Skip to content Skip to navigation

Democracy as I Understand It——To Hong Kong’s Occupy Central Movement

December 1, 2014

Excerpted from the Chinese original

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

“Democracy” may be more than just one-person, one-vote to elect the top leaders. What is more important is equality and mutual respect. That is, treat everyone—and their opinions—equally and with respect.

Every one of us has our own experiences, like every country has its own history. These experiences ultimately shape our thinking and character, which of course includes political opinions.

It is hard for us to say whether others’ perspectives are right or wrong. “Understand” is far easier said than done. Even brothers and friends who grow up together may become totally different people as adults, let alone people from different environments.

But it is much easier to achieve “equality and respect.” You need only to remember this: your opinion is not necessarily loftier or grander than others’.

To get back to the matter at hand: it is understandable that some Hong Kong people are dissatisfied with the political reform plan issued by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and they took to the streets in protest.

If this were the only thing, I believe I will also support you, and most of us will support you. But you’ve occupied other people’s roads—and that’s a whole different matter.

When I worked in mainland China, I also worked at highly seasonal jobs in the tourism industry.

I am not familiar with the situation in Hong Kong. But in my hometown, a shop along the main street can easily cost more than 100,000 yuan—even hundreds of thousands—a year to rent.

It is hard to earn money off-season in the tourism industry. Shop owners count on making a little more money in the few busy months every year in order to buy some decent clothes for their children. But now, you’ve taken all that away, so how can they not be angry?

When faced with others’ anger, do you still feel lofty? Let alone that your opinion doesn’t seem loftier than that others’; even if it were, you still should respect others’ perspectives if they don’t accept yours.

Equality and respect themselves are parts of what forms a democracy. Without either of these two parts, democracy is not democracy.

When using this kind of undemocratic method to fight for democracy, even a success becomes a failure. Next time you engage in civil disobedience, don’t occupy others’ roads. This is what I’ve learned from this failed “Occupy Central.” 

A post-90s’youth from Mainland China

November 19, 2014

Return to Hong Kong: Voices of the People
Hong Kong related resources

2019 Anti-Extradition Protests

2014 Occupy Movement


Explore Topics

709 Crackdown Access to Information Access to Justice Administrative Detention All about law Arbitrary Detention
Asset Transparency Bilateral Dialogue Black Jail Book Review Business And Human Rights Censorship
Charter 08 Children Chinese Law Circumvention technology Citizen Activism Citizen Journalists
Citizen Participation Civil Society Commentary Communist Party Of China Constitution Consumer Safety
Contending views Corruption Counterterrorism Courageous Voices Cultural Revolution Culture Matters
Current affairs Cyber Security Daily Challenges Democratic And Political Reform Demolition And Relocation  Dissidents
Education Elections Enforced Disappearance Environment Ethnic Minorities EU-China
Family Planning Farmers Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression Freedom of Press Freedom of Religion
Government Accountability Government regulation Government transparency Hong Kong House Arrest HRIC Translation
Hukou Human Rights Council Human rights developments Illegal Search And Detention Inciting Subversion Of State Power Information Control 
Information technology Information, Communications, Technology (ICT) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Human Rights International perspective International Relations
Internet Internet Governance JIansanjiang lawyers' rights defense Judicial Reform June Fourth Kidnapping
Labor Camps Labor Rights Land, Property, Housing Lawyer's rights Lawyers Legal System
Letters from the Mainland Major Event (Environment, Food Safety, Accident, etc.) Mao Zedong Microblogs (Weibo) National People's Congress (NPC) New Citizens Movement
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Olympics One country, two systems Online Activism Open Government Information Personal stories
Police Brutality Political commentary Political Prisoner Politics Prisoner Of Conscience Probing history
Propaganda Protests And Petitions Public Appeal Public Security Racial Discrimination Reeducation-Through-Labor
Rights Defenders Rights Defense Rule Of Law Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Special Topic State compensation
State Secrets State Security Subversion Of State Power Surveillance Technology Thoughts/Theories
Tiananmen Mothers Tibet Torture Typical cases United Nations US-China 
Uyghurs, Uighurs Vulnerable Groups Women Youth Youth Perspective