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The Umbrella Revolution: An Inevitable, But Short-lived ‘Influenza’

Oct 23, 2014
  • Wu Sike

    Member on Foreign Affairs Committee, CPPCC

The “Occupy Central” activities, instigated by Hong Kong’s radical opposition, have lasted for days. With the rowdy activities, traffic in the central regions of Hong Kong was paralyzed, merchants had to close their shops, and students could not make their way to schools. Hong Kong residents suffered, and the political reform process in Hong Kong was seriously obstructed. Such illegal activities, in disregard of local residents’ livelihood, have caused tremendous losses to Hong Kong’s economy and finance, and damaged its reputation as an international financial center. Hong Kong residents, deeply worried about the development of the situation, have repeatedly appealed to and urged the “Occupy Central” young protesters to act rationally and end their activities. At the critical moments, the latest issue of U.S. magazine Time published a cover photo of protesters holding umbrellas, and headlined it “The Umbrella Revolution.” The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal also called the protests the biggest in the past decade in Hong Kong. Some Western media could not conceal their excitement, claiming the Hong Kong people have inspired mainlanders. As an “old hand” in diplomacy with Middle Eastern countries, I dare to say that I know something about what happened in the Middle East and other regions in the world. The “umbrella revolution” they blared about is nothing but another version of the “color revolution”, which is no stranger at all. It usually unfolds like this:

First, the media acts as a frontrunner and adds oil to the flame. As the logic of the past “color revolutions” has proven, a few people, under the banner of “democracy,” chose to make use of the zeal of the young people and resorted to activities such as illegal assembly to cause social turmoil.

Second, they interfere into the internal affairs of other countries in the name of promoting “democracy.” They, by supporting and making use of some political forces, flagrantly challenge the public interest and popular will, destroy the consensus among social groups and throw the society into chaos. By doing all these, they help create an international environment favorable to the oppositions, and add more oil to the flame of turmoil, even at the expense of wars.

And third, the ill-intentioned logic of “causing rather than ending chaos” shows the lack or loss of international morality and justice. By examining the past “color revolutions,” you could come to the conclusion that it has become a habit or mission of some Americans to support “color revolutions.” According to an Associated Press report, the US Department of State spends as much as $1 billion each year in what it claims to “support the global democracy.” In the “Occupy Central” movement, people have taken notice of the open and covert role played by the Hong Kong-America Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

However, I believe that those who chose to stage a so-called ”color revolution” in Hong Kong have made a wrong decision on the choice of place. First, Hong Kong, with strong support from the mainland, has maintained stability and prosperity since its return to the motherland, and successfully stood the test of various challenges such as the global financial crisis. Second, the democratic process is developing after the handover of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong people are enjoying greater democratic rights. A British scholar even had to admit: “Although Hong Kong came, over time, to enjoy the rule of law and the right to protest, under the British it never enjoyed even a semblance of democracy. It was ruled from 6,000 miles away in London. The idea of any kind of democracy was first introduced by the Chinese government.” With support from the Chinese central government, the democratic process in Hong Kong was promoted steadily, and the socio-economic development was further elevated. Therefore, Hong Kong does not have the soil for any “color revolution.” According to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the universal suffrage to elect the chief executive conforms to Hong Kong’s interest, is a historic step in Hong Kong’s democratic development, and has a direct bearing on the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

After all, the long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong are in the common interests of the international community, including the United States and Great Britain. From the unrests in Western Asia and North Africa to the wars in Ukraine, the “color revolutions”, whatever name they may take, had led to the suffering of the people and caused regional disasters or even wars, and countries from Europe and America were also affected by the spillover effect of the turmoil. When they tried to cause instability somewhere, it would be inevitable that they themselves would get burnt.

I strongly believe that like an outbreak of influenza, some would get infected, but it would be over very soon. The political reform process in Hong Kong could not be delayed or slowed down simply because of the illegal activities by some people, and Hong Kong’s social and economic development would not retreat either. After the test of such an “influenza,” the immunity of Hong Kong would be greatly improved. It’s time for the “Occupy Central” youths to be rational and vigilant. Stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, just like bright sunshine and fresh air, should be cherished, and it would be too late to realize the importance of keeping Hong Kong’s prosperity when they could no longer enjoy it. Those who try to instigate turmoil and instability in Hong Kong should also learn to be rational, and it would be unwise if they ridiculously overrate their strength and continue to act in the manner that harms all and benefits no one.


Editor's Note:

We have recieved the following response from the Hong Kong-America Center:

“The article (The Umbrella Revolution: An Inevitable, But Short-lived 'Influenza.') contains the following statement: "In the "Occupy Central" movement, people have taken notice of the open and covert role played by the Hong Kong-America Center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong."

This statement is completely false. The Hong Kong America Center has not played any role — open, covert, or otherwise — in the Occupy Central Movement or in any other political movement.  Specifically, the Center has not, in any of its programs since its founding, ever advocated, encouraged or supported in any way, political activities such as "Occupy Central" or student strikes, or a “color revolution,” or any  political movement. Our Center operates openly and transparently with the goal of improving relations between China, including Hong Kong, and the United States, by means of educational and cultural programs. We would be pleased to provide additional information, and would welcome visitors to learn more about our educational programs and other activities.”

—— Hong Kong-America Center

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