(Oriental Daily) October 3, 2017.

On Legislative Council election day last year, League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng alleged threw a sandwich at former Chief Executive CY Leung but hit a police chief inspector ahead. Ng has pleaded not guilty to common assault.

Before the trial began, the defense moved to switch magistrates on the grounds that the case was initially handled by magistrate Chan Bing-yu during pre-trial proceedings but will not be heard by magistrate So Wai-tak. Since Chan was more familiar with the case details, he should hold the trial. Magistrate So rejected the request because there was insufficient basis.

The defense and prosecution did not dispute that Avery Ng purchased two sandwiches at the Maxim's pastry shop in the MTR Admiralty station at around 8am on the day of the incident.

According to the testimony of police constable Chan Wing-hong, he was posted at the voting station on Legislative Council election day. At around 8am, Chief Executive CY Leung and his wife came down with a police escort to cast their votes. At the time, Chan saw the defendant Avery Ng approach Leung from the street. When Ng got to five meters away from Leung, he "took out a white-yellowish object and appeared to throw it in the direction of Mr. CY Leung." The object hit Chief Inspector of Police Lau Wing-kwun. The video of the incident was show in court.

During cross-examination, the defense pointed out that CY Leung bent down and evaded the sandwich. Therefore "the sandwich fell onto Chief Inspector Lau only because CY Leung eluded it." This shows that Avery Ng did not deliberately throw at Lau. Chan said that he only witnessed the sandwich "hitting" Lau. The defense said that "hitting" is highly subjective, and changed "hitting" into "making contact with" instead.

According to the testimony of Chief Inspector of Police Lau Wing-kwan, he was the personal safety director for CY Leung. At the time of the incident, he was escorting CY Leung and Mrs. Leung to vote at the voting station. Outside the voting station, an unidentified object came towards him. "Mr. Leung bent down quickly to avoid it." Lau used both hands to block the object. But the object was moist and soft, and hit Lau on the back. Afterwards, he discovered that the object was a sandwich. Lau said that he did not know who threw the sandwich.

During cross-examination, the defense asked Lau: "How come CY Leung reacted quickly enough to avoid the object, but you who have been trained could not?" Lau said: "I cannot answer on his behalf as to why he was able to avoid the object." The defense asked Lau: "Have you ever thought about whether CY Leung might have caused people to throw objects at him?" Lau said that he has never thought about that. But Lau emphasized: "I don't blame him for bending down to avoid the object."

The prosecution also showed a segment from Avery Ng's Facebook live broadcast, in which Ng declared that he had thrown a stinky fish sandwich at CY Leung.

The trial will continue tomorrow at which time the magistrate will consider whether the Facebook video is admissible as evidence. Former Chief Executive CY Leung is scheduled to testify tomorrow afternoon.

(Oriental Daily) October 4, 2017.

When hearing resumed today, the magistrate ruled that Avery Ng's Facebook video statement could be admitted as evidence. The magistrate also ruled that the evidence exists for the charge of common assault.

Avery Ng took the stand to testify on his own behalf. He said that after he was stopped by the police, he was not allowed to leave. So he was forced to stand there. While waiting, he took the Facebook video titled "Almost hit CY Leung and treated him with a stinky fish sandwich" in order to make fun of the police as well as chat with his supporters "in order to keep them happy and funny."

Ng said that there were no policemen next to him when he posted "Almost hit CY Leung." Therefore he could chat with his supporters. "I did not treat this as serious" and he only light-hearted deal with it. Under cross-examination, Ng agreed that he had done so of his own will. Ng noted that the police were filming him, but he did not mind to let the whole world know.

In summation, the prosecutor said that Ng voluntarily made a live broadcast to the public. Therefore, the court should admit what that live broadcast into evidence. The defense said that Ng was joking and unserious, and the comments by his supporters only encourage him to tell more jokes. As such, the court should remove this as evidence.

Ng also said that he wanted to demonstrate against CY Leung outside the voting station. He held a sandwich in order to show that "many poor people in Hong Kong cannot afford to have a sandwich for breakfast." He saw CY Leung walking in his direction, looking very composed and smiling. In court, Ng imitated Leung's expression: "Head held up high; eyebrows arched upwards; lower lip lifted up" as if he was challenging and "inviting" Ng to throw a sandwich at him.

Ng said that the tuna sandwich has "zero power of destruction." Although he aimed at the top of CY Leung's head, he did not intend to hurt CY Leung or the police chief inspector behind Leung. Anyone could have caught that sandwich. If the police hadn't step between Ng and Leung, the former would have handed the sandwich over in protest.

Under cross-examination, the prosecutor asked whether the action was insulting in nature. Ng replied: "I don't know, but the mere existence of CY Leung is an insult already. This can be enhanced somewhat." Ng also spoke to himself: "I have been quite accurate in my throws since childhood." Ng anticipated that Leung would catch the sandwich but it ended up hitting someone else. The prosecutor questioned how Leung could have "indicated" to Ng to throw the sandwich when there were so many press reporters around. Did Ng lie? Ng denied it: "Of course not! He is very combative!"

(Oriental Daily) October 4, 2017.

 This afternoon defendant Avery Ng called former Chief Executive CY Leung to the witness stand. Leung testified that he did not see the defendant when he went down to the voting station to cast his vote. As he walked towards the station, he spotted an object flying over at him. He evaded the object and continued to walk. He said that he has been especially alert about flying objects ever since a cup was thrown at him at the Legislative Council. He said that the person who attacked him should bear criminal responsibility.

Leung said that he was calm before the throw. Ng asked Leung to demonstrate this. Leung declined, saying that he would only do so only if ordered by the court. The magistrate said that, if necessary, they can view the news videos.

A news video was played in court. Ng said that "the person raising his hand was me." Leung said that he did not see him. "If I didn't see him, then I didn't see him." Leung said that he was nervous once he spotted the flying object because he did not know whether the object was a glass cup or acid. So he stepped up his pace immediately afterwards.

Leung said that he was afraid. As Chief Executive, there is not much likelihood of people throwing objects at him. He said that this was a serious incident. "If not an assault, then what was it?" He said that when he made the move to evade the object, he did not consider whether someone else might be hit.

In court, Ng challenged Leung's testimony. Leung said that he is the defense's witness. "You asked me here. If you don't believe me, you shouldn't be inviting me to come." Ng applied to the magistrate to declare Leung to be a hostile witness, because Leung's testimony was not credible and also did not help Ng's case. The magistrate turned down the application.

Ng said that Leung is a key witness but the prosecution did not ask him to testify. Ng had to find evidence about Leung's expression at the time and whether he had spotted Ng. As a result, Ng was forced to summon Leung as a witness for the defense. However, Leung refused to meet with Ng's lawyers. Before the trial began, Ng said that he had no idea whether Leung could help his case. After Leung gave his testimony, Ng said "at the very least, it was inconsistent with what I saw." Therefore Ng applied to declare Leung to be a hostile witness. The magistrate denied the application because he found the reasoning inadequate.

Ng said that Leung tacitly permitted Ng to throw the sandwich at him, and that Leung evaded the sandwich so that the person behind him would get hit. Leung denied this to be the case.

Internet comments:

- (Oriental Daily) March 1, 2017. Yesterday the police charged Avery Ng with common assault. Ng said that this was a politically motivated prosecution. He said that CY Leung is a coward because he is hiding behind the police. Ng said that the police and the Department of Justice have filed more serious charges against resisters in order to intimidate. Many demonstrators who were previously arrested are now awaiting for their turn. This is seriously disrupting their normal daily lives.

- (HK ON TV via YouTube) July 19, 2017. Defendant Avery Ng was not present when the court hearing began. According to the defense, Avery Ng is on his way in a taxi. At 1030am, Avery Ng appeared. He explained to the magistrate that his alarm clock malfunctioned and therefore he overslept. He flagged a taxi in Sheung Shui at 9am and arrived in the Eastern Court (Hong Kong Island) at 1030am. He apologized to the court. The magistrate confiscated the $500 bail previously paid by Ng, and he ordered Ng to post another $1,000 by 1pm.

- Not in dispute was the fact that Avery Ng bought the sandwiches at Maxim's pastry shop. What cannot be disputed is that Avery Ng characterized the sandwich as "stinky tuna fish sandwich." Maybe the Food and Environment Hygiene Department should pay a visit to Maxim's?

- Another funny part was that Avery Ng kept badgering CY Leung about whether Leung had see the person who threw the sandwich. Leung said no, adding: "If I saw someone throwing an object at me, I would file a police report against that person."

- (Ming Pao) October 4, 2017. At the trial, the defense offered the theory that CY Leung put on certain expresses that caused other people to attack him. Alternately, Leung may be quite willing to accept that sandwich.

- This is the rapist saying: "That woman asked for it by putting on that flirtatious look!" and "She may have been quite willing to get raped!"

(Oriental Daily) October 1, 2017.

There was a national flag raising ceremony at 8am at the Golden Bauhinia Square. Demosisto members hoisted banners and chanted slogans. Security guards removed them after some physical jostling. Demosisto members and other spectators quarreled and spitted at each other.

Internet comments:

- Demosisto chairman Nathan Law and secretary-general Joshua Wong are in jail; Derek Lam is in London; Agnes Chow is not known for physical confrontation. Therefore it was understandable that other Demosisto members had to rise up to the occasion.

But where did they find these people who shout slogans that nobody can understand?

This YouTube video of the incident carries the title: "October 1st National Day, pan-democrats pay $2,000 a day to hire inarticulate mentally impaired persons to demonstrate."

- The woman in white was heard to say: "I want to report ... I want to report to the police." That is most peculiar, because at all other times she would call the police "Black (Evil) Police."

(SCMP) October 1, 2017.

Hongkongers took to the streets on Sunday to reject “authoritarian rule” and demand the justice minister resign for damaging the city’s rule of law.

In a show of unity and braving heavy rain at times, the protesters chanted “Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung step down” as they set off from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay during the National Day holiday.

“If Hongkongers don’t come out and make their voices heard, the silence will send a message to the government that they can do whatever they want,” said Avery Ng Man-yuen, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, one of the event organisers. “Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor needs to fire Rimsky Yuen,” he added.

Organisers claimed 40,000 people took part. They had projected a turnout of 20,000. Police put the figure at 4,300.

Internet comments:

- When the crowd set out from Victoria Park, anti-Yellow Ribbon newspaper Oriental Daily gave a crowd-size estimate of 500 and pro-Yellow Ribbon newspaper Ming Pao gave an estimate of 1,500.

Let us grant that Ming Pao estimate of 1,500.

The mystery is how the crowd of 1,500 at Victoria Park rolled up to 40,000 when it reached Government Headquarters in Tamar. When asked about this, League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng said that he declines to comment on crowd size at this time.

- (HKG Pao) Even Ming Pao couldn't stand it. They asked League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng, Civil Human Rights Front convener Sammy Ip and Civil Human Rights Front ex-convener Au Ngor-hin about how the estimate came about. All three said that they have no idea.

- Causeway Bay Books ex-owner Lam Wing-kee marched today too. He was quite willing to comment on the low crowd turnout: "The number of marchers is not the issue. The most important thing is to look at public opinion."

- Demonstration is (1) the action or process of showing the existence or truth of something by giving proof or evidence; or (2) a public meeting or march protesting against something or expressing views on a political issue. If the public won't come out to demonstrate, then how do you know what the public opinion is? How opposed is the public to authoritarianism?

- In Chinese, the term for "demonstration" literally means "show of power." When there are only 4,300, it is a "show of lack of power" or "show of weakness."

- 40,000 today?

How about (SCMP) Quarter of a million turn out for HK National Day fireworks?

Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong National Day revellers gathered on both sides of the harbour to watch as spectacular fireworks filled the sky on Sunday night. The show kicked off at 9pm over Victoria Harbour, despite clouds affecting visibility, with eight movements over 23 minutes. Police said more than 250,000 people lined the Kowloon waterfront and more than 26,000 were on the island side.

- The number of demonstrators is not the issue. The truly important number is the amount of donations that the organizers claim to have raised from this event. Mind you, we are not talking about the amount of the donations that the organizers actually raised. There is a fine difference in the wording.

- (EJ Insight)  October 3, 2017. The anti-government rally on October 1, which marks China’s National Day, has helped raise around HK$1.1 million to support the fight for democracy, according to a key figure involved in the exercise. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy, said several among the tens of thousands that took part in Sunday’s rally made generous contributions to a fund that seeks to help pro-democracy lawmakers and activists who had been caught up in legal cases.

- If the $1.1 million came from the 4,300, the average donation would be $1.1 million / 4,300 = $256. That would be very high compared to previous history. So they have to come out and admit that "several among the tens of thousands ... made generous contributions." Who are these "several"? Jimmy Lai? Richard Li? George Soros? The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)?

- If the $1.1 million came from the claimed 40,000, the average donation would be $1.1 million / 40,000 = $27.50, which is about the price of a McDonald's burger. That would be pathetic. And if "several among the tens of thousands ... made generous contributions," the average donation among the others would be even more pathetic. $5 per head, maybe? Such is the logical consequence of an exaggerated base.

- (Oriental Daily) October 2, 2017.

Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union ex-president Tommy Cheung took part in the demonstration march. He called on people to change their habits and automatically donate one-tenth of their monthly earnings to support the various groups and funds. Once you do that, you won't feel obliged to come out to demonstration marches in order to donate money.

- Yeah? Has Tommy Cheung done so himself?

- How to become a millionaire: Get 1,000 people who earn $10,000 a month to donate one-tenth of their earnings each month, and you will earn $1,000,000 a month yourself. Of course, you will donate one-tenth of your own earnings to yourself, which leaves you with $1,000,000 net.

- (EJ Insight) October 3, 2017.

Asked why the union and other similar organizations did not participate in Sunday’s demonstration, Wong Ching-tak, president of the University of Hong Kong students union,  said the reason was they believe the call for Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung to step down, one of the march’s main themes, was off the mark. Yuen was a wrong focus, as he is not the source of the authoritarian politics currently seen in Hong Kong, Wong said.

Also the student unions wanted to call on society to pay attention to political prisoners other than the more-than-a-dozen young activists who were sentenced to jail in August. By staying away from the rally, the student groups hope to turn the focus on the fact that there are many more activists who need help.

- My absence at the rally will draw more attention than my presence ...

- (Oriental Daily) October 1, 2017. A group of masked men joined the demonstration with their Hong Kong independence flag. What are they afraid of?

(Oriental Daily) October 1, 2017.

After the anti-Authoritarianism demonstration in the afternoon, more than 20 People Power members marched to the China Liaison Office. They held a black cloth with many yellow stars on it.

The police issued two warnings to People Power vice-chairman Tam Tak-chi that this flag may be in violation of the National Flag ordinance which requires the National Flag to have certain colors and dimensions.

Tam denied that his flag was the National flag. He said: "If you think that this is the national flag, you should tell (Secretary for Justice) Rimsky Yuen to prosecute me." Then he threw the black flag into the China Liaison Office. Afterwards the demonstrators disbanded.

Internet comments:

- Here are the financial data:

Cost of insulting the national flag (see the case of Cheng Chung-tai): $5,000.

Income from donations at the demonstration march: $100,000 (hypothetical).

Well, I'll be damned if I don't insult the national flag.

- Indeed, this was why Next Media historically created so many fake news stories:

Cost of court fine for libel: $50,000 (hypothetical)

Annual net earnings: $200 million

Well, they would be damned if they didn't make up as many fake news stories as possible. In the long run, they destroyed their brand because readers don't want any more fake stories and advertisers don't want to advertise in a fake-news environment.

So, in the long run, fewer and fewer people will come to demonstrations and donate money. But that's okay, because the whole thing was a money-laundering operation to begin with ...

(Hong Kong Free Press) September 29, 2017.

Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters returned to government headquarters in Admiralty on Thursday to commemorate the anniversary of the Umbrella Movement protests. Three years on, they urged unity against a backdrop of what one organiser described as an “authoritarian” political atmosphere.

On September 28, 2014, the police shot 87 tear gas canisters to disperse protesters gathering in support of arrested students. Many regard it as the moment which sparked a 79-day street occupation protest calling for universal suffrage.

Activists were ultimately cleared from the streets, though the government did not make any concessions. The movement’s leaders – Joshua Wong and Nathan Law – completed community service orders as a result of charges relating to the demonstrations, whilst Alex Chow was given a suspended sentence. However, the trio were jailed in August after the government successfully appealed their sentences.

Agnes Chow, a core member of Wong and Law’s party Demosisto, said she was grateful that demonstrators had returned to Admiralty after three years, even though many had been disappointed by the political events during the period.

“As we look back, maybe we are already used to the government using the law to handle political issues, maybe we are used to the police using violence to suppress protesters,” she said. “I am also afraid that in three years, in 2020, we may be used to the disqualification of lawmakers and young protesters being sent to jail.”

“We all love this city, but we are afraid that it may not look like the city that we know anymore,” she added. “But we should not lie to ourselves and say we are not afraid, because there will be a day when you cannot stand it anymore. We have to face our fears – even if we are afraid, for the city we love, we must hang on.”

The organiser of the event “reenacted” the scene three years ago by playing audio recordings from the protests in 2014 and mimicking the dispersal of tear gas by with water vapour.

Avery Ng, chair of the League of Social Democrats, said he almost shed tears when the protests started, since he was in London and could not join.

“We have always been described as the radical party… but when I saw Hong Kong people united in civil disobedience, there was no fear of the police or tear gas, I felt Hong Kong people finally experienced how to fight against this suppressive regime,” he said.

He said, over the past three years, the social movement had fragmented.

“But I want to remind all of us, it’s time to unite… regardless if you are conservative, radical, if you support localism, or independence – we have to stand united. We only have one enemy together – the Communist Party and Carrie Lam.”

Other Occupy leaders such as Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming will face trial on charges of conspiracy to cause and incite public nuisance. The trio had said they were preparing for jail by showering with cold water and switching off their air conditioning.

“If I have to go to prison, let’s go to prison,” Tai told supporters. “When we face such threats with a calm attitude, this authoritarian regime has no authority… Tell the government: sue me! Then the threat from the authoritarian regime will be at least weakened by half.” Chan also told the crowd: “If I have to go to prison, then I shall calmly accept prison.”

He said that the government told them that many more participants, including volunteers and supporters, could be charged as co-conspirators.

“Tens of thousands could go to jail,” he said. “But we should not fear. If I am not afraid of imprisonment, then the chilling effect will disappear… They wanted to scare us. But if we face it calmly, that threatening power will be gone.”

“We may feel pain but we will not back down,” he said. “We may be angry but we will not lose our rational mind. This is the spirit of the Umbrella Movement.”

Internet comments:

- (Hong Kong Free Press) The Umbrella Movement after three years: So much accomplished, and much still to do. By Kong Tsung-gan. September 24, 2017.

Not long after the end of the occupations in December 2014, I started to hear participants say things like, “We accomplished nothing.” Most though not all of these voices belonged to young people.

I was a bit taken aback because during the occupations, most occupiers had quite realistic expectations. No one thought the Communist Party was suddenly going to see the light and hand genuine universal suffrage to Hong Kong on a platter. Why, then, this downbeat assessment afterwards?

After so many had fought so long and hard, camping out on the streets for 79 days, being teargassed, peppersprayed, beaten and arrested by police, the bitterness was understandable:

It’s one thing to know something in your head, another to feel it deep in your heart. In the aftermath of the Umbrella Movement, it was dawning on many Hong Kong people, especially young people, just how deeply unjust their society was.

They were coming to terms with the “nature of the beast”, the Communist Party, their implacable adversary which had spent over 60 years jealously guarding its monopoly on power on the mainland, annihilating any challenge to it.

Existing as they did a step removed from the full force of that power, a good many Hong Kong people hadn’t fully understood the Communist Party. But they did now. Or it was dawning on them with awful clarity.

Accompanying this growing awareness of injustice and of the ruthlessness of the oppressor was a deep sense of powerlessness. Much of the disillusionment turned inward: people were disappointed with themselves and with the leaders of the occupations.

But while emotionally understandable and partially accurate, the assessment that the Umbrella Movement accomplished nothing disregards a wide array of positive outcomes, both intended and not. Some can be classified as objectives met others are perhaps more like side effects.

A fuller understanding of what the movement was about, what it did and did not accomplish, is, among other things, useful in strategizing for the future.

In one sense, “We accomplished nothing” is right: The Communist Party made no concrete concessions nor even exhibited a willingness to engage, let alone negotiate. The Umbrella Movement did not lead to genuine universal suffrage. On the surface, it did not force the Party to budge an inch.

The Umbrella Movement’s lack of accomplishment of any concrete immediate positive objective was not dissimilar to the cases of many other recent nonviolent popular movements and uprisings going back to the huge global demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and up through the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring.

These movements were all different from one another, but a clear pattern is emerging: It’s become harder for nonviolent political movements to accomplish concrete positive objectives in the short term.

But there is a difference between acknowledging the fact that the key positive objective of genuine suffrage hasn’t been accomplished and saying that nothing has been.

Before outlining the movement’s main accomplishments and failings, it’s important to consider a few important contexts.

The Umbrella Movement was the largest manifestation of resistance to Communist Party rule since the 1989 demonstrations across China. While the ’89 demonstrations were violently crushed, the Umbrella Movement fought the Communist Party to a draw: Neither was able to achieve its primary aim (for the movement, genuine suffrage; for the Party, fake).

Once the Communist Party came out with its decision of 31 August 2014 that virtually ruled out genuine universal suffrage, it committed itself irrevocably to taking a hard line on Hong Kong. From that point on, it could not show the least bit of “weakness”.

This hardline stance is a Communist specialty, and more so than ever under Xi Jinping. It is similar to Party policy on Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, which in turn is based on an awareness that the Communist empire is contested at its peripheries.

Indeed, from the Tibetan uprising of 2008 to unrest in Xinjiang to the Sunflower Movement of Taiwan and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement of 2014, we see a clear pattern of resistance to Party rule, or in the case of the Sunflower Movement, Party influence.

In all of these places, the party doesn’t get the loyalty and obedience it wants. And whenever people rise up, its reflex is repression: it’s backed itself into a corner with its hardline policies.

Of course, the underlying reason for this is that it rules by force and without the formal consent of any of its people. So if you think the Umbrella Movement failed, just look at the messes the Party has made for itself all over its empire.

From 31 August 2014 onward, then, it was fairly certain what the Party response would be to any mass resistance in Hong Kong. Indeed, resort to use of the military was more likely than substantial concessions.

Also important is that the occupations began spontaneously as a form of resistance rather than as an expression of a positive demand. They were first and foremost a big NO to the eight-hour-long police teargas attack on Hong Kong citizens on 28 September and to the fake suffrage stipulated in the 31 August ruling.

Of course, demonstrators desired genuine suffrage; that was their primary positive objective. But they also wished to block the worst, fake suffrage, from happening, and in this, they succeeded.

The Umbrella Movement torpedoed any chance of a Hong Kong government proposal based on the 31 August ruling ever passing in Legco. Sure enough, the Communist Party’s fake suffrage was defeated on 18 June 2015.

If “We accomplished nothing” is true, the same can be said for the Communist Party. Fake suffrage was an important part of the Party’s plan to bring Hong Kong under its full control long before 2047. With fake suffrage, the Party would have achieved a complete and final stranglehold over the formal political system.

It called what it was proposing “universal suffrage”, so it would also have been relieved of the legal obligation enshrined in the Basic Law to introduce it. It would have been under no further legal obligation to allow any subsequent political development in Hong Kong whatsoever.

Fake suffrage was checkmate. For this reason, defeating fake suffrage, while a long way from achieving the realisation of genuine suffrage, was a crucial accomplishment. It also fulfilled the original objective of the demonstrators, to say no.

In this sense, judging by the criterion of the spontaneous motivation to come out to the streets on 28 September, the Umbrella Movement accomplished its primary objective. Indeed, whenever Hong Kong people have had the power to do so — Article 23 “security” legislation in 2003, the national education curriculum in 2012, the fake suffrage of 2015 —  they have consistently thwarted the Communist Party’s efforts to exert greater control over Hong Kong.

The Umbrella Movement can be considered to have “failed”, to have “accomplished nothing” only if it is regarded as the climax of a campaign, rather than part of a much longer history of political struggle which began long before the movement and will continue far into the future. In that broader context, the accomplishments of the Umbrella Movement were various and profound:

It drew much greater attention, both in Hong Kong and internationally, to the Communist Party’s stepped-up efforts at mainlandization (political control coupled with infrastructural, economic and cultural integration of Hong Kong with the mainland) and brought Hong Kong’s political situation to the attention of the rest of the world in a way that no other event had ever done before, establishing Hong Kong as contested political territory.

It brought Hong Kong to a new stage in the struggle for democracy and self-determination, initiating an era of long-term resistance, cultivating a deep and healthy distrust of the Communist Party that pervades greater swathes of Hong Kong society than ever before, and, with that, increased vigilance.

It did more than any other event to promote a politically conscious and active citizenship, and this especially amongst a huge majority of young people — upwards of 80 to 90 percent — who are in favor of democracy and genuine autonomy.

This resistance is a factor that the Party will have to contend with for years and perhaps even generations to come; indeed, it could outlast the Party itself. It is not going too far to say that the fate of Hong Kong rests on what this generation of young people decides to do.

It raised the political awareness of Hong Kong people generally, and especially that of many previously apolitical people. They realized how emotionally attached to Hong Kong they are. They strongly identify with it and want to defend it.

It got people talking politics and thinking about the future of the city. It made more people aware of Hong Kong’s many deficits, of the failings of its government, and the relationship between the city’s drawbacks and the fact that it lacks democracy. And it motivated a larger number of people than ever to stand up for themselves and for Hong Kong.

It made Hong Kong less submissive, less controllable. As Jacques Semelin said in reference to civil resistance to Hitler in occupied Europe, “When a society feels less and less submissive, it becomes more and more uncontrollable. Then even if the occupier keeps its power, it loses its authority.” That’s Hong Kong today.

The Umbrella Movement delegitimized Communist Party rule and made people see more clearly than ever before what the Party was doing to Hong Kong. What government can fail to respond to such a huge number of its citizens in such great open rebellion that they take over large parts of the city for months, and retain even vestigial legitimacy?

Because of the unfulfilled promise of universal suffrage, Hong Kong was already in perpetual political crisis before the Umbrella Movement, but the movement made the contradictions and injustices of Party rule even more acute. And the only way the Party knew how to respond, doing nothing to reform and instead tightening the screws, has simply discredited it further.

This model of governance — an essentially unelected government whose first priority is to implement the agenda of the Communist Party in a city of citizens aware of and demanding their rights — is simply unsustainable, however stable it may sometimes appear on the surface.

