The crucial NPC meeting which will decide the fate of Hong Kong’s suffrage laws approaches, and pressure mounts in Hong Kong as residents are forced to face the logistical aspects consequential to the meeting’s outcome.
The summer has witnessed a number of pivotal events in the perpetually deepening battle over Hong Kong electoral politics. In late June, nearly 800,000 Hong Kongers voted in a referendum organized by pro-democracy group Occupy Central, the result indicating that a great majority support a veto of any electoral process failing to meet international standards for a free, fair election. One million people signed a petition against Occupy Central in late July, although the real number of voluntary signatures remains disputed for a number of reasons, one being that minors and tourists were allowed to sign. Petition organizers Alliance for Peace and Democracy additionally staged an anti-Occupy protest last week which attracted close to 100,000 participants (the exact number is also disputed). An unknown number of people were confirmed to have received cash bribes and a free lunch in exchange for participation.
Beijing’s seemingly unrelenting attitude towards Occupy Central’s call for direct leadership elections and white paper reminder that the Chinese government has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong hints that there is no room for negotiation, meaning the Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong’s financial hub will indeed take place, and possibly as early as September.
On Wednesday, Aberdeen saw over 2,600 police officers practicing their second drill to prepare for Occupy’s 10,000-strong sit-in protest set to take place if the government fails to meet the group’s call for elections meeting more international norms. According to Hong Kong news outlet the Standard, sources detailed that the drills taught policemen how to remove protesters, procedures following arrest and how to handle media witnesses. Mock protesters were not only present but enthusiastically made the situation more realistic by singing “Do You Hear the People Sing” as well as other “social movement” songs and slogans, such as “no victory without a struggle”.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) also ran an emergency drill in June alongside 55 banks, to ensure operations and customer services could run smoothly in the case that Occupy Central should invade the roads on which many major banks are headquartered.
Occupy Central’s main founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting discussed other realistic concerns for the first time yesterday, such as where 10,000 people would relieve themselves during the protest, a source of continuing heated discussion between Hong Kong residents and mainlanders.
In this respect an SCMP article has come to the rescue, highlighting “where to go when nature calls”.
Establishment advocacy Silent Majority additionally reminded us in an apocalyptic video published in June that aside from financial slowdowns and lack of toilets amid Occupy, we should also worry about riots, robberies, sudden illnesses, cars randomly falling from the sky as a result of traffic jams (car-nado?) and the general catastrophic death of the city. Hooray.
By Giulia Sciota