Saturday, 4 October 2014

Hong Kong: A Time to Talk

The students and Occupy Central have made their point in a self-disciplined and dignified way, spreading their message of democracy far beyond Central. It is now time for them to clean up the occupation sites, go home and resume talks with the government.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Hong Kong: power to the people - but peacefully, please


I can not keep quiet about this situation.

The tear gas attacks on peaceful demonstrators last Sunday were outrageous. Since then, I have attended the occupation stretching from Admiralty to Central and taken some photographs, all of which are on my Facebook timeline which you can see by clicking here. I am adding to these pictures every day, so please come back often to see how things are developing.

Photo © Ken Davies 2014.
PI have spoken to demonstrators and of course I have been reading and listening for many months and years. I have also written some articles (like the one below) attempting to promote peaceful dialogue.

The demonstrations, and the demonstrators, are admirable. The numbers involved are far higher than the trivial estimates in the local and international media. I can not count so many people, but I have seen many crowds of this kind, both in Hong Kong and in other parts of the world, and this is now far beyond the tens of thousands. Yet the self-discipline is better than in most of the other demonstrations I have witnessed elsewhere. The youngsters (as striking students have clearly taken over from supposedly more mature democracy activists) are keeping the occupied area clean, they have brought their homework with them, the slogans are moderate ("Go on, Hong Kong!", "Genuine universal suffrage"), and the atmosphere is so relaxed that slogan posters have appeared saying that this is not a carnival but a political protest.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bridging the gap with calm dialogue

[Article by Ken Davies in China Daily Hong Kong Edition on 25 July 2014]

Opinion on how to nominate the next Chief Executive (CE) candidates of the Hong Kong SAR in 2017 is deeply divided, with much name-calling and emotion clouding the issue. What is now needed is calm dialogue to find common ground so a consensus can develop around a workable, broadly acceptable solution.


The "pan-democrats" can not ignore Hong Kong's geopolitical location. The SAR is indisputably a part of China. The Basic Law stipulates that the method of selecting the CE must be reported for approval to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress after endorsement by a two-thirds majority of Hong Kong's Legislative Council and the consent of the current CE. So central government leaders have to be happy with whatever arrangement is produced, or it won't happen.
Bridging the gap with calm dialogue
At the same time, those leaders can not ignore a poll (even if they view it as being illegal and invalid) in which over a fifth of registered voters showed their wish for public nomination of candidates. More fundamentally, the fears of a significant proportion of the population of an erosion of freedom and the rule of law need to be honestly addressed -- not brushed aside.

If this chasm is not bridged, there will be an increased risk of instability. There is ample scope for the "Occupy Central" movement, and maybe other groups, to engage in protests whose outcome is not easy to predict with certainty. So far, the police have shown decency and restraint, but they might find this difficult to maintain should demonstrations escalate and they face increased pressure to contain disruption.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Chinese government White Paper on Hong Kong

Here is the full text of the White Paper on Hong Kong issued by China's State Council on June 10th, 2014: 

The Practice of the "One Country, Two Systems" Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Photo © Ken Davies 2013.
  • Foreword
  • I. Hong Kong's Smooth Return to China
  • II. Establishment of the Special Administrative Region System in Hong Kong
  • III. Comprehensive Progress Made in Various Undertakings in the HKSAR
  • IV. Efforts Made by the Central Government to Ensure the Prosperity and Development of the HKSAR
  • V. Fully and Accurately Understanding and Implementing the Policy of "One Country, Two Systems"
  • Conclusion