Related to the above, the movement specifically doomed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his administration to illegitimacy and ineffectuality.

One of the first and most concrete demands the movement made was that Leung resign to take responsibility for failed political reform and the police teargas attacks. I recall clearly at the time many long-time China watchers scoffed at the idea that the movement could force the Party to dump Leung.

Oh, I said to them, it may not come now, but it will come. Remember Tung Chee-hwa? He was actually the first CE whose reign was terminated due to a people’s movement, the half-million-person march in 2003 against the Party-directed Article 23 “security” legislation.

Tung resigned for “medical reasons” in 2005. In 2016, Leung decided not to run for a second term for “family reasons”. He had rendered himself so unpopular by doing the Party’s dirty work that the Party dumped him. Both had their reigns shattered by people’s movements against Party attempts to impose its will.

The only CE to complete his two allotted terms so far is Donald Tsang, and he was subsequently convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison for crimes committed in office. There’s no greater indictment of the Hong Kong governance model than the fact that even in a system where the CE is basically appointed, he still cannot complete two terms.

The Umbrella Movement was an ultimatum to the Communist Party: Either you give us what you promised, or all bets are off; the implicit social contract of the last 17 years, according to which we grudgingly went along with your rule in exchange for you fulfilling your promise of allowing real autonomy and granting genuine suffrage, is torn up and we start from scratch. We will no longer wait around for you to deliver, we will take our fate into our hands.

There is a growing awareness that it is the Basic Law itself that is problematic (or the Party’s interpretation of it, which amounts to the same thing), and fewer people will accept it as the basis of a just political solution. Indeed, the suffrage struggle led to today’s calls for self-determination and independence.

The Umbrella Movement brought into relief two clearly contrasting sets of values, those of Hong Kong and the pro-democracy movement, on the one hand, and the Communist Party’s authoritarian political culture, on the other.

It provided a vision of just what a better place Hong Kong could be — fairer, more egalitarian, more communitarian, more vibrant, caring, generous and creative, happier, and of course, more democratic.

This vision stands in stark contrast to what the Party wants it to be — authoritarian, rigidly hierarchical, inegalitarian, docile, passive, prostrate, obedient, plodding, cutthroat capitalistic and exploitative, resigned and pessimistic. For the Party, the model Hong Kong citizen is the dull and unswervingly loyal Hong Kong government political appointee, who can’t think for himself, but is good at executing orders.

The Umbrella Movement vision is a template for a different sort of society, not governed by the dictates of authoritarian turbo-capitalism with political and economic power concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority.

The movement’s art, creativity, anarchic collaboration, egalitarianism, communalism, emphasis on values other than the economic, idealism, generosity of spirit and action, dedication, commitment to the common good, to ideals higher than oneself, one’s pocketbook, one’s family, opened Hong Kong people’s eyes to one another, to a common identity both already existing and still emerging, and to the possibilities of a truly self-governed, democratic Hong Kong.

This heartened people and gave them confidence in themselves, their comrades, their allies, the better angels of Hong Kong’s nature. People who participated in and were inspired by the occupations continue to resist and to fight for justice in ways big and small, as a movement, in groups and as individuals in many areas of society. They carry the flame of the movement deep in their hearts.

The Umbrella Movement dealt a blow to the international reputation of the Communist Party, as it became clear that it had no intention to fulfill its legal obligations.

While the Party exercises greater economic and military influence globally than ever before, its “soft power”, its ability to inspire any kind of affinity based on the attraction of its system as a political model and of its society as a cultural model is close to zero.

The Umbrella Movement smashed any hope the Communist Party may have had that Taiwan would ever willingly reconcile with the mainland as it is now ruled. The last thing Taiwanese want is to become like Hong Kong.

The Umbrella Movement accomplished all of the above nonviolently and with courage and dignity in the face of violent attacks by the police and thugs. It preserved the moral upper hand. It showed that nonviolent resistance is, among other things, the most sustainable option, working as a platform for future action, even if it doesn’t immediately lead to the fulfilment of the most desired objectives.

That list of accomplishments and successes is far from everything but it is certainly more than nothing.

But then what were the movement’s failures and limitations? What were the main reasons it was not able to accomplish its primary positive objective of genuine suffrage?

Simply put, it didn’t have enough power to force the Communist Party to grant it.

Why didn’t it have enough power? There are three main reasons: It didn’t have enough people, it hadn’t the capacity to “escalate outward” effectively, and it failed to convince supporters of the Party to withdraw their support or defect to the other side.

Estimates for participation in the occupations themselves range from 836,000 to 1,300,000. That’s between 13 and 20 percent of the 6,401,600 Hong Kong people over the age of 15. In addition to that, there were the nearly 800,000 who voted in the Occupy Central with Love and Peace referendum on universal suffrage of 22 to 29 June 2014 and the 510,000 who marched on 1 July that year.

In all, in events ranging from the 22–29 June 2014 OCLP referendum to the defeat of fake suffrage in June 2015, an estimated 2,156,000 to 2,620,000 people participated — an astounding 33 to 40 percent of the over-15 population. Even if one assumes that many people participated in all events, the referendum, the march and the occupations, that is still an extraordinary participation rate.

Scholar of nonviolent resistance Erica Chenoweth says that almost any movement with a participation rate of 3.5% is likely to succeed. The Umbrella Movement far exceeded that. But still, that was not enough.

Too many Hong Kong people, for whatever reason, decided not to get involved at a historically crucial moment. This was indeed a weakness, but not really one for which the movement itself could be blamed.

Or one could argue that indeed enough people participated but those huge numbers could eventually be contained because of the movement’s biggest internal weakness, its inability to “escalate outward” when the moment demanded.

It couldn’t expand the movement beyond street occupations. Past a certain point, it was insufficient just to have people in the streets or even to use those people to, for example, surround government buildings.

The problem was that, going into the movement, which, again, began spontaneously, the pro-democracy movement and civil society generally were organizationally too weak and without the requisite culture to accomplish outward escalation. That would have meant, for example, labour union strikes, rent strikes of public housing tenants, and economic boycotts of entities supporting the Communist Party.

Imagine, for instance, if teachers, bus drivers and MTR train drivers went on strike. Both the Confederate of Trade Unions and the Professional Teachers Union called strikes in response to the police tear gas attacks of 28 September, but little came of them.

Traditionally, the pro-democracy movement had been weak at organizing, and it showed in the Umbrella Movement, when it needed to be able to call on a base of already-organized people to mobilize in different areas of society.

As a result of the movement’s inability to escalate outward, the Communist Party was reassured after the first week or so that it could be contained, and thus it and the Hong Kong government adopted the strategy of simply waiting it out.

The movement’s other big weakness was an inability to get supporters of the regime to either defect or withdraw their support. Most nonviolent resistance movements that succeed are able to persuade the security apparatuses protecting the regime or the business elements that see themselves as benefitting from it to calculate that they’d be better off no longer supporting it.

Loyalist defections are identified by nonviolent resistance scholars as amongst the most decisive turning points. But no one amongst the tycoons and business establishment, the pro-Party media, Hong Kong government political appointees or civil service or the police, let alone the Communist Party’s army or mainland Chinese citizens changed sides or even withdrew support.

Again, this had the effect of reassuring the Communist Party that it could wait the movement out since it wasn’t eroding support amongst its allies.

There were other weaknesses- in leadership, strategy, communication, coordination and decision-making- but these were not of decisive significance, nor was the fact that the movement received no significant moral or rhetorical support from foreign governments.

Weighing all of the above, the conclusion is that there was little else the Umbrella Movement might have accomplished, considering the circumstances, and that what it did accomplish was of great significance. It was a watershed of Hong Kong history. Its legacy will be felt for years to come.

Indeed, we are living in the post-Umbrella Movement era: Virtually every significant political development in Hong Kong since then has its origins in the movement or reactions against it.

Unfortunately, the assessment that “we accomplished nothing” has led to wrong lessons being learnt. In the aftermath of the movement, there were recriminations and disunity amongst various factions within the pro-democracy movement which should have, over the past three years, been collaborating and cultivating a sense of common purpose.

The underlying weakness of an insufficiently organised civil society generally and pro-democracy movement in particular has not been addressed. Much of the deep pessimism that can easily be found amongst activists and others in Hong Kong these days might also be tempered by greater confidence in our own power.

Pessimism risks becoming fatalism or defeatism or resignation, which is exactly what the Communist Party wants. When it comes to power, the Party sees everything as a zero-sum game; its goal is the absolute annihilation or submission of the enemy. Don’t do the Party’s work for it.

The real lessons to be learned from the Umbrella Movement are the need for unity and solidarity amongst all those in Hong Kong who want democracy and self-determination, and the importance of addressing the pro-democracy movement’s underlying weaknesses in strategy, organisation and mobilisation.

For Hong Kong, there is always hope as long as people continue to resist, especially if they do so in unity and solidarity and with a clear goal and plan to achieve it.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) Those who think the Umbrella Movement failed need to learn a little history. By Stephen Vines. October 1, 2017.

Was the Umbrella Movement a waste of time? On the movement’s third anniversary this question is being answered in the affirmative by all sorts of people, including those who consider themselves to be democrats.

Wherever they are coming from, the people who see the Umbrella Movement as a failure are profoundly lacking in historical perspective, and are unrealistic in expecting that a movement of this kind would be able to secure its aims overnight.

In this respect the Umbrella Movement’s development is remarkably similar to that of other significant social and political movements in other parts of the world.

An excellent example here is the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, which mobilized literally millions of people across the nation demanding equality for black people.

As the movement grew the backlash against it also grew, bolstered by the governments of the Southern states who were determined to cling onto institutional racism. They mobilized the thuggery of law enforcement officials alongside a widespread policy of using the law to incarcerate protestors.

As the civil rights campaign ploughed on in the face of adversity there was a growing feeling that the movement had exhausted itself and done little more than get its adherents put into jail and beaten up.

Some historians believe that even the movement’s most prominent leader, Martin Luther King, had moments when he questioned whether it had been worthwhile.

These doubts deepened as the price of protest rose and participants were beaten and murdered. The assassination of Dr King himself however strengthened resolve.

He had lived to see many of the movement’s key demands put into law and witnessed the bitter divisions that arose as he was denounced for accepting the compromises required to change the laws.

And that brings us to today in Hong Kong where an increasing number of protesters are being hauled away to jail, legislators supporting the movement have been turfed out of office and not only has Hong Kong’s woefully inadequate system of representative government not changed at all, but the current leader of the HKSAR has declared that discussion on this matter is pretty much off the table.

So was it all a failure? The emphatic answer is no, and that can be said with some confidence. Indeed it is not that much of stretch to say that the day will come when people will shake their heads in disbelief on hearing that even in 2017 Hong Kong’s sophisticated and intelligent people were being fobbed off with a rotten election system guaranteed to block the will of the majority, and that they were not allowed to elect their own government.

A future generation may well also find it hard to understand why Hong Kong’s so-called leaders of the day were willing accomplices in stripping the SAR of its promised autonomy, bringing it more firmly under the control of a dictatorship.

This future generation will share some of the reactions from today’s American school children who think that they are being taught ancient history when told that black people were only allowed to sit at the back of the bus and could not even eat at the same places as white people; yet this was commonplace just half a century ago.

What we learn from all this is that today’s ‘realities’ are tomorrow’s ‘unbelievabilities’ and that change is a long drawn out process lacking in linear progression, punctuated by enormous setbacks.

Hong Kong knows all about this because although the previous colonial government and the current tremble-and-obey government have helped foster the myth of a historically politically apathetic and selfish society it is simply a lie.

Even when the vast majority of the population consisted of immigrants from the Mainland, mass protest movements emerged. The 1960s mobilization against fare rises on the Star Ferry was followed in the 1970s by a growing mass of social movements led primarily by teachers and church-associated bodies rebelling against poor living conditions for working people and inferior education for the poor.

By the 1980s mass protests coalesced around a massive campaign to try and prevent the building of the Daya Bay nuclear plant; the end of this decade was bookmarked by an unprecedented mobilization in solidarity with the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

The following decade saw the emergence of a focus on the need for democracy, accompanied by the growth of political parties and a host of social movements. The strength of these movements was seen again at the turn of the century when mass protests forced the government to abandon draconian anti-subversion legislation and pull back on plans for political indoctrination in schools.

Hong Kong has a history of success and failure when it comes to reform but, most importantly, it is a history of people who will not be cowed.

The Occupy Movement should therefore be seen as the offspring of the movements that preceded it. Sure, the issues are different and the methods of protests have changed but the golden thread connecting these movements is a clear assertion of Hong Kong people’s determination to have greater control over their own affairs.

The Umbrella Movement represents a kind of continuity and developed in ways that are more sustainable. It fostered, for example, a flourishing of an independent online media, it reached deep into a younger generation who will be around much longer than the author of this column and, yes, it fostered an enormous backlash but it can be argued that in so doing it merely brought to the surface forces that were lurking beneath.

The Umbrella Movement let the genie out of the bottle. No one, even the hard men in Beijing, can be under any illusion that attacks on Hong Kong’s autonomy and way of life can be delivered without resistance.

For the time being the response of the authorities has been to try and lock away and intimidate protestors. But, ultimately, this will fail even if they escalate the scale of repression, as it will achieve little more than creating martyrs. So who’s really the failed party here?

- (SCMP) Division, that’s the real legacy of Hong Kong’s Occupy movement. By Alex Lo. September 30, 2017.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting said “civic awakening” had been the greatest legacy of the Occupy protests three years ago.

A co-founder of the Occupy Central movement, the legal scholar made his remark during a gathering of hundreds to mark the start of the event that brought Hong Kong to a standstill for 79 days.

Tai is probably right. But beyond the rhetoric, the more interesting and relevant question is what the people of Hong Kong have “awakened” to.

There are now broadly two metanarratives, the yellow and the blue versions, through which virtually every political and even social development is seen.

You call it awakening, I call it polarisation.

So, depending on whether you are yellow or blue, the recent jailing of activists is either political persecution or a well-deserved reckoning. Those jailed are either prisoners of conscience or troublemakers.

The unauthorised raising of banners calling for Hong Kong independence and even personal attacks on university campuses were either an exercise in free speech or its abuse.

Tell me what you think about the so-called ­co-location immigration arrangement, regarding a joint facility with the mainland, at the future high-speed rail terminus in West Kowloon, and I can tell whether you are yellow or blue.

The Occupy movement itself is either a noble endeavour or one of the worst things that ever happened to the city.

For a supporter of the yellow ribbon, a pro-Beijing person is either an incorrigible opportunist or someone who is brainwashed. For a backer of the blue ribbon, a pan-democrat is either a hopeless idealist or someone on the payroll of foreign forces.

When I started working as a reporter in the early 1990s, political differences between people were more a matter of shades and degrees. Now, it’s so clear-cut because we have become sharply divided.

Our differences are built into the very categories with which we think about news events, and the very language we use to talk to, and more often shout at, each other.

That, to me, has been the real legacy of the Occupy movement. But to be fair, given the deep social and political problems in post-1997 Hong Kong, something like the Occupy movement would have happened even if Tai and his friends had never agitated for it.

Is there a way out? Probably not any time soon. Given that democratic reform is dead in the water, social betterment and improvement in people’s living conditions may be the only way to mitigate the current crisis, but not to resolve it.

- (EJ Insight) September 29, 2017.

Members of various civic groups and pro-democracy parties gathered outside the government headquarters in Admiralty on Thursday to mark the third anniversary of the Occupy campaign.

Representatives from more than 40 organizations took part in the event, holding yellow umbrellas and banners and listening to audio recordings of speeches from the past.

The organizer said more than 1,000 people turned up for the rally, although police estimated the number to be about 500, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

- On September 28, 2014, it was claimed that 120,000 came out in Admiralty to fight for freedom and democracy. On September 28, 2017, 500 came out to commemorate the third anniversary. Well, what happened to the other 115,000? Have they all immigrated to Taiwan?

(The Standard) September 13, 2017.

The pro-democracy camp's co-location concern group is set to discuss six alternative proposals at a weekend seminar in a bid to find one that trumps the government's plan.

The government's proposal, announced in July, involves leasing areas within the West Kowloon terminus to the mainland for a "Mainland Port Area" in which mainland authorities will enforce national laws. The proposal has been fiercely opposed by the pro-democracy camp, which sees it as ceding land.

Civic Party lawmaker and concern group leader Tanya Chan Suk-chong said the public seminar on Saturday will introduce six alternative proposals such as moving the co-location checkpoint to the mainland or conducting immigration clearance at separate locations - suggestions the government has already ruled out.

Chan said the government's co- location proposal will also be explained during the seminar.

University of Hong Kong legal scholars Johannes Chan Man-mun and Eric Cheung Tat-ming, Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho and district councillor Roy Tam Hoi-pong will each introduce an alternative proposal.

Concern group member Carpier Leung Kai-chi said while the government has shot down some of their suggestions, the public should be informed nonetheless."When the government raised issues on convenience or operational difficulties, they did not supply enough detailed information for us to rule out these alternatives."

The group has invited Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun to attend, but the two had not yet replied.

Secretary for Transport Frank Chan- fan, on the other hand, declined the invitation, saying he already explained the government's proposal at Legislative Council meetings and public briefing sessions. Tanya Chan said she was disappointed with his response. "The reasons he gave are a bit absurd, especially when he also says he is willing to communicate and listen to different opinions I think this is purely lip service," she said.

The seminar begins at 2pm at a lecture hall inside HKU's Meng Wah Complex in Pok Fu Lam. The venue holds about 290 people and the seminar will be broadcast real-time on Facebook. Those interested in attending may sign up online.

(The Standard) September 25, 2017.

A concern group is calling for express rail border clearance facility to be set up either Shenzhen north or Futian. The group said its leaders met on Sunday and decided to give their alternate proposal to the Government officials.

