Hong Kong Protests Explained


Good morning John! Last Sunday, tens of thousands of people took
to the streets in Hong Kong to protest. The police reactions to these protests were, surprisingly,
intense – resulting in, get this, far more people joining the protest! This somewhat surprising result is only one
of the things that can be explained through a better understanding of what Hong Kong is,
what those people are protesting about, and what is motivating China. A brief history! – 1847: Hong Kong, a sparsely populated island
off the southern coast of China, is ceded to the United Kingdom after the Opium War. 1898: China and Hong Kong agree to a 99 year
lease of Hong Kong to the British Empire to be a British Colony. 99 years! That’s, that’s plenty of time to
figure out – NOPE. In the 90’s, with the switch impending, the
appointed – NOT elected – Governor of Hong Kong started to talk about how it would be
really great if Hong Kong were a democracy. This is kinda hilarious after 150 years of
colonial rule. China finds this, not just hilarious, but
also really annoying because China would like to have Hong Kong’s extraordinarily economically
important cake and also eat it. 1997: after 150 years of British rule, Hong
Kong becomes part of China. Kind of. After 150 years, Hong Kong has its own dialect,
and judiciary, and taxes, and postal service, and money, and culture! People from Hong Kong
are ethnically Chinese, and they feel connected to the Chinese people, but they don’t consider
themselves Chinese. To get an idea of how weird this is, if you
wanted to go from China, to China, but you happened to be crossing the Hong Kong border,
you have to get your passport stamped and go through immigration. To get a better idea of how weird this is,
during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, both China and Hong Kong had separate teams… Same country! At the root of it, this is all because what
Hong Kong is now is really great for China. Not only would it be extremely difficult to
have Hong Kong run by the same system as China, which would be COMPLETELY different from the
entire culture of Hong Kong, it would also be bad for China! China wants Hong Kong to
be the thing that it is. It’s a capitalist powerhouse that was created
as a bridge between China and the capitalist world. Hong Kong houses the third largest stock exchange
in the world; the Hong Kong dollar is the eighth most traded currency in the world! For all that to keep working, Hong Kong kinda
has to be a thing that China finds really uncomfortable – Free. They call it, “one country, two systems.” Alright, this might be a little bit of a difficult
thing to understand. In America, we make fun of a politician on TV. That’s not just okay,
it’s also, like, if that politician can handle it, it’s kind of a good thing for them – it
makes them seem more powerful. In China, where everything is very tightly
controlled, that kind of criticism would make a politician seem extremely weak. So you have to imagine China as being run
by a culture that does not accept any kind of derision or appearance of weakness. They’re crazy with the control. China’s national day was this week and they
let loose ten thousand doves in Tiananmen Square – they cavity searched EVERY dove to
make sure there were no explosives inside of them. That is what you think it is. China’s government attitude is a mixture of
immense pride in what they have done and vulnerability – just fear of it falling apart. And that
might be somewhat warranted, because there are lots of China that don’t want to be areas
of China! And with a weakening economy and the number
of protests in China growing, politicians are worried about losing stability – and they
REALLY like stability. Now add, to all of this, that the current
president of China, Xi Jingping, just did a massive crackdown on corruption. This made
him a lot of enemies of the Chinese officials who were benefiting from corruption. You have a situation where the leadership
in Beijing really wants to appear strong and in control and not at all weak, and is thus
not in any way interested to conceding to the protests in Hong Kong, or even allowing
them to continue! The protest, itself, does probably hurt Beijing
– though maybe not as much as they imagine because people in Hong Kong and people in
China don’t actually get along that well anymore for reasons that, surprisingly, involve shopping
excursions. Now I’ve gotten a long way into this and I
haven’t even talked about the reason why people started protesting last Sunday. And that’s
kind of because, with all this background, it starts to feel… inevitable. Like it’s
just a thing that was gonna happen. But here’s the specifics – since the hand-off
of Hong Kong to China, it has been run, not by a Governor or a mayor, but a Chief Executive
if it wasn’t capitalist enough for you. The Chief Executive is elected by a kind of,
like, weird electoral college composed mostly of, like, business tycoons that represent
different constituencies, mostly corporate constituencies. Now, Hong Kong’s constitution, which isn’t
really a constitution, eventually calls for the election of the chief executive by the
people, and not by a group of twelve hundred people who have the exact same interests as
Beijing. But, Beijing interprets that law a little
bit differently, saying that, yes, the citizens of Hong Kong can elect their Chief Executive,
but they have to choose from a pool of candidates that Beijing pre-selects for them. And that,
of course, is not a democracy. Now maybe even more importantly, since the
1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, the people of Hong Kong have had a proud and strong history
of demonstration and protest. And the intense response from the Hong Kong police was maybe
even more scary to the people of Hong Kong than was the prospect of not being able to
elect their own leaders – because the people of Hong Kong have never been able to elect
their own leaders but they HAVE been able to freely protest. Some people hope that, as Hong Kong was a
testing ground for China’s unique form of capitalism, it might also become a testing
ground for actual Chinese democracy. But the cultural gap between the structure and control
of China and the freedom of Hong Kong may be too big to bridge. But while the protests are bad for the image
of Chinese leaders, quashing them would be bad for the continued economic prosperity
of Hong Kong. And the protesters know that they shouldn’t mess too much with Beijing,
that’s why they’re directing most of their ire at the Chief Executive. China’s state media, meanwhile, does report
on the protests in Hong Kong, just like they reported on the protests of the Arab Spring.
But, as they did with the Arab Spring, they focus on the chaos and inconvenience that
these protests bring. And, really, what China needs is to stick
together and be stable. Yay, stability! And with the protesters in Hong Kong protesting
in very calm and stable ways, there seems to be a certain amount of agreement that stability
is good. There aren’t very many voices calling for Hong Kong to secede from China, though
China may be afraid that, with continued cultural changes, that may eventually be the case. But mostly, Hong Kong just wants to be Hong
Kong – and exceptional, unique place where lots of amazing things happen. Just, ideally,
a Hong Kong with a little bit more control over its own destiny for, really, the first
time in its entire existence. But in the country where they check the butts’
of pigeons for explosives, having an entire seven million person part of the country not
controlled by the central government, is maybe not just scary, it might just be a completely
foreign concept. But just as China found ways to allow actual
capitalism to occur within its borders, maybe there’s a way for actual democracy to occur
within its borders. That would be pretty amazing, and that would be a pretty fantastic outcome
to this very, very weird story. I guess we’ll see. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.




