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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid