A few weeks back I popped up to Hong Kong to have a look at the carry‑on. Walking a gauntlet of 18,000 (according to the media) screaming and bellowing mainly young folk on arrival was off‑putting. Worse still was the illiteracy of the leaflets seemingly all 18,000 tried to thrust on me. I accepted only those from the prettiest girls, a mistake as I was then virtually imprisoned by television interviewers ridiculously demanding to know if the world was aware of what was going on.
The following day I ventured into the heat to watch that day’s march but gave it away after an hour when it descended into an 8 hour staring contest with the police. The result, – a draw.
So we buggered off to Scotland, although not without the usual Hong Kong incompetence, in this case the check‑in halfwit girl claiming we didn’t have visas for Scotland. She looked dubious at my explanation of the United Kingdom and called a supervisor to confirm what I’d said.
I first went to Hong Kong exactly half a century ago and for diverse reasons have had cause to return on many occasions since. Unlike mainland China I find things are too often a cock‑up and am damned if I can fathom its appeal to tourists.
A British commentator argued last week that the underlying motive behind the protest is not the cry for self‑government but instead a protest at the wealth gap. He doesn’t know the Chinese mentality. Far from envying the rich they aspire to emulate them.
Where will it all end? Sensitive to the eyes of the world on them and the current condemnation for their atrocious treatment of the Uighur’s, I suspect the authoritarian Chinese government will box carefully, hoping the protest will eventually peter out. Even so Beijing would be smart to allow the territory democratic self‑government. Fears of contagion to the mainland are probably over‑cooked as Hong Kong has always been accepted as having different more liberal rules and is important to China as a finance centre.
I hate to say it but Trump is right in his hard line with the hugely dishonest Chinese government, even though it’s Americans who are picking up the tariff tab.
Authoritarian governments now hold the reins over 85% of the world’s population, an unhappy reality that bodes badly for the world.