Pro-democracy demonstrators and Beijing fight for the future of Hong Kong

Pro-democracy demonstrators and Beijing fight for the future of Hong Kong


>>Sreenivasan: TONIGHT, WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT IS DRIVING THE PROTESTS IN HONG KONG, AND WHY THE MILLIONS OF PROTESTORS WHO’VE FILLED THE STREETS FOR MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS SAY THE FUTURE OF THEIR CITY IS AT STAKE. IT’S THE LAST OF OUR TEN-PART SERIES, “CHINA: POWER AND PROSPERITY,” PRODUCED WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE PULITZER CENTER. NEWSHOUR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT NICK SCHIFRIN REPORTS FROM HONG KONG. (PROTESTING IN CHINESE)>>Reporter: IN THE SHADOW OF DOWNTOWN, HONG KONG TEENAGERS SPEND THEIR WEEKENDS DENOUNCING THEIR GOVERNMENT. (PROTESTING IN CHINESE) THESE STUDENTS SAY THEY USED TO BE APOLITICAL. BUT NOW THEY FEEL THEY HAVE TO FIGHT, TO SAVE WHAT MAKES THEIR CITY UNIQUE.>>Reporter: EVERY PROTESTER PLAYS A PART, AND 16-YEAR-OLD SHUM SHUM’S IS TO GIVE FREE HUGS. SHE WEARS A MASK THAT’S NOW BEEN BANNED BY THE GOVERNMENT, AND PROVIDES ONLY HER NICKNAME TO HIDE HER IDENTITY FROM HONG KONG AUTHORITIES SHE ACCUSES OF PERSECUTING PROTESTORS INSTEAD OF IMPROVING PEOPLE’S LIVES.>>Reporter: HONG KONG’S GENERATION Z WANTS FREEDOM FROM BEIJING SO MUCH, THEY WROTE THEIR OWN NATIONAL ANTHEM… ♪ ♪ ♪ …WITH ITS OWN MUSIC VIDEO THAT’S GONE VIRAL. “BREAK NOW THE DAWN, LIBERATE OUR HONG KONG,” THEY SING. “UNITED, WE SAY THIS IS TODAY’S REVOLUTION.”>>FREE HONG KONG!>>FREE HONG KONG!>>Reporter: THIS IS ONE OF HONG KONG’S MAIN THOROUGHFARES, AND PROTESTORS HAVE COMPLETELY TAKEN IT OVER. AND THEY USE UMBRELLAS NOT ONLY FOR THE SUN, BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT’S THE SYMBOL OF THE DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT HERE. AND THEY SAY THAT THE FREEDOMS THAT THIS CITY HAS ENJOYED ARE BEING ERODED. THEY STARTED PROTESTING SIX MONTHS AGO WITH A NARROW DEMAND: WITHDRAWAL OF A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR THE EXTRADITION OF CRIMINAL SUSPECTS TO MAINLAND CHINA, WHERE THEY SAY THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS NOT INDEPENDENT.>>Reporter: CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR CARRIE LAM EVENTUALLY WITHDREW THE BILL, BUT PROTESTORS EXPANDED THEIR DEMANDS TO INCLUDE HER RESIGNATION, THE FREEING OF ARRESTED PROTESTERS, AND WHAT MANY HERE CALL FREEDOM: THE ABILITY TO VOTE DIRECTLY FOR THEIR LEGISLATORS WITHOUT BEIJING’S INTERFERENCE. OTHERS DESCRIBE FREEDOM MORE BROADLY AND HAVE DEEPER GRIEVANCES. POLLSTERS SAY THE NUMBER OF HONG KONG RESIDENTS IDENTIFYING AS CHINESE IS AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL, EVER. SO, WHEN YOU GUYS THINK OF YOUR IDENTITY, DO YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELVES AS BOTH CHINESEANDFROM HONG KONG? OR JUST HONG KONG?>>JUST HONG KONG.>>JUST HONG KONG.