IT WAS JUNE 4 AGAIN..

It was June 4 again. Like it is carried, the world carried intense debates and coverage over what happened on this day 26 years ago. Like China has always done since June 4, 1989, it did this as well, suppressing the voices on mainland, while trying to find ways to scuttle the Hong Kong protests that have become an annual feature.

Yes, if any symbolic Chinese element is present in the protests over Tiananmen Massacre (or incident, a political incident China would rather like to its people to believe), it is the annual Hong Kong vigil, organized to remember the victims of Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing’s iconic public square, a large arena.

China has, so far, been able to effectively killed democracy on the mainland and Tiananmen is its living proof and will remain so for the world. The autocracy has done it so successfully that majority of the Chinese now, including majority of its millennial generation born in good times of economic surge believe that Chinese politicians are taking right steps as a New York Times survey study finds.

Their concern is more of financial in nature than political and that is the success story of communist party of China so far. Chinese rulers know they will face problems from a slowing economy first. If any hope of democracy has to find its voice in China again, it will be only after the economy has failed, leading to increased poverty levels and a large impoverished class. That looks a far-fetched conclusion given the economic indicators now.

Even if China is slowing down, it is slated to be the world’s second largest economy. Also, the country will have the maximum share of the middle class population groups by 2021.

It is a large market for the world community to ignore, led by America and other rich and developed nations.

China knows it and exploits the gains suppressing democratic voices ruthlessly on the mainland. It is one of the compromises in China the world community is making.

And its efforts are reaching to Hong Kong now, the only vocal Chinese participation from China for hopes of democracy in the country. China is trying to undermine the democratic voices of Hong Kong targeting subtly the generation behind events like June 4 vigil or July 1 marches every year.

It is trying to do that by exporting mainland system on Hong Kong. Long duration protests were held last year against the Beijing decision to install a puppet pro-Beijing panel for 2017 Hong Kong elections using universal suffrage for the first time. All candidates who will be in fray will be pro-Beijing (chosen by them) and universal suffrage will be joke in that case. Protesters were demanding full democracy in the matter that, as expected, they did not get. After all, Xi Jinping is being referred to as the strongest Chinese President since Mao Zedong in the global media and it has to have its designs all over, including Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was under Britain for many decades and was handed over to China in 1997 with many conditions including preserving political and economic structure of the city state under ‘one country, two systems’.

China knows it cannot employ its mainland tactics here. China knows it cannot take the risk of subverting the agreement openly and ruthlessly suppress the voices of democracy in Hong Kong. But it can always do so, subtly and clandestinely, with ways like trying to changes text-books with mainland design or denying the people of Hong Kong to choose their own leader.

And it is on the job.

For the moment, Hong Kong stood once again with the world, especially the global media, on June 4, to remember the democratic victims of an autocratic China, hoping to withstand the Chinese might to demand genuine democracy.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

I am sharing some of the images of the vigil protest by the media here giving due courtesy to the agencies.

HK-DALE DE LA REY -AFP - Getty Images
Image courtesy: Dale De La Rey-AFP-Getty Images

HK-GETTY IMAGE
Image courtesy: Getty Images

HK-Vincent Yu-AP
Image courtesy: Vincet Yu-AP

HK-VINCENT YU-ASSOCIATED PRESS
Image courtesy: Bobby Yip-Reuters

HK-WSJ
Image Courtesy: WSJ

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CHINA OFFICIALLY SLAMS THE DOOR: NO ‘OPEN ELECTION’ IN ‘AUTONOMOUS’ HONG KONG

Being the largest functional democracy, we the Indians are inadvertent stakeholders in the democratic affairs of our two neighbours, Pakistan and China, because an undemocratic dispensation is basically confrontational in nature and the situation worsens when there are contentious boundary and territory issues involved, like we have with Pakistan and China.

And without any hesitation, it can be said these two countries are blots on the spirit of democracy. One is an occasional pseudo-democracy while the other is a preserved sanctuary of autocracy.

While Pakistan is facing yet another political crisis threatening to uproot the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif with the Army occupying the central position, China has continued to crush the voices of democracy with officially saying no to the demand of freedom to elect the top executive of Hong Kong directly.

The barbarism in crushing the democratic spirit on the mainland has had no restraints. And though Hong Kong is a different case with ‘one country, two systems’ concept, the Chinese government is increasingly spreading its tentacles to the island in efforts to kill the autonomy of the city-state, a global economic powerhouse, still and Alpha+ world city.

