Today, Sunday 20 August, a massive protest took place in Hong Kong from Wanchai to Central, before the Court of Final Appeals.
The demonstration was organized by several organizations calling to protest against the imprisonment of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
A surprising mobilization
Somehow, the size of the crowd must have come as a shock to the pro-Beijing politicians All indications were that most of Hongkongers had basically given up on the activists.
This abandonment also happened because of divergences between the partisans of a more radical opposition to Beijing’s grip on the city and “calmer” partisans of a more reasoned approach. For this protest, both camps set aside their divergences to call for unity, but it seems apparent that even the activists were surprised by the crowd.
Some of the activists said that they were unable to give a figure for the number of protesters, leaving thus the HK police to number the crowd at a paltry 22,000. That number does not make justice to the crowds marching on Sunday, but then, it was not the crowds of the occupy protests either.
A trans-generational mobilization
The other point to notice as can be seen from the pictures posted, is that the crowd was extremely diverse. It ranged from youngsters to middle-aged or older people. In short, once again, the protest was trans-generational. This testifies to the fears that hongkongers harbour of the end of their freedom at the hands of Beijing. It is also important, because the “occupy” movements failed partly because of the endless continuation of the movement without an exit strategy. At the time, this alienated the more “adult” component of their sympathizers.
And that is where heavy-handed tactics such as imprisoning activists may end up rekindling the flame that blew off over the antics of the “protesting kids”.
It is however doubtful Beijing will realize that you do not treat a Westernized city the same way as you treat cities which have only known the Communist party. This may set China up for another showdown in Hong Kong.
Whichever way, it seems China’s issues with its independent “special administrative region” are far from over, Liaoning and other shows or not.
After this post was originally posted, another article came out on the subject of demobilization of democracy activists, here.