You all know I normally don't talk politics on the blog, even though that shows through in my books. I'm breaking this streak today, but note that I hold no explicit public political stance.
But first, I've been thinking of switching to Disqus for comments. If you could take like 1.4 minutes to fill in a 3-question survey, that would be awesome. Thanks guys!!Chinese Culture Appreciation is a blog series that aims at explaining tidbits of, well, the Chinese culture. As a girl from Hong Kong, I really hope to share more of my amazing, historically rich world with you.
I'm not sure if this counts as Chinese culture, but it's definitely a Hong Kong speciality. Today, July 1st, marks the day of the handover, i.e. when we stopped being a British colony and was fully back in China's hands. (That sounded less ominous in my head). It's called the Hong Kong Special Administration Region Establishment Day. What a mouthful! We call it seven-one in Cantonese, qat-yat.
It's become something of a tradition to have a peaceful protest on that day. To be honest I am very proud of this tradition, even though 99% of the time, I just laugh at the protesters. (What? I'm rude.) Say what you like about our politics, the population is generally okay with protests that are carried out with the sole intention of expressing opinions.
Okay, I lied about the sole intention. People also go for photography.
A brief rundown of past July 1st protests:
- 2003: The first major July 1st protest; against Article 23, which prohibits acts of treason. 10% of the population showed up on this one!
- 2004-2009: Too young to remember.
- 2010: A call for universal suffrage and open elections for the Chief Executive.
- 2011-2014: Basically calling for the CE to step down, commence universal suffrage, and stop soaring rent.
Major issues of the 2015 July 1st protest:
- Beijing and the HK government have set out a framework for universal suffrage, which pan-democrats don't think is acceptable.
- Related to the above, the Occupy Central movement will probably make an appearance, at least through its leaders.
- Rent prices are still rather high, matching NYC's.
- Judging by past trend, there will still be calls for the CE to step down. We're not very creative.
- Miscellaneous topics: parallel traders from mainland China, retirement plans for all workers, etc.
Here's the funny thing: I don't write about protests a lot.
I base 99% of my stories off my own experiences and thoughts, which is why they tend to the political. But I've never written a peaceful protest — okay, there was that one time I set a story in Occupy Central and posted a #WatchMeWrite. Maybe war and double-dealing and rebellion are just more fun to write about?
The sad thing is, the protests in Hong Kong have a tendency to turn violent after a dozen hours of stewing outside government buildings.
It's a philosophical question, and one I'm not ready to answer yet. Protests are a warning sign for the slippery slope of politics. What's the warning sign for the slippery slope of violence?
Thoughts on this tradition of sorts? Should I write more protests?
- What's the Hong Kong July 1 protest about? @AlyssaC_HK recaps past protests and issues of 2015. (Click to Tweet)
- On July 1st, a reflection on Hong Kong's annual protests as @AlyssaC_HK's writing inspiration. (Click to Tweet)