolution." It was inevitably cast as "anti-China." At the same time, foreign solidarity with the protests provoked suspicions of foreign intervention. This touched a sensitive nerve, and set off alarm bells in Beijing.
In response to accusations of foreign intervention, scholars have launched a signature camaign in Hong Kong, drawing clear lines between themselves and the foreign media. In their view, the Hong Kong student boycott of classes should be referred to as a "movement," and not a "revolution." The students are seeking a democratic society, and have no intention of overthrowing the existing order.
The movement gradually morphed from Occupy Central to Oppose China. Meanwhile, within Hong Kong, Occupy Central and Anti-Occupy Central confrontations began to appear. The Occupy Central movement was dispersed over multiple locations. This seriously impacted traffic and economic activities in Hong Kong. On top of this, the Occupy Central movement was labeled a "revolution." Anti-Occupy Central forces begain to appear. Occupy Central students provoked bloody conflicts, giving the movement a violent image. Fortunately, to avoid Hong Kong being torn by crisis, university and middle school principals have issued a statement. They have appealed to students to disperse as soon as possible. They have stressed dialogue as the best way to resolve the current impasse. Clearly both external and internal forces are at work in Hong Kong.
One thing cannot be denied. When Western countries conflate the "umbrella revolution" with the "color revolutions," they are looking at the demonstrations through rose colored glasses. Let us examine Bejing's attitude under a magnifying glass. The Umbrella Revolution should be regarded as a sign of "peaceful evolution" within China. For example, the United States, avoids lightly taking stands on cross-Strait issues. But it openly took sides on the demonstrations in Hong Kong. It claimed that universal suffrage was a right in accordance with the Hong Kong People's "Basic Law." It hoped that Hong Kong could maintain its open system. It apparently equated support for the high school students with support for the Dalai Lama.
Russia has seldom concerned itself with East Asia. This time however, it issued an unprecedented statement. It openly sided with the Beijing authorities. It named the United States and Britain as behind the scenes conspirators. Moscow's purpose was apparently to use the movement to settle old debts from the Ukraine "orange revolution" and to use the opportunity to repudiate it.
Beijing swiftly drew a line in the sand in response to the Hong Kong demonstrations. It clearly indicated that the Hong Kong issue is an internal affair. Outside forces have no right to interfere. It hopes the United States will exercise caution, and not issue the wrong signals. A pro-democracy movement has apparently become an arena for great power political struggle.
Hong Kong has long maintained a tradition of liberality and openness. This has given the United States an opening by which to inject itself into the Chinese mainland's internal affairs. Academics in the United States are equating the movement with the May Fourth Movement. That is why the U.S. government loudly trumpeted its support for Hong Kong for three straight days. Beijing is convinced that the U.S. government wants to use Hong Kong as a foward base to strengthen democracy and to contain China. This is why the Beijing leaders have taken such a hard line on the demonstrations, and are unwilling to give an inch.
The Hong Kong Occupy Central movement has been internationalized. It has led to a struggle between Mainland China and Russia on the one side, and the United States and Britain on the other. It will make human rights the chief bone of contention during the APEC Obama/Xi meeting. It is making waves all across the pond. The CCP is particularly wary of interference by 'foreign forces.' To expect it to continue allowing the protesters to occupy the streets of Hong Kong, is wishful thinking.
2014.10.06 02:20 am