HKFP Occupy one year on

With the first anniversary of Occupy looming, it’s not hard to see social media springing to life, igniting people’s inner political fires once again. Twitter and Facebook feeds are now full of first-person retrospectives or gritty videos that relive those first few days of the Occupy and the police attack on protesters.

It would seem that despite a nearly year-long “protester-fatigue” by many mainstream pro-democracy supporters, people are now becoming energised once again to commemorate this significant anniversary.

occupy hk protester-fatigue democracy
Photo: HKFP.

And why not? If you were part of the estimated 1.2million people who visited and supported the Occupy sites, why wouldn’t you take the time out to commemorate this coming Monday September 28?

There is now an official silent protest that people can attend outside of Legco at 17:58, to mark the time the first tear gas canisters were fired. Let’s not forget, this first cannister was followed by a further 86 more, aimed at protesters who were essentially non-violent. If witnessing this crime moved you to action a year ago, then why wouldn’t it move you one year on? It is time to show this government that Hong Kongers will never forget this unwarranted attack on political expression and our desire for a fair election system remains as strong as ever.

occupy hong kong we'll be back
Photo: HKFP.

The end note of the months-long occupation was dominated by the slogan, “We’ll be back” and maybe now is time for everyone to make good on that promise. Not that “We’ll be back” means creating another extended camping trip on a freeway. No one wants to see those sort of shenanigans happen again. But, if you were one of the 100,000 people who came out on the 29th September and filled Harcourt Road, and then spent the entire Autumn living the Occupies, then when will that promise of “We’ll be back” become a reality if not on Monday?

In tatters
In fact, if Hong Kongers can motivate themselves to honour the “We’ll be back” promise, they could even go one step further and engage in a period of “We are back” weekly protests. The silent protest outside Legco is a perfect blueprint protest to put pressure on this government once again.
One Country Two Systems is in tatters. Billion-dollar, white elephant projects swallow up Hong Kong’s reserves with no end in sight. Lead water scandals poison the population and the New Territories are riddled with smugglers. Hong Kong is so devastated by this unelected, unaccountable government, yet still we let them get away with it unfettered and unchallenged!

Ex-Occupy leaders now talk about another mass incident happening again, in maybe two, five or even ten years time. Caused by some ‘igniting’ scandal. But look around you. Hong Kong is already engulfed in scandal. How bad does it have to get? Is the only plan we have to tolerate the degeneration of the city until it becomes utterly intolerable?

police hong kong
Photo: HKFP.

One year on, the lesson from Occupy is that camping trips don’t change government policies. But if Hong Kong can put 100,000+ people outside Legco every Sunday night until Christmas, like we saw on Harcourt Road on September 29th, then this government would come under immense local and international pressure to change its ways and listen to the voice of the people.

Seriously, can you not give up one night a week to help this city and make your voice heard once again? What other choice is there? To stay home and shout at the TV?

Richard is a freelance writer and long term resident of Hong Kong. He has a Master's Degree in Chinese Studies from CUHK and describes himself as a noisy muser on all things China. He has travelled extensively in Western China and once owned a trekking lodge high on the Tibetan border. He has a raw style of Opinion Journalism, with special interests in the South China Seas and deciphering Hong Kong's Localist/Independence groups.