If I were to provide a thorough context of the protests and demonstrations that have been going on rampantly for over eight months now in Hong Kong, it would be equivalent of approximately ten research papers in length, conducted over the timespan of a month (if I did not have any homework, a week would suffice). To this end, given the restriction of time and other factors, I will only briefly present my perspective on this whole issue as a typical mainland citizen from China.
I would like to apologize, above all, to my readers who may have to resort to outside sources if they have not already been informed about this particular event. But before you leave and begin to browse all about it on various news sites, please allow me to offer some insights which will hopefully serve as a useful guide for you.
As the state of affairs in Hong Kong have broiled only hotter, a countless number of remarks such as “Fight for freedom: Stand with Hong Kong” or “Speak for Democracy and Human Rights” have prevailed in international news sites and media. Such effortless and ironic statements do not seem to require any background knowledge, logical reasoning, or autonomous judgment. In such a situation, facts do not seem to matter anymore—a single picture of an injured Hong Kong protestor, a truncated video that zooms in on the batons of the Hong Kong policemen, a striking title that reads “Hong Kong Police Force Violence’’—this is the recipe to a good news story in the western media, which almost always will succeed in eliciting a gasp and a forever rooted opinion in one of their readers.
What is missing? What is being excluded from the true story? One can hardly believe that the reality is so twisted and distorted that it is almost the other way around. Despite the violent and flagrant attacks from the fanatical protestors in a nearly unheard-of manner which the Hong Kong police have faced, they are yet prevented from executing their lawful rights and duty to suppress these rioters effectively not only because the mob that they are confronting are their own compatriots, but also because any move from them suggesting a slight intention of harm will immediately become a much-wanted contribution to another good headline on the global news channel. However, I do not see why that is. From the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, the 2014 Ferguson unrest, to the 2018 Yellow Vests movement in France…all of these are recent riots in the western countries from the past decade in which police force had to resort to “violent” approaches to subdue the rioters. Why, then, when it comes to China, to Hong Kong, it suddenly becomes governmental oppression? Specifically, an oppression of freedom, democracy, and human rights?
“Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk…that’s destructive and there is no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts.’’ The former U.S. president Barack Obama remarked on the violent and unlawful protests in the 2014 Ferguson unrest.
Ironically, one can find this exact type of demonstrations sweeping through the streets of Hong Kong. These rioters, like what President Obama described, are the same group of people who are being portrayed as heroes and revolutionaries on western media. All of a sudden, their criminal acts are magically justified and promptly ignored for the bigger cause—freedom and democracy. Since when did democracy become an equivalent of freedom and the pair begins to appear always side by side, anyways? Whether it is the western politicians, public figures, the majority of the western audience who are waving the flag of democracy and freedom and exclaiming words of fervent approbation toward Hong Kong protestors or the protestors in Hong Kong themselves who will readily knock you out unconscious if you voice a different view than that of theirs…none of these illuminate the real plight and frustration which Hong Kong faces, let alone inducing practical solutions. Instead, they are all a direct mockery in the face of either democracy or freedom.
This is the exact type of storyline people would want to, or have used to see: a group of people suffering under the ruthless iron-rule and oppression of a government, struggling to embrace freedom and democracy through heroic fights while other nations have come in aid to defend, to support the oppressed, and to condemn the oppressive. I have long learned, when I was in fourth grade, that there are at least two sides to every story. Sadly, from the side of freedom and democracy, I see barely one, predominate, indisputable, across-the-board. As long as there is a good story plot, carefully selected photographs and footage, and a captivating headline, truth, and objectivity can be negligible.
Therefore, please allow me to propose this to you: before you fully give yourselves into what you are about to believe is the truth, research it, judge it, consider other voices and perspectives and the bigger picture. Do not let anyone media source overwhelm and inundate you with filtered information…and dive into a quick conclusion.
The end of the guide. Thank you for reading.