There have been many explanations for the turmoil in Hong Kong, which is now entering its 16th week. However, what has not been touched on is a matter of the strong relationship between the business and political elite in the city, and the highly lame system of government.
In explaining the source of the unrest in Hong Kong, predictably, many leaders blame the liberal sciences in schools. Policymakers find it hard to believe that students can have the ability to understand critically about politics and society – especially active participation.
On the other hand, the anger of the demonstrators was directed mostly to the governments of China and Hong Kong, especially Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Lam’s actions – with a stubborn bureaucratic attitude – made the situation worse, so did the actions of the police who were once praised “Best in Asia” and the Chinese authorities.
All of these actions have hardened the local identity that became increasingly clear to the demonstrators as the turmoil continued.
Moreover, the feeling of mutual hatred has been so severe that it seems unlikely that anyone will back down. In recent weeks escalation seems easier.
Hopeless without hope
However, the most likely explanation for this turmoil is not the educational curriculum or the influence of Beijing, but the state of the government and the people of Hong Kong itself.
The opposite of the image the hk pools government wants to display – namely obedience to the law and a very good business environment – the city has actually been rotting for decades
First, Hong Kong has experienced a “loss” – a situation when an industry is gone and nothing is replaced – as experienced by other industrialized countries.
They find it difficult to move to public housing. “Nano apartments” which are sized as matchboxes are the only choice for many people, and many flats are inhabited by families until there are children and grandchildren.
Hong Kong youths, who grew up with golden tycoon stories such as Li Ka Shing (who is fondly called “Superman”) also face a bleak future because they are trapped in low-paying, menial jobs.
Why don’t the demonstrators focus on the business elite
Although some of the richest people in the region have voiced support for the government, very few demonstrators expressed anger at the elite economic group.
This proves the strength of the myth of the origins of modern Hong Kong and how rich Hong Kong is considered good. There is a kind of respect for the tycoons in this city, coupled with a lack of class consciousness and dislike that is embedded in anything that seems politically “left”.
Although universal political rights are the main demand of the demonstrators, this demand is more related to the election of the chief executive, not to the structure of government itself.
Rebuilding hopes and cities
The efforts of young people to shape a better future should be appreciated. But, for Hong Kong to have a positive future, this city needs a large-scale economic and political transformation.
Political rights are part of this transformation, but that is not enough. The question for Hong Kong is whether the demonstrators and other community members understand what needs to be done thoroughly and whether they are able to move together to make it happen.