tv Inside Story Al Jazeera September 30, 2014 3:30am-4:01am EDT
it to china, hong kong has been nervously negotiating a relationship next door. they took the lead only in military and diplomatic fathers, hong kong was going to remain what it has always been, a home to freewheeling capitalism, with law and currency, and now the young people filling the streets are testing just how much dissent hong kong's government and the government in beijing are willing to tolerate. protests in hong kong are not unusual. but this is different. and may be dangerous. police fired volleys of teargas in the thousands on sunday, and what authorities said are necessary but restrained response. demonstrators used umbrellas and goggles to protect themselves and vowed to keep up the pressure. >> well, it's very encouraging
that so many people tal took to the streets today to demand democracy, and many people chanted the slogan, "went true democracy, and it's exactly the movement. and we're very happy to see what happened today. >> these demonstrations are all about elections to be held in three years, and china's assistance that all candidates be vetted by 2016. it started in government buildings, but turned into something bigger. china has called the protests illegal and has backed the hong kong government's actions. the numbers surged monday, after the riot police were called in and then removed. now there's calm. >> i urge the people blocking
the roads to leave peacefully as quickly as possible, so not to affect the traffic. and i urge for the benefit of society, to stop their occupation. >> but the occupation is not over, and there of been sporadic confrontations like this one, and 141 people were injured since sunday, including police officers. in a sign that authorities are rethinking their earlier response, no teargas has been used on monday. financial markets hate incertainty. hong kong's stock market fell 2%, and sent tremors through global markets on monday. the white house was with the protesters. >> we have been very consistent in voicing our support to the people's republic of china for universal suffrage and the aspirations
to the hong kong people. and we're going to continue to do so. >> the fireworks lit up over hong kong harbor, and what happens next? the elections are three years away, but the authorities have canceled the fireworks scheduled to celebrate china's national die on wednesday. hong kong and it's future inside of a surging china, this time on the program, is a country that has been pushing out the boundaries of its territorial waters and airspace, snarls in taiwan when the island government shows too little independence, and the shoving matches with vietnam, are going to put up with an autonomous hong kong inside of china. joining us for the conversation, robert daley,
current director of the wilson centers on china and the u.s. and hope, of john hop kings university. and isaac fish, editor for foreign policy magazine. professor, let me start with you. did the youth on the streets catch the hong kong authorities by surprise with their resistance? should they have been more prepared for this. >> i think that beijing and the hong kong government underestimate the anger and the persistence of the people of hong kong, particularly the young people. when they made a decision awhile ago that there will be no universal suffrage in the election, it's a moment in hong kong history. because hong kong, there has been quite a movement in hong
kong, but the movement has been operating on the assumption that hong kong and beijing will honor the promise that they will have separation and real autonomy. and now this promise is broken, so i think it's a moment of awakening among the hong kong people this they need to really fight for a democratic future. >> well, isaac fish, you heard the professor there that the expectation that they would eventually work it out over time. and how has hong kong been run since the hand over and have the chinese kept their promises? >> i think generally they have, because of what they said they will do, and they said by twitch 2017 this is what they're going to do, and if anyone thought that they would honor the promises in the first time is up for debate, but the
reason its happening now, it's very close, 2017, and b, people are getting more of a sign that beijing is going to do what it said it's going to to do. >> should we look at this in context with china's relationship with what it believes are the constituent parts, in macaw and other places in the world. or is it a very short-term problem with hong kong and it's relationship going forward. >> i think that we need to look at the context of china's overall develop: hong kong and macawpart of china. they have a particular history and special laws and rules that apply to them that don't apply to the rest of china, but from beijing's point of view, this is one country and it is run by the communist party of china, and it will decide how special the region is. so to look at china's overall
development and overall reform, we need to hope and advocate for the civil liberties and the democracy of the people of hong kong. it's unrealistic to think that it would run too far ahead of the rest of the country. >> today, and predictably, on tv, and if you turned on your tv, hong kong over the weekend and tienanmen square more than two decades ago now. predictable in one sense, but also, probably a visual that china doesn't want the rest of the world to see. >> they never want the rest of the world to see any visuals from tienanmen square. we're away from that, but not so far to be remained of tienanmen square. beijing learned that there are leskoersive means of crowd control. i hope weapon don't put that to the test. but if they came in, and
