Democracy in China

Democracy in China

How did Taiwan transition to democracy? 
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. When Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui died at 97 on July 30, politicians around the world sent their condolences.  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Lee was crucial in transforming Taiwan into a “beacon of democracy.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Lee had brought Taiwan “freedom, democracy, human rights and other universal values.” In mainland China, however, the tone was critical. The reporting of Lee’s passing was condemnatory, because he was regarded by the mainland government as promoting independence for the self-ruled island. T
Hong Kong’s Tiananmen vigil goes ahead, with a new generation galvanized
Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil gained fresh urgency as people defied a ban to gather on Thursday to remember the 1989 crackdown. In recent years, the organizer of the annual vigil had faced questions about its relevance from young people who dismissed it as naive and idealistic for caring about democratic change over the border in mainland China. But this time, Hong Kong activists put aside such differences in the face of a looming threat: a national security law to be imposed on their city by China’s central government, which could come into effect within weeks. Many feared the law – which Beijing says will “prevent, stop and punish” secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign i
Tiananmen vigil has been banned, but Hongkongers aim to keep the flame alive
The cancellation of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil for the first time in 30 years has upset political exiles, the event’s organizers and faithful participants who say the gathering to remember the bloody 1989 crackdown in Beijing risks being permanently scrubbed from the calendar. Honoring lost lives with white flowers, lit candles, evocative songs and speeches has long been part of the annual vigil at the city’s Victoria Park – the only large-scale public gathering on Chinese soil to commemorate the crackdown, a taboo subject in mainland China but not in Hong Kong. Since 1990, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China has held the vigil in remem
Chinese city backs down after protests (No, it’s not Hong Kong)
Authorities in a southern Chinese city have suspended plans to build a crematorium following two days of clashes between riot police and residents in scenes that drew comparisons to the continuing unrest in Hong Kong. The clashes in Wenlou, which is about 60 miles north of Hong Kong, began on Thursday when hundreds of locals tried to march on the town’s government offices in protest against plans to build a crematorium on land they believed had been set aside for a park. But police intervened, firing tear gas and using batons to fend off the crowds. Dozens of people were injured and as many as 100 were detained, witnesses said. Authorities in Huazhou, Guangdong province, issued a notice late
70-year-old street sweeper killed in Hong Kong clash
A 70-year-old street sweeper hit by a brick during a clash between anti-government protesters and residents in Hong Kong on Wednesday has died. He was one of three people – including a 15-year-old boy – ­critically injured during confrontations over the past few days amid social unrest that created the worst political crisis in the former British colony since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The 70-year-old, surnamed Luo, died on Thursday night after being struck in the head by a flying brick during a clash in the border town of Sheung Shui, a spokesman for Prince of Wales Hospital said. Protests have continued for months to demand accountability for alleged police abuse and call for de
Hong Kong star drives his Lamborghini through a crowd of protesters
Aaron Kwok, a Canto-pop and movie superstar in Hong Kong, found himself briefly stranded in his Lamborghini supercar on Sunday night when he ran into a scrum of anti-government protesters. Thousands of demonstrators had gathered near the US consulate to demand American support for their calls for democracy and autonomy before the rally descended into chaos in several neighborhoods. Kwok, known for his love for horses and cars, was caught up in protests in the Causeway Bay district as riot police blanketed streets nearby with tear smoke. Surrounded by masked protesters wearing black T-shirts, Kwok rolled down his car window several times and explained that he was running an errand. “I’m gett
‘There are no rioters’: Chinese fighter breaks ranks to defend Hongkongers
Over the past week, nationalist fury has enveloped China’s internet, prompting actors, musicians and other public figures in the mainland to criticize the continuing anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Against this backdrop, outspoken Chinese mixed martial arts fighter Xu Xiaodong has bucked the trend by speaking up for Hongkongers on social media. On Sunday, Xu, who has controversially made a name for himself by challenging what he calls “fake” kung fu masters, wrote on Twitter that Hong Kong is a world-class free market with quality higher education and a robust entertainment industry. He condemned some violent clashes between protesters and police as illegal acts that must be punished
Be water: the Bruce Lee philosophy behind Hong Kong’s protests
A famed Bruce Lee philosophy has become a mantra for Hong Kong’s leaderless anti-government protests. “Be water” was once known only among fans of the kung fu superstar. Now the saying has been adopted by protesters to keep the police on their toes, as they demand accountability and democracy. For protesters, “be water” means being anonymous, spontaneous, flexible and also evasive – just like the flow of water.  The words are printed in English on protest posters, cited in online discussions and scrawled on walls as a reminder of the strategy. As a result, the site of protests can rapidly change over the course of a day and catch the police off guard. But the flash mob strategy could be put
What you need to know about Hong Kong’s triads
Hong Kong is reeling from a terrifying attack on Sunday night by a mob of men wearing white T-shirts who indiscriminately beat people – including anti-government protesters and passers-by – with sticks and iron rods, hurting dozens. Police sources have told the South China Morning Post that more than 100 men took part in the rampage, including members of the notorious 14K and Wo Shing Wo triad gangs. On Monday night, police arrested six men in connection with the attack, including some with triad connections. Another five people were arrested on Tuesday.  At the moment, it’s unclear exactly who was behind the melee, which happened at a train station in the northern district of Yuen Long. But