Comments
  1. There isn’t anything called ethically Chinese or a language called Chinese. The majority of the people living in PRC now is ethnically Han and 55 other ethnic groups are categorised in present China by the PRC. In China, Mandarin is selected to be the national language just for the time when PRC is born. Many people, specially the older generation and people in rural areas don’t speak Mandarin. They also simplified the written characters, emitting their original meanings. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is the native language with a mixture of English loanword. It’s common to hear HongKonger speaking Cantonese with few English words in between. Hong Kong kept the traditional form of writing which is also used in thousand years ago. Hong Kong isn’t the same fishing village back in 200 years ago that belonged to the Qing Empire anymore. Hong Kong is Hong Kong.

  2. Allow free, n fair election ?? can not , it is communism , no way HK can be used as a political example for other provinces to follow, Communist party can not allow itself to face real challenges from other political party, free and fair election result is too unpredictable , definitely will result in dissolution of absolute power inside China.

  3. one country two systems should always retain as free economy small government are always the Hong Kong systems developed before 1997 without any control by the central chinese government. The chinese government their corruption, over control, low education and medical systems, bad merchants etc. are their chinese fundamental personality issues! From my own opinion, the one country two systems should not only be retained but CAN BE EXTENDED upon all Hong Kong citizen voting and safeguarding as well as the basic law interpretation and execution without being influenced unreasonably, inhumanity and attacked fiercely by bad people! In fact, I do believe that most chinese citizens must also respect and love the systems as in Hong Kong earlier developed and I think by survey if so from the chinese citizen, most of them must also want and follow the same/similar systems developed in Hong Kong that mostly from western knowledge otherwise none of the chinese would want the medical treatments in Hong Kong, going to Hong Kong schools and none would want to move to Hong Kong too!

