Toward a Free Hong Kong

It's one of the great questions. One which has determined the fate of human history, and will determine our destiny in the future. When and how is freedom earned?


Hong Kong is home to one of the most intelligent and highly educated populations in the world. They understand that they stand at the center of a turning point in history. The difference between liberty and oppression is a decision contained within each individual's head and heart. It's an answer that rises up from a person's innermost soul. Their future stands upon how courageously they will not yield or bow to the violence and intimidation used against them by the Chinese government.

This is not the first time that a proud people have fought for their freedom, and it will not be the last.

The protests in Hong Kong did not start when millions of people took to the streets to demand that their rights be restored. It did not start with students being gassed and shot in their universities by police. It started when China decided to betray the agreements made to Hong Kong in "The Sino-British Joint Declaration". An agreement that China made in 1984 and which took effect in 1997. It was made to protect the freedom and prosperity that Hong Kong had earned through generations of work and struggle.

All free peoples desire peace. But there is a certain point beyond which they cannot compromise, for to do so would be to betray themselves, their culture, and the future of their communities. That is the point that Hong Kong has reached. It's a line that they must hold at all costs, or lose everything.

There are two ways that this can go well for Hong Kong.

When the people rise up and demand more rights they can get them. The clearest examples are from British history. In 1100AD the Normans had recently conquered and were ruling Britain. Nobles backed by their subjects demanded that certain rights be granted to all people, and they got "The Charter of Liberties". In 1215AD the English King was abusing his power and the people once again demanded justice. That's when the Magna Carta was created. After the Glorious Revolution the people of the United Kingdom called for laws protecting them from the abuses of government power, and in 1689 "The English Bill of Rights" was created.

When people of all levels of society band together the government has no choice but to take notice.

The greatest freedom movement in human history is the establishment of the United States of America. Just as in Hong Kong it was a nation of people born into freedom, whose parents had also been born into freedom.

When Britain started centralizing control of the American colonies the people pushed back. They drew upon their freedom documents and declared that they had inherent rights. They declared that they would not comply with corruption and coercion.

Hong Kong also has freedom documents. There is "The Hong Kong Letters Patent", "The Hong Kong Royal Instructions", "The Sino-British Joint Declaration", "The Hong Kong Basic Law", and the fact that China signed the United Nations "Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

Hong Kong has declared that it will not comply with China tampering with and corrupting its elections. That's what started the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong in 2014.

Hong Kong has shown that it will not back down in the face of the threats and violence that China is now perpetuating upon the people of Hong Kong.

Before the American Revolution there was something most people have never heard of, even in the United States. It was called The Continental Association. It was an organization and a document. A set of demands made by the American Colonies that clarified what needed to happen for the colonies to remain a part of Britain.

In Hong Kong today there is also a set of demands that the protesters have made. The future of Hong Kong hangs on these demands.

I believe there are a few key things that need to happen in Hong Kong.

There needs to be a "Hong Kong Declaration of Justice" that details the demands of the Hong Kong people.

There needs to be a "Hong Kong Declaration of Rights" that lays out the individual rights that the people of Hong Kong claim for themselves.

And, the people of Hong Kong must keep fighting. People from all backgrounds and levels of society must band together. They must unite, for in unity for a just cause there is great power. Ideally, the police in Hong Kong would realize that their job is not to abuse the people, but to protect them. A true leader would order his officers to defend the protesters rather than attack them.

I am working on versions of these two documents pulling from the history of Hong Kong and the spirit of freedom and humanity. The people of Hong Kong have already shown that they are some of the bravest lovers of freedom, justice, and democracy living in the world today.

Freedom is not a privilege that just happens. It is a responsibility that is passed on to each generation. Every person decides whether they are willing to take on that responsibility or whether they will cower in fear.

I urge the people of Hong Kong to pull from the great histories of freedom movements. Underground economies are essential to success, and the people of Hong Kong have already established a strong yellow economy that supports democracy. Underground universities, publishing firms, radio stations, and the like are just as important to resist central government control.

Let's talk about the possibility of failure. One of the great freedom movements in history was the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. They declared their demands in "Charter 77". Vaclav Havel was one of the main leaders. In his book "The Power of the Powerless" he has this to say about the risk.

"I have also mentioned how irrelevant trying to calculate the risks in this regard are, for an essential feature of independent initiatives is that they are always, initially at least, an all or nothing gamble."

And he has this to say about the struggle and the reaction of those in power.

"The power structure, whether it wants to or not, must always react to this pressure to a certain extent. Its response, however, is always limited to two dimensions: repression and adaptation. Sometimes one dominates, sometimes the other."

China, and the politicians and police that they control in Hong Kong, would like to ignore the demands of the people. But they cannot. They must do something in response. China has so far chosen to repress the people. To oppress them, threaten them, imprison them, beat them, gas them, shoot them, hang them, drown them, take their children, and torture them.

But the people of Hong Kong also have a choice in how they will respond, and they have not yielded. They have not surrendered. If repression will not work then China will eventually be forced to adapt. They will be forced to give. Let the sacrifices that have been made be an inspiration to others. Remember those who have died in the fight for freedom. Tell their stories. Tell what they died for. Show the world that they did not die in vain. That they took the responsibility of freedom onto themselves and decided that it was worth earning. That their legacy is to be a part of the rise of Hong Kong as a stronger Hong Kong, as a free Hong Kong.

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To read more from Jeff go to JeffThinks.com or JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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