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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid