Peace on the Hong Kong Horizon

By Anna Starkey

As Hong Kong protests carry into their second week, crowds have begun to die down at the major demonstration sites.  Plans to hold formal talks between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters and the government have been arranged, although an official date for these talks is yet to be set.  Demonstrators have announced that if force is used to clear those remaining, any potential talks will be called off.

Conflict began on August 31 when the Chinese government announced that it will allow Hong Kong to hold direct elections in 2017, but voters will only be able to choose from a list of pre-approved candidates.  This angered pro-democracy supporters whose demands for universal suffrage were not meant.  To protest this decision, students and a group called Occupy Central joined forces to occupy central Hong Kong.  Although the protests have frustrated officials and hurt the economy of the city, protesters have proved that they are more than willing to fight for their cause through civil disobedience.  Demonstrators have expressed their peaceful intentions by cleaning up after themselves and have even been described as some of the “politest protesters.”

As of October 2, protest leaders have accepted an offer from Chief Executive Cy Leung to hold official talks with the government.  Some do not believe that these talks will have any genuine breakthroughs due to the Chinese government being reluctant to allow someone they do not fully trust to lead Hong Kong.  However, it is still a major step for the protesters as well as the officials.

The recent movement in Hong Kong has been the most successful pro-democracy campaign in the city’s history.  Peace, as well as change, seems to be on the horizon for the city of Hong Kong.