Asia, Human Rights, Rajan Menon, Speakers

Hong Kong Protests: Principles Vs. The Realities Of Power

by Rajan Menon

Hong Kong’s intrepid demonstrators don’t lack for American admirers. The op-ed pages of our most influential newspapers, the statements emanating from Congress, and the comments of former senior foreign policy officials attest to that.

Now, there is certainly a great deal to admire. Thousands of people in this tiny territory of seven million people have stood firm for democratic values even as they face the world’s second most powerful country, China, which has over a billion people—and formidable firepower besides.

Moreover, despite the long odds, there’s no sign that the rallies, which started nearly four months ago, are sputtering. The demonstrations organized on October 1 to coincide with Beijing’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China drew more than 10,000 people. The clashes between protestors and the police turned violent, as has happened on previous occasions, and some protestors trampled pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping. More ominously, for the first time, a protestor was shot in the chest by live fire from a police officer’s weapon.

Hong Kong Protests: Principles vs. the Realities of Power


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