Friday night I was in Wanchai and around 10:30 or 11 PM took a look over towards Gloucester Road and saw a solid line of bumper to bumper traffic. I wondered if there was some connection to the annual July 1 protest march, though it seemed a bit late in the day to me for that.
(Aside – the person I was talking to started complaining about the whole July 1 annual protest thing. “It should be a day for celebration, not for protests,” he said. Before you ask, this person was Caucasian. I wasn’t in the mood to debate the issue so I just let it go by. However, in case you have any doubt about where I stand, I think that 14 years of increasingly inept government By Beijing, For the Real Estate Moguls, Of Self-Interest, is well worth protesting and what better day to do it than the anniversary of “the return” to China?)
I only look at the SCMP online and I didn’t see any news article reporting on this traffic. However, the government’s own news site did contain a report. And it’s an odd one at that – the first half is a half-hearted report of the events, the second half is almost an apology, a “don’t hate me for doing my job” bit.
Police this morning arrested 228 people in Central suspected of causing obstruction in a public place and unlawful assembly, including 181 men and 47 women, aged 17 to 68.
Last night, some participants of processions on Hong Kong Island occupied both sides of Connaught Road Central and part of Queens Road Central, paralysing traffic. They refused to leave after repeated Police warnings.
To resume social order, public safety and traffic flow, Police arrested some demonstrators. The officers showed restraint professionally, and adopted necessary force.
The Police respect the public’s right to express their views, and their freedom of speech and assembly. When people express their opinion, they must obey Hong Kong’s laws and social order.
The Police ensure the processions are conducted in a safe and orderly manner, and facilitate the organiser. At the same time, officers do not tolerate violent acts. They will take action to resume social order and public safety if the order is violated.
Coming from the west as I do, this continual emphasis on “social order” is quite alien to me. I think there are times that the social order must be upended. On the other hand, whatever the reason for this demonstration and whomever was behind it, I think it was misguided. Inconveniencing hundreds and possibly thousands of people to make a point likely ends up making more opponents than converts.
On the other hand, I find it odd that the SCMP couldn’t find the room to report on this (at least not online). Was it some editorial decision to deny coverage to the suffrage movement? Or was it that thanks to their continuing budget cutbacks all of the reporters had already gone home for the night? To be fair, Sunday’s edition of the paper does find room for not one but two articles on speed dating. In the “Hong Kong News” section.
(Aside – One of the SCMP articles on speed dating ends with this nugget of information. “For Leo Chung, 28, dating in Hong Kong was more difficult because the gay scene is much smaller. Still, the Hong Kong local found love and is moving to Australia to be with his partner who he met eight months ago. “Dating in Hong Kong is hard, but there’s definitely hope. It’s just seeing how open you are about different races,” he said.” Thank you Leo for overcoming your prejudices and going with a white guy.)
At least the SCMP does publish something on the weekends. The sub-Standard (which is free – you get what you pay for) doesn’t bother with editions on Saturdays and Sundays. Although there could well be a “Mary Ma” editorial on Monday deploring the actions of these protesters.