Many Americans have taken a blind eye to the current state in Hong Kong during the last few weeks, but not us Lutes. The city of Hong Kong has been in the midst of numerous on going riots due to unhappy citizens that believe they were lied to about electing their own representatives for congress. Hong Kong officials had planned to give this freedom of election to its citizens in the year 2017, but now have backed due to China’s National Peoples Congress announcing that their will be no such election because the committee wishes not to place anyone from opposing parties inside its government.
Senior journalism major, Shunying Wang said she feels that what the government is doing is absolutely wrong. She said she believes that the government is attempting to gain even more control of its own people.
“To me, a promise is a promise. If we have made a promise to Hong Kong to grant them democracy in the past, we should keep our words. To keep some control over Hong Kong politics seems like our governments way of saying, ‘I must have full control,’ which makes me question our governments moral principles,” said Wang.
Not only has the riots impacted the students here at PLU, but it has also promoted PLU associate professor and chair of the Chinese Studies Program, Paul Manfredi, to initiate a platform for this students to talk about the subject. Manfredi said he believes that this platform he has established in class, is somewhat helping inform others about what is going on in Hong Kong.
“I have friends and associates in Hong Kong directly impacted by the protests. I also have students from Hong Kong who feel strongly, naturally, about what is happening. We have talked about the events in class, and organized an afternoon ‘Coffee Hour’ (held in Hong Hall on Oct. 1) to thoroughly discuss the developments with members of the Chinese Studies Program faculty (one of whom born and raised in Hong Kong), students in Hong Hall and other interested students, staff and faculty,” said Manfredi.
Manfredi did go on to say that he believes we as Americans and outside observers should be careful when talking about the issues in Hong Kong.
“I think it’s important that we as outside observers be as skeptical as possible of reporting on the subject. The ‘Umbrella Protests’ are a very good test case for the possibility of neutrality/objectivity in world news media,” said Manfredi.
The current political issues and riots have managed to set the tone for many college students as well. The most current news as of Nov. 5, included college students engaging in riots, not about political issues, but in fact about poor food quality within their school. Students had even managed to attack the vice principal of the school, shortly after beginning the protest.
It has become apparent that the behaviors within the political issues have triggered more riots throughout Hong Kong. Wang said she hopes that one day this can all be set aside, where both the words “China” and “happiness” can be brought together.
“I want to see the continuous development of the country so that no matter where in the world I end up being in the future, I can see people smiling when they mention China”, said Wang.