Protest @ Hong Kong

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Protest @ Hong Kong

Ever since the protest started, I have been thinking about some of the issues raised by the demonstrators.

I ended up with more questions floating in my mind than answers

For example, how can Hong Kong put in place the necessary legislation to ensure that it will not become a haven for international fugitives?

Just as importantly, how can they settle other issues, including demands from many people about having a greater say in political reforms, including universal suffrage?

As long as these and other issues are not resolved, this would not be the first and neither will it be the last protest on the street.

Now that the protest has somewhat subsided, I would like to share some of the issues and questions in my mind.

1. Background

Hong Kong (HK) island was forcibly ceded to the British after after the first shameful Opium War in 1842.

Since then, there was no semblance of full democracy in HK for 155 years till 1997.

It was ruled from London and by 28 governors appointed by the British government.

Prior to 1997, the British government, free media, and majority of the population did not expect a democratic political system.

There was also no lobbying for a democratic system to be instituted in HK.

The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was the first to approve practice of democracy by enacting the Basic Law.

However, universal sufferage was not part of the conditions of the agreement in the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984.

China held on to rights and time table to enact universal suffrage.

Universal suffrage essentially means the power or right to vote for the Chief Executive (CE).

The PRC government has also reserve the full power to sanction any major political reform.

It can also decide how fast or slow the political reform should be implemented until universal sufferage is put in place.

The Basic Law, Article 45 states that “The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.”

In 2013, Qiao Xiaoyang, Chairman of the PRC government’s Law Committee, Qiao Xiaoyang laid conditions for nominating of potential candidates for the Chief Executive position.

According to Qiao, the CE must “love China and Hong Kong” and “not oppose the Central Government.”

The PRC government reserves the right to appoint the CE or for that matter, reject the candidate even if he or she is chosen by the electorate.

If these conditions are not accepted by the HK Legislative Council, the current arrangement for the election of the CE will remain.

Currently, the CE is elected by an Election Committee. It has a total of 1,200 members for the 2017 election.

The questions that needs to be answered are, has the PRC government contravened the Basic Law and gone back on its words to the HK people?

More importantly, how should sociopolitical systems be changed for the betterment of both HK and the PRC?

2. Concerns of the PRC government

The PRC government is concerned about integrity of the “one country” concept.

It cannot afford to allow the country’s sovereignty to suffer, and generally prefers an evolutionary rather than a quantum leap of change for a better future.

Obviously as politics is about power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wants absolute political power to run the country, including Hong Kong.

So far, the CCP is taking a strong stand.

It will not and cannot be seen to give in to demands of demonstrators for universal suffrage.

3. Demonstrators’ demands

The demonstrators’ focus is on the “two systems.”

They want full democratic rights for Hong Kong and one that is essentially patterned after the Western democracy model.

The question that begs to be answered is as follows:

Is there a gold standard or “international standard” of democracy that is worth emulating and which will guarantee success?

Truth be told, in many western democracies, political parties, politicians, lobbyists, activists, and other entities push for their partisan agendas and fight for their own interests.

They may support a pork belly political system – a system that favors the highest bidders in terms of their abilities to offer political or financial support.

Policies, initiatives and other outcomes of such a system may not necessarily be the most effective solution for the country.

What’s a unique and an effective democratic system that will work in HK and for that matter, mainland China?

A system that will meet the needs, requirements, and aspirations of the people in HK and mainland China?

4. Election of the Chief Executive

There’re demands now and then from different quarters to have total freedom in electing their own political leaders, regardless of whether they are friendly or for that matter, not friendly to the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Is this in line with the “principle of gradual and orderly progress” (Article 45), a principle that is enshrined in the Basic Law of HK?

Is there a middle ground that can help to placate both sides and offer an equitable solution?

5. Responses

In the recent protest, the government of the HK Special Administrative Region (SAR) took strong and even excessive force to disperse many of the demonstrators.

How should the authorities respond to the demonstrators when they cross the legal line?

How can the government do a better job in response to future protests to maintain law and order without causing undue repercussions?

Have the political leaders reached out to the demonstrators, comprising of a large segment of young students, bearing in mind that they are potential leaders of Hong Kong?

Are they listening to the demonstrators, and making them know that they are listening to them and looking after their interests?

Have they taken the necessary actions in a spirit of mediation and reconciliation before they fired the first canister of tear gas?

(As a retired NSF, I hate the use of aggressive force because I know its power to do irrevocable harm).

If political reforms are rushed through, will PRC, including HK end up like the Soviet Union?

The Soviet Union broke up essentially because it pushed major reforms such as glasnost and perestroika at an inappropriate time and time frame.

How should HK respond to invisible forces, including foreign forces and biased mass media pushing their own interests in the past and potentially future protests?

What’s the stand of the silent majority who did not participate in the protest?

What price should the silent majority pay to support or sacrifice for the views of the demonstrators?


The reality is that HK is a part of the PRC.

Mainland China needs to ensure that HK continues to do well because HK is a gateway for helping the PRC to reach out to the world, and for cultivating new capital, knowledge, systems and innovations.

HK also needs to tap on the fast-growing economy of the mainland and its massive resources to progress and succeed.

The PRC government needs to accept and accommodate the people of HK.

The HK people live in a different society, and have developed a unique culture of their own, and they have different fears, needs and aspirations.

On the other hand, the people of HK must also realize that they have inherited a culturally-rich legacy through the Chinese civilization.

The growth of China has helped them to do well and in some ways, stay ahead in the modern world.

They should not take an extreme position again their political leaders and fellow country folks in the mainland.

Instead, they should learn to connect and collaborate with the mainland Chinese so that they can collectively achieve the next level of peace, progress and prosperity.

How then can an effective and amicable solution be crafted to resolve outstanding issues?

How can it be done before current situation potentially slide further and turn into a crisis?

In the final analysis, the protest and demands of the demonstrators in Hong Kong are but symptoms of a bigger problem.

One of the root causes for the unhappiness is the trust of the people in Hong Kong for their political masters in mainland China.

2047 is just around the corner.

By then, it will just be just “One Country”, and not “One Country, Two Systems”.

China has to start winning hearts and minds, and earn the trust, respect, affection and loyalty of the people in Hong Kong.

Strengthen inclusiveness and integration of the people of Hong Kong into China.

Since young, I have always loved HK and the spirit of the HK people.

Will you join me to pray for peace, security, and the best outcomes for HK and mainland China?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Please visit my website,

Follow me on:

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Let’s connect on
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

My Quora

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: