Friday 8 November 2019

If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know…

… you wouldn’t know anything was amiss, here in Hong Kong.
I’m in town, in Central, and it’s just as busy, as frenetic, as ever. There’s even a film crew out setting up for the latest HK Kung-fu fest. You wouldn’t know that every weekend the protesters get out and systematically trash the city.
I’m sitting in the mobile phone store, waiting for my iPhone 11 Pro (kewl) to be set up, and around me customers are speaking Mandarin and not being bashed.
And while I wait I’m reading the latest from Cliff Buddle (free) pointing out that every time there are major demos in Hong Kong — 2003 anti-Sedition law, 2014 Occupy Central movement — Beijing has tightened its grip. And so again now. Beijing will tighten its grip.
This was predictable. And was predicted. By me, amongst many others. Other stick-in-the-mud conservatives like me (aka ”realists”)
So the questions about the protesters are:
  • Do they not know this? In which case they are ignorant or naive.
  • Do they know this, but don’t care? In which case they are one or more of: reckless, inconsiderate, selfish, millenarian. 
  • Do they know this, but think the result will be different this time? That Beijing will turn around and offer concessions? In which case they are fatally naive. (“Fatally” is correct because I’ve also just read the sad news that the young protester who fell down a ledge died this morning. There is no evidence that it was anything other than a tragic accident, but no doubt the police will be blamed. So sad).*
My guess is it’s the third. Fatally naive.
I still don’t buy the argument that it’s all the result of “foreign interference”, as Beijing and others claim. The evidence is not there, so it’s based on inference, which I grant can be powerful.  But still it seems to me that the protesters are more broadly-based. If foreign interference were the main factor we’d have had much more evidence of it by now.

*ADDED: Sure enough the protesters blame the police for the student’s death (Alex Chau) and are calling for blood. The police have put out a detailed statement of their movements on the night together with videotape of Chau. It’s clear the first they had to do with him was when they saw him in the ground and gave first aid. And they’re calling for an inquest. Bit to the demonstrators, none of that means anything. The police are guilty. Period.