Hong Kong By The Numbers
Here are some numbers for Christmas Day.
The Protect The West Kowloon Cultural Distict Movement led by Legislative Councilor Kwok Ka-ki held a demonstration march that went from the Cultural Center in Tsimshatsui to the site of the planned West Kowloon Cultural District. Kwok had predicted a turnout of 10,000 people.
Here are the actual crowd size estimates:
As I have said often before, the number that is reported for a mass rally is a function of political position of the source. I hope this clears up matters for you.
Where did the rest of the people go? The MTR subway system saw its highest one-day record of 3.3 million trips, and the Time Square shopping mall in Wanchai had 160,000 visitors in one day.
Do people care about the West Kowloon Cultural District?
(Ming Pao) The Frontier commissioned the Pan-Asian Research Institute at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to conduct a telephone interview. A total of 809 adults (age 18 or over) were interviewed.
- 53% disapproved of the "single vendor" approach to WKCD
- 57% has lost confidence in the government's ability to adminster as a result of the West Kowloon Cultural District and Hunghom Peninsula affairs
- 84% do not have full confidence in the government's promise that the West Kowloon Cultural District will not be turned into a real estate development deal
As an exercise, you can try to reconcile these stratospheric numbers with the turnout at the demonstration. (Hint: Easy. I did tell you that the size of the number is a function of the political position of the source of information)
The next big march will take place on New Year's Day. Actually, there are several marches. The first one of the day (10:30am-2:00pm) is organized by the financial sector and will be attended by stockbrokers and investors. They are going to protest against the 'black hands' that torpedoed the Link REIT as well as otherwise de-stabilizing and subverting the government. The others include a workers' march for minimum wage and maximum hours (2:00pm); community organizations who want to 'eliminate inequality' (3:00pm); and a pan-democratic march to oppose collusion between government and business, to preserve the West Kowloon Cultural District and to fight for direct elections in 07/08 (2:30pm).
According to Catholic Bishop Joseph Zen, going onto the streets to demonstrate is a good thing. In fact, marching on the street has become the only way for the people of Hong Kong to express their opinions. ("遊行是好事，上街遊行已成港人表達意見的唯一方法"). He has also said that peaceful demostration is an effective way for the people of Hong Kong to express their collection opinion. It can relieve the sadness and anger in their hearts, and help them hang on to their hopes in a time of despair. ("和平遊行是香港人民集體表達意見的一個有效方式，也能消解心裏的悲哀和憤怒，在絕望中堅持希望")
Oh, but wait, all previous realities have been cancelled. On a radio program yesterday, Bishop Joseph Zen said that he would not encourage Catholics to march on the New Year's Day. Why not? He said that there were no clear purposes to these marches, that the organizers have unclear backgrounds and that there are groups with opposing viewpoints marching so that it might be dangerous out there since violence can break out.
You got that? On New Year's Day, the good people will stay home and drown in their sorrow, anger and despair while the bad violent people with uncertain motives and backgrounds will be marching around town. I hope this clears up matters for you.