Everyone! We’ve been wrong about the protests this whole time! People are not “politically dissatisfied” or “fighting for democracy against the tyranny of Beijing”. The protests are actually just staged by naive radicals who are pissed about the socio-economic inequality in Hong Kong.
At least, according to Eric X. Li, “a venture capitalist and political scientist in Shanghai”, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled: “The umbrella revolution won’t give Hong Kong democracy. Protesters should stop calling for it.” That statement is not that extreme, but the rest of the piece is.
Li compares the protests to the Arab Spring and unrest in Ukraine, saying that Occupy Hong Kong is part of a “global trend” where citizens, angry at the general state of the country, start protesting in the streets under the false guise of fighting for democracy. It eventually bubbles into a full-on revolution led by crazy leaders “with a strong ideological agenda”, he claims.
The op-ed maintains that it’s silly for Hongkongers to insist they’re protesting for democracy since “political participation in Hong Kong is actually at its highest in history”, and that Beijing has given the territory plenty of say in its leadership.
Dissatisfaction in the population, Li asserts, has “nothing to do with imaginary diktats from Beijing”. A diktat, in case you’re wondering, is “an order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent”. Apparently none of the sort are coming out of Beijing.
Though Li acknowledges that Hong Kong is fundamentally different from the revolutions he described in other places around the world, he says that if the situation escalates, the protests could be “destructive”, leaving “paralysis, chaos, and even violence [to] reign”, just like the situation in Ukraine.
Photo: Laurel Chor/Coconuts Media