I can’t support Hong Kong’s protests

Sep 30, 2019 | Opinion


ro-democracy” is the most common word I’ve seen describing the protests, but I think it should be “anti-China.” 

I believe in peaceful protests and democracy, but Hong Kong has taken the movement too far. No longer is this a fight for freedom; instead, this movement has become focused solely on erasing Beijing’s influence from Hong Kong. Many protestors have said that the only way to make the government listen is to shut down the city. To do this, they have destroyed public spaces and MTR stations—causing systems to shut down not because of strikes but because the machines’ computer systems were totaled.

Furthermore, there remains almost no democratic aspect to this movement. In the beginning, peaceful protests and demonstrations were employed to fight the controversial extradition bill, which was seen as an infringement by the Chinese government on the freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. Within three months, the protests have devolved into violent and chaotic riots. The demonstrators are now physically and verbally silencing others when they hold a perspective that isn’t in line with the “pro-democracy” movement—an ironic strategy considering that they are fighting for their own freedom of speech.

One of the five core demands made by the activists is for the unconditional release of all arrested protestors.

If this happened, it would show that Hong Kong’s legal and judicial systems no longer have any power. Some of the arrested activists have been involved in attacks on police, vandalizing the Legislative Council building, and destroying public property—all of which are real crimes which should have consequences. Protestors don’t want the Chinese government circumventing the law to kidnap activists, yet seemingly want free reign to break it.

If these activists—representing the entire movement at the front lines—truly believe that destruction, crime, and censorship can be justified because of a “righteous” cause, this movement has lost its meaning and its way in finding a truly democratic society.

To many protestors, you are either pro-democracy or pro-government; there is no in between. But what they don’t realize is that many people support beliefs on both sides

. Like me, many support the cause and purpose of the movements but not the violence that is being used.

There may not be a perfect answer to every problem we face as individuals, as citizens, and as nations, but if we are able to see past labels like “pro-government” and “pro-protestor” or “Democrat” and “Republican,” there is at least a chance we can work in a nonpartisan fashion to resolve conflict and reach understandings of each others’ goals, intentions, motivations, and experiences. And, along with that, it could help the protesters figure out whether they’re calling for democracy or just wanting to start a fight.