Starting October 1st, Hong Kong celebrates two days of government holidays which will no doubt be the peak of the recent ‘Umbrella Revolution’. What started as a protest last Wednesday by university students in Hong Kong has now filled the streets and hearts of many living in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is an island, a city, a country, and is also a part of China. The country includes Hong Kong, the mega city across the harbor of Kowloon and the surrounding ‘New Territories’. The entire region is referred to as Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR) by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and houses 7 million people. The Kwun Tong District has 54,530 persons per square kilometer, is one of the most densely populated places on earth. In spite of its tight quarters, Hong Kong houses one of the healthiest populations on earth with a life expectancy for the average citizen of greater than 80 years.
Hong Kong has been named the top Financial Center in the world two years in a row by the World Economic Forum. Hong Kong was also tops in the world in the Index for Economic Freedom sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation. This index is a measurement of a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. Hong Kong also consistently rates among the top countries in the world by the PWC/World Bank’s Tax survey due to its low tax rate and ease of tax administration.
With all going so well in Hong Kong, why the protests? The reason is that the people in Hong Kong like their freedoms and want to keep them in place. When Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997 a de facto constitution was put in place called the Basic Law. The law stated that Hong Kong would be able to select its CEO, the top spot in the Hong Kong government, through an open election, but Beijing now wants to select candidates for the CEO position. The people in Hong Kong are protesting this decision and calling for universal suffrage.
The protests have been renamed the ‘umbrella revolution’ after the protestors used umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas in recent clashes with police. With the holidays coming the next few days, the protests are expected to grow. Some recent tweets show that China has put a unique twist on the ‘umbrella revolution’ by reporting that the people are in the streets in Hong Kong to celebrate the National Day of China. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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