What’s happening in Hong Kong?
- The protests are being held in order to achieve universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Although democracy had been promised for 2017 in 2008, China announced this August that Hong Kong people would only be able to vote from a pool of 2-3 specially selected candidates (all of whom would definitely have pro-China sentiments)
- University students held a week-long boycott of classes to protest for true democracy in Hong Kong
- Today riot police were deployed against peaceful protesters. Equipped in full riot gear the police used pepper spray to deter the protesters, mainly students and youths but also some elderly people have reported being sprayed point blank
- It is estimated that over 50,000 people have joined the protest and this number continues to grow
- This is the largest political protest in Hong Kong since our independence from the UK in 1997
- Although the protests remain peaceful, police have now started to use tear gas and have brought out long guns loaded with rubber bullets (there hasn’t yet been a report of any bullets being shot)
- Over 80 arrests have been made including students as young as 16 for taking part in these protests
- They are cutting cell phone receptions in the protest area so that people can’t share any information
- Violence is increasing as police continue to instigate protesters
- All this comes right before the October 1st celebration of the 65th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic of China
- There are rumours that the PLA (the Chinese army) are going to be brought into the city tonight
More facts about Hong Kong:
- We run under a one country, two systems policy with China meaning that we are part of China but have our own government and laws.
- Protests for universal suffrage have been held throughout the summer but these are the biggest yet
- Anti-China and anti-government sentiments are at their highest levels yet. Survey results showed that 1 in 5 people are thinking of emigrating from the city.
- In June, China issued a white paper essentially telling Hong Kong to remember their place and re-asserting their authority over the city
The scenes from the protest look awful. In my 17 years in Hong Kong I’ve never seen anything like it. The world needs to know about this and say something before we get a recurrence of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
I hope everyone stays safe. Hong Kong stay strong.
The Tokyo Protest Post has Revived…
Very cool. Thanks, everyone. The main updates are as follows:
-Protests are still being held, especially in Tokyo.
-For a couple of protests they found a guy with a bulldozer to head the march which was nuts and awesome (“bulldoze the facists!” I believe was the purpose)
-Japanese troops are now training for ACTIVE combat with US servicemen (they always did training before with US military but always for support tactics and search and rescue type stuff- never active combat).
-Shinzo Abe copypasted his Hiroshima bombing memorial speech from *last year’s speech* and basically only changed the date which really hurt his image and gave the protestors more ammo to use.
-Shinzo Abe decided to bring a handful of women into his cabinet but a couple of them had early been associated with the Japanese Neo-Nazi Party (I know- go figure) and had taken pictures with their leader which has caused a lot of backlash- protestors are now also officially combatting Japan-wide hate speech and are using this instance as a platform talking point, lamenting the fact that Abe basically back-handed those who wanted a more gender-equal government by hiring shady people for the jobs.
-Protestors have been met with counter-protestors, i.e. the neo-nazi supporters or people who hate Koreans living in the country, etc., and the protestors have taken photos of the police protecting those people while hindering the anti-war/hate speech supporters.
Basically, in true fashion, while the voices have been loud, I’m not sure it’s had a substantial effect on Japanese politics so far. HOWEVER, more and more people are TALKING about the consequences of active warfare for Japan- especially in the school system since the idea is that it is the children who will have to fight for Abe’s ambitions and this has struck a chord. That is at least one bit of progress.
Thanks again to everyone for passing the post around, as all that stuff is still being totally ignored by the media here in Japan.
(original post about the protests can be found here.)
What Exactly is going on in Tokyo Right Now?
Ok kids, listen up. I’m about to explain to you, to the best of my ability, why there are 40,000 people protesting in Tokyo’s Nagata-cho as I type this, why it matters, and why you should be talking about it, too.
What Started This Protest?
The short answer —> Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed a round-about way of changing Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which basically states that Japan will never go to war ever again. This constitution was written by US officials in Japan after WW2 and is actually more balanced than America’s own constitution in certain ways (there is equal pay for women, for example). There have been various Nationalist (think Japanese Tea Party-esque displays) public demonstrations supporting Japan having the ability to go to war again- usually subtly, or not so subtly, naming out potential foes such as China and Korea. But none of that compares to what’s going on right now in Nagatacho AGAINST any changes to Article 9. Last Sunday, a man sat himself on top of a bridge in Shinjuku, protested the changes, and then set himself on fire over all this.
(The man survived. He’s now being sued by the government for damage to public property)
The long, complicated answer —> Japan has had problems with its top government officials for nearly 10 years now. After a long string of PMs resigning, Abe (who was originally one of those resigning PMs) was reelected and has stayed in power this time the longest in the past several years. Until this issue with Article 9 came about, the biggest issue was the Fukushima nuclear plant, which is still hemorrhaging radioactive water to the point where workers have temporarily given up trying to stop it and recently told everyone that they were now ‘purposefully’ dumping contaminated water into the pacific ocean (although now the current plan is to create an “ice wall” - yes “ice wall”- around the affected ground water in an attempt to stop it. Somehow). TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), who owns the plant and has been responsible for the cleanup, has failed repeatedly to do their job and has consistently rejected outside international help for reasons, at this point, that can only be attributed to hurt national pride.
At the beginning of this year, Abe’s administration passed a ‘State Secrets’ law which forbade any publishing of Japanese ‘state secrets’ which conveniently included anything to do with nuclear sciences (this would included Fukushima). Not only is this bill extremely vague, leaving it open for the government to essentially call anything they want a state secret, but as I recall, about three days after this was passed, the news was suddenly reporting that all was well at the nuclear plant.
At the end of LAST year, Abe announced that he purchased some battleships- specifically aircraft carriers- that had actually been seen floating off the coast of different parts of Japan up to a month before they were publicly announced. On a personal note, I have seen those ships, and last month I saw one other as well floating off my local waters. Below is a picture I was able to grab while on the train:
While the state secrets law riled up academic circles who claimed that the government had just eliminated the right to free speech, it didn’t gain a lot of news coverage and eventually faded away. It might be worth noting here, too, that NHK (Japan’s BBC, essentially) is chaired by government officials- some of whom Abe seems to have personally appointed.
With the state secrets law now in place, which has limited what one has to assume are more ‘negative’ stories and updates about the Fukushima nuclear plant issue (which its admitted failure by the government would oblige Abe to step down as prime minister), we’re brought to the main course- significantly altering/reinterpreting/removing Article 9 of the Japanese constitution:"The Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution Chapter ii. Renunciation of War Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
Now, Japan DOES have what is essentially a National Guard, which participates in non-combat efforts in both their own country and abroad, so Japan is not totally helpless here- they’re just confined to their own borders when it comes to personally rolling out ammunition (which happens whenever North Korea makes a missile threat where the path of the missile is supposed to go over Japan- the US military assists in this temporary defense bubble whenever it has to go up).
What Abe wants to do, however, is “reinterpret” this article in a way that allows Japan to expand and use their military like any other respectable country does. That seems fairly reasonable, right? Except that Abe’s chosen route to accomplish this goal is to go around the Democratic process, ignoring the public’s opinions, and holding what are basically closed-door votes amongst a group of people who are already on his side, instead of, say, passing an actual constitutional amendment instead. This has made people angry- people that might agree with having the military restored are angry because of how shadily it’s being done, and people who *don’t* agree are angry because they don’t want Japan to go back to war and they *don’t* like Abe’s tactics.
Then there’s the potential US angle to all this. Paranoia over China seems to have gotten so high that there’s the rather strong theory going around that it was actually the US behind the state secrets bill getting passed and that it’s the US again behind trying to restore military rights to Japan. While that seems like a giant big ball of irony and contradictions, this handy image popped up on Twitter:
(I’m so sorry- there’s such a rush of info going on right now that I’m not sure where this diagram came from but it makes a point.)
China, as many of you may know, has been relentlessly heckling neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea, and The Philipenes over who has rights over tiny islands (some of them literally just rocks jutting out of the sea) that nobody lives on. Even the largest of these islands (Japan was particularly riled up over an island it has dubbed “Takeshima”) are uninhabited except for wild goats. Japan has unfortunately taken the bait over what has been a magnificently farcical dispute and decided to engage China over these useless islands. At the height of the Takeshima dispute, NHK took to telling you the weather for the island with the regular forecasts (remember- nobody there but wild goats), and airing documentaries about the occasional Tokugawa-era fishermen who used to camp out for the day to fish there before going home again. One of these, which I caught, consisted of nothing but old guys sitting around talking while background footage perpetually looped showing nothing but these goats frolicking around on the rocky terrain of the island. That one went on for at least an hour. It was, in a word, ridiculous. So while China has even started going so far as trying to “reinforce” its claims and even “create” new islands by dumping sand in the ocean, Japan hasn’t exactly been mature about the situation either.
(“Stop war!” “Protect Peace!”)
Basically, guys……I could go on, but it would probably just end up going in one big circle. Maybe I’ve not presented this the best way possible, and I truly do apologize for that, but hopefully this has helped to explain a few things. What I will say, though, is that after everything I’ve mentioned above, things have piled up so badly and so messily that for at least the second night in a row, 10,000, and now reports say around 40,000 people have taken to protesting outside government offices in Tokyo, and other smaller demonstrations have taken place in at least Osaka and Nagasaki as well. They’re fed up, they’re chanting for Shinzo Abe to leave Article 9 alone and to resign. They’re calling him a facist. They’re mocking him with Nazi symbols. Japan- today’s Japanese- which is a people of almost bottomless patience and calm and who will go out of their way so that you never have to feel awkward or uncomfortable about anything- these people are out there and they’re fed up. They’re doing these things which are radical for them because they don’t want this to happen. And the media here is in such an iron grip that the guy who set himself on fire on Sunday in Shibuya and these protestors are lucky to get even a brief mention on the nightly news. 40,000+ people out there. And they need more people to spread the word.
ALL PROTEST IMAGES (**EXCEPT for the individual being carted off by police- that one came from a friend who does not wish to be named) USED WITH PERMISSION AND BELONG TO @KjeldDuits AND @asianskys ON TWITTER. These two people are on the ground posting live updates so go follow them for more info and even more pictures.
＊＊＊＊UPDATE POST 9/27/14 :: >CLICK HERE<
- Indigenous Australian
- Arrested for being drunk
- killed in police custody
- eye witness says he saw officer Chris Hurley beating him with his fist, saying "you had enough Mr. Doomadgee. You want some more?"
- police station footage shows Cameron screaming in pain for hours until he passed away in his cell of internal bleeding
- All officers present at the police station that evening had a BBQ, at which events of the day were discussed and statements to protect Hurley were prepared
- Hurley said that he and Cameron “tripped” and “fell” as they were entering the police station, causing Cameron’s internal damage and death
- the Palm Island police force, the very people who set out to protect Chris Hurley were the ones asked to carry out the investigation of Cameron’s death
- A member of Cameron’s family said "if [Chris Hurley] fell on top of Cameron, why did he have a black eye and a bruised jaw?"
- Coroner found that Cameron had suffered from multiple broken ribs and his liver destroyed, being cleaved almost in two over the top of his spine
- Hurley had faced complaints previously from the members of the indigenous community on Palm Island, he had shown violence and extreme prejudice toward the people he was supposed to protect.
- When the Indigenous community heard of Hurley’s actions and the subsequent actions of cooperation by the police force of Palm Island, the people of Palm Island had a riot, furious that a member of their community had been killed by a white police officer with no ramifications against him what so ever
- The riot was publicised more than Cameron Doomadgee’s murder had been and the public eye was focused on the “destructive” nature of the Indigenous people of Palm Island, and not the murder committed by Chris Hurley and the entirety of the Palm Islan police force.
- Hurley was cleared of all charges (even manslaughter and assault charges) despite the heavy load of evidence that was weighed against him, and the entire Queensland police force came out in support of a man who murdered a human being
- the only eye witness, an Indigenous man, was not asked to speak or give evidence at any point throughout the investigation
- Chris Hurley had the charges removed from his work record, received time off with pay and was allowed to return to his position of power within a matter of months
Australia is, and always has been extremely racist. These so called “terrorist threats” is just white Australia reinforcing the fact that we are a country being led by white supremacy. The sooner people figure this out the better.
(the use of this mans name has been approved by his family in order to spread awareness of the ever-growing racism within Australia and its law enforcement)
sometimes tumblr’s US-centric social justice makes me so fucking frustrated. Right now sweden’s third biggest party are literally neo-nazis and our elections couldn’t even get onto trending tags today, goddamit.
Okay, so the post is gaining notes and people are confused, so to explain what the hell is going on:
Swedish elections held were on last Sunday, 14th September. We’ve had a right-leaning government the past eight years and after this there will be a change of power. The new party, Socialdemocrats (S) gained a total of 31% percent. The old party, Moderaterna (M) gained 21%.
Sverigedemokraterna (SD) gained a total of 12.9%. Their policy is racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-diversity, anti-LGBT+, and anti-feminist. Basically, they tick every box on the douchebag lottery.
If you’re here to argue that they’re ~not actually~ Nazis: 1) Fuck you. 2) Fuck the horse the you rode in on. 3) I hope you get stepped on by a moose, you ignorant asswipe.
- they literally started as neo nazis. They have used a Neo-Nazi movement as campaign slogans,
- party members have assaulted immigrants with iron pipes (tw for racialised violence),
- worn Nazi symbols
- supported and helped build Neo-Nazi group SvP.
There’s probably more, but I don’t have links on hand.
They’ve been having rallies and demonstrations all over Sweden, and people have shown up just to turn their back on them and protest (this post explains it better).
In the 2010 elections, SD were pretty much considered no better than neo-Nazis and only got 5.7% votes - it put them in 6th place and was just enough to get them into parliament. In the elections before that, they got about 2.9%. In the past four years, they’ve grown exponentially in Sweden.
They’ve also run extremely extensive PR campaigns, appealing to the youth, kicking out members “exposed” of being racist, (note: these members often end up in SvP) and picking up buzzwords from the Socialdemocrats’ ideology.
29% of votes they gained this year were from swing voters who previously voted M, and the biggest gain have been in the south, in small towns and the countryside:
This is not something that’s just going on in Sweden. Europe has seen an influx of extreme-right parties over the last decade or so, often thinly disguised as a party that puts ‘traditional values’ and ‘national interest’ first.
In Greece and Hungary they’ve already been in power. In Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Finland France and UK, extreme-right-wing parties have been voted into the EU.
Because here’s the thing: we’ve forgotten what it looks like. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve turned Nazism into a cartoonish lampoon of goose-stepping, uniforms and moral lessons that “we’ll never be like them~”, ignoring the fact nationalism is not as cut-and-dry two ends of an extreme but exists on a scale.
People have been apologising for SD’s actions for a while now because they’re not considered “extremist enough” to be neo-Nazis, because they don’t share the same beliefs, because they’ve “publicly denounced” SvP.
But the same people still get hurt. Still SD has the institutional and systematic power and privilege to oppress, degrade and humiliate people of colour, which they already have done. Stop making excuses for them. Stop making leeways for right-wing-extremists because that is how they gain tract.
Please spread this.