>>Reporter: FOR CENTURIES, HONG KONGWASPART OF CHINA. BUT IN THE 1800s, FOREIGN POWERS ATTACKED, AND THE BRITISH FORCED CHINA TO LEASE THE CITY AS PART OF WHAT THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT CALLS THE CENTURY OF HUMILIATION. (MUSICAL FANFARE) IN 1997, THE BRITISH HANDED THE CITY OVER, AND, UNDER A DEAL KNOWN AS “ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS,” COMMUNIST CHINA PROMISED HONG KONG COULD KEEP ITS BRITISH-WRITTEN LAWS AND INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY BUT HAD TO TURN OVER ITS DEFENSE AND FOREIGN POLICY. BEIJING’S DEFENDERS SAY CHINA HAS LIVED UP TO ITS PROMISES AND PROTESTERS’ TALK OF REVOLUTION IS MISGUIDED.>>I THINK THEY’RE OVER-WORRIED, YOU KNOW. IN HONG KONG, THE RULE OF LAW, THE WELL-ENTRENCHED COMMON LAW SYSTEM UNDERLINES OUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS, YOU KNOW. THAT’S WHY THEY CAN HAVE PROTEST EVERY DAY.>>Reporter: REGINA IP IS A MEMBER OF THE CABINET THAT RUNS THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT. SHE SAYS “ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS” IS DOING JUST FINE.>>AFTER MORE THAN 180 YEARS OF HONG KONG AS A CITY, WE HAVE A VERY STRONG AND UNIQUE CULTURE. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH A BIG COUNTRY HAVING DIFFERENT REGIONAL CULTURES. IT’S THE SAME IN THE U.S., YOU KNOW. CALIFORNIANS ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE… FROM THOSE WHO ARE FROM IOWA OR THE TEXANS, YOU KNOW?>>Reporter: BUT PROTESTORS ARGUE CHINA HAS NOT LIVED UP TO ITS COMMITMENTS AND IS ENCROACHING INTO EVERY ASPECT OF RESIDENTS’ LIVES. PROFESSOR SAMSON YUEN IS STUDYING THE PROTESTS WITH THE HELP OF STUDENT POLLSTERS.>>I THINK THIS IS A… A GRADUAL BUILD-UP OF PEOPLE’S DISCONTENT ABOUT HOW CHINA’S RULING HONG KONG, OR HOW THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT IS NOT REPRESENTING THE LOCAL POPULATION BUT MORE REPRESENTING BEIJING.>>Reporter: THAT SENTIMENT HAS TAKEN HOLD SINCE PRO-DEMOCRACY DEMONSTRATORS OCCUPIED HONG KONG STREETS FIVE YEARS AGO, DEMANDING UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE.>>NO REFORMS HAVE BEEN DONE. AND INSTEAD, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF DISQUALIFICATION AND PROSECUTION. SO, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ANGRY FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. IT’S A TIME BOMB, AND “ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS” CAN’T STAND ON THIS, YOU KNOW,THESETIME BOMBS.>>Reporter: PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER JOSHUA WONG HAS BEEN ARRESTED FIVE TIMES IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. (PROTESTING IN CHINESE)>>Reporter: IN 2015, THE EMPLOYEES OF A BOOKSTORE THAT SOLD BOOKS CRITICIZING BEIJING DISAPPEARED INSIDE MAINLAND CHINA. AND IN 2016 AND 2017, UNDER PRESSURE FROM BEIJING, HONG KONG’S HIGH COURT DISQUALIFIED ELECTED MEMBERS OF HONG KONG’S LOCAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE YOUNGEST-EVER MEMBER, 23-YEAR-OLD NATHAN LAW.>>AT THE END OF THE DAY, THAT ACCUMULATED ANGER, THE INFURIATED CROWDS, EXPLODED IN… IN THIS SUMMER AND BECAME WHAT WE HAVE SEEN.>>Reporter: LAW SAYS HE WAS DISQUALIFIED NOT BECAUSE OF A PROPER RULING BUT BECAUSE BEIJING WAS AFRAID OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION’S POWER.>>I PROMISED TO MY CONSTITUENCY THAT I WILL NOT OBEY A REGIME THAT BRUTALLY KILLS ITS PEOPLE. I WILL KEEP MY PROMISE IN MY CAMPAIGN, THAT I WILL SERVE THE PEOPLE INSTEAD OF THE REGIME. AUTONOMY, DEMOCRACY AND LAW HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR CORE VALUES AND…>>Reporter: LAST MONTH, LAW AND OTHER PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS URGED THE U.S. CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW THE ADMINISTRATION TO SANCTION CHINA FOR ANY HONG KONG CRACKDOWN. THEY SAY THEY NEED U.S. HELP.>>WE ARE AT A STAGE WHERE, YOU KNOW, THAT WE HAVE TRIED ALL THE TACTICS THAT WE CAN ON THE GROUNDS IN HONG KONG. BUT THEN, THAT’S NOT ENOUGH TO… TO GAIN THAT TRACTION THAT WE NEED TO… TO KEEP THIS MOMENTUM GOING ON. ♪ ♪ ♪>>Reporter: DENISE HO WAS ONE OF HONG KONG’S BIGGEST POP STARS. SINCE SHE STARTED PROTESTING, BEIJING REMOVED HER MUSIC FROM CHINESE WEB SITES AND BANNED HER FROM PERFORMING IN MAINLAND CHINA. SHE SAYS THE PROTEST LEADERS ARE NOT DEMANDING REVOLUTION, JUST JUSTICE.>>WE ARE AT… AT THE STAGE WHERE, YOU KNOW, HONG KONG IS IN A POLICE STATE. AND WE DO NOT HAVE ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER TO… TO BRING JUSTICE TO THIS SITUATION OF POLICE VIOLENCE AND BRUTALITY.>>Reporter: ON WEDNESDAY, FOR THE FIRST TIME, POLICE SHOT A PROTESTER WITH LIVE AMMUNITION, A STEP UP FROM THE TEAR GAS AND BATONS USED PREVIOUSLY. BUT THE VIOLENCE GOES BOTH WAYS. BACK ON JULY 1, PROTESTERS BROKE INTO THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. THEY RANSACKED THE BUILDING, SPRAY-PAINTED CRUDE MESSAGES ON THE WALLS, AND BRIEFLY OCCUPIED THE MAIN CHAMBER, THE SEAT OF HONG KONG POWER. THERE ARE PEOPLE WITHIN THIS MOVEMENT WHO SAY THAT THIS WAS A MISTAKE AND THAT YOU NEEDED TO STAY PEACEFUL IN ORDER TO MAKE YOUR POINT. WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT?>>FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY SAID THAT, YOU KNOW, LIKE, PEOPLE LIKE ME HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR 30 YEARS, 40 YEARS, AND THEY DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE US, HAVING TO WAIT 40 YEARS. AND I CAN UNDERSTAND THIS SENTIMENT. (PROTESTING IN CHINESE)>>Reporter: LEE CHEUK YAN IS A UNION ORGANIZER AND FORMER MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. HE SAYS BEIJING’S TRYING TO SILENCE HONG KONG DEMONSTRATORS TO PREVENT CHANGE IN HONG KONG, AND PREVENT ANYONE IN MAINLAND CHINA FROM MAKING THE SAME DEMANDS.>>CHINA IS TRYING TO DESTROY HONG KONG AND OUR IDENTITY, OUR CULTURE, OUR RULE OF LAW, OUR ASPIRATIONAL DEMOCRACY, OUR FREEDOM. THE COMMUNIST PARTY IS TRYING TO BAN ALL HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN CHINA. SO, THE ONLY WAY FOR HONG KONG TO SURVIVE, TO HAVE DEMOCRACY, IS THAT WE NEED TO FIGHT CHINA ALSO. WE NEED TO CHANGE CHINA BEFORE CHINA CHANGE US.>>Reporter: PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTERS BELIEVE THEIR MORE AGGRESSIVE TACTICS ARE ACCELERATING CHANGE, BUT BEIJING HAS USED THE TACTICS TO PORTRAY PROTESTERS AS VIOLENT THREATS TO STABILITY. ON FACEBOOK, CHINESE STATE MEDIA OUTLET “CHINA DAILY” EQUATED THE PROTESTERS TO TERRORISTS WHO ATTACKED THE U.S. ON 9/11.>>(translated): FOR TWO MONTHS NOW, THE HONG KONG POLICE HAVE BEEN DOING THEIR DUTY ACCORDING TO THE LAW. HONG KONG’S RADICAL DEMONSTRATORS HAVE REPEATEDLY ATTACKED POLICE OFFICERS WITH EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TOOLS. THEY HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED SERIOUSLY VIOLENT CRIMES AND HAVE BEGUN TO SHOW SIGNS OF TERRORISM.