News / Asia

Occupy Hong Kong Survives Another Day

Protesters give a concert at the "Occupy" movement campsite area outside the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong on August 27, 2012.Protesters give a concert at the "Occupy" movement campsite area outside the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong on August 27, 2012.
x
Protesters give a concert at the "Occupy" movement campsite area outside the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong on August 27, 2012.
Protesters give a concert at the "Occupy" movement campsite area outside the HSBC bank headquarters in Hong Kong on August 27, 2012.
Ivan Broadhead
HONG KONG — In October 2011, the Occupy Movement was born.  Disillusioned by perceived corporate greed and banker excess, activists around the world demanded a fairer distribution of wealth.  But one-by-one authorities shut the protest sites that sprang up from Abuja to Zurich.  In Hong Kong Monday, the last Occupy camp located in a global financial center was finally threatened with closure.

At the heart of the pedestrian zone beneath the headquarters of the world's second largest banking group, members of Occupy Hong Kong defied a court order for their 9 p.m. eviction and held a music festival instead.

Data released by the government in June reveal income inequality in Hong Kong is the worst in the developed world. Music teacher Judy Hai, 25, explains why she supports the movement.

"To be honest, I don't have enough money to have my own property," Hai explained.  "I want to have my own life, I like - a real life; real and sincere. In this society so many people are greedy and make me frustrated."

What began as a closing-down party late Monday evolved into a celebration of the movement's enduring appeal. Hundreds of activists were joined by casual passers-by, tourists, even the odd banker, as Canto (Cantonese) grunge band Dada Baba belted out their greatest hits.

By midnight the authorities still had not moved in to dismantle the camp.  Lam Wai Man, an analyst of grassroots political activism at the University of Hong Kong predicts officials are not likely to tear it down anytime soon.

People walk past protesters' tents outside the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong, August. 27, 2012.People walk past protesters' tents outside the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong, August. 27, 2012.
x
People walk past protesters' tents outside the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong, August. 27, 2012.
People walk past protesters' tents outside the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong, August. 27, 2012.
"On September 9 there will be the legislative council election in Hong Kong," said Lam.  "The government does not want to cause any confrontation or controversy before the election period."

In a statement, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank says it will go back to court to reclaim the occupied land.

However, the Occupy movement has been petering out for months, losing support as the protesters became more radical.

A core group in their 20s call themselves "anarchists" and refuse to talk to the media or engage in public debate. Instead, they spend hours surfing the web on Apple computers.

Lam says Hong Kong people are also preoccupied by new issues, particularly a plan devised by the Chinese Communist Party to introduce national identity classes in a city fiercely proud of its unique cultural status within China.

"Different sectors including parents, teachers, social workers and young people are forming activist groups to show their concern about the implementation of national education in secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong," Lam added.

Although protester numbers are falling, the camp is actually becoming more popular. Thanks to the shelter it offers and a constant supply of food, it has evolved into an important refuge for the city's homeless, dispossessed and mentally ill.  

Every night, retired social worker Bonny Jone offers care and support to the vulnerable in a filthy campsite that has been declared a public health hazard. She says there are real concerns about where people will go when the camp does inevitably close.

"The court has ruled that this place is to be emptied; people have to leave," Jone explained.  "So the police have the right to take everything away when the deadline comes. I think the government should send some social workers to try to help."

Long-term help may be on its way. The Hong Kong government recently announced it would reinstate the Poverty Commission to identify areas where the government can help the poor.

The manifestos of political parties contesting next month's election also promise to eradicate the rich-poor divide.

But members of the Occupy campaign say that, when their eviction comes, they will relocate to the city legislature to carry on the fight.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid