What Filipinos need to learn from Hong Kong’s #UmbrellaRevolution

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A lot of Filipinos have been following closely the massive pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong in recent days. After Beijing announced that it will be vetting candidates for the coming 2017 election there, Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, virtually paralysing the prosperous former British colony — one of China’s economic crown jewels. As of this writing, demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong’s streets for two nights now, many setting up encampments and hunkering down ready to face police crackdowns. Many have come prepared with protective goggles, face masks, and water-resistant clothing.

hong_kong_umbrella_revolution

So, quite understandably, Filipinos have watched with interest, likely while wistfully waxing nostalgia about their own people power “revolution” of bygone years. Indeed, while Hong Kong convulses in a spectacular fight against Beijing’s efforts to exert control over the quality of candidates making a bid in their coming election, Filipinos for their part have all but progressively painted themselves into a corner — settling for a tiny handful of the usual suspects around which the national political “debate” has revolved in the lead up to their elections in 2016. Beijing would’ve been proud of the Philippines.

Another remarkable thing about the way Hong Kong does activism is in the way its activists conduct themselves. Much has already been said about Hong Kong activists’ courage and stoic resolve. Reports emerging from the ground over there attest to it. But most remarkable of all is how Hong Kong residents demonstrate how much they truly care about their homeland at the most fundamental levels…

As protests continue, people have been seen distributing food and water as well as cleaning up after themselves in the famously orderly city.

At the main protest site at the city’s Government headquarters, students sorted plastic bottles for recycling even as they wore goggles and plastic sheets to protect against pepper spray.

A polite note was also seen left on a vandalised police van, apologising for the damage.”Sorry, I don’t know who did this but we are not anarchists – we want democracy,” it read.

Perhaps being deprived of real choice is something a people who truly care about their land can get really angry about. And this is the lesson that Filipinos will likely have to re-learn after almost three decades of fiesta “democracy” since the so-called 1986 EDSA “Revolution”. Since that seminal event, choice in Philippine politics has become but a mere illusion. It had long ago become evident that the basket from which Filipinos were “choosing” their leaders and representatives was a disproportionately small one filled with rotten eggs.

To be fair, it may be comparatively easy for Hong Kong’s people to unite behind a common cause considering that the forces of repression they are up against are coming from an external entity, in their case, the central government in Beijing. In the case of Philippine politics, by contrast, the “enemy” is internal in origin. It comes from within.

Whilst the candidates that Beijing will endorse will very likely not be products of Hong Kong society, the crooked and dysfunctional candidates coming out of the woodwork for the 2016 elections in the Philippines are direct products of the society they seek to rule. As such, any effort to exercise real choice in Philippine politics is relatively severly handicapped.

The key, therefore, in extricating Filipinos from their decades-long political stagnation may be in showing how the crop of politicians they choose to traditionally limit their choices to every election day are not on their side; that is, if selling this notion is even possible. Ironically, most of the politicians who’ve successfully ascended power in Manila pitched themselves as for the people, but then went on to rule in a manner that was anything but. The trouble with Philippine-style democracy, unfortunately, is that popularity wins at the expense of the intelligent choice. Worse, it is evident nowadays that the intelligent choice has altogether given up the race.

[Photos courtesy TheConversation.com and Mashable.]
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55 Comments on “What Filipinos need to learn from Hong Kong’s #UmbrellaRevolution”

  1. Majority of Filipinos in the Philippines don’t want to learn about anything especially on prioritizing the country.

    It’s never in culture of Filipinos. They are too timid, passive complacent, lazy and most of all grossly self-centered and wily.

    Whatever patriotism of the people of other countries may demonstrate which are worth following don’t have any effect in the minds of today’s Pinoys. They are too busy texting, making selfies and singing along with videokes deafening all people in the whole Barangay with their out of tune and out of beat singing.

    It must never be forgotten that if Manila is “the gateway to Hell”, as Dan Brown described it in his novel Inferno, then what kind of creatures are there in Metro Manila?

    1. Modifying a line from Singla’s The Manual of Life:

      “Most Filipinos want the world to change but they don’t want to change themselves.”

      Haphazard parking, throwing their trash wherever and whenever, and all of the bad things that we know. We try to instill order in the community but a lot of people don’t want to be bothered to change their ways as if they are kings and queens in their own right.

  2. The Politicians here in the Philippines have built an “aristocracy”, much like the French Aristocracy, before the French revolution. They have different political parties; but they have the same political ideology. That is; once in power they will steal from the National Treasury…together with their minions. They also have unholy alliances with the Oligarchy, who runs most of the big businesses in our country…most of the politicians are Feudal Lords…if not, political warlords…

  3. The protests are not bout the candidates in the next election.The protests are about the rising house prices and the asset inflation that is driving the cost of living in the city/state out of reach for most young people. Theyare sick of it ad rightfully so, so…WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION? Hong Kong is not too far away yet your info is way off !

    1. Sure, whatever you say. But then…

      It’s all about 2017. That’s the year Hong Kong’s voters were supposed to gain the right to elect their own chief executive (the leader of Hong Kong). Last month, however, the Chinese government announced that all candidates would need to be pre-approved by a committee friendly to the Chinese Communist Party.

      Pro-democracy groups saw this pre-approval as a way to limit the will of voters. They came together under the name of “Occupy Central” to plan protests and try to reverse Beijing’s decision.

      Full article.

      1. Oh yes,right….. students care about what is going to happen three years from now….in an election, oh sure they do.
        Been to Kowloon lately? I did not think so….

        1. Yes they do care and care a lot. They know that if the Chinese government does want they intend to do it may seriously effect Hong Kong’s economy. Hong Kong was in a mess for years after the handover in 1997. It took about ten years to recover. If overseas business people feel China is breaking their promise of no political or legal changes for 50 years they extent other unpredictable things to happen and take their business elsewhere.
          I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 40 years and experienced it all first hand.

        1. little dong rails at western media bias(see below) then cites american former reagan aide for support.

          stop threatening me with your “gist”

        2. @ RRR (triple r ,duh?)U r just incapable of seeing the message instead of the messenger. You could learn a lot if you took off your blinders, but , you won’t…..sigh!, as you are too stupid.

          No one threatened you Sonny.

  4. So what are you all going to do? You Filipino’s live in shit (Tondo), swim in shit (Manila Bay/Harbor)and drive in shit (insane traffic jams are nationwide). Have you no brains? No one with any balls ?
    How can you all just sit in that shit: day after day after day with absolutely no hope in sight for anything positive to happen, and yet you have the people who run the country living like Kings amongst you?
    It is amazing that you all just let it happen.

    Tondo? NO, TONTO ! OMG !

  5. To be fair, most kids in the streets of HK don’t even now what they are doing there. This whole thing started as a tuition hike protest at a HK university.Now completely blown out of proportion it is about whatever the Western news media tells people.The Chinese authorities are aware of the Internet spreading news quickly so a Tienemen Square is unlikely and will most likely wait it out till the kids get hungry and just go home, hopefully. Hong Kong is sooo un-affordable to live in that these kids are literally starving going from class to class each day.
    CNN/Fox/NBC/ABC are getting involved and having Ai Wei Wei on to tell everyone in the ‘WEST’ what is going on and he is the most clue-less of them all.To further screw the message up ,Western news agencies have hijacked the story and interviewed a few ‘students’ whose broken english could not have possibly accurately expressed what is actually the aim of the ‘students’ running the protests.Whoever they may actually be is not even clearly presented.BUT,paying attention, shutting down the financial center of the city was done for a reason.Go figure.

    Aside from this, what the West has to offer the East is very little,if anything at all….besides dis-information. Ivy Lee would indeed be proud.

    1. woah. woah. woah. Slow down there chairman mao.

