THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL POPULAR REVOLUTION IN CHINA
By Roland Watson
September 29, 2014
Student and other activists are now demonstrating in Hong Kong, calling for the implementation of a fully democratic political system. Hong Kong is part of China. What this means is that there is now an actual pro-democracy revolution underway in China.
This is wonderful news. The people of China have suffered for sixty-five years under the tyrannical rule of the Communist Party. They deserve democracy. However, if such a revolution is to succeed, there are a number of critical factors.
1. The first of these is that the revolution needs fierce leaders: people who are willing to sacrifice everything for freedom. It takes these types of leaders to inspire the general public to overcome their fear and to join the revolution.
Hong Kong has such leaders. Joshua Wong and his associates from the group Scholarism are clear examples of the bravery that is required.
Their bravery should and must be rewarded.
2. The second factor is turnout. It is absolutely essential that everything conceivable be done to grow the crowds of protestors as much as possible. Only with a huge revolution is there any possibility of success.
Seven years ago there was a popular revolution in Burma, China's neighbor to the Southwest, led by Buddhist monks. It reached perhaps one hundred thousand people, in four of the country's largest cities. The revolution failed, though, because everyone else just watched. Had the number of demonstrators swelled to the millions, Burma would now be free.
The turnout issue is often ignored. The leaders are preoccupied with participating in the protests, with the result that growing the size of the demonstration is not viewed as a distinct and essential step. What is required is for other activists to do everything they can to call for more and more protestors, hour after hour and day after day, through both traditional and social media. A revolutionary fire needs to be well tended, if it is to bear fruit.
If this is done in Hong Kong, the protest can achieve its main goal, to force the Communist Party to allow a truly democratic election in 2017. But, this still leaves the question of China as a whole.
There are now sympathy protests for Hong Kong in cities around the world. The protests in China need to spread as well, to the mainland. It is not only Hong Kong that deserves freedom and democracy. Everyone in China deserves freedom and democracy.
Now is the time to do cyber activism and even hacking to get posts on Chinese websites and blogs, calling for the mainland people to join the revolution: to start their own protests.
For this, it is also important to recognize that there is a new funding opportunity available, through Kickstarter and other crowd funding websites. Any tangible activist programs for which funding is required can easily and quickly be posted to these sites, and given what is happening in Hong Kong they should generate a lot of funds.
Dictator Watch would be pleased to assist any activists who have ideas for such initiatives. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
To spread the Hong Kong protests to mainland China requires a return to the first step, the need for courageous leaders. For China to be free, leaders from the young people in the towns and cities need to be encouraged to rise up and to start their own local movements.
3. Lastly, the people of Hong Kong and China need international support, to let them know that the world is behind them, and to pressure the Communist Party not to respond to their protests with force.
Ordinary people are already doing their part, but this too needs to grow.
Even more importantly, the leaders of the West, starting with President Obama, must issue strong and repeated statements of solidarity with the people, and with a parallel call for the communists to exercise restraint and to fulfill the popular demands.
Obama said recently, about the Arab terrorists ISIS, "the only language they understand is the language of force."
This is the same with the Communist Party of China, which still follows Mao's principle that "power grows from the barrel of a gun."
The people of China can generate enough force to be free of their tyrants, but not through taking up arms; instead, by taking to the streets.
We, the International Community, starting with our elected officials, are obliged to do everything that we can to help them.
October - November postscript: Notwithstanding ongoing small protests, the Hong Kong pro-democracy uprising - in this incarnation at least - has failed. There was also no spread whatsoever to the mainland. This extremely unfortunate outcome confirms the basic points in the article.
1. The leaders in Hong Kong proved not to be fierce. Occupy Central was timid, and even Joshua Wong and Scolarism wavered. The Communist Party's simple use of gangster triad agent provocateurs to create a little violence was enough to frighten the protestors away. Dialogue or no dialogue, Beijing undeniably has won.
2. Associated with this, the protests did not continue to grow. The demonstrators assumed that their collective voice was loud enough and did not work to push their numbers higher and higher day after day. This made things much easier for Beijing and also the Party's Hong Kong factotums.
3. Finally, there was no international diplomatic pressure backing up the protestors. Rather, President Obama refused to comment on the situation at all.
December postscript: It is good to see the Hong Kong demonstrations continuing, but for the reasons described in the article they are unlikely to be sufficient to achieve their objective. A new round of major protests, some time prior to 2017, will be required.