I keep feeling like I have to weigh in on the Hong Kong protests because I consider myself as being from Hong Kong so HERE GOES
My parents left Hong Kong for Canada a few years before the lease to Britain ended, and every time I have asked them about it, they have told me that they left because they knew that China was a dictatorship with a sketchy record for things like human rights. And they sure liked the things they had in Hong Kong, like free speech. Government transparency. That sort of thing. They also had an inkling of what democracy was even though Britain had always appointed someone to lead. I think maybe they were expecting something like this to happen.
That said, there are a couple of Hong Kong protest posts floating around saying stuff like, “don’t compare Tiananmen Square to the Hong Kong protests,” and, “the Western nations shouldn’t get involved, because imperialism is bad.” I’m not exactly an expert on Chinese history, but I’m pretty sure the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, while sparked by a different situation, was also pro-democracy, economic reform, and freedom of press. So I mean, superficial comparisons like having a lot of student involvement (and also that picture of a student and the tanks) help absolutely nobody, but they’re not entirely dissimilar.
Also, while I agree that imperialism is not great, I feel like maybe there’s a little bit of conflation of imperialism with democracy? I for one would be pretty happy with a little bit of Western scrutiny if it forces China to not do things like, make dissenters disappear, which may or may not be a thing that is actually happening in China right now. Just. Please. Hong Kong likes democracy. Please let them vote in their own candidates who are not pre-approved by the CCP. Don’t let Hong Kong turn into China