  4. Well Hank, in Hong Kong, we call it the Yellow umbrella revolution, it sounds weird cause it’s directly translated and there is no other way, Hong Kongers bring their yellow umbrellas to protest, so that’s why

  5. It's painful to see Hong Kong losing its unique identity and freedom. It seems like we've always either been manipulated by the PRC or the British gov. It's gotten to the point where one could suggest there is an identity crisis. No sense of self and belonging but just pain. In addition, there are some many underlying layers of conflict to be resolved.

  6. How about protesting against the HK tycoons who abuses the poor. Most people living in half closet size and that is before 1997.

  7. watching this video in 2019 is kinda late but whatever =) I'm Hongkongnese n I love how u say Hong Kong just want to be Hong Kong this is what we reli wanted also I'm so glad that u know a lot about Hong Kong as a Hongkongnese I felt reli pleased

  8. Oh my god.
    question: Why didn‘t the Hong Kong people protest under british rule? As far as I know, they‘ve never had elections of the governor under the brits.

  9. Now that French and English protesters are getting arrested within hours instead of weeks of occupation, where's your objection? Truth is the Hong Kong protest was instigated by International Democratic Institute, using the usual "Color Revolution" playbook. You know darn well what happened with the prolonged street occupation, assaulting police, are things we will never stand for in America. 20 police were injured by protesters just this one night while enforcing vacate order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CMSnDOcazs

  10. Free election? UK France Germany all do not allow open primary. Why should Hong Kong abandon indirect election?

  11. Bill Zhang replied to your comment on an answer to: "Why won't China let Hong Kong have free elections?"

    My observation is that 99% of the news (videos or articles) about China from western or US are fake news. If you want to know the facts about China (including HK and Taiwan) then you need to have the proper channels like CCTV, CGTV, RT, or any reputable Chinese organizations.

  12. Yes, look at Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Egypt, Afganistan … we want to be exactly like those countries where Western countries delivered Democracy !

  13. I'm Hong Kong guy
    This isn't right for us.
    So we stand up and fight.
    Because if this law passed, Hong Kong is gonna fall.
    Why would you separate China from China?

  14. Hello there, thank you for your concern! We will be very grateful if you can help out by signing this petition https://www.change.org/p/民間人權陣線-civil-human-rights-front-全球聯署-反送中-民意不可欺-為香港企硬-global-signing-against-extradition-to-china

  15. Thank you so much Hank, I am a Hong Konger born and raised in Hong Kong, but now I'm studying abroad, God bless everyone there and we will go through this together, I believe in you. Thank you for the support from brothers and sisters around the world. We can do this

  16. HK does not have its own dialect. Cantonese is a language and is spoken in other parts of Guangdong province like Guangzhou.

  17. Chinese people had long been oppressed by evil communist regime, they deserve basic human right of speech, democracy and human freedom!

  18. PLEASE DONT SAY SAME COUNTRY BECAUSE HONG KONG IS A COUNTRY BY ITSELF!!!!!! It’s like USA and CANADA they just beside each other but they different

  19. ** ATTENTION PLS ** Videos Seeking

    Hello Sir/ everyone, will you guys have recorded down a scene happened around 12/6 17:30, near Tim Mei Avenue.

    An old man who was wearing GREEN tee , he was shouting to the polices, and suddenly police SHOT him with RUBBER BULLET, he got shot and fell down. More than 10 police rushed to him and arrested him very violently. He is charged with RIOT by police now.

    ** HE WAS JUST SHOUTING**

    his lawyer is asking for videos to prove that he had no threat, and should not be charged with RIOT! Please help him! He is third-stage LUNG CANCER patient, need help from everyone!

    PLEASE SHARE!!

    please send email to [email protected], Francis.

  20. Is China not Democracy?Democracy is to vote only?Chinese also vote their village or street officer too.But president is only those quolificated politicians vote.Civillian don't care.

