So the deal as you all should know by now is that there is this group called Occupy Central With Love and Peace. Their deal is that should they decide that the preparations for the 2017 elections in Hong Kong are not truly democratic, they will stage a protest that will possibly bring Hong Kong’s Central district to a standstill.
They’ve been talking about this for more than 18 months now and every Beijing loyalist and card-carrying member of the Communist party has been predicting the destruction of Hong Kong if this takes place. The walls (and the banks) will come tumbling down! No more foreign investment! Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky, rivers and seas boiling, earthquakes, volcanos, the dead rising from their graves, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … you get the idea.
So this group of brainiacs decided that the best way to protest this coming protest would be … to stage a protest! And so yesterday we had the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (sigh) staging a protest march from Victoria Park to Central.
As the New York Times and other sources have noted, it would appear that many of the participants of yesterday’s march were mainland Chinese.
Typical was Kitty Lai, an investment adviser wearing an orange T-shirt and a baseball cap emblazoned with the logo of the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations, a group that represents people from the coastal province across from Taiwan.
“We want everything to be stable,” Ms. Lai, 50, said in Mandarin Chinese. “We want everybody to live harmoniously.”
Many participants brought along their Indonesian and Filipino domestic helpers, who also donned the T-shirts and hats, with some given Chinese flags to wave.
“Hong Kong people desire peace. They’re not afraid of speaking out, and the silent majority has spoken,” Robert Chow, a spokesman for the alliance, said in an interview. “Why should they follow Occupy Central and try to hold Hong Kong hostage? If they really want universal suffrage, negotiate with Beijing. Negotiate with the government.”
That phrase “silent majority” has irritated me since the days when Nixon and Agnew used it to try to defend the Vietnam War. “The protesters may be against it but there’s a silent majority who love it!” or something to that effect. How does a “silent majority” speak, anyway? And how does one negotiate with a totalitarian government bent on maintaining control at any cost?
After the demonstrators had left, the detritus of protests, including posters, water bottles and flags, was strewed across the park, in contrast to the aftermath of pro-democracy rallies, when volunteers patrolled the ground, cleaning up everything, including wax from candle drippings.
You’d think all those rich people who’d brought their maids along would get them to do a bit of cleaning up afterwards. But nooooo ……
From the SCMP:
Clans that hailed from all corners of the mainland made up a crucial part of the turnout. Their origins were on full display – T-shirts of the same colour to depict a certain hometown and banners held high proclaiming the same.
Some had their fill at sponsored dim sum lunches in restaurants before setting off from nearby Victoria Park.
But under the gruelling sun, some abandoned their mission to oppose Occupy just 500 metres into the march, near Sogo department store.
The clans were not the only ones putting up united fronts; dozens of South Asian protesters were dressed in red T-shirts – curiously – carrying the logo of the Federation of Hong Kong Shenzhen Associations. They refused to say if they were members of the federation or had been paid to take part. “We are tourists,” a man said.
Yesterday’s rally proved lucrative, at least for Causeway Bay restaurants. At Cheers in Windsor House, 30 tables were reserved by the Hong Kong Hubei Fraternity and An Kwei Clans Association to treat protesters before the march started. In the same building, all of King’s Cuisine and several more tables in Choi Fuk Royal Banquet were taken up by the Hong Kong Hakka Association. About 30 protesters were decked out in blue T-shirts with the logo of Ying Wah Construction Group.
A woman with another company said her mainland employer had mobilised staff. “I join the July 1 pro-democracy rally every year. I would not have joined [this march] if there was no pressure,” she said.
The SCMP also live-blogged the march.
“Keep your Hong Kong and China flags as souvenirs, don’t throw them away,” organisers tell marchers at the finishing point.
Why would patriots need to be reminded not to throw away their country’s flag?
4.20pm: One woman taking part told the Post that she had only joined the march after direct pressure from her seniors at work. The woman, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said she was from Hong Kong but some of her colleagues had travelled from Shenzhen. “I would not have joined if there was no pressure,” she said, adding that she normally took part in Hong Kong’s July 1 demonstration.
4pm: Some minor confrontations have been reported between marchers and Occupy Central supporters. One marcher threw a tray of 24 eggs at members of People Power, who support the Occupy movement, but the eggs hit a woman police officer, according to reports.
3.55pm: The march is rather a lacklustre affair, according to Post reporters on the ground. Marchers are plodding along, shielding themselves from the sun with umbrellas, while there is no chanting of slogans or creative costumes often seen during Hong Kong demonstrations. “Whistles blown half-heartedly can be heard from time to time but most people look indifferent. It seems like a march without a soul,” reports Nectar Gan.
No one was arrested for the egg-throwing incident, a clear indication of the police turning the other cheek when it politically suits them.
Also a clear indication of how stupid the police look is their estimation of 118,000 marchers in this event, as opposed to their estimate of just 98,000 for this year’s July 1st protest. Comparing overhead photos of the two events, as many have been doing on Facebook, shows the truth pretty clearly – that July 1st’s march had many times more participants than yesterday’s dog and pony show.
So there you have it. A protest to protest a protest. Made up of people bussed in from across the border with the promise of a free meal and people coerced by their employers. And the icing on the cake is the lying by the police.
I wonder when someone will stage a march to protest the real rulers of Hong Kong – Cheung Kong, Sun Hung Kai, New World, etc.