Nightcap

  1. The Big Lie about corporate power is disintegrating in front of our eyes Monkey Cage
  2. How close is Hong Kong to a second Tiananmen? Jude Blanchette, Foreign Policy
  3. Preaching the American Gospel Glenn Moots, Law & Liberty
  4. Aging, death, and the law Joona Räsänen, Aeon

Nightcap

  1. Disney, the NBA, and China in Hong Kong Tyler Cowen, MR
  2. Blizzard, esports, and China in Hong Kong Layne Vandenberg, the Diplomat
  3. China’s dirty little secret: land ownership Ian Johnson, NY Times
  4. The People’s Republic of China at 70 Austin Williams, spiked!

Creativity of Hong Kong protesters: Protest Songs

The Hong Kong protests are sometimes called “open-source protests”, “decentralized protests” or “water revolution” due to its leaderless and organic nature. It’s a great example of how order can emerge within a decentralized social organization.

The protests may seem chaotic, but if one looks closer one can easily identify the diversity of roles that protesters and different communication tools are playing – making up an harmonious order. Below, you can find the different groups and tools within the movement that I have been able to identify.

Communication channels LIHKG, Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook and more… Communication channels with high encryption standards and servers outside of Hong Kong are preferred as to maintain more privacy and to make it harder for the HK government to close down the servers or seize account information of protesters
Protest songs Glory to Hong Kong, We Will Fight for Hong Kong, Sing Hallelujah to the Lord, Do you hear the People sing, Below the Lion Rock, Boundless Oceans Vast Skies, Raise the Umbrellas, Add Oil etc…
Teargas ‘fire fighters’ Fire fighters whose main role in the protests is to extinguish the police’s tear gas
Dunkirk moment When the police shut down the Hong Kong metro system (MTR) after the protests at the HK Airport, most protesters either had to walk home or take the buses back to Hong Kong central. As buses were checked by the police to find, and in many cases arrest, the protesters, some sympathizers of the protests took their cars to HK Airport and give them a ride home
Pro-HK pr Artists mobilize themselves in Telegram groups – some are as large as containing 200+ artists – to create art and other pr material to support the protests
Suppliers and first-aid people Suppliers donate anonymous travel cards, cash, clothes, vouchers, temporary housing etc… The first-aid people give medical care to those injured in the protests. They carry around first-aid kits
Protect the Children group Elderly that come between the police and young protesters during confrontations to give the youngsters time to flee

In this post, I’d like to share some protest songs that have emerged in the past few months. Some songs were specifically created during the protests, while others are older songs that have been adopted to emphasize the spirit of the movement.

Compilation of several Protest Songs

Glory to Hong Kong

We will fight for Hong Kong

Be Water

Do you hear the People sing

Boundless Oceans vast Skies

Fly with You (和你飛)

High Wall and Egg (牆與雞蛋)

This song is based on the following quotation from Haruki Murakami’s Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech in 2009:

If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals… We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.

No Withdrawal, No Surrender, No Retreat (不撤∙不散∙亦不退)

Welcome to the Black Parade

Where to view live videos on the Hong Kong protests?

I’ve been following the Hong Kong protests very closely since it started. Watching the live videos of the protests gives you a better impression of what Hong Kong is really like at the moment.

In this post, I’d like to share a link where you can view live videos of on the spot journalists:

https://ncehk2019.github.io/nce-live/

Declaration of the Establishment of the Provisional Government of Hong Kong

The chief executive of Hong Kong has passed the anti-mask law today, further escalating Hong Kongers’ anger. Large groups of protesters in Hong Kong have now declared the establishment of a provisional government of Hong Kong in several neighborhoods.

The main premise of the declaration is that when a government does not represent the people anymore, the people have the right to establish their own government. The English version of the full declaration is as follows:

In the development of human civilisation it is inevitable for a dysfunctional institution to be abolished and replaced by a better one. This is how progress is made. If a government is not of the people, by the people, for the people, then it is inevitable that the people will establish a government of the people. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has proved itself to be not of the people, by the people, for the people. We hereby declare the establishment of the Provisional Government of Hong Kong.

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ We have always identified with this inviolable principle of truth. The government and the legislature are established by the people to ensure that their rights will be protected against encroachment. All the powers of the government are derived from the people. If a government violates this principle, then the people have an absolute right to abolish it and establish a new one.

The HKSAR government, which is controlled by the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party, has turned a blind eye to the demands of the people, deprived the people of their rights, failed to enact laws safeguarding the wellbeing of the people, and taken away the freedoms of the people. Today, against the wishes of the majority of the people, the HKSAR government bypassed the Legislative Council and enacted the Anti-Mask Law in a deliberate attempt to deny people the right of assembly. We believe that the HKSAR government has lost its legitimacy as well as the authorisation from the people. We thereby declare the immediate abolition of the powers of the Chief Executive and the principal officials of the HKSAR government.

