Saturday, November 30, 2019

Why The Hong Kong Riots Are Coming To An End


Well why not?  The minority promotion of violence is misplaced for the majority.  Better yet, the election has been an unambiguous rejection of CCP meddling in Hong Kong.

We reasonably presume that CCP elements and foreign counter elements have been both involved in the general meddling going on, however neither is responsible for millions of Hong Kongers hitting the bricks or for thousands of students producing thousands of petrol bombs.   All that is a promise to the CCP that the people are not amused at all.

It is certainly time for civil society to return and for the political system to operate post election and for more voices to arise supporting a full creation of a Democratic resolution.  It is completely possible that real success is now possible, particularly with the CCP under increasing assault by the global trade system led by Trump.  There will be a better deal. 

Why The Hong Kong Riots Are Coming To An End

From Moon of alabama 

  November 22, 2019

The U.S. sponsored riots in Hong Kong are mostly over. They were sustained much longer than we had expected.

The "marginal violence" campaign of the "pro-democratic" students has failed to win more support for them. Regular Hongkongers are increasingly willing to take a stand against further provocations:
Demonstrators gathered at about 12.30pm on a bridge outside Exchange Square, which houses Hong Kong’s stock exchange in the city’s financial heartland, in another round of lunchtime protests that have been staged most days over the past two weeks. Scuffles broke out after a pro-police group of about 50 people showed up about an hour later, but police arrived soon after to clear the area.

During at least two altercations between some members of each group, an anti-government contingent yelled “go back to China” at their adversaries, and one of their number kicked a woman walking towards the smaller group.
Ten days ago the core of the black clad rioters began to paralyze Hong Kong's traffic during regular workdays. They ransacked nearly every metro stations and barricaded large thoroughfares and tunnels. Schools were closed, businesses and workers were severely harmed.

One 70 year old street cleaner was killed when he was hit by a stone thrown by the rioters against civilians who tried to remove a barricade. A 57 year old man was drenched with gasoline and set alight after he verbally disagreed with the rioter's ransacking of a metro station. A policeman was shot with an arrow.
The rioters occupied the Chinese University and the Polytechnic University (PolyU) which are next to large streets and the important Cross-Harbor-Tunnel. Using the universities as logistic bases and fortifications they managed to keep many roads closed throughout day and night. After some negotiations with the president of the Chinese University the rioters evacuated from there while leaving some 8,000 petrol bombs behind. They concentrated in the PolyU next to the Cross-Harbor-Tunnel.

That was a mistake.

Last Sunday the police surrounded the PolyU and let no one leave. Those who wanted out were either arrested or, when under 18, identified and handed to their parents. There were several violent battles when the rioters attempted to break through the police cordon but only a few escaped.

After a few days most of those inside PolyU surrendered to the police.

Today there are still some 30 rioter holed up in a PolyU building. The police are waiting them out. They said that they had made more than a thousand arrests. The university is ransacked and there was significant battle damage. The rioters again left thousands of Molotov cocktails and other weapons behind.

The blockage of the city traffic and the increasing damage caused by rioter vandalism has alienated even those who earlier supported them. As the police now have most of the core rioters under arrest there is little chance that such violent protests will continue.

On Sunday there will be citywide district council elections in Hong Kong. China had pushed for the elections to go forward under all circumstances. Riot police will guard all polling stations.

Weeks ago the "pro-dem" candidates, who supported the rioters, were still poised to win more seats than they had held before the protests. But they now fear that the general public will punish them for the mayhem they have caused and will choose establishment candidates:
Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said while the turnout could set another record, the overall situation was more unpredictable than before. “The pan-democrats could have won a landslide victory if the elections had been held in the summer, when the protests erupted,” Choy said. “But after the recent clashes at two universities, undecided voters may be worried about public order and be discouraged from voting.

He was referring to fiery battles protesters fought with police outside Chinese University on November 12, followed by more confrontations outside Polytechnic University last week.

“It will be difficult for the camp to win more than half of the seats, as some originally envisaged,” Choy said.
The Hong Kong government has conceded none of the protesters' "five demands". The only thing that the protesters have won is the passing of legislation by the U.S. Congress:
The House of Representatives on Wednesday followed the lead of the Senate in overwhelmingly approving two pieces of legislation: The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the president to annually review the favourable trading status that the US gives to Hong Kong, threatening to revoke it and impose penalties against officials if freedoms are determined to have been quashed; and the Protect Hong Kong Act, which will block the sale of tear gas and other policing items. The former, although largely symbolic, could alter Washington’s relationship with Hong Kong and Beijing.

US President Donald Trump has a straightforward choice on legislation passed on to him by the United States Congress supporting the protests that have engulfed Hong Kong – approve or veto. Coming amid tough bargaining on his trade war with China, he may be tempted to make his decision part of the negotiations.

But Beijing sees such measures as striking at the heart of Chinese sovereignty. Radical protesters could be spurred to greater violence. Unspecified countermeasures are promised should Trump give his approval.

