What Went Wrong With The Hong Kong Protest Movement?

Hong Kong SAR

The Hong Kong protest movement also known as Umbrella Protest Movement will most likely come to an end on Thursday, December 11, 2014, as an injunction that had been taken out by a bus company to clear away two months of protest led mainly by students will come into enforcement.

In the end, the fight for universal suffrage, the right to pick their own chief executive in 2017 has come to a bitter end with no concession given by the government.

The students will go away empty-handed licking their wounds, both literally and figuratively, wondering when and how it all went wrong.  Their mighty protest with support at its peak numbering over 100,000, from all walks of life, but now a few hundred remain at the main site at Admiralty knowing that it is only a matter of time before it will be cleared away.

As the different leaders of the various groups plot their next moves including, Hong Kong Federation of Students led by Alex Chow, Scholarism led by Joshua Wong, and Occupy Central with Love and Peace led by three middle-aged men, they will end up in the same predicament as before,  that is if they can even manage to muster up the same kind of support they once had.

However, based on the most recent poll done by the University of Hong Kong, it shows support for the movement has died down as the occupy protest lingered and people’s lives became increasingly inconvenient.

Over 83% of the people wanted it to end because businesses slowed and the general public mobility suffered all the while protesting students showed disdain for anyone who disagreed with their movement.

The once so-called peaceful protester movement that was a model for the world degenerated into confrontations with counter-demonstrations led by people who just wanted a return to normalcy.

As support from the general public dissipated, the protest leaders seemed to be more concerned with trying to outdo one another for attention from local and the world’s media.

We have Alex Chow and his followers trying to board a plane to meet the Chinese leaders during the APEC Summit knowing full well that they would most likely be turned away at the airport.  Yet they made a big spectacle of it seemingly relishing the media spotlight.  In the end and as expected, they could not even board the flight as their return passes had been revoked by the Chinese central government.

Not to be left behind the scene, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace, middle-aged trio, Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, and Rev. Chu Yiu-Ming, all turned themselves into the police even though there had been no arrest warrant for them.

Of course, they too were happy smiling for the cameras while giving their righteous speech about how bad they have it under the current system.  To no one’s surprise, the police sent them away after they self-incriminated themselves for being part of a protest movement.

However, some people speculated that the trio actually made a strategic move to wash themselves of any future criminal charges that might be launched against them, if the occupy protest demonstration were to end in bloodshed.

As the spotlight turned away from Joshua Wong of Scholarism, who recently turned 18 years old, and with the buzz of him being selected Time 2014 Person of the Year, he decided to go on a hunger strike for attention.  His reasoning is that it will force the government to talk to him.

Instead of doing it the traditional way of just having water, he decides that he will take some sugar and energy drinks to sustain him so that he won’t be taking too many unnecessary risks that will affect his health.

When the media turned the spotlight back onto him, he is shown talking very slowly, looking extremely tired and about to collapse anytime, while trying to stroke public sympathy.

And when that did not seem to work, he decided to use a wheelchair and had people transporting him around with a doctor coming to check up on him often. Yet the public was not buying it, maybe because they were so fed up with his drama that he eventually gave up his hunger strike only after four and a half days into it or 108 hours.  He said he stopped at his doctor’s urging.

Comments on public forums were harsh with some people calling him a quitter and a drama queen. One even went on to say that most dieters lasted longer than he did.

The final nail in the coffin for the occupy protest movement would probably be when Alex Chow had called on protesters to surround government buildings with many not heeding his call, but those that did decide that they wanted anarchy and attempted to destroy the building.

This time though the police decided not to be so gentle with their enforcement of the law and beat back the protesters a little harder with pepper spray and batons.

Alex Chow later admitted that  “The plan was a failure on the whole, given that even if some places were occupied, they were cleared by the police immediately,”

If we were to give them advice on their next protest after they regroup, our advice would be: 1) Have a unified voice for your demands; 2) Don’t inconvenient people too much; 3) Support from the public is very important to help your cause; 4) Make reasonable demands in consideration of timeframe; 5) The public does not like to be manipulated with over the top dramatic acting; 6) Have an exit strategy to fight another day