>>Reporter: CHINA ALSO BEGAN THREATENING TO USE ITS MILITARY. TROOPS MASSED ON THE HONG KONG BORDER, AND THE ARMY UNIT ALREADY GARRISONED IN HONG KONG, RELEASED A SLICK VIDEO SHOWING SOLDIERS PRACTICING. BUT BEIJING KNOWS THERE’S CONSEQUENCES TO ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S. IF THE MILITARY INTERVENED BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS WARNED.>>WE’RE ALSO CAREFULLY MONITORING THE SITUATION IN HONG KONG. THE WORLD FULLY EXPECTS THAT THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT WILL HONOR ITS BINDING TREATY. HOW CHINA CHOOSES TO HANDLE THE SITUATION WILL SAY A GREAT DEAL ABOUT ITS ROLE IN THE WORLD IN THE FUTURE.>>Reporter: CHINESE OFFICIALS SAY COMMENTS LIKE THAT ENCOURAGE PROTESTERS TO BECOME SEPARATISTS.>>(translated): THE SITUATION IN HONG KONG HAS DETERIORATED TO THE POINT WHERE SOME PROTESTERS DARE TO OPENLY CHALLENGE THE PRINCIPLE OF “ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS.” I DON’T THINK THIS IS INDEPENDENT FROM THE IRRESPONSIBLE AND INCITING REMARKS OF SOME WESTERN POLITICIANS.>>Reporter: AND BEIJING’S DEFENDERS POINT OUT ONE OF THE PROTESTORS’ CORE DEMANDS, DIRECT ELECTIONS, CAN ONLY HAPPEN IF BEIJING ALLOWS IT.>>HONG KONG IS PART OF CHINA, AND, ACCORDING TO OUR CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER UNDER THE BASIC LAW RIGHT NOW, FOR ANY KIND OF UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN HONG KONG OR POLITICAL REFORM, WE NEED A CONSENT FROM THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.>>Reporter: HOLDEN CHOW IS THE VICE CHAIRMAN OF A PARTY CONSIDERED PRO-BEIJING. HE SAYS IF BEIJING IS GOING TO CONSIDER GIVING IN TO DEMONSTRATORS’ DEMANDS, THE PROTESTS NEED TO STOP AND SPLITS IN HONG KONG’S SOCIETY NEED TO HEAL.>>THERE’S A KIND OF MISTRUST BETWEEN SOME PEOPLE IN HONG KONG AND ALSO THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT AND MAINLAND. SO, IF WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GAIN THAT TRUST, I DON’T THINK WE WILL BE ABLE TO IMPLEMENT ANY KIND OF UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE.>>Reporter: BUT THAT MEANS THE TWO SIDES MIGHT BE CAUGHT IN A VICIOUS CIRCLE BECAUSE DEMONSTRATORS VOW NOT TO STOP UNTIL THEIR DEMANDS ARE MET.>>I THINK THE KEY TO FIX THE POLITICAL PROBLEM IN HONG KONG IS REALLY TO HAVE MORE DEMOCRACY HERE, NOT LESS DEMOCRACY. THE MORE YOU CRACK DOWN, THE MORE PEOPLE WILL BE DISGRUNTLED, WILL BUILD UP A LOT OF GRIEVANCES.>>Reporter: AND THOSE GRIEVANCES MAY HAVE ALREADY FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THE CITY. PRO-BEIJING AND PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTERS HAVE SCUFFLED IN SHOPPING MALLS. AND AS THE PROTESTS ESCALATED, MORE AND MORE HONG KONG RESIDENTS HAVE DECIDED THE CITY MAY NOT BE A GOOD PLACE TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN, INCLUDING SHAM SHAM’S FATHER.>>Reporter: HONG KONG FAMILIES, RESIDENTS ON BOTH SIDES, AND PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS AND BEIJING ARE FIGHTING FOR THE CITY’S FUTURE, AND THE FIGHT IS NOWHERE NEAR OVER. FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR, I’M NICK SCHIFRIN IN HONG KONG.

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