But the trade war, violence and legislation have damaged business sentiment in Hong Kong. Approval or not, pessimism and uncertainty have already been deepened. There can be no winners.
Trump wants the trade deal with China and will therefore likely veto the bill:
Speaking on the “Fox & Friends” morning program, the president said that he was balancing competing priorities in the U.S.-China relationship. “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi [Jinping], he’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy, but we have to stand … I’d like to see them work it out, okay?” the president said. “I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do, but we are also in the process of making one of the largest trade deals in history. And if we could do that, it would be great.”
A veto would only have a temporary impact as the law has passed the House and Senate by veto proof majorities.

The idea behind the protests and the rioters In Hong Kong was all along to provoke another Tian An Men incident. This has been quite obvious since the start of the protest. It now gets publicly acknowledged:
BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight - 11:00 UTC · Nov 19, 2019 “Some of the protesters seem to have an objective to provoke a military confrontation with China. They seem to want a Tiananmen Square outcome as success.”
Fmr Foreign Sec @Jeremy_Hunt says he is “concerned with the tactics” with some of #HongKong’s protesters
Had China moved troops to Hong Kong, or allowed more force to be used against the protesters, the U.S. would have used that to press its allies to put strong sanctions on China. The protesters' violence was designed to achieve that outcome. The plan was part of the larger U.S. strategy of decoupling from China.

The plan failed because China was too smart to give the U.S. what it wanted. Now it is Trump who is under pressure. He needs the trade deal with China because the current trade war is doing harm to the U.S. economy and endangers his reelection.

Which is probably the real reason why the protests have died down.

How a minor race became a major rebuke of the government — and the people’s endorsement of the protests. 
Mr. Tai, a law professor, helped organize the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Nov. 25, 2019

Credit...Kin Cheung/Associated Press

HONG KONG — The people of Hong Kong don’t get to choose their government. But that hasn’t stopped them from finding ways to express what they think about it. 
After months of voicing their concerns on the streets, on Sunday they took those to the polling booths. Well beyond any actual protesters who voted in this weekend’s elections, a vast segment of the population cast a protest vote: Many people in the city are now part of a social movement. Hong Kong’s 2019 district council elections may be the most important in the city’s history.
Despite the steady increase in violence and evermore disruptions over many, many weeks, the Hong Kong government has continued to reject the protesters’ main demands — calls for an independent inquiry into police abuse, amnesty for protesters who were arrested and a clear plan for introducing universal suffrage for the legislative and executive elections. On Sunday, voters rebuked the government for its intransigence, widely favoring candidates running against the establishment and who, in some cases, explicitly endorsed the demonstrators’ demands. 
The turnout rate reached 71.2 percent, by far the highest ever recorded for any election here. By my count, of the 452 seats in the territory’s 18 district councils, pro-democracy candidates won 391, or 86.5 percent of the total. (Tallies slightly vary, partly because some candidates’ affiliations defy easy categories.) The pro-democracy camp also seems to have secured a majority in 17 of the 18 district councils. (Also by my count, it garnered about 57.4 percent of the popular vote.)

Continue reading the main story
The district councils have no direct governing role. They advise the government on local issues like the provision of public facilities and services — garbage collection, traffic congestion. Yet they also matter beyond that immediate mandate, especially these days. 

Thirty-five of the 70 members of the Legislative Council are directly elected by voters in their respective geographical constituencies. One is a district councilor elected by and from among all the district councilors. Another five LegCo members are elected by all voters (by proportional representation) from a slate of any candidates nominated by at least 15 district councilors each. LegCo is currently dominated by the pro-establishment camp. The next election is scheduled to take place in September 2020.
Perhaps even more important, 117 seats are reserved for district councilors on the election committee, the 1,200-member body that chooses Hong Kong’s chief executive. Thanks to the pro-democracy camp’s victory on Sunday and its new commanding majority of district council seats, all 117 of those election committee members will likely be from among its ranks. 

During the election for chief executive in 2017, the pro-democracy camp held around 350 seats of the remaining (nondistrict councilor) 1,083 seats in the election committee. (I say “around 350” because, again, classifications vary and so counts do, too.) Even if democrats can hold on to those or do a bit better — the committee will be reconstituted before the next election for chief executive (how? it’s complicated) — they may not reach the simple majority (601 seats) needed to select the next chief executive.
But the greater their presence on the committee, the more difficult it will be for the Hong Kong government, or the Chinese authorities in Beijing, to manipulate or dominate the selection process. Many of the election committee’s members represent special interests — the business sector, religious groups, rural associations — and given the new balance of power, some of them, especially the business sector, may now leverage their own votes to ask more from the government.
In other words, the pro-democracy camp and a collection of nongovernment groups combined have just secured more bargaining power. And if they can work together, they may be able to prevent the Chinese government from placing yet another yes-person, like Carrie Lam, in the chief executive post. Hong Kong’s next leader may still not be directly elected by the people. But there is a better chance that that person won’t have as much license to chip away at Hong Kong’s semiautonomy.

The pro-democracy camp’s astonishing victory in the district council elections will not — it cannot — fix the democratic deficit patent in Hong Kong’s other institutions. But it is a fresh opportunity to cultivate the city’s democratic spirit. Whether at the grass-roots, community-level work of the district councils or during next year’s LegCo elections or with their even limited sway on the committee that will select Hong Kong’s next leader, the city’s democrats can now lay a solid foundation for the future. When our time comes to fully and freely exercise real democracy, the Hong Kong people will be ready for it.

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