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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora