The Paw Print
Beijing is afraid of the evolvement of separatists’ movements and moods within the country
Hong Kong, one of the most important financial centers in the world, has been covered in mass protests for more than a week. The so-called “Umbrella revolution” has turned the downtown business region of this mega polis into a conflict area filled with shouts, violence, and clashes with the police.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens blocked off key roads within the city, claiming that the protests will not end until the Chinese government doesn’t change its policies toward the “special administrative region” of Hong Kong.
The speculations that the Chinese government may not stay true to the political agreement it has with Hong Kong to allow it to chose its own governors through democratic elections were what triggered the protests. Hong Kong, a former British colony with a population of 7 million people, has been governed under the model of “one country-two political systems” ever since it was officially given back under Chinese control in 1997. The city has limited self-government and citizens liberties, including an independent judiciary and free medias, whereas Beijing is responsible for the defense and the international relations. The highest political position in Hong Kong, the chief Minister of Administration, is usually appointed by a specially selected elective committee of 1,200 pro-Chinese oriented people. From the moment that China regained control over Hong Kong in 1997, the government has promised that this will slowly change and Hong Kong’s citizens will be able to choose their own leaders starting from 2017.
The group that is behind the current protests was created 18 months ago by two professors and a former chief Minister of Administration. They threatened that the whole central business region will be blocked if Beijing doesn’t stay true to its promise. A protest of this size was expected, but its timing was unpredictable. This past August, the Chinese government accepted a plan for future reform, which will allow everyone to have an election right but only under certain conditions. The candidates for the top political positions could be only two or three and will be put under severe investigation and evaluation before being allowed to compete for the position.
The activists consider that as another “hit” on the former promises that Beijing had. The answer to the main question, if Hong Kong will receive its independence, is most likely “No.” The communist party imposed serious pressure for the introduction of the condition for investigating and carefully evaluating each candidate for the position of chief Minister of the Administration of Hong Kong and doesn’t seem to be willing to “hear” or understand the activists’ appeals.
The main fears that China has are mainly connected to the fact that if the city gets what it wants, a pro democratic politician will be elected which could start the process of the complete separation of Hong Kong from China.