The agreement when Britain handed over the control of Hong Kong to China 17 years ago gave the city an autonomous administration to run its local rule. Preserving the democratic spirit in the day-to-day life and a free and open culture developed under a progressive British rule during the period when Hong Kong became the economic powerhouse might have been the idea behind it. But the Chinese autocracy (more of an aristocracy now) was not going to be content with just managing the security and foreign affairs of the megacity. They look to exercise iron grip here.

The democratic spirit of Hong Kong has been observing events like the June 4 Tiananmen Vigil or the increasingly critical version of the annual Handover Day march on July 1 each year. Protesters march to show solidarity for the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre and speak for the cause of their sacrifice – demands of political reforms and democracy in China.

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HONG KONG MARCH: DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT IS ALIVE AND KICKING

The protest march on the annual handover day in the Central Business District of Hong Kong was an expected success and that is the big news about it, this beautiful banner photograph from the South China Morning Post coverage tells us.

There were clashes with police and over 500 were arrested, that is the big news about it.

The protesters sounded motivated by the outcome and warned of more intense protests later this year demanding democratic reforms and that is the big news about it.

Over half-a-million turnout was expected and it did happen and it tells people are becoming more and more vocal and determined about their struggle.

And the slogan of this year’s July 1 handover day protest march, “defending Hong Kong Authority: No fear of Beijing’s threat of comprehensive control” explains this attitude well.

Two protest marches with largest turnouts in the recent history of Hong Kong, the June 4 Tiananmen protests vigil night and the July 1 handover day march, that has changed its character from being a ceremonial day to a day of protest, within a month, and that, too, against the might of a manipulative and oppressive government, give us inspiring shots for pro-democracy resistance movements.

Residents of Hong Kong who migrated from the mainland to have a life away from the Chinese wars during the imperial period and subsequently from the Communist rule are fighting to reclaim the life they had during the colonial years especially in the later half of the 20th Century that saw rapid economic growth making its per-capita-income among the highest in the world.

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HONG KONG MARCH: THE INSPIRING SHOTS

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Photo: South China Morning Post

The protest march on the annual handover day in the Central Business District of Hong Kong was an expected success and that is the big news about it, this beautiful banner photograph from the South China Morning Post coverage tells us.

There were clashes with police and over 500 were arrested, that is the big news about it.

The protesters sounded motivated by the outcome and warned of more intense protests later this year demanding democratic reforms and that is the big news about it.

Over half-a-million turnout was expected and it did happen and it tells people are becoming more and more vocal and determined about their struggle.

And the slogan of this year’s July 1 handover day protest march, “defending Hong Kong Authority: No fear of Beijing’s threat of comprehensive control” explains this attitude well.

Two protest marches with largest turnouts in the recent history of Hong Kong, the June 4 Tiananmen protests vigil night and the July 1 handover day march, that has changed its character from being a ceremonial day to a day of protest, within a month, and that, too, against the might of a manipulative and oppressive government, give us inspiring shots for pro-democracy resistance movements.

These are some of the moments captured, sourced here from different agencies:

Related post: HONG KONG MARCH: PRO-DEMOCRACY SYMBOLISM OF HONG KONG SPEAKS AGAIN
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/hong-kong-march-pro-democracy-of-symbolism-of-hong-kong-speaks-once-again/

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HONG KONG MARCH: PRO-DEMOCRACY OF SYMBOLISM HONG KONG SPEAKS AGAIN

Hong Kong: hundreds of thousands participate in pro-democracy march – The Guardian
Hong Kong Democracy Protest: Thousands March Through City – The Wall Street Journal
Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Emboldened by March – The Wall Street Journal
In Hong Kong, Tens of Thousands March for Democracy – TIME
Over 500 arrested after Hong Kong democracy rally – USA TODAY
Police accused of heavy-handed treatment of protesters arrested after July 1 march – South China Morning Post

It is laudable, it is brilliant, and it is there for us to see. Yes, it is not going to bring any immediate change, and possibly, not even in the near future. In fact, it can and will bring repression with the state machinery going tougher on the protesters and pro-democracy factions, parties and activists.

But, it is symbolically potent, like any such event in China, an oppressive democracy, is and has been, like the Tiananmen Protests and Massacre on mainland, like the Annual Tiananmen Vigil on June 4 in Hong Kong, like the Wukan protests on mainland or like this Annual Handover Day March on July 1, when Hong Kong was handed over to the Chinese rule 17 years ago.

