Hong Kong— The Verticality of Power

I feel like saying to the Hong Kong democrats of the Umbrella Revolution:

Hongkongers, some more efforts if you wish to become revolutionaries

Sure, the problem is the central government in Beijing. But it seems to me that we forget a little bit how the power is really structured in the former British colony. Thus we also forget why and how the colony was handed over to China in 1997 and how it then obtained its bizarre status of « Special Administrative Region » with its « 50 years of autonomy ».

Statue Square is the central square in Hong Kong. One could think that the statue facing the Legislative Council is representing the first governor of the territory. But no. It is in fact one of the first bank managers of the HSBC. Three banks mint coins on the Hong Kong territory: the HSBC, the Bank of China and Standard Chartered, the three buildings of which overhang the comparatively tiny Legislative Council.

Statue Square, Hong Kong

Hong Kong people, remember Greece: a destroyed bank is quite erotic. And meaningful. You can carry on cleaning the streets and public spaces if you feel like it but Hong Kong is almost entirely privatised, including its sidewalks.

Do not forget that it’s the UK that triggered the negotiations with China leading to the handover of your territory to a blood-thirsty dictatorship—not the other way round. Under the pressure of investors worried for their 15-year property loans.

You took over, and rightly so, the « Occupy » term of the Occupy movement. Please consider also taking over its conclusions: capitalism  with a human face, the social-democracy model, is a contradiction in terms. We perfectly know what Beijing and its banker friends wish to preserve and control in Hong Kong. And the legal and constitutional absurdities that it produced. It is the international finance that  handed you over, hands tied, to China.

By acknowledging that, your movement will gain in relevance. And only by doing it will it be able to last.