Unoccupied

Occupy Central is history.

After 75 days of blocking a major traffic artery, hysterically predicted by hand-wringers to bring all of Hong Kong to a standstill, police rolled in with workers to clear away barricades, tents, banners, posters, study areas, and art installations. It took seven hours to destroy the entire camp site that had grown organically from the first night of protests when police used tear gas on crowds trying to storm government headquarters.

Occupy destroyedPhoto by Dickson Lee

They also arrested 247 people, including student protest leaders and politicians. And though most protestors left quietly, they left a clear message:

Occupy messagePhoto by K.Y. Cheng

While it's unlikely they will attempt another blockade in the future, they have already devised other ways to exercise civil disobedience, such as the so-called "shopping tour", where dozens of protestors show up in Mong Kok and crowd sidewalks, obstructing businesses and chanting gau wu (購物), a Cantonese transliteration of the Putonghua gou wu (购物), which literally means "shopping". By moving from street to street and staging slow-walks at pedestrian crossings, they can disrupt the area and keep police busy.

So while the protest failed to immediately change the government's stance on the electoral process, the awareness raised may affect future planning in subtle ways that will not cause the government to lose face, which may be why Occupy Central was doomed from the beginning.

Being Chinese the protest leaders should have intrinsically understood that success would have made the mainland government lose face, which would consequently result in a loss of its authority: an outcome it holds as utterly intolerable, hence its intransigence any time someone questions its political decisions. If the protestors wish to effect real change in Hong Kong, they will have to do it from the inside and in ways that save face for all concerned.

It will be much slower than they desire, but the application of pressure over time will yield better results than banging their heads against the wall.

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About 關於

Big White Guy is the personal web site of Randall van der Woning, who hails from Canada but has lived in Hong Kong with his wife Mabel for the past 16 years. Randall is a photographer, photography teacher, and writer.

Seriously ... Big White Guy? The nickname was given in Canada but was shortened to BWG, because this wouldn't be the Internet if we didn't initialise everything.

Warm & Fuzzy 稱讚

"... thank you very much for bringing a little bit of Hong Kong to all those poor souls like me who don't live there ... "