There has been social upheaval in Hong Kong recently which have taken shape of huge protests by groups supporting democracy. There have been counter protests organized by group with backing of China. The whole situation showed the divisiveness among different sections of city. For one to understand the causes behind this turmoil, itâ€™s necessary to asses some historical facts of Hong Kong in relation to China.
Hong Kong discriminated by China
China had got Hong Kong in 1997 when British decided to relinquish authority over Hong Kong to China. Since then, China has always considered Hong Kong as its integral part but with much discrimination in system of governance. Hong Kong has been defined as Special Administrative Region of China, and it enjoys autonomy on it civil local affairs however; defence and foreign matters are not handled by China itself.
Itâ€™s pertinent to understand political system of Hong Kong. There is a chief executive elected by humungous election committee who must enjoy the approval of the boss â€“ China. People of Hong Kong enjoy more freedom, liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of property compared to their fellow citizens within mainland China. Moreover, legal system of Hong Kong is less peculiar to that of China.
ProtestsÂ for right to vote and liberal policies
The supporters of democracy are calling themselves with name of â€˜Occupy Centralâ€™. They have been fighting for right to vote for people of Hong Kong. They are determined to prolong their protestÂ as long as their demand of universal vote to right is not met and accepted. Taking matters to worse, now, they have threatened to convert their mass protest into major civil disobedience movement if social government of China does not accede to their demands.
As expected, another group sprung out to counter the Occupy Central. Supported by Beijing, this groupâ€™s main purpose is to dilute the impact of Occupy Central with the pretext of bringing peace by initiating â€˜March for peaceâ€™. The situation became more confused when thousands of supporters from both groups came on road and depicted the extent of bipolarity within populace of Hong Kong.
DharnaÂ and Sit-ins in our country: What Imran Khan is missing out on?
The similarity between situation in Hong Kong and Pakistan is very conspicuous; we just need to see it properly. Imran Khan has been leading march driven by youth of country in most similar way to youth led movement by Occupy Central in Hong Kong. I wonâ€™t count-in Tahir-ul-Qadri in this because his purpose and program still seems inconceivable to me.
Both the movements have heavy backing of youth who want to see ray of change and they are not hesitant to take hesitant decisions for that matter. Here, the similarity ends.
There stands no doubt that with every government coming in to rule in china, it has brought leaps of economic progress and development for China. But, one wonders why China has prospered despite not being the democratic country. May be, this questions has to be dealt in a separate blog.
However, Imran Khan and PTI can learn few important insights from Hong Kong:
- It may be certain that Imran Khan did not order or project through his speeches an attack on PTV and other state institutions in D-Chowk, but one cannot ignore the fact that whole act was initiated and given a reason to occur by the sit-in dharna. Just compare this to Hong Kong situation; protesters there, have remained peaceful since the beginning. This has earned their cause credibility within local and international spheres. They have garnered the legitimacy to their demands and protest from global powers having a importance in global politics. Imran must be mindful of long term repercussions of violent dharnas; they harm the political stature of a leader and his party apart from killing credibility and legitimacy to dharnas. However, Imran seems to be ignorant of perks of non-violent dharnas, and that, indeed, is a naÃ¯ve approach.
- It is foolish to break the limit within Red-Zone, or throwing stones at GEO office to get the attention from media and supporters. Let the number of people participating in the dharna speak for you to get attention. After all, itâ€™s about the number of people involved in a dharnaÂ getting credibility for the cause.
- Pro-democracy group in Hong Kong is aware of polarization within the populace and, therefore, they are keen to take practical steps to take matters in favorable direction. Most of Occupy Centralâ€™s leaders are willing to negotiate and come to reasonable settlement for as they can perceive repercussions for being inflexible. On other hand, Imran doesnâ€™t seem to lose on his rigid stance. He is not willing to compromise. Is he still unaware of that constitution of law of land doesnâ€™t allow dismissal of Prime Minister with a majority in the parliament? If he is, then why is he defying the constitution by not willing to give up on his demand?
- PTI has every right to demand electoral reforms if they think elections were rigged and to ensure free and fair forth coming elections. But, Imran and PTI seem to have lost on the right time to strike which was 14th August Azadi March. It was a time when government went panic and Imran couldnâ€™t capitalize on a panicky government. Now the chance seems to be lost. However, protesters in Hong Kong have succeeded in putting constant pressure on government and seem likely to achieve the mission. The reason being they remained peaceful and persistent throughout. Perhaps, our beloved Imran needs to learn something from Hong Kong protesters.
Change is a long process and best change comes with an evolution; we all need to remain persistent towards that definitive objective. Moreover, you can change the system by being part of it rather than being outside and abusing it. For that, you need to accept yourself as a part of system which has every potential to improve. Hong Kong is still a piece of the framework and their people know the how to be heard while remaining peaceful. So, we expect Imran to learn something from Hong Kong protesters.