Like every right thinking person – I just so admire the sheer vibrant enthusiasm, the distilled innocent passion of youth as it chases its ideals and champions its beliefs. The students in Hong Kong as we watch their flag-waving, hustling and bustling pro-democracy protests pushing hard against a closed door in their drive for a more democratic political system of governance is a clear case in point.
A system of political governance that they so innocently believe will deliver them a democratic Utopia – if only they continue to shout loud and long enough. Such fire in the belly of the young is always warming to see. Such active political engagement from idealistic kids is to be welcomed – it is pleasing and heartening to witness. Alas, these kids will soon find out that they are pushing at a door that is destined to remain firmly closed. A door that will for all time present an immoveable object. It is an object that will forever stunt and reject their innocent, rather naive political ambitions.
These bright youngsters hold down the naive notion that if they protest long enough and cause enough chaos by threatening to storm government buildings then their actions will lead to some all-embracing perceived pro democracy rule. They honestly believe that a democratic paradise is available to them just around the corner. A system that will cherish their basic human rights, allow endless candlelight vigils in pursuit of every conceivable political cause and welcome freedoms by the dozen in the name of their human rights and the unfettered will of the people – this is the democratic Utopia that they believe will rule forever and a day.
Their young hearts are filled with excitement in time served tradition that protesting must surely bring to them a freethinking and respecting system of democratic governance. A political system that they assume is enjoyed by all who live in the West. And, let’s be fair, who could deny them this? If you can’t be a raging, protesting radical revolutionary activist when you are young then when can you be a political revolutionary?
These student kids, just youngsters aged anywhere between about thirteen years to twenty-odd something, should perhaps march very carefully before they tread on the toes and pull too hard on the political hand that feeds them. This is a big hand and it is a hand with a very big fist – it is a hand that cannot only punch – it can actually bite. And, in China there is no question that it is a hand that will not hesitate to deliver one hell of a punching bite to protect its own position. China does not hesitate to use its might when it feels threatened by political unrest. China governs its nation the way the ruling politburo wish it to be governed and deem their way to be the right way for their unique country. If they elect to open their all-embracing jaws of control and snap shut that bite – it is a blow that will take the hand clean off these youngsters flag-waving arms. A bite that may even be fatal to those who so enthusiastically wave the flag of pro-democracy.
What these youngsters fail to understand is that Hong Kong does not have full autonomy from China. In the view of the Chinese leadership Hong Kong is nowadays just another city. A wealthy and successful city, yes, but no longer the country’s sole capitalist free market zone that it was some twenty-thirty years ago. China as a nation has come a long way with its own mainland economic development since those dark, tightly controlled Communist collective market economy halting days of yesteryear.
China is a global and mighty power. It is the only country on the planet that can easily bring even the mighty USA to heel. No one on earth can bully China into anything it does not fancy initiating for itself. For a country that controls a gargantuan land mass with a population that makes up more than one sixth of the world’s population and an economy that has grown faster than any other on earth for the last twenty odd years – there is a strong argument to say that the Chinese leadership has no lessons to learn on nationhood management from anyone – let alone a West that has overseen the near complete collapse of its own economies. A West that has seen its own peoples rise up in fierce domestic riots and whose peoples still suffer, after six long years of commercial stagnation. Western nations, on the whole, continue to look straight into the face of serious economic austerity.
The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese governance in 1997. China does not subscribe to the democratic electoral system. And why should it? That is a very fair and honest question that everyone should respect never mind ask. Who says that a Western style democracy is right for China? Just because we in the West feel it is a system of governance that is best for all peoples and all nations – this does not mean to say that it is best for China? The essential lesson that these pro democracy protesting youngsters in Hong Kong need to understand (and understand fast) is that Beijing is in control. That is a political fact. It is a fact that nothing and no one in the world is going to change any time soon – if ever.
China is a fabulous country with fabulous people. It also happens to be , nowadays, a fabulously wealthy country too. China has come a very long way in a very short time. Yes, it makes mistakes in its political decisions from time to time – which nation doesn’t? Yes, there is a massive gulf between the rich and the poor – give me one nation on earth where that is not the case? Yes, there are human rights issues – again – give me one nation on the planet where that is not the case at least at some level?