The island of Hong Kong may be just a city state but being one of the economic powerhouses of the world and an industrialized and developed British colony till 1997, it is home to the values the developed Western economies cherish and that was the central reason behind the autonomy given to the islanders under ‘one country, two systems’ norms – with local rule to run the systems except foreign relations and defense.

But, then it was China, the global powerhouse of repression, the symbolism of a ruthless political system ruled by a single political party for over six decades – a period with number of events when pro-democracy voices were killed mercilessly – and the run is still continued.

And any tyrannical regime is stubbornly imperialist when it comes to expand geographically or when it comes to claim territories – or when it comes to transform the culture of the territories to suit its plans, like China has done in Tibet, like China has done with Falun Gong.

After Hong Kong came under Chinese sovereignty, the next aim was to make its civil liberties like the mainland – where no civil liberties exist.

It was never going to be easy in Hong Kong, with cherished values and atmosphere of self-rule and autonomy in existence for a long time. Yes, there was no universal suffrage in spite of the attempts to introduce it. It remained a core issue and now the Chinese government of Beijing has agreed to introduce the universal suffrage in 2017 when the city-state is slated to go polls to elect its next leader.

But this universal suffrage is nothing more than a sham step where the candidate to be chosen is from the pool proposed by Beijing. And this is a major reason among others making the Hong Kong residents worried and frightened about Beijing’s intentions and plans.

Beijing is methodically taking over institutions in Hong Kong with efforts like installing a pro-Beijing leader or introduction of the national education programme (the protests in 2012).

And realizing the real intent, the pro-autonomy and pro-democracy activists are protesting it. Organizers from the ‘Civil Human Rights Front’ claim over 5,00,000 protesters came forward to join the sit-in and participate in the March demanding democratic rights.

Over half-a-million were expected after an unofficial pro-democracy referendum by ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ was signed by around 8,00,000 people, almost 10% of the Hong Kong population.

And though the police claim the turnout to be less than 1,00,000, we can believe in the higher turnout figure even if it was not over half-a-million.

And the importance of this turnout lies in its symbolic potential. Though its mention was blacked out on the mainland, such attempts are increasingly becoming difficult. Access to the information on the Hong Kong life was one of the reasons that had ‘inspired’ many of the Wukan protesters.

And with increased complexity of layers and sub-layers, controlling the virtual world of social media is going to be as difficult as raising a pro-democracy demand in Beijing today.

Yes, the June 4 Vigil or July 1 March are not going to bring any changes for the mainland China in the future we can foresee now, but it is going to make developments more intense in Hong Kong as the protesters have warned for more protests later this year.

And crushing such protests like the Beijing government does in China would not be possible without the whole world coming to know about every such development.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JULY 1 HONG KONG MARCH: MORE PRO-DEMOCRACY VOICES EXPECTED

Hong Kong is bracing for its largest protest in more than a decade after nearly 800,000 voted for full democracy in an unofficial referendum, a move likely to stoke anti-China sentiment in the former British colony. – Al Jazeera

The vigil night on June 4, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Protests and the Tiananmen Massacre, yet again reaffirmed the hope that in spite of China’s efforts to suppress the voices of protests demanding political reforms and more space to democracy, they refuse to die.

And just within a month of landmark protests of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre (drawing around 2 Lakh protesters, largest since 1989 in Hong Kong), another landmark day comes, when the autonomous island of Hong Kong is scheduled to have its annual handover day march, tomorrow, on July 1, that is to begin from the iconic Victoria Park, the epicenter of the huge June 4 protests.

Reports like this Al Jazeera one say more than half-a-million are expected to march tomorrow to protest the increasing Chinese interference in the ‘autonomous’ character of Hong Kong.

China’s autocratic regime cannot act ruthlessly in Hong King, the former British colony that was handed over to China in 1997 with clear terms and conditions on its autonomy (one country, two systems), as it does in the mainland, crushing every voice of dissent.

But, the Communist Party machinery to manipulate the opinion and sabotage the ‘democratic’ character of Hong Kong is getting more and more involved and subversive for the Hong Kong residents to take it anymore.

Residents of the city island are protesting the Chinese mainland shadow on their civil liberties and are demanding the ‘full electoral’ freedom and a free election in 2017 while the mainland government is doing all to make it go it the mainland way.

Almost 10% of the Hong Kong residents have signed the ‘unofficial’ (but can anything, even remotely related to democracy, be official in China?) referendum (for full democracy) and the world is looking forward to watch some spectacular protest visuals again, after the June 4 pro-Tiananmen move, in one of the most oppressive regimes.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/