Notes on Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protestor: We are the last beacon of democracy in a corner of the world where an authoritarian, totalitarian regime called China’s influence is precipitously expanding. The Sino-British joint-declaration, which set out the terms of our homecoming to our imperial overlords guaranteed basic law, free speech, a free press, and an unfettered judicial system, but such freedoms are rapidly diminishing — our chief executive was not chosen by direct election, but rather, from a committee of pro-mainland sycophants; Beijing has managed to arrest our publishers, expel our journalists, and disqualify our lawmakers. Carrie Lam and previously CY Leung have been sciolist puppets controlled by Beijing, under their incompetence, Hong Kong’s relevance continues to decline as a mercantilist China opens up, swallowing us whole. They say it’s about economic inequality, they offer to pay us off. Yes, we, the torchbearers of Chinese civilization whilst the mainlanders committed the Cultural Revolution, have been relegated to coffin cubicles and caged homes whilst the mainland nouveau riche pillaged our land and shops and even milk powder. But no, this is not about money, it is about our civil liberties. Hong Kong needs deep structural reform from democracy, not the Communist Party. If we do not fight, we shall find ourselves transforming into one of China’s desolate outposts such as Xinjiang or Tibet, silenced and surveilled in perpetuity. Shame on you, Carrie Lam, for betraying our dignity, shame on you, Beijing, for ruthlessly infringing on our promised autonomy, shame on you, Britain, shame on you, America, for standing and watching. Over 6,000 tear gas canisters used and 88% of our people exposed, 3,000 arrested, 2,000 rubber bullets fired, 4,000 injuries and 12 casualties. We are freedom fighters. We want universal suffrage, we want an independent commission of inquiry into police brutality, we want all freedom fighters exonerated and released. This is our cri de coeur. We need revolution, not peace.

Hong Kong Elites: Setting people on fire, pepper-spraying pregnant ladies and killing the elderly, are these the features of a civilized march for democracy? You act like raging terrorists in front of Beijing’s stoic reprieve. We’re not panda huggers, just pragmatists, the only people standing between you and the damascene. Your riots lost all credibility when she relented on the extradition bill but you continued vandalizing public property. How dare you paralyze our city with your union jacks and star-spangled banner after 156 years of colonialism, are you so unbelievably naïve? While your actions plunged us into a recession, Beijing rolled out new regulations guaranteeing equal market opportunity and protecting fair competition beginning in 2020. We have drivers and private security, bank accounts in Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney, it’s not us you’re hurting, but the ordinary, MTR-riding, grocery-shopping man on the street. Hong Kong is dying, we’re a little sad, but feel better milking all the money to be made out of this thing.

Beijing, China: In case you’re wondering, the extradition bill was a mere formality. Do you really think we need help repatriating our enemies? Human rights activists? Please take them; they cause more trouble for us domestically. Fugitives? Check. Book publishers? Check. Billionaires? And check. Between a trade war, domestic terrorism, North Korea, East China Sea, South China Sea, and the seven Stans, Hong Kong doesn’t even come close to being a top priority. We’ll ensure the principle of one country, two systems remain unchanged, because Hong Kong will be ours anyway in 2047 and the reunification of Taiwan is key. Even as you attack us, we shan’t retaliate, heavy-handed use of our army will set us back 20 years, we learned the hard way. Here is our continued passive strategy: while Hong Kong engulfs itself in flames, Britain destroys itself over Brexit, and the US (speaking of which, have you seen what the police do in their country?) distracts itself with impeachment hearings, we remain silent, vigilant, and steady. First order of business is increasing economic connectivity from Asia to Africa to Europe and the Americas with over $1 trillion in overseas investment. Second, the creation of strategic dependencies with infrastructure investments, i.e., Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Djibouti. Finally, the popularization of our model in developing countries, which is made easy by your protests, your gridlock, your gaping openness, your internal divisions and discord. While the New York Times busies itself with your coverage, we have been working sedulously behind the scenes to craft the alternative narrative we are currently building, one in which we are strong, selfless, reluctant leaders of the new harmonious world order. We’ve become the #1 importer of oil, and the #1 storer of global online data, the petroleum of the 21st century. We’re making greater and faster strides in everything from renewable energy to blockchain, and we didn’t need to meddle in anyone’s elections to do it. You see, we no longer need to play your game. Like it or not, this is our century.

Mainland Chinese: See above, no change.