beijing's preference is very much that the hong kong government handle this peacefully in its own way, but if they came in, it would not be with machine guns blazing and tanks rolling and i don't think that's the way is that this would begin. >> professor hong, in the 17 years since the hand over, has there been a wide-open political culture that's separate and distinct from mainland china. >> i think that the political culture of hong kong is very different from china. because under british governance, starting in the 1970s, the british government did some reform and opening in the 1980s and 1990s, and the legislative council has been over, and the council is the lowest body, and they have been opened up. and since the 1960s, there
has been a long history of freedom of press, and also freedom to assemble and freedom of speech. so it continues [ audio difficulties ] so it's going on, and this space of freedom has been smaller and smaller, but hong kong still maintains this kind of freedom of expression and freedom to protest. so i think that hong kong, in that regard, has had a long tradition of peaceful protest that's quite different from china. >> but professor, when you read about, for instance, china shutting down parts of the internet, and censoring websites with particular words or afraids, that doesn't apply to hong kong t. does it? >> it doesn't apply to hong kong. beijing is trying to increase their control of hong kong, but so far, it has been relying on
already, but from beijing, it's in a political periphery region, from the 1950s, whether china will let hong kong continue, and deepen it's autonomy, or try to go back to the 1950s. so i think it's a different situation. >> isaac was telling us about a china that wanted to impose it's control, but not in a heavy-handed way. doesn't china need a functioning hong kong to show the rest of the world? >> it doesn't need anything. the only thing that the communist party needs is to maintain control over china. so if you pair things down, that's the motivator of all of the activities. i think that what the professor is saying, the difference is hong kong democracy movement and not a mortal threat to the communist party unless it spreads and becomes a
nationalist protest move: i think its more of a message to taiwan, and the reunification of taiwan is the top policy goal. the 30 million people of taiwan represent a more significant gain to beijing than hong kong does. and the they don't want to pusho hard on hong kong because that would send a message to taiwan that we don't know how to govern a sophisticated city state, and we don't know how to govern tie one. >> we'll have more "inside story" after a short break, and when we return, what's the downside for china in keeping hong kong on a long leash. is there a risk for the beijing government inside of a freer china?
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hong kong, the push back of the beijing government picking the candidates for local office, and what it tells us about 1987 when hong kong returned to china. does it lose or gain greater interest in controlling hong kong's future >> is there an amount of pressure that's too much? >> the question of whether china could gain by putting hong kong on a longer leash, if it would demonstrate its commitment to one country, it would keep it vital and get best practices from hong kong, it would increase it's soft power and be more of a partner in the pacific. it's china's prescription for power, but to date, the people with the power, they're having none of this. they regard what
goes on in tibet and hong kong, with similarcateses, they seem to regard these as existential threats. so what china did on august 30th, they made it clear that in 20152015, hong kong voters would be able to vote for anyone that they preapproved. and he has been clamping down on free thinkers, on dissent, on minorities, on universities, which are making loyalty pledges to the communist party. and national institutions, so yes, you could sigh that by putting on more pressure on hong kong, he has them underfoot. but there's no evidence that they share that. >> this is being very closely in taiwan, if they are watching in taiwan, is it very reassuring to see teargas canisters flying through the street?
in response to a fairly gentle pushback to keep very small democratic gains. >> i think that's quite scary to many people in taiwan, and the reason why, you see that when they tried to even increase economic policy with taiwan, you see the student movement there trying to push back, and i think that for the best interest of beijing, it's to maintain a facade of autonomy hong kong that's seen as the real hong kong, because now the international community is treating them in terms of visa and trade policy, and financial capital and so on and so forth. so the autonomy, recognized by the international community, providing officials and a lot
of convenience for officials. so the family can travel to other parts of the world, and they stay at the branch in hong kong to do business with other companies. so what they want to do is maintain their autonomy and establish real control. but the hong kong people don't want facade of autonomy, they want real autonomy. >> isaac, how far are they willing to go? obviously you don't have a crystal ball, but given their past reactions to events in other places in the country, does this get ugly? >> that's a great and important question, and like you said, it's difficult to say, he's trying to model himself as different than other leaders, and neither of them had to deal
with a situation like this. but what we have to be more worried about, actions, and he doesn't have control over decision making. everything that's going on in hong kong, that's beijing's response, and if we start to see tensions rising with japan or vietnam, that could mean that either shi is trying to attract people, or adventurism within china's army, and that could be a worrying spinoff from this crisis. >> i'm not sure what any you think of this, blue it occurred to me, we have been talking about western china, and talking about tibet and talking about taiwan, but there are a couple of hundred million young people in mainland china, who if they know anything that's going in the streets of hong kong, know that this is largely a young people's pushback.
