Opinion

Hong Kong protests: Close to home

Two weeks ago I gave a lecture in Hong Kong at CUHK (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)–I study Chinese cinema for a living, and the topic of this particular presentation was the nature of kungfu films made during the Cold War. On my brief trip I also had an opportunity to do some research and travel on the mainland in Kunming, which is in southwestern China in Yunnan Province.

The lecture on September 15th went well, Hong Kong is as-ever a spellbinding city that runs 24-7 on electricity and entertainment, and Kunming, China was–for me–of bucket list quality. You’ll have to see it someday.
But what stands out, probably as no surprise, is the protests that are going on in Hong Kong right now. I left Hong Kong on September 21, a day before Hong Kong’s 80,000 university student population, in a city of over 7 million, decided to strike for democratic rights.

The Chinese Communist Party in Beijing recently claimed that candidates in the upcoming 2017 election must first be vetted by committee, essentially ensuring that only pro-Beijing candidates are on Hong Kong’s ballots. But students–historically the consciousness of the Chinese nation (as scholar @jwassers on Twitter has written) going back to student protests famously on May 4th 1919, and in Hong Kong during the late 1960s–decided to act.

Student preparations were in full effect and student banners were already hung on the walls of Hong Kong’s major institutions when I was there. I took pictures of banners at both the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology–below are some pictures I took previous to the 9/22 student protests.
Now the whole world is watching as the #OccupyHongKong movement continues. I can’t take my eyes away from the international news in my Twitter feed because it is full of stories and pictures streaming from Hong Kong as this important and pivotal event unfolds.

And I wonder if PLNU students would be willing to protest as students are doing in Hong Kong today–what do we have that is worth fighting for?

 

James Wicks can be followed on Twitter @jawicks75 and on his blog at http://jawicks75.blogspot.com. All photos by James Wicks.
For more information on the protests in Hong Kong, see this link (via straitstimes.com) and this link (via foreignpolicy.com); an historical contextualization can be found at this link (via thenation.com).

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