The call on protestors to withdraw du jour comes from lawmaker Felix Chung. He seems deeply concerned about the impact of the pro-democracy Umbrella-Occupy road closures on small enterprises, some of which are known to be struggling to pay the rents that go to his Liberal Party’s tycoon and landlord constituents.
Despite exaggeration by hypocrites and sycophants, the Umbrella movement has undoubtedly harmed some businesses (and benefited others, like camping equipment stores). A recent court judgment even refers to the damage as ‘not evanescent’…
…and authorizes bailiffs, with police support, to clear some of the occupied streets.
Media today quote ‘sources’ as saying that 7,000 cops could turn up in Mongkok tomorrow. Why would officials give advance warning of the timing? Maybe they expect the demonstrators to meekly pack up and go home this evening to avoid unpleasantness. Or maybe this is a trick – that’s what they want you to think! – and the multitudes of bailiffs and police will descend on the site in 10 minutes, or in a few days. (I was wondering where they’ll find 7,000 cops. Since this is a civil matter, and the police won’t be directly involved, the real question is, where do you find 7,000 bailiffs?)
The occupation does have a sort of getting-to-the-end feel about it – but then this must be the 10th or 12th getting-to-the-end feel we’ve had since it all started in late September. Do the authorities have what it takes to, yet again, screw things up and provoke reinforcements and renewed public sympathy for the students just as the occupation would finally be waning? I’d give it a good 50-50 chance. The tactic of waiting for exhaustion to set in among both protestors and public opinion requires a lot of patience. And the government, with Beijing’s opposition-crushing advisors growling down the phone, seems frustrated and itching to act.
One reason is that – lest we forget – a public consultation on the electoral arrangements for 2016-17 is underway. This might seem an obscure, laughably irrelevant, downright evanescent detail now, but the bureaucrats have a Beijing-written script to act out, and a timetable to keep to. A climactic, once-a-generation, everything-changing political uprising accompanied by the biggest outbreak of unrest in decades can’t get in the way.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam would like us all to move on and (dare we say it) get back to normal. Let’s talk and achieve universal suffrage! We shall see. This second round of the consultation will go into the nitty-gritty of things like the composition of small-circle functional constituencies and how the Nominating Committee will produce its ballot of screened Chief Executive election candidates. Just the sort of thing to remind everyone what triggered the students’ sit-in in the first place.
It does sometimes seem that what passes for political debate in this colony (sic) amounts to mere slogans, or rather key-words. The first to pronounce no-win, tanks, patriotism, evil-doers, Chinese characteristics, 7000 years, or downturn unanimously wins the argument.
It’s enough to make you think GA may have had a point after all.
We countryfolk know that it’s all in the timing/weather. Since the recent dampness has not done Carrie’s dirty work for her, the end-of-days must be brought on now, rather than waiting for the fur-coat weather before CNY.
Good summary of the situation
Finally, Plod says he’s coming out in strength to take back the streets. But what a lot of wank, really, what has Asia’s Finest fallen to. They’re not clearing all the public highways just some of them. What sort of retarded rule of law is that? The “rule of law” road’s that way, the “no rule of law” highways… thataway
SD, It makes sense to anyone who has seen a local or a S China Sea territorial dispute: before committing all your forces, you send out a small, temporary feeler, probe for weaknesses, judge public opinion, assess the situation in situ.
You can then finetune the strategy in terms of secrecy/blatantness, legal and/or thuggish recourse, advisability of tactical retreats and so on.
How else do you think the Chinese are running rings around the poor, naive, sincere Americans?
(While on the subject of naivety, poor Peter Kammerer has finally realised, a decade too late, that foreign-ness is not popular in HK…)
….move on and get back to normal….(C. Lam)
You wish, little sister. Hong Kong will never be normal again.
There is now a potent force of tens of thousands of citizens who can be mobilized at the push of a smartphone button. And they will be.
And as far as the Hong Kong Police is concerned: they are now fighting CY Leung’s battle.
But the moment will come when the rank and file will ask themselves: “We are supposed to serve the people of Hong Kpng, Why are we fighting them ?”.
@Joe Blow 10:36pm – An Iron Rice Bowl (in a tough job market) is a strong motivator for police/military to turn on the common people, regardless of where the sympathy lies for the forces.