When you have a country with more than 1.3 billion people to manage and provide services for you need a system of governance that is strong, well-planned, with a carefully orchestrated, strategic management operation together with perhaps a huge dose of no-nonsense utilitarian totalitarianism to enable the positive development of the nation to continue. Only a tightly controlled one Party system with a very disciplined approach to nationhood management on the scale that is required in China can perhaps offer continued successful growth and provide political management that works in a country of the size of a great nation like that of China.
For a restless bunch of kids to go around the place demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, by indulging in pro-democracy rallies, causing chaos in the city and paralysing the financial centre of this dynamic and key part of the Chinese nation is not the way to bring about political change to the system of Chinese governance. Any old fool like me can see that to be the case.
Inevitably we see the tub-thumping gaggle of Western politicians gloating and waxing lyrical about why China must change and strive for a greater degree of people democracy. They harp on about why China must focus on improving its human rights record – all of which is hyped up to the nines by the Western media. Yet we don’t see China going about the planet bombing and killing innocent foreign nationals in their drive to convince others that their type and style of political philosophy and system of governance is best – an undeniable point you will agree?
The kids in Hong Kong today will know nothing of that city riots in 1956, 1966,1967 and 1981; all of which occurred under colonial British rule. The riots at that time were labelled by the Hong Kong rulers and the West generally to be nothing more than the work of pro-Communist leftist political agitators sponsored by China. The mass 1960’s demonstrations of political unrest were brutally put down by the British rulers and several deaths occurred. Politics is a difficult and dirty game in every nation. But the stench of abject Western hypocrisy is everywhere once you point your nose in the right direction and sniff under the tissue paper that covers Western propaganda at its very worst.
Kids in Hong Kong protesting for the sake of protesting have got a lot of growing up to do. They have much to learn and understand about the whys and wherefores of this complex world. They need to actually discover how the various nations function in reality and not believe in some fantasy, non-existent would-be democratic Utopia. Such a world does not exist anywhere on the earth. This is a fact that these naïve young people need to learn and understand. They should cease to envisage that such a perfect, democratic state exists just around the corner – it doesn’t and never will.
Before these mass protestors pull too hard on the hand that feeds and protects them and they go charging into government buildings to demand the ousting of China’s bureaucratic leadership by waving their banners in the name of free-thinking, free-moving, free democratic rule – if they are not very careful – then they might just end up with a nation like a modern day Britain. A former world power that was once their colonial overlords.
Britain, if the kids from Hong Kong really want to know – is a country whereby free speech is stifled to little more than a pathetic whimper. Where our political masters monitor and control every aspect of our lives. A place whereby its citizens (sorry its monarchical subjects) cannot but breath without the state wanting to know where and why we may wish to carry out this essential bodily task. A nation with more CCTV cameras than any other, with more state access to personal data and more direct political control over its subjects marshalling a stupefying degree of silly rules and absurd regulations over us than almost any other nation. In Britain we are all now in the grip of what can only be described as a bureaucratic monolithic all controlling state machine.
Britain is perhaps one of most overly regulated nations on the whole planet. That is what a so-called modern democracy usually entails these days. And, this is what these kids in Hong Kong are screaming and shouting for. Is this really what the Hong Kong protestors dream of? Is this the reason they want to send a message of unrest to their rulers – their leaders who sit plotting the further rise and rise of the great Chinese nation?
And, whilst I’m at it – what about that somewhat rather heavily upholstered , bearded, multi-millionaire Chinaman who works so hard at being a true darling of the West, (a West that requires no encouragement to warmly embrace and champion the man and his work) he being such a calculating political activist and one that suits the West’s own political agenda – that is the Chinese artist known as, Ai Weiwei?
I know it is not the done thing in the art world for one artist to criticise the work of a fellow artist. It certainly brings to me no pleasure to go against my own strict principles in this respect. But, frankly, for this particular artist I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and ask the following question: is this man an artist or is he just an opportune political activist ? A man who sees an easy way to attract attention to his otherwise unremarkable artwork?
A man who always seems to seek to promote his artistic creations only when it is accompanied with a political snipe and message against the governance of his own country and those that control it?
My view is this: there can be no doubt that this particular Chinese artist , Ai Weiwei , has always only ever been far more of a wanton opportune political activist that he ever was a real, genuine creative artist of importance. Indeed, on the contrary, in my view, even with his political antics attached his artwork for myself is rarely hardly worth the wave of a limp Red flag.