The Provisional Government of Hong Kong declares:

  1. The departments of the HKSAR government from now on shall be placed under the authority of the Hong Kong Provisional Government;
  2. The chief executive, the chief secretary, the directors and deputy directors of the bureaus, the heads and deputy heads of the departments shall leave office and the new post holders shall be appointed by the Provisional Government;
  3. All departments shall immediately cease all the new policies promulgated by the HKSAR Government since 2018, and personnel at all levels of personnel shall retain office and maintain the operation of necessary services of the departments until further notice;
  4. The Provisional Government’s term ends in five years or until the formation of a government under a chief executive nominated and elected by universal suffrage (whichever is sooner); the Provisional Government shall prepare for the election within one year of its establishment and complete the election within three years;
  5. The chief executive and the appointed officials of the Provisional Government shall not be eligible for appointment as officials of the government or public organisations once they leave office;
  6. The provisions of the Laws of Hong Kong shall remain in force until new laws are enacted by the Hong Kong Provisional Government;
  7. The Legislative Council shall be dissolved and the Provisional Legislative Council shall be elected within three months and the Legislative Council shall be elected within one year; there shall be 70 seats in the Provisional Legislative Council: 12 seats each for Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon West constituencies, 10 seats for East Kowloon East, and 18 seats each for the New Territories West and New Territories East.

Nightcap

  1. Was Hitler driven by a fear of Anglo-American capitalism? Robert Gerwarth, Financial Times
  2. Hong Kong’s long struggle against Beijing Melvin Barnes Jr, Origins
  3. My mother, the ex-Communist Arnold Kling, askblog
  4. Hizballah’s puzzling quiet Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists

Hong Kong protests: justified but futile in the end

The world is closely watching the developments in Hong Kong. Brave youngsters are testing the limits and patience of the Hong Kong authorities, first protesting against the extradition law, enabling Hong Kong citizens to be sent to China in case of serious allegations, and now with much broader demands for several kinds of liberties. Anybody with who cares for personal and political freedom can only watch in great sympathy, knowing that this is a modern day version of a number of small Davids against the towering power of the Chinese autocratic Goliath, with the Hong Kong authorities as its stumbling middle man.

I happened to be in Hong Kong for a few days, just for touristic purposes, in the first half of the past week. Arriving from mainland China on Monday, we encountered the protests a number of times. The protests caused major traffic jams, making it impossible to leave the train station in the regular way. Yet a small detour on the metro sufficed to reach our hotel. Later that night, we tried to reach one of the night markets, which turned out to be impossible: not only had the traders already packed their stuff, because a prominent protest location was just around the corner, students had also blocked the road and made sure our taxi returned nicely to where it came from.

protest 3

In the hotel we could watch live footage from confrontations between the police and the protesters, with the latter throwing stones and rocks against a police station just a few hundred meters from our hotel in Kowloon City. At times, it seemed there were as many journalists as there were protesters, which is of course an encouraging sign from the perspective of press freedom. The next day we went to Hong Kong University, but only the Student Union was in full protest mode, there were no visible signs of other unrest at the campus.

There were lots of protests at night though, as the coverage in the main Hong Kong quality paper South China Morning Post made clear.

One of the main questions this week was whether the Chinese army or police force would interfere. The local Chinese army commander hinted at it, while about 12,000 policemen gathered in nearby Shenzhen, just across the border in the mainland. The Hong Kong authorities, notably executive leader Carrie Lam and several police commanders, emphasized they were perfectly capable of handling this situation themselves. Given the developments in the past months one can question this, but the hesitation of Beijing to interfere is comprehendible. They do not want unrest, in the wake of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic later this year, while they know that direct action will make it impossible to get realigned with Taiwan in the foreseeable future, which has been a main goal of any Chinese leader since Mao, current leader Xi Jinping in particular.

Lam hinted at a press conference that the protests only foster the quick termination of the ‘one country two systems’ situation, agreed as part of the handover Treaty with the British in the nineteen eighties. One of the important elements is that Hong Kong keeps its own liberal laws and regulations for the first 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty in 1997.

Earlier protests died down, without much change achieved, mainly because the protesters did not succeed in broadening their movement to the wider public in Hong Kong. Although there was a supporting demonstration of public servants last Friday, this may happen again. On Wednesday, small traders already complained about the income they lose due to all the protests. And there are the mysterious groups of men in white t-shirts who beat up the protesters.

However, in the midterm, the protests will be futile. In the end this is an internal Chinese issue. Sure enough, there will be international protests, and depending on the outcome of the current crisis, perhaps also economic sanctions against China, if it just ends the protests by police or army action. These international protests are mainly symbolic though. Economic sanctions are the instruments of the impotent, not the powerful. Never have they worked to change a regime, or to make live very miserable for the leaders of a country. They do hit the population, but his and her concerns are easily overlooked in the international arena. The sad but undeniable truth is that no foreigner is going to die for Hong Kong. The great powers will treat this an internal Chinese affair. The USA already said so. No foreign power will intervene in China if the terms of the Sino-British Treaty are tampered with. At present, it is far more likely that Hong Kong will lose its special status, perhaps also earlier than the 50 years agreed, than that China will change into the liberal direction. The world may protest, but in the end the Chinese will have their way.