  21. 1. Stability my ass, more like absolute power!!!
    2. #NoExtraditiontoChina
    3. One Country, two system is a fu–ing spam and outright lie!!!
    4. They want HK to be demonstration example to Taiwan(or Republic of China if you prefer!!!) for unification purposes!!!

  22. Rewatching in 2019, and it took a while before I realised that "Hey, I had watched this before" and "Hey, this is on the 2014 protests, not the 2019 ones"

  23. You hit the nail on the head on this conflict. No one realistically wants any radical action, each party just want to continue being they way they are and find a way to coexist. The conflict occurs each time China takes a bug step to try to make Hong Kong more like China. Not that I want Hong Kong to be any more China than it already is, but the smart way to do it is the way they have been doing this, let Chinese citizens move into Hong Kong, and let them assimilate. The tensions just rise every time they try something overt, and it's only going to make it harder for them to achieve their goal.

  24. Lease: a contract by which one party conveys land, property, services, etc. to another for a specified time, usually in return for a periodic payment.
    "a six-month lease on a shop"
    synonyms: leasehold, rental agreement, hire agreement, charter, contract;

  25. I’m from mainland China, and I happened to live in Shenzhen, a city directly connected to HK. I didn’t usually leave comments, cos I found when it comes to China, most of the videos are biased. It pointless to argue with someone who’s preconceived.

    But I think your video is somewhat neutral and even helpful for those foreigners who really want to understand what’s going on. I agree with you mostly, but wanted to point out something.

    I do agree that the government is a little bit too fearful, but it happens for a reason. If you have the time to looked into China history you’ll see that China is now connected to 15 countries (now 14 thanks to India), and throughout all times China would have achieved prosperity if only remain stable. If not, there came the civil wars. How to guarantee stability throughout these times? Always by a centralized system. That’s the reason why China government is acting like this today.

    As to HK, I think this law bill is from a good will originally, trying to fix a grey area, and did have some problems yet to be fixed, like they still care. So fix it! Sit in the legislative council and fix those issues you are not happy with!

    If you find your government isn’t listening and you want to be heard, I’m totally supportive to a peaceful, nonviolent protest. However, it’s NOT. Protesters broke into the legislative building by force, throwing bricks and long steal sticks to the police, and smashed down the whole place. Link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Cq8bRjHv-A .And they even accused them of “using violent enforcement”. Funny thing is they refuse to admit that this is a riot, require non of the violent protesters should be sued, but require to sue those police who are doing their job? Man! If this happens in the west when you try to hurt the police and beak into government, it will be REAL BULLETS!!

    I also found it amusing to see how the press is biased by using purposely misleading words like “shooting” in headlines. True, if you are discussing grammar then of course it’s shooting even if it’s only rubber bullets.

    China has many issues yet to be improved, true, but isn’t it too many to ask it to do things right now right here that took the west 200 years to achieve? I think Beijing want HK to be HK, the most beautiful and charming city as it is. Beijing did promise HK progressive reformation, to which general election is the final goal. But things take time. You can not ask for this kind of stuff like right here right now. Don’t even forget is that before 97, every single governor is appointed directly by the queen of GB. The governor himself not punishable except by the queen herself. I’m now even thankful the election system in HK is not one-man-one-vote, considering what these young men did today.

    To those HKers who might see this post, I hope you can think about one thing: do you truly believe that your motherland just want to bully you, or is there a slightest chance that she really want you to be better? Do you really just care about the law bill, or you just want to release your anger of being Chinese? Wake up, embrace China and help her to be better, use your mind and the resources you got. This is the future we share. Stop whining and even missing those colony times. It’s just sad.

  26. Hey, read this, if you understand Chinese. You will have different opinions. You dare? https://youtu.be/nIy30GH3IOw

  27. Unfortunately local Cantonese are being forced to be part of China population since HK is a province of China, even though we local aspired to be an 'independent country, we have 'no teeth to fulfill our aspiration.

