The protests of college students in Hong Kong, boycotting classes, has carried over into the second week. Since last Thursday, they have held sit-ins around main government buildings, and they have been joined by residents from all phases of Hong Kong Society, including “Occupy Hong Kong Central”. Some protestors cite being influenced by the Tiananmen Square Massacres, in 1989.
The protests are over Beijing’s announcement, last month, that the local elections, scheduled for 2017, would only include candidates approved by the local government authority, which is composed of party hacks loyal to Beijing. This is completely counter to the “One China, Two Systems” concept that Beijing had promised prior to Great Britain turning-over the Island Nation in 1997.
Here in the U.S., we have always characterized authoritarian governments, which generally control their media, as re-writing history, changing the facts and hiding the truth. This morning, when I went on the “China Daily USA” web site, there was no mention whatsoever of the Hong Kong protests, even though some 80,000 had turned-out. I searched and did finally find one article, which matter-of-factly cited the government as merely returning order after students refused changes to make voting more “open”. Oh, and by the way, it did mention a shooting at a Miami Nightclub (12,000 miles away)–on the front page. But, the one story about it’s own Hong Kong was hidden–and missing now. The “South China Morning Pot” (published in Hong Kong), however, had a number of articles and pictures–all on the front page.
Before we in the U.S. snicker too long over this, we should think of what had been going on at the Jefferson County, Colorado School Board. This Suburban Denver district had been considering changing the curricula for U.S. History Advanced Placement classes, in all 17 high schools, to emphasize the “positive aspects” about our country, and to have less discussion on “civil disorder, social strife or disregard for the law”.
Similar to Hong Kong, the students at Evergreen High School walked out of classes last Monday, and it had spread to a total of nine schools, perhaps more by now. The School District has tabled the proposed changes indefinitely; however, reportedly, the protests are not expected to end soon. One protesting student suggested: “Don’t make History a mystery”. And another pointed out that some of the most important things in History have come about through Civil Disobedience.
The United States was founded on Civil Disobedience: the Boston Tea Party in 1770 protested the Tea Act; protest marches and lunch counter sit-down strikes, during the 1950s and 60s, in order to gain some semblance of Civil Rights for Blacks; the anti-war protests in the 1960s which started many Americans to re-thinking about the insanity of War; and many, many more.
Governments need to realize that you cannot hide The Truth forever. Even Russia, which has denied any involvement in the War in Ukraine, permitted protests marches eight days ago. In essence, the Truth IS getting out, and it will even do so in China and Jefferson County, Colorado. Once again, the old cliche “out of the mouths of babes” rings true, and now, with SmartPhones, Pads and PCs, some governments truly do not understand what they are up against. Just like the Rubik’s Cube, the Younger Generation is not afraid to challenge the old ways. Perhaps they can see more clearly now, even if the Established Order cannot.
NOTE: Three of the arguably greatest men in History–Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandel–led Peaceful Disobedience Movements. King and Mandela both won the Nobel Peace Prize as a result, and even though Gandhi was nominated five times, it was not awarded to him, allegedly so as not to cause trouble between Norway and Great Britain.