Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests over the summer have seen massive turnouts of 1 million people or more as well as violent encounters with police. So after 11 straight weeks, where do things stand? Here are five things to know.

1. Beijing is trying to control the narrative about Hong Kong

By invoking the term “terrorism” to describe protesters’ behavior, Beijing is trying to legitimize the use of escalated force — not by Chinese troops, but by the Hong Kong police. Internationally, Beijing hopes that countries that have curtailed civil liberty in the name of their own war against terrorism will find it hard to criticize China’s turn to repression in dealing with the situation in Hong Kong.…  Seguir leyendo »

En abril de 1989 me encontraba en Pekín con profesores y estudiantes de filosofía de la Academia de Ciencias Sociales. Aunque ya conocía China y había enseñado allí alguna vez, entonces no observé nada excepcional. Desde la detención de la camarilla maoísta en 1976 y la vuelta al poder de Deng Xiaoping, al que, en Occidente se consideraba moderado, el clima político mejoraba y la economía por fin despegaba. China parecía destinada a unirse al bando de las sociedades abiertas, y a abandonar las utopías revolucionarias y los horrores totalitarios. Aquel día mis interlocutores me abrieron los ojos: el Partido Comunista seguía siendo represivo, la libertad se mantenía a raya y la prosperidad estaba reservada a los dirigentes del partido, reconvertidos en empresarios.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protestors at a rally at Hong Kong International Airport on Wednesday.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

As Hong Kong’s sleepless summer of political strife wears on, not a day, nay, an hour, seems to go by without someone evoking the 1989 crackdown against another group of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing. On breathless postings on Twitter, people share pictures of military exercises by Chinese troops just across the border from Hong Kong, saying or suggesting that the end is near for the protest movement here. But who knows where or when exactly those pictures were taken, or for what purpose they have been made public.

On other social networks, friends and contacts bemoan what they see as the inevitable next stage in the current escalation of violence: Chinese army boots on the ground and a blood bath in Hong Kong.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters resting on the floor of Hong Kong’s international airport on Tuesday.CreditCreditPhilip Fong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

With the Hong Kong government paralyzed by mass protests, the chances of armed intervention from Beijing, once unthinkable, are rising by the day.

Far from hiding its intent, Beijing has been parading it in full view over the past week. The protesters, initially reviled as mobs, have been rebranded by Chinese officials as criminals and terrorists. The state media has broadcast ominous footage of its anti-riot police, who fall under the command of the People’s Liberation Army, marshaled on the Hong Kong border in Shenzhen.

To be sure, the threats against the protesters are designed to ensure that Beijing never has to carry them through.…  Seguir leyendo »

Al escuchar su respuesta entendí el problema de Hong Kong. Conocí a mi amiga hongkonesa en una discoteca pija de Barcelona y nos pusimos a charlar de política. Le conté que había visitado Hong Kong un par de años atrás. Lo que más me fascinó entonces fue que, justo al llegar a la ciudad, me encontré con una manifestación ante mis narices. Había pasado meses trabajando en China continental como periodista y ver una protesta cruzando la calle era para mí una absoluta novedad. Parecía que hubiera entrado en otra realidad.

Mi amiga me explicó que iba a estudiar en una escuela de negocios de élite de Barcelona.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters occupy the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport during a demonstration on August 12, 2019 in Hong Kong, China (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

La crisis en Hong Kong parece acercarse velozmente a un clímax devastador. El gobierno de China ha comenzado a usar una retórica similar a la que precedió a la masacre de la plaza Tiananmen en junio de 1989, y es muy posible que los manifestantes prodemocracia (y de hecho, la democracia misma) de Hong Kong estén en grave peligro.

Hong Kong lleva más de dos meses alterada por protestas. Nacidas en respuesta a un proyecto de ley que permitiría la extradición de presuntos delincuentes al territorio continental de China, las manifestaciones se convirtieron luego en llamados más amplios a salvaguardar (o, para ser más precisos, restaurar) la democracia semiautónoma del territorio, incluido fortalecer la rendición de cuentas del aparato estatal (especialmente la policía).…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters march near the skyline of Hong Kong on July 7. (Kin Cheung/AP)

The Hong Kong government had described some of the early protests in Hong Kong as a “riots.” On Aug. 7, Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said the protests have taken on “color revolution characteristics,” warning that “the central government will not sit back and do nothing.”

