In Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, director Joe Piscatella depicts Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and his comrades struggles from 2011-16 against Chinese government attempts to impose control on the former British Colony.
In 2014, Hong Kong was rocked by the “Umbrella Movement” — an ongoing series of mass protests featuring sit-ins against a series of attacks on democratic rights.
Robin Lee, a British left-wing activist living in Hong Kong who is an editor of the Borderless Movement, was interviewed by Green Left Weekly’s Alex Bainbridge about the current situation.
Can you make some comments on the current political situation in Hong Kong since the 2014 democracy uprising?
As talks between Hong Kong protesters and the Chinese government began on October 21, the region’s current chief executive C.Y. Leung spoke out against free elections on the grounds that it would empower the poor.
In his first interview with foreign media since the pro-democracy movement began, Leung said that if the public were allowed to nominate any candidate of their choosing, elections would be dominated by the large sector of Hong Kong residents now living in poverty.
The eyes of the world are watching Hong Kong, where masses of people have taken to the streets in defiance of the tear gas of riot police and the threats of the government.
Amid ongoing large protests in support of democratic reforms, Chinese authorities warned of “chaos” on October 2 if protesters carried through their threat to storm Hong Kong government buildings if the region’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying did not resign, the Morning Star said that day.
The 40-day strike of more than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Hong Kong ended on May 6 with a settlement that included a 9.8% wage rise, non-retaliation against strikers and a written agreement, all of which had been fiercely resisted by the four contractors targeted in the strike.
Strikers accepted the offer by a 90% vote.
The four contractors also agreed to work through the port manager Hong Kong International Terminal (HIT) to provide meal and toilet breaks, which had been lacking even for workers on 12- or 24-hour shifts. Crane operators laid off during the strike will be rehired.
Some 55,000 people demonstrated in Hong Kong on June 4 the 18th anniversary of the Chinese armys bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student protesters at Beijings Tiananmen Square.
To no-one’s surprise, the Beijing-anointed incumbent Donald Tsang was returned in Hong Kong’s March 25 “election” for the territory’s chief executive — the third such election since the territory’s reversion to Chinese rule in 1997. What was surprising was that the rival candidate, lawyer Alan Leong — billed as representing the politically moderate middle-class democratic camp and the first ever challenger in this highly managed ballot — secured a respectable 123 votes compared to Tsang’s 649.