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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student


Hong Kong's time for choosing

In what is becoming a common trend against undemocratic regimes in our changed world, protests have engulfed key parts of Hong Kong, calling for true democratic elections in the former British colony.

Hong Kong is finally set to have universal suffrage in elections for chief executive in 2017, but with one caveat: the candidates running for office must be vetted by Beijing first.

As a result, a coalition of groups have risen up in protest against this practice and claimed that not enough has been done to advance the cause of actual democracy, fully embracing the principle of one-man, one-vote. That in and of itself is a noble goal and one that Hong Kong, and all of the People’s Republic of China, should work toward.

But the notion that China is choking the basic political freedoms of Hong Kong is unfounded. Under colonial rule, the citizens of Hong Kong had basically no control over who London picked as governor. Later, there was no direct election for chief executive. Leung Chun-Ying was elected on the basis of an electoral voting system that is based on representation of various influential groups within Hong Kong.

The protests have not fully dispersed as of Tuesday. They are still concentrated in three districts: the Mong Kok marketplace , the swanky Causeway Bay shopping district and Admiralty , which is the location of the main protest and location of the Central ?Government Complex.

Though negotiations are still in motion, the fact remains that the two sides are still diametrically opposed and hit upon a particular sore point for Beijing.

Consequently, the opinion in China is extremely divided. This is the result of the Communist Party’s propaganda machine not deigning to cover the demonstrations and cultural differences between those in China and in Hong Kong itself, with both sides regarding each other as inferior .

In addition, the Great Firewall is once again in full force, which means any terms referring to the protests in mainland China are being censored online . Beijing fears a more insidious democracy movement within China itself, as the last thing the party leadership wants is a repeat of the Tiananmen Square Massacre back in 1989. But as of now, the best course of action for Hong Kong and Chinese ?authorities seems to be ?waiting the protests out and hoping the disruption to city services will eventually cause the general citizenry of Hong Kong to turn against the ?protesters.

The situation in Hong Kong is undoubtedly in flux, and frustration is running high on both sides. But all of us must remember that whatever might happen in the coming days, Hong Kong must make its decision on its own, regardless of pressure from the ?belligerents.

It is Hong Kong’s time for choosing, and I hope they use it well.

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