Wang Zhimin, head of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, added that the crisis has evolved into a “battle of life and death.” An anti-riot drill across the border in Shenzhen and earlier troop drills by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong suggest that Beijing has a close eye on Hong Kong.…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester blocking a train door during a general strike in Hong Kong on Monday.CreditAnthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Anyone who thought that the antigovernment demonstrations rocking Hong Kong this summer were just the doing of radicalized youngsters should think again. On Monday, the first general strike in the city in about 50 years brought the territory to a near-halt. The protesters making front page news are supported by Hong Kongers from all walks of life, whether or not they, too, take to the streets.

Hong Kong’s labor laws allow strikes only against one’s employer, not for general political causes. Yet the Confederation of Hong Kong Trade Unions announced that more than 350,000 people participated, calling in sick or taking the day off.…  Seguir leyendo »

La crise, initiée par un projet de loi d’extradition vers la Chine, est bien plus grave que le « mouvement des parapluies », qui défendait une véritable démocratisation pour Hongkong. Traditionnellement, les Hongkongais sont plus attachés à défendre leur identité – c’est-à-dire la semi-autonomie dont ils jouissent dans le cadre du principe « un pays, deux systèmes », dont l’indépendance de son système judiciaire est l’un des piliers – qu’à se mobiliser pour l’approfondissement des réformes politiques.

C’est pour cela que les mobilisations, qui ne montrent aucun signe d’affaiblissement depuis deux mois, ont d’emblée rassemblé une population plus nombreuse et plus diversifiée que le mouvement de 2014, qui était avant tout un mouvement étudiant.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters amid tear gas near China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong last month.CreditTyrone Siu/Reuters

The effects of the Hong Kong protests are spreading — to bakeries, bandits and Beijing.

As messages supporting the demonstrations began appearing on the pastry skin of seasonal mooncakes, opposition to the protests suddenly took the form of muscle from the local mafia. The protesters, for their part, have recently taken to pointedly marching toward mainland China’s formal representation in the city — and to accusing both the Hong Kong police and the Chinese authorities in Beijing of enlisting criminals to do their dirty work.

On Monday, the spokesman of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China’s top outpost in the city, finally broke its studied silence about the massive, monthslong revolts.…  Seguir leyendo »

With its reputation for being clean, super-efficient and safe, the Mass Transit Railway is one of the world’s best metro systems and has long been a point of pride for Hong Kongers. This past Sunday, that familiar and reassuring space was brutally invaded by a rampaging gang that beat dozens of innocent people with sticks in an apparent attempt to scare off pro-democracy activists.

This vicious attack shocked Hong Kongers and observers of the deepening political crisis in the city. In response, thousands of Hong Kongers returned to protest near the site of the assault this weekend, even though the police had not authorized the demonstration.…  Seguir leyendo »

The protests against an extradition law that have been ongoing for seven consecutive weeks in Hong Kong took a violent turn last weekend. A large group of masked men carrying wooden sticks and iron rods began attacking protesters, journalists and passengers indiscriminately at a railway station Sunday night, leaving scores injured.

Who were these 100 or so men in white T-shirts? Thus far, there’s little firm evidence to say exactly who was responsible for the attack. The police made several arrests Monday night, and various news reports have named local triads — Hong Kong’s organized crime gangs.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam publicly denounced the violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hong Kong no es Beijing. Y el 1 de julio de 2019 no es el 4 de junio de 1989. En primer lugar, en 1989 la violencia en China salió casi toda del lado del gobierno; durante las semanas anteriores, las manifestaciones en Beijing y otras ciudades habían sido notablemente pacíficas. Es lo que sucedió también la mayor parte del tiempo en Hong Kong, hasta que unos pocos manifestantes jóvenes perdieron los estribos y asolaron el palacio del Consejo Legislativo con barretas y martillos.