The Government proposal is to locate the mainland immigration officers in a leased out area of the West Kowloon rail terminus. This is opposed by pro-democracy groups who say that this is against the Basic Law provisions which prohibit mainland officials operating in Hong Kong.

The Co-location Concern Group's spokeswoman Tanya Chan called on officials to discuss the feasibility of the proposal. She said the Government has a duty to listen to different opinions, but said the officials are yet to give them a chance to present their concerns.

"I hope that [now] we have chosen a proposal, we can arrange a meeting with them and hope they can talk to us frankly and openly," she said.

(The Standard) September 26, 2017.

Keep co-location but do it at a mainland express rail station, the pan-democrats' co-location concern group said.

At a meeting last Sunday, group members voted among themselves to support one of seven co-location suggestions including the government's proposal to set up co-location facilities in Hong Kong.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong said yesterday that over two-thirds of the members supported an alternative proposal, which is to move co-location facilities to one or more mainland stations.

Instead of setting up a Mainland Port Area at the West Kowloon terminus, the group urged the SAR and mainland governments to move immigration and clearance arrangements to Futian, Shenzhen North or Guangzhou South station.

Under this proposal, passengers from Hong Kong will board an express rail train and get off at a mainland station with co-location facilities. "This is the real Shenzhen Bay Port model," Chan said.

At Shenzhen Bay Port, an area on mainland soil is leased to Hong Kong to set up its immigration checkpoint.

Concern group member Leung Kai-chi said those stations have the floor area for setting up relevant facilities. "Do not underestimate the space available inside mainland railway stations," he said, adding that there are some 20 platforms at Shenzhen North station that can handle the extra traffic.

If the joint port is set up in the mainland, Leung said there would be no risks of harming the "one country, two systems" principle.

As for the area within the Hong Kong terminus reserved for the Mainland Port Area, Leung said it could be leased to retailers to generate revenue to cover the costs of operating the railway and create more jobs.

He also said travel time for short-distance travelers is unlikely to differ.

Former lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim said there was an incentive for the SAR government to adopt the group's proposal. The government's "three-step approach" is likely to take a longer time to complete, as it will face legal challenges from civilians, Yiu said.

According to the government, its plan to realize co-location in Hong Kong will involve local legislation to enact a law similar to the Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area Ordinance, which may face fierce opposition from the pan-dems.

The Mainland Port Area is over 100,000 square meters and is planned in the West Kowloon Terminus. It will cover the express rail platforms and mainland immigration checkpoints at West Kowloon. Inside the MPA, mainland authorities will enforce national laws and conduct clearance work.

However, Yiu said if the port is on mainland soil, the bill might be passed in a few months' time.

Chan said the group will ask to meet Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, as well as transport and security chiefs to propose their plan.

Internet comments:

- (Co-Location Concern Group Facebook https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E4%B8%80%E5%9C%B0%E5%85%A9%E6%AA%A2%E9%97%9C%E6%B3%A8%E7%B5%84-co-location-concern-group/%E9%82%8A%E5%BA%A6%E6%AA%A2%E5%96%BA%E5%BA%A6%E6%8F%80%E4%B8%80%E5%9C%B0%E5%85%A9%E6%AA%A2%E9%97%9C%E6%B3%A8%E7%B5%84%E5%95%86%E8%A8%8E%E5%8F%8A%E6%8E%A8%E8%96%A6%E5%96%AE%E4%B8%80%E6%9B%BF%E4%BB%A3%E6%96%B9%E6%A1%88/136955623581749/ )

At the September 16 meeting of the Co-location Concern Group, 7 proposals were presented:

1. Separate-location
2. Co-location on the mainland
3. West Kowloon co-location only for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ)
4. On-board inspection
5. Northbound pre-clearance
6. The government's proposal
7. Abandon the Hong Kong Express Rail Link altogether

At the September 23 meeting of the Co-location Concern Group, the group chose "Co-location in mainland China" as their counter-proposal.

While it is clear that the group would never accept the government's proposal (6), what about the other 5 rejectees?

1. Separation-location.

Let us say you want to take the High Speed Rail from Hong Kong to Shanghai. Here are the steps that you will have to go through:
  (1) Clear Hong Kong immigration in West Kowloon Station
  (2) Board the train which takes 14 minutes to reach Futian
  (3) Everybody gets off the train with their luggage for mainland Chinese customs, immigration and quarantine inspection.
  (4) Afterwards, look for the train to Shanghai and hope that it has not left. If you are late, you are screwed because there may not be tickets for Shanghai-bound trains for weeks.

Conversely, let us say that you want to take the High Speed Rail from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Here are the steps that you will have to go through:
  (1) Take the train from Shanghai to Futian.
  (2) Everybody gets off the train with their luggage for mainland Chinese immigration inspection.
  (3) Afterwards, look for the train from Futian to West Kowloon which takes all of 14 minutes.
  (4) Everybody gets off the train in West Kowloon Station for Hong Kong customs, immigration and quarantine inspection.

The obvious problem is: Why do you have to get off/get on at Futian? Why can't you have mainland Chinese and Hong Kong inspections done in the same place? Many countries around the world have pre-clearance/co-location for convenience.

3. West Kowloon co-location only for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ)

CIQ-only means that Hong Kong law applies in all other situations (e.g. criminal law code).

Suppose a mainland Chinese wanted criminal (e.g. a suspect in a terrorist attack killing dozens of people) uses a fake ID to get on the train and reaches West Kowloon station. He is detected by mainland Chinese inspectors. However, his is a criminal case, and he can only be arrested by the mainland Chinese Public Security Bureau personnel and not by any mainland customs, immigration or quarantine inspectors. He comes under Hong Kong law, by which he can immediately ask for political asylum on grounds of religious persecution and apply for habeas corpus.  There is no extradition arrangement between Hong Kong and mainland China, and this person cannot be charged in Hong Kong for crimes committed inside mainland China. So he may just go free altogether!

 This is a security hole, and Hong Kong does not want to become a haven for criminals.

4. On-board inspection

The train takes only 14 minutes to between West Kowloon and Futian. There is not enough time to inspect a train full of passengers unless you have hundreds of inspectors on the train.

5. Northbound pre-clearance

See Johannes Chan's hybrid co-location proposal.

7. Abandon the Hong Kong Express Rail Link altogether

This proposal comes from Hong Kong University Student Union president Wong Ching-tak. Was he there to present light entertainment? But he may just be completely serious -- he is a student and has never had to work, so he has no idea how taxpayers feel about flushing hundreds of billions of their tax dollars down the drain.

- So what about this counter-proposal of "Co-location on the mainland"?

Basically, co-location will be established in one or more mainland Chinese stations to handle Hong Kong as well as mainland immigration/customs/quarantine. The process will be similar to what is practiced in Shenzhen Bay at this time. The vacated West Kowloon Station space will be rented out for commercial purposes to gain revenue for the Hong Kong treasury.

As for the inconvenience to travelers, the Co-location Concern Group's expert group representative Leung Kai-chi said that 80% of passengers will be short-haul passengers going to either Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangdong South stations. For long-haul passengers, there are far more High Speed Rail trains departing from Shenzhen North or Guangdong South than from Hong Kong. Therefore it is both feasible and reasonable for long-haul passengers to change trains in mainland China.

- Let us look for the devil in the details.

First of all, why are they saying co-location will be established in "one or more mainland stations"? Why "one or more"? Why not one? Why not "several" named ones? Here is the Wikipedia map of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, with six stops listed in mainland China: Futian, Shenzhen North, Guangmingcheng, Humen, Qinsheng and Guangzhou South.

Consider the case of the short-haul passengers who want to go from Hong Kong to points on this line.

If they want to go to Futian, then this is no different from using Shenzhen Bay right now. They board a train in West Kowloon, get off at the first stop in Futian and pass through Hong Kong and mainland inspection posts.

If they want to get to one of the five points beyond Futian, then what? If Futian is the only co-location point, then they must get off at Futian for inspections and then re-board. This is ridiculous in terms of the time spent. The train journey to Humen should be just over 30 minutes, but it will take an hour to get on and off the train at Futian for inspections. Everybody who wants to go beyond Futian will have to waste their time this way, with the inspection time being longer than the travel time.

That is why they said "one or more stops", specifically naming Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South.

They are not sure whether Shenzhen North and Guangdong South must be added, because they only know that 80% of the passengers are short-haul (between Futian and Guangzhou South), but they don't know the breakdown by destination (Futian, Shenzhen North or Guangzhou South). And if most of the 80% are going beyond Futian, they must add Shenzhen North and Guangdong South.

- Summary: If Futian is the only co-location point in mainland China, then all other Hong Kong-bound passengers must disembark in Futian for inspections.

- It is as if Hong Kong builds third, fourth and fifth runways at International Airport in order to serve all cities in mainland China with an airport, large or small. However, Hong Kong refuses to implement co-location. That means that all mainland-bound flights have to take the short hop to Shenzhen International Airport and discharge all passengers for customs/immigration/quarantine inspections.  Such being the case, there is no point in having those expensive runways because shuttle buses would be self-financing.