do they worry in beijing about not only those restive provinces, but just the regular 20-year-old in the streets in the country? >> they shay a lot more concern with the people of hong kong than they do in xi jong or tibet. the ungrateful minorities who don't appreciate what the central government has done for them. and whereas in hong kong, the view is a lot more aspirational. and it has gotten worse, and there's a lot of tension between the mainland and hong kong. i think that a lot of people see hong kong as a success story, and what we're going to see moving forward, the chinese state media trying to paint it differently. saying you're not as special as you used to be, and the
capitals, and they would be ungrateful for what the communist party has done model. >> in my own sense, this is anecdotal. there's no polling in china and the chinese media has been almost entirely silent on what happened in china. but my sense today, young chinese on the mainland associate themselves as more mainlanders, hong kongers and mainlanders, and there has been growing tension between the two, as more mainlanders have gone to hong kong, and they're calling them locusts, uncouth, they urinate on the sidewalks, and eat on the subway, and you have mainlanders calling the hong kongese dogs.
so they identify more as citizens of hong kong than chinese. and this flies in the face of the narrative that everybody is a happy family. and i think that there are young people in china who see hong kong he's as ingrates. >> we'll look at the unrest in hong kong and the attempt to suppress t. and international ambitions. stay with us. >> i don't really know what's going to happen to me... >> of oscar winner alex gibney's hard hitting series... edge of eighteen >> i'm never going to appoligize for the type of person that i am >> facing tough challenges... >> we do feel cheeted, by the american university process >> taking a stand... >> it's gonna be on my terms, on how i want it to be >> boldly pursuing their dreams >> what did i do? >> the lives of american teenagers... on the edge of eighteen only on al jazeera america
stories of the recent past and narratives of disrespect are never far away. you'll hear stories of domination, dismember the and weakness and determination that china will never be treated that way again. is the story of freewheeling hong kong part of that story? professor hung, is china really worried about that opinion, or is the rest of the world prepared to see an uncompromising beijing approach problems in hong kong some. >> i think that the government has been that hong kong's internal issue of china. and i think that they have been repeating these lines again and again, but it is quite not true, because the autonomy of hong kong and the promised election of leaders in hong kong was alive in the 80s. and it was documented in the
british deal, the contract. that the british government and the chinese government and also, the government, the hong kong people, promised to ensure that hong kong will be returned to china in 1997. so now, we have the intention of bay ying so take on this promise, and the breaking of a promise is the breaking of a contract, and it evolved in other countries, and also, hong kong, so many international companies are involved in it. so i think that it's not only an issue within china, but it's an international issue, and we in the international community are trying to break the promise on this, when china is dealing with taiwan or other countries, they will be more keeping their promise. >> is there a cost in overdoing it?
>> there may be a cost. but this issue is not going to be solved looking backward with reference to these documents. no one is trying to win a legal argument. this is a political problem, and it will be solved moving forward i think with reference to political power, and the mainland's desires for hong kong moving forward. the contracts are signed. and if there was somebody here from china, them take issue with professor hung, i think that he gave a very good characterization, but they would say that it's the interpretation of the law. and because it's their interpretation, they would have the right to interpret it. the political process moving forward. >> that so, sometime in the near years, china has done things just to show that it can. >> i think we have to remember, when we talk about china showing the rest of the world things, just like the united states,
beijing's primary audience is domestic, and so everything that it does, it does first off with a message toward the rest of china, and the secondary message is to the rest of the world. so very much more concerned as to how this looks to china and how we're going to package this, and when they think of a reaction, they think about how does this play in beijing. >> that brings us to the latest edition of "inside story." thanks for being with us. the program may be over, but the conversation continues. for more, log onto our facebook page, and send us your thoughts on twitter. the handle is ajam, and ray suarez. join us for the next "inside story."
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