Las manifestaciones masivas de las últimas semanas en Hong Kong nacieron en respuesta a una propuesta de ley de extradición entre la ciudad y China continental.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters raised a black and bloodied rendering of the Hong Kong flag outside the Legislative Council building on Monday.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

July 1, the anniversary of the day that Hong Kong was reunified with mainland China in 1997, ought to be an occasion for celebration. It marks the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the “one country, two systems” — the first such region in China. Yet on Monday, the date’s 22nd anniversary, guests received instructions to go to a confidential location before being ferried to the site of the ceremony.

Celebrations of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain have been punctuated by sporadic protests over the years. The former legislator Leung Kwok-hung, also known as Long Hair, typically tries to disrupt the proceedings by shouting out antigovernment slogans from a distance.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las protestas vividas recientemente en Hong Kong contra la propuesta de una ley de extradición que permitiría la entrega de fugitivos al Gobierno central, evidencian un claro aumento de la fractura entre el nacionalismo, hoy sustentado en el programa del Partido Comunista para lograr la revitalización de la nación china, y las demandas democráticas que afloran en su periferia territorial. Igualmente, ponen de manifiesto el carácter estructural de una protesta que en tres episodios (2003, 2014 y 2019) plasman una severa advertencia a Pekín de los riesgos asociados a las políticas recentralizadoras de los últimos años.

A estas alturas, lo de menos es qué va a pasar con la ley de extradición o el futuro de Carrie Lam, a quien le reclaman la dimisión.…  Seguir leyendo »

After breaking into Hong Kong’s legislature, protesters left a message for Carrie Lam, the city’s top government official, spray-painted on a pillar: “It was you who taught me that peaceful protests are futile.”

To the young activists, the storming of the Legislative Council was an act of desperation. Three times in the past month, tremendous numbers of Hong Kongers — at one point estimated to be more than two million — marched peacefully to protest against a controversial extradition bill with China, which they fear would undermine Hong Kong’s judiciary and its freedom. The government suspended but did not withdraw the law.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police try to clear protesters with tear gas outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, during the early hours of Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (Jeff Cheng/HK01 via AP)

Each year on July 1, Hong Kongers gather to mark the 1997 handover to Chinese rule — some to protest, others to commemorate. This July 1, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens took to the streets to continue to protest a proposed extradition measure, even though the government had agreed to table it. After a long day of marching, some activists broke into and briefly occupied Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building.

In recent months, Hong Kongers seem to have reinvigorated their tradition of protest, which had diminished since the 2014 Umbrella Movement. But why are so many Hong Kongers engaging in mass demonstrations against their government?…  Seguir leyendo »

When hundreds of thousands of my fellow Hong Kongers took to the streets to demonstrate last month, most of the world saw people protesting provocative legislation that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

But the Chinese government, which supported the extradition measure, had a much broader view of the protests. It recognized them as the first salvo in a new cold war, one in which the otherwise unarmed Hong Kong people wield the most powerful weapon in the fight against the Chinese Communist Party: moral force.

In much of the West, moral force is underestimated. Communists never make that mistake. There is a reason Beijing will never invite the pope or the Dalai Lama for a visit to China.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, thousands of protesters turned out again in Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million people that has seen protests of unprecedented scale in recent weeks. There were clashes with police, and a group of protesters attempted to breach the entrances of the Legislative Council building.

On June 9, an estimated 1 million people took to the streets to protest a proposed extradition bill. On June 16, the turnout was around 2 million. Police estimates tended to be much smaller, although Hong Kong’s police chief acknowledged that these estimates tallied the numbers of protesters on the approved routes on June 9 and June 16.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters surrounded police headquarters in Hong Kong on June 21.CreditPaula Bronstein/Getty Images

The protests that have roiled Hong Kong for weeks, combining vast marches with small guerrilla operations of civil disobedience, are not the radical development that some say. They are a natural extension of protests past — an upgrade of the 2014 Umbrella Movement’s peaceful tactics of occupation. And they are a natural reaction to changing political circumstances, including a proposed bill that would allow, in effect, the extradition to mainland China of anyone in Hong Kong wanted by the Chinese authorities. The Chinese government’s power grab is accelerating the metabolism of the city’s protest movement.

Most of the leaders of past protests have been sidelined.…  Seguir leyendo »