- What happens to the passengers who want to go from Hong Kong to Guangmingcheng, Humen and Qinsheng? They will have to get off in Futian or Shenzhen North for inspections before continuing their journey, or else they can get off in Guangzhou South and take a train back in the reverse direction. In any case, the trains from Hong Kong will no longer be allowed to stop in Guangmingcheng, Humen and Qinsheng, which will be served only by trains originating from Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South.

- For multiple co-location points in mainland China to work, there has to be some restrictions that will reduce economic efficiency.

Suppose a train from Hong Kong makes stops at Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South.

At Futian, those who want to go there will disembark. However, their vacated seats cannot be sold to the locals. This train must be sealed off, otherwise Hong Kong passengers may be passing contrabands to the local passengers who do not have to clear customs/immigration/quarantine.

Ditto at Shenzhen North. By the time that the train arrives in Guangzhou South, it will have lots of empty seats (80%!) which cannot be sold even though the demand is out there. This is economically inefficient.

Conversely, suppose a train starts from Guangzhou South to Hong Kong, making stops in Shenzhen North and Futian.

Only Hong Kong-bound passengers will be allowed on this train, and they will clear Hong Kong and mainland customs/immigration/quarantine in Guangzhou South. Unsold seats cannot be sold to locals who want to go to Shenzhen North or Futian.

When the train reaches Shenzhen North, it will board Hong Kong-bound passengers who have cleared Hong Kong and mainland customs/immigration/quarantine in Shenzhen North. Unsold seats cannot be sold to locals who want to go to Futian.

When the train reaches Futian, it will bring on Hong Kong-bound passengers who have cleared Hong Kong and mainland customs/immigration/quarantine in Futian.

- Of course, the Co-location Concern Group could be referring to direct trains that run between Hong Kong to Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South respectively. For example, the direct Shenzhen North train will run from Hong Kong to Shenzhen North without stopping in Futian with all passengers disembarking in Shenzhen North. This Hong Kong-Shenzhen North train is a shuttle service.

- Some of the organizations with the Co-location Concern Group are environmentalists. How can they advocate having intentionally unoccupied seats? Think about the carbon footprint!

- It is estimated that the Express Rail Link will be carrying 150,000 passengers a day eventually. 20% of 150,000 is 30,000. The Co-location Concern Group says that the 30,000 long-haul passengers constitute a small number. Well, I'd like to see how many people will come out to their big rally for their Co-location in Mainland proposal. If the number is fewer than 30,000, does that mean that this is a small number that we can fairly and reasonably ignore?

- The Co-location Concern Group has said a big "Fuck you" to the 30,000 long-haul passengers, saying that they are small in numbers and the degree of inconvenience to them is relatively trivial. If the train trip from Hong Kong to Beijing takes 10 hours, then what is an extra hour for customs/immigration/quarantine at Futian? Okay.

Exactly what are these long-haul passengers being asked to sacrifice? One hour of their time per trip. 30,000 passengers per day at one hour per person adds to 30,000 x 1 x 365 = 10,950,000 hours per year. At the minimum wage level of $34.5/hour, this is $34.5 x 10,950,000 = $377,775,000 per year. I would not mind having $377,775,000 per year. Do you?

For what are they sacrificing themselves?

Something about not ceding sovereign Hong Kong land to the hostile foreign nation China.

And something about the violation/erosion of a High Degree of Autonomy/One Country Two Systems/Basic Law. With due respect, this is nebulous to most people.

And something about mainland personnel may brutally put down insurrections inside the Mainland Port Area, or torture passengers in inhumane ways, thus destroying the image of Hong Kong as an international financial centre and a rule-of-law society.

And something about how the Express Rail Link will bring SARS-like viruses directly into the heart of defenseless Hong Kong, causing hundreds of deaths.

And something about how the Express Rail Link will bring in People's Liberation Army to impose tyranny.

And something about the nightmare of having high tea in Elements and then being snatched by mainland Public Security Bureau agents into the black hole of the West Kowloon Port Area.

- The goal was to set up the Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High Speed Railway with Hong Kong being the terminus. The Co-location on Mainland proposal is effectively setting up a Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen High Speed Railway route with a shuttle service between Shenzhen/Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

If Futian is the sole co-location point, then all passengers will have to disembark the shuttle with their luggage. The empty train leaves the station to free the track for other trains. When the passengers return, they will board a different train to their destination (e.g. Beijing).

There was no need to spend $84 billion to build a High Speed Rail shuttle service with a journey time of 14 minutes.

- If you want a shuttle service to Futian, you can already do so with the Hong Kong MTR East Rail bringing you to the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point on the Hong Kong side, which is linked by a pedestrian footbridge to the Futian Port Control Point in Shenzhen. It will taken more than 14 minutes, but it is feasible and reasonable, and the inconvenience is relatively trivial. There's a lot else that $84 billion can be used for.

- When Carrie Lam proposed to have a Forbidden Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the critics came up with all sorts of alternatives that are more localist in nature. But when these same critics are tasked to come up with an alternate use for the West Kowloon Terminus customs/immigration/quarantine area, their combined brilliant minds concluded that the space should be rented out for commercial purposes. Why oh why do we need another super mall right across the street from the Elements super mall?

- Why is that surprising? It is common knowledge that these environmentalists are all in the pay of the Real Estate Hegemony. They do everything possible to obstruct the government from releasing more land for real estate development. As a result, housing prices keep soaring and soaring. Meanwhile they do everything possible to re-designate available land for commercial purposes, because the return-on-investment is so much higher for the real-estate hegemons.

- I am surprised that nobody has suggested that the West Kowloon Station space should be handed over to the Link REIT to manage.

- (Cable  TV) October 3, 2017.

Co-location Concern Group convener Tanya Chan said that the government's proposal had never sought public feedback, so the legislative councilors should not be forced to vote on it.

- Well, this is hilarious. Did the pan-democrats seek public feedback before starting Occupy Central? Veto the constitutional reform proposal? Held filibustering? ...

Now that the pan-democrats have come out with a Co-location on Mainland proposal, did they seek public feedback? Specifically, they are thrusting co-location Port Areas onto Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South. Did they ever consult the people living on mainland China? After all, the mainland taxpayers will have to pay for the construction and operation of those co-location points because Hongkongers don't want co-location.

- (Ming Pao) September 5, 2017. At 7pm, a female mainland Chinese student dressed in white attempted to rip down the posters on Democracy Wall. She was stopped by those present. CUHK Student Union persons came down to find out what was going on. The woman said first in putonghua, then in English, that she has the right to take down the posters. When the reporters tried to interview her, she said: "I'm not listening."

Later the CUHK Student Union told the press that they will stop the university administration from removing the posters. They said that the administration is entitled to call the police for assistance.

Video: https://www.facebook.com/1034624499888866/videos/1836712733013368/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIWsHwGKKs4

- Her biggest problem was not because she failed to follow the rules and regulations for the Democracy Wall or because she tore off someone else's wall poster or because she disrespected other people's speech, but because she gave her deformed reasons in such a righteous manner! This was the result of many years of brainwashing. In Hong Kong, our students are used to reason, debate and discussion!

Oh, why is she speaking English? And she does not speak it well either!

- Why is she speaking English? First of all, she does not speak Cantonese. That leaves putonghua and English. Hong Kong students generally speak very poor putonghua. So that leaves English, which is a required language for admission to the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Does she not speak it well? I believe that she speaks better English than that CUHK Student Union External Vice-president girl Annie Chu, who was clearly petrified at having to communicate in English. When Chu panics, she started moving her hands around just like Alex Chow.

- She said, they said.

She said: "Why can't I do this?"
They said: "Because we manage this Democracy Wall."

She said: "Who authorized you?"
They said: "The students voted ... the university."

15% of the students came out to vote. The other 85% declined to vote. So they cannot say that they have the popular mandate. The students do not have the right to authorize the Student Union to manage the democracy wall, which does not belong to the students. It was the university administration which allowed the Student Union to manage the Democracy Wall, subject to certain provisions (such as not allowing unlawful information). When the university attempts to remove unlawful contents, the Student Union turns and says that the university has no right because the Democracy Wall belongs to the Student Union.

Whatever else, they've got big brass balls to be saying these things.


Frame 1: "Democracy means that you can paste it and I can take it down." "What am I supposed to say?"
Frame 2: "You say that you represent the students of Chinese University of Hong Kong and I never agreed with your pasting it." "Please translate for me."
Frame 3: "What are you talking about?" "We have to 'look at' the wall."
Frame 4: "Who authorized you? We authorized you." "No, er ... it is the students and the university."

- It is said that this mainland Chinese female student has broken Hong Kong law when she destroyed private property. Well, what private property? I do not see any private property. Private property has an owner. Who is the owner? Nobody is raising their hand to claim ownership. The owner is in hiding to avoid sedition charges. So she was only removing ownerless trash. If this case is presented to the court, it will be automatically dismissed.

- (Bastille Post) September 7, 2017.

The mainland media outlet Guancha interviewed the woman who is now known as "The Angel in White":

A: Why shouldn't you mention may English name during the interview? Because I am afraid that "they" might find out.