  28. Am I the only one glancing at the bookshelf behind hank and looking for book recommendations? no one? no? okay.

  29. Hong wants to be Kong? Fine, but you have to ask the permission of all the co-owners of the land, ie. all 1,400,000,000 of them because Hong, Kong, Ma, and Cao, they all are China. 😂😂😂

  30. You know – 4 years on, and same issues, hence I guess why this video appeared in my feed. I started watching expecting it to be annoying, patronising, maybe even misinformed… and even with it being dated, clearly underestimated you. I live here and think it's one of the best analyses I've seen here or elsewhere: credit to you. And thanks for pointing out that it's not just a democracy / oppression dichotomy. This is a seed the British sowed whose roots are only now cracking the pavement – it comes down to the coherence and self-discipline of the protesters how it's going to pan out. Fingers crossed!

  31. This is Hong Kong's typical "peaceful" protestors at the HK Intn Airport https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnuMB5JYL9Q

  32. Either the stupid hongkie accept that china is their political master…or they have 28 years to migrate…after that…they can face the PLA guns and reeducation camp ….maybe sooner if they overdo it….

  33. Hong Kong Island itself was ceded to Great Britain in 1942 under the terms of Treaty of Nanjing, NOT 1947 as stated by poster.

  34. This guy spread fake news. HK people speak Cantonese like people from Canton. Canton is part of China.

  35. What a idiot the other 24 million chinese living n hong kong are mainland china staunch.its why a group of them decided to wear white shirts n bash the treasonist young protesters

  36. Hongkong is part of China. Before 1997, did each Hong Kong resident have voting right for their governor? Never ever. Who designated the governor then? If each HongKong were fighting for the voting rights, what the UK politicians would do then?

  37. All this started because a Hong Kong man killed a pregnant woman and and walked out of the hotel it was the Extradition bill cause it you still haven't explain the truth and check for bombs that BS.

  38. The police actually found explosives ,knives ,Molotov cocktail ,slingshots ,papers and stickers of ant-China anti Hong Kong Government in a warehouse there were arrests. Those thugs Pro-Democracy Yellow Umbrella Movements destroyed harassed people with camera trying to steal cameras. Shine lasers at police and people against them harassed a man in a airport because he knock off the sign and said the elderly hit the thug protester of the hand and another part hoodlums pretended to fall and said the elderly hit the thug it was a lie. This is at the Hong Kong airport full of thug Pro-Democracy Umbrella movement Cults. THEY ARE NOT SO INNOCENT.👎👎🖕🖕💩💩💩🤡🤡🤡🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖

  39. I am Chinese. If China directly wants Western-style democracy, I am afraid that China will become the largest nationalist country in the world. This is something I don’t want.

  40. One country China is a country Hong Kong is not a country 2 Systems different governments is very much of China as Macau Nobody said Washington DC a country or California or New York City a states Ridiculous. Nobody said BC Ottawa country a proveniences not a country. Those Hong Kong people doesn’t consider they are Chinese they write their name are Chinese China the Hong Kong people are dog breeds or plant of the apes as violent as plant of the apes.

  41. When China wasn’t Communist Hong Kong is part of China that stolen by the British when China was communism they are not China and not Chinese?😆🤣💩💩💩💩🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤡🤡🤡👎🤖🤖💩💩🖕🖕🤡🖕Totally Ignorance.

  42. Suggesting the vlogbrothers to make a new video explaining the new wave of protests against the Extradition Bill happening currently in Hong Kong!

  43. Yes. Yes. And Yes. It’s in the blood, immense fear, insecurity and complete denial to admit their vulnerability. Including fear of being independent of their parents: they see it as a betrayal. To induce fear, guilt, and that we are not enough, is the core of the culture, sadly. They take everything personally, and attack with condescension. I’m ethnically Chinese, but it breaks my heart to know that I wouldn’t want my children (if any in future) to inherit a culture like such. 香港加油!

  44. Hank, thank you again for this informative video that explains the Umbrella Movement to the world. I was deeply moved when I saw your video showed up on my feed, knowing that you were supporting us from miles away. As you may have heard, Hong Kong is NOW going through an incredibly difficult time fighting the biggest authoritarian country in the world triggered by the anti-extradition bill. Our government ignores our demands completely and our police has been brutally hurting our fellowmen by firing tear gas in densely populated neighborhood, shooting rubber bullets at protesters' heads and beating protesters violently until their teeth are knocked out. Just last week, one of the volunteer medic was permanently blinded by the beanbag round fired by the police. Until now, at least 6 protesters committed suicide out of desperation.

    We have been fighting for our freedom for over 2 months and we need every support we can get. It would mean the world to us if the vlogbrothers can make a video on the current situation of Hong Kong, just like what you did here. As the Time Magazine puts it, this is an 'all-out battle for the soul of Hong Kong'. We would be honored in you would join us in this fight.

  45. Share & Click Support HK people💗
    Sign (Click) Below Petition

    Needs 99,145 signatures by August 24, 2019 to get a response from the White House

    Prosecute the persons & organizations involving violence attack on 21JUL in HK are terrorism, by U.S.C. 2656f .

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/prosecute-persons-organizations-involving-violence-attack-21jul-hk-are-terrorism-usc-2656f-0

  46. 林鄭, 楊光, &何君堯叛國暴亂香港, 打倒一國兩制, 棍打中国人民, 謀權篡位, 林鄭接任习近平中国總理一職, 成為中国第二女皇林鄭武則天! 可以命令中国武警用短距离把香港人雪亮的眼睛全都打盲了血肉模糊! 一將功成万骨枯!
    中国土包子! 死蠢! 林鄭她把警察送進浩園, 越多越好, 遡轉她出賣香港的形勢! 搏取香港人的同情及掩盖她推使香港暴亂的叛国罪. 她把香港人賣了, 你們還替她数錢. 真笨! 最後只赢 (win) 得個 "奠 " 字. 真悲!  

    香港&中国大陸牛鬼蛇神在中国收買打手到香港上演:  美国支持暴徒, 香港暴徒. 白衣暴徒, 黑衣暴徒, 及香港暴徒黑警破壞香港治安和損害香港形像创造了香港暴亂新闻! 中国無恥之極!
    刘伯温金陵塔碑文新解 – "民三七"是指林鄭月娥是中国 "民" 選的 "777" 票. 她是中国共産党灭亡的禍根導火線!  "羽" 是習近平. 刘伯温金陵塔碑文是说中国共産党灭亡於習近平,而林鄭月娥是中国共産党灭亡的禍根導火線於2019!

  47. This is surprising accurate, although since the last protest 4 yrs ago it seems like the disruption of stability is really on the table now. That's also one of the main reasons why the protesters cannot gain wider sympathy across China, not just for patriotic reasons. For a nation that had gone through so much in modern history and only really prospered the last few decades, stability is much more important to the people there than abstract concepts of freedom.

  48. Hongkongers said, they are not Chinese. Nothing is more valuable than democracy and freedom. Fighting for your Democracy and freedom is the right thing to do. They have nothing to lose  #StandWithHongKong

  49. ive never heard of inner Mongolians not wanting to be Chinese. They are everywhere in Beijing n super friendly. But i get discriminated against ALL THE TIME whenever im in HK. yes, just bc of my identity, bc i can speak mandarin. whats up w. that? freedom of discrimination?

  50. Back here in 2019 and still appreciating just how balanced the reporting was. Not failing at all to mention the fact that colonial HK was never democratic, etc etc. I am 100% pro-Beijing but I can fully appreciate every single point made here, because not a single fact has been twisted or falsely reported, and the interpretation of China’s politics is spot on. What a tragedy that HK’s media today in 2019 is in total sh*t in terms of authenticity and quality when compared to a 2015 YouTube video.

  51. America has claimed Hawaii which was never a part of USA soooo…. they also want to buy Greenland and have a state called Alaska which is nowhere near them soooo… um yeah so much for a democracy not mention how they use Google and YouTube also Twitter to manipulate our news. This guy seems ignoring the Fact that Honk Kong is will always be a part of China.

  52. What is true democracy? You consider choosing between two pre-selected candidates and a rigged voting system democracy? Sir? If there is a government, there is no democracy

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