Photo credit: SupChina illustration
Protesters in Hong Kong have taken to the streets for about five months now, pushing for their five key demands.
- Only one demand has been met: the withdrawal of an extradition law amendment bill that would have undermined the city’s legal autonomy from mainland China.
Another demand — genuine universal suffrage for both the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive — is looking farther away than ever.
That’s because for the city’s November 24 district council elections, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong (黃之鋒 Huáng Zhīfēng) was disqualified from running last week. The reason stated for the rejection — that his advocacy of “self-determination” for the city is incompatible with the Basic Law and Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over Hong Kong — is not applied consistently. According to the South China Morning Post, the “government has allowed several candidates previously linked to self-determination advocacy to run.”
Self-determination isn’t the same as independence, which a small but growing minority in Hong Kong advocate, Noah Lachs and Ryan Tang write on SupChina. But the Hong Kong government appears to at least be starting to equate the two, and readying to further pressure protesters and activists.
Beijing also gave “hints of a new plan to quell the Hong Kong protests” at the end of a Communist Party plenary session last week, according to Chris Buckley of the New York Times. A vaguely worded communiqué vowed to “build and improve a legal system and enforcement mechanism to defend national security” in Hong Kong and other special administrative regions.
The bottom line: Beijing, and the Hong Kong government that it oversees, will not allow the people of Hong Kong to decide their own future.