Q: Are "they" looking for you?

A: I have looked at Facebook. But my friends have been tracking the related discussions all along. The main page for the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Supposedly they are cursing. Someone said to find me by human flesh search.

Q: That is to say, what happened after the incident has caused you some trouble?

A: Yes. But the fellow students that I know are mostly supportive. Certain more radical pro-Hong Kong independence students leave more extreme comments. On Facebook, there are typically more Hong Kong students. There were a lot of critical comments. Very frightening.

Q: Do some Hong Kong students support you?

A: Yes.

Q: Apart from the online attacks, have they caused you any material troubles?

A: No. Because the person in the video did not really look like me. They were unable to identify me.

Q: How come the Hong Kong media was present by chance to film there?

A: I don't know. Actually I found it very strange. Some of them were there to help the Student Union. Many Hong Kong are relatively biased for them. Actually, when I went there, I saw someone standing around with cameras. I thought that these were busybodies. I did not know that he was a media reporter. Actually they were there in the hope that the incident can swell up. Some of them were poaching there. When I began quarreling with the Student Union people, many people came over. I did not know that they were there. I was thinking, are they violating my image rights?

Q: Those posters appeared on September 4. Is there any hint as to who was responsible?

A: It happened this way. The posters appeared, and the school administration sent the security guards to tear them down. The posters reappeared. According to the rules, they can paste the posters with proper identification and then we should not ripped them down. When they post, they can state the length of time. But if it stays for more than a month, it can be removed. But these people did not identify themselves, and did not want to assume responsibility. They did not specify any length of time. The Student Union came over to stop me. Actually, the Student Union did not have the courage to say from the start that they erected the posters. Actually everybody knows that only the Student Union had the resources to erect these things all over campus overnight.

Q: How kind of impact did these posters have on you?

A: "Hong Kong is part of China." That is common knowledge, right? Those materials are illegal. It is really bad to post this sort of illegal materials in broad daylight. So far, there are no physical contact or clashes with the pro-independence people. But it is very comfortable to see this sort of talk.

 Q: Mainland Internet users like you. They thought that your English is very good. They heap praises upon you. What do you think?

A: I was very scared. I did not dare speak up because I was scolded a lot. The Hong Kong people used the Hong Kong media to scold me. Yesterday I took a peek. Fortunately I don't read Cantonese, but the English comments were very hard to take. I am really very disappointed. I felt that I was doing something right, but they are making out as if I was wrong.

Q: You need to understand that the people who support you are far more than those who oppose you.

A: But under these circumstances, I have the sense that mainstream media are still against me.

Q: Can I ask where in mainland China do you come from?

A: I am from northern China.

Q: You will only say that you are from northern China?

A: Because there are not a lot of students from mainland China here. I am very afraid that they will find me.

Q: Has the Chinese University of Hong Kong made an official statement or response on this matter?

A: Previously the vice-chancellor said that the school disapproves of Hong Kong independence before and now. He did send security guards to remove the posters. But the Student Union really went too far as if nobody can stop them. I don't mean that they cannot be stopped, but it is just that people have not used more extreme methods. So when they erected the posters again, we can't stop them.

Q: Has the university noticed what you did?

A: I don't know if the university has noticed or not. Today, I have been in hiding. Nobody can reach me. Nobody has said anything to me. But I am angry because I am being scolded all day. The people who know me all tell me that I did the right thing. But I am being scolded.

Q: That is to say, your friends support you in real life, but Hong Kong online opinion is against you.

A: Right. They even told me not to do outdoors, not to go outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Q: Many Internet users think that you are cool. Not only is your English good, but you look good.

A: Thank you. At the time, I was very angry. I was going to eat at the canteen. I did not go past that area all day yesterday so I did not see anything. That night was the first time that I saw it. My friend told me afterwards that the posters had been erected for quite some time alreqdy. As I was eating, two female students in the next table were discussing this. They were quite angry. At the time, I thought: "If you are angry, then why not rip the posters down? Why don't you do something about it?" I was very angry. I told my friend: "I am going to tear down the posters later."

Q: Many people will support you. But if they had to do this, they would be scared away. You are a super-courageous person.

A: Thank you. I am sorry that I can't provide more information, because I am still afraid. I should tell you that the mainland students want to organize an event tomorrow (September 7). I will send the photos to you. It is in Cantonese, so I can't fully understand it. The organization has some Hong Kong students. Their slogan is "CUSU is not CU", meaning that Chinese University Student Union is not Chinese University because we refuse to be represented by them. I understand their intentions. After we all stand up, we can share the burden.

Q: Thank you. We have received the information. We thank you for doing this interview. This interview is over.

A: Good. Thanks for the trouble.

Afterwards, the female student wrote via Guangcha:

I thank everybody for their attention, support and concern for me. This was heart-warming after all the disappointing comments in Hong Kong media. I know that I have a strong and powerful motherland behind me, so I need not be afraid anytime.

Here are some extra points about what happened over the past few days:

1. The posters was illegally posted and should therefore be removed. I know that many people (especially the local Hong Kong students) disapprove of my method, but I am not sorry. I am proud of this. I don't want to say anything more about democracy. But I want to say that the Chinese University Student Union does not represent the voices of the Chinese University students! Absolutely not!

2. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a very good school. It is an institution of high learning of our motherland. I love to be here. I feel very lucky to be able to learn and work here. The Student Union represents the extremist actions of a small number of persons. It does not represent the political position or the overall quality of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Chinese University has many more things that it can actively aspire to. I welcome your attention.

3. I did not seek fame. I did not seek celebrity. I merely did what I thought I should do. I thank you for your concern and support. Because I am still in Hong Kong, I want to have a peaceful learning environment. I hope that you won't try to ask too many questions or otherwise divulge personal information about me.

Hong Kong is an inseparable part of the motherland. Most Hongkongers are kind and good. The actions of the Student Union come from a small number of p. I am very touched by the support from everybody. Once again, I thank everybody!

Signed: That female student in white dress

(Headline Daily) September 8, 2017.

Many people have watched the video. The Hong Kong media wanted to put the focus on the female mainland student ripping up the posters, but the audience focused on English language skills instead.

At first, the female mainland student wanted to speak in putonghua. The Student Union executives did not answer in putonghua. So the female mainland student used English instead. Two Hong Kong students replied in English. It turns out that there was a vast gap in English language skills.

The female mainland student said: "You get put it up and I can take it down. You say that that you are the Student Union. I am a Chinese University student. I don't agree with doing this."

The female Student Union executive said hesitantly: "If you disagree with these other students posting those posters, you can post certain opposing opinions."

The female mainland student said: "Who gave you the power?" The female Student Union executive said: "Oh." The mainland female student said: "It is we students who gave you the power." A male Student Union executive interjected: "The students gave us the power." The female university student said: "Right! I am one of the students who gave you the power. Right now I disagree with your doing this."

With respect to the issues, each side have their reasons. But the female Student Union executive was at a total disadvantage because her English langauge skills were too poor. An Internet user wrote: "Hong Kong students even dream politics when they sleep. They don't want to learn English; they don't want to speak putonghua; and they feel good about how awesome they are!"

I have talked about the strange phenomenon about university classes: the first two rows of seats are almost always filled with mainland students. A CUHK Hong Kong student said that she sat in the front row once upon a time, and other students spoke to her in putonghua because it was taken for granted that only mainland students (NDS= Nei Dei Sang) sit in front. Most local students sit in the back where they hope that the teachers won't spot them.

I heard university teachers say that mainland students are more active with questions. When there are no mainland students in a class, local students simply won't ask questions and won't participate in discussion. Teachers gradually get used to the situation and give up posing questions to the local students.

We have to acknowledge a fact: mainland students are better than local students. The mainland students are not even the elite students from there, because the top of the cream are going to Peking University and Tsing Hua University to study.

In the 1980's and 1990's, the people of Hong Kong strive for excellence. They want to be the best, and they want Hong Kong to be the best in everything. Come today, the people of Hong Kong have no obvious superiority over the mainlanders. English language skills should be the strength for Hongkongers, but this video make us realize that mainlanders speak far better English than Hongkongers. Hong Kong has turned from Big Brother to Kid Brother. The 1.4 billion mainlanders not only have some uneducated nouveau riche, but also high intellectuals.

The new generation in Hong Kong is faced with a choice. They can seek out a comfort zone for themselves, damning the mainlanders as "Strong Nation People" with contempt. They can also take the opposite attitude and strive for excellence in the face of competition from mainland China and elsewhere. Local Hong Kong students should sit in the front role and actively engage in class discussions just like mainlanders in order to learn and improve themselves. Instead of hostility against mainlanders, their goal should be the attainment of excellence.


More in

Occupy Central Part 1 (001-100)
Occupy Central Part 2 (101-200)
Occupy Central Part 3 (201-300)
Occupy Central Part 4 (301-400)
Occupy Central Part 5 (401-500)
Occupy Central Part 6 (501-600)
Occupy Central Part 7 (601-700)

Occupy Central Part 8 (701-800)
Occupy Central Part 9 (801-)

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