      Gist of your statements:

      1. Students do not know how to look into their future. Thinking three years ahead hurts their little brains.

      2. Making fun of the Philippines is a valid response to your perceived distortion of the root cause of the protests.

      3.The West is distorting the news (whining).

      1. “3. The West is distorting the news”

        Agree with this one. Good example of this was the Western media’s coverage of Iraq’s WMD? All were preaching how US was right to invade to rid Iraq of its WMD.

        1. true just look at fox, they don’t even make pretenses to being objective. But as we know there really is no such thing as objective reporting. Everyone puts their spin on the news. Beijing is not immune to this either.

          the question is then: deal with western distorted news or no news at all (the PRC has been blocking news on hong kong in mainland china)

        2. Pardon me, but that is a VERY DISTORTED version of the events leading up to the Iraq war. In January 2003, on the eve of the invasion, American public support of the invasion was at 60-70 percent. That lasted all of fifteen minutes. About as much time as it takes for the next celebrity news story or social media campaign to grab the spotlight. By mid-2003, most people had moved on to the next ‘big issue’ they found interesting — the economy, global warming, the Kardashians.

          The initial public sentiment regarding the planned invasion was one born out of FEAR. Americans were shaken by the fact that terrorists living in a cave thousands of kilometres away were capable of striking at the centres of American power with impunity. No one questioned the veracity of Colin Powell’s data purporting to an imminent threat as he laid out the case for war, first to the American Congress and then to the United Nations. Not the elected representatives who were tasked with overseeing foreign policy, and certainly not the media. That is hardly ‘preaching.’

          Today, many of those who supported military action against Iraq in 2003 (out of fear) have done an about face and condemn the politicians and the media for duping them into a war they claim they never wanted. Public sentiment has shifted; the generals have changed; Obama’s policies have upended what status quo may have been established. Meanwhile, the troops are still at it, still getting maimed or killed; a lot of them still believing the war to be an effort to rid the world of criminals — murderers who will tolerate no one but their own kind.

          As you said at the beginning — get the facts straight so as not to distort the issue.

          “true just look at fox, they don’t even make pretenses to being objective. But as we know there really is no such thing as objective reporting. Everyone puts their spin on the news.”

          On the one hand you acknowledge the fact that no one can be truly objective and that it would be unrealistic to expect anyone to uphold this ideal. But why single out a specific news organisation — FOX News — to deride them for having a political opinion? Why is their position ‘distorted?’ For that matter, why not mention news organisations on the other end of the political spectrum, like MSNBC? Or is it because you disagree with FOX, thereby automatically making their reportage somehow ‘unworthy?’ Are you saying opinions count ONLY if they agree with yours? That’s highly HYPOCRITICAL. Either we all have the right to present our views in a free and open society or we don’t. Can’t have it both ways. Argue with FOX News (or MSNBC) based on facts, not sentiment.

        3. MSNBC is biased (liberal). Fox is biased (conservative). Point is there is no such thing as objective news. Objective news is a myth. We all have agendas and people get to decide (or are duped into?) what they support.

          Why support fox? are you rupert murdoch?

          I think the key is not to lionize and be on guard against these big institutions….media, government. They have their own agenda and the people there work towards their own goals.

        4. Read the comment again. How did you come to the conclusion that I favour FOX? I simply pointed out that you mentioned their organisation as an example of ‘distorted’ news coverage when you opined that NO reportage can ever be completely objective. By citing one specific company, you are implying that ONLY that company — FOX — has an ideology; worse, it insinuates that ONLY FOX has ‘distorted’ their work based on their ideology beyond what is reasonable. The statement demonstrates YOUR bias more than anything else.

          “I think the key is not to lionize and be on guard against these big institutions…media, government. They have their own agenda and the people there work towards their own goals.”

          On guard against what? Whether it’s a corporation or a government or some socially inept malcontent blogging from his mother’s basement, the work product of the human mind is shaped by personal opinion and beliefs. You already admitted this to be true. If you disagree with me, give me a reasoned argument based on facts. Don’t be limited by assertions rooted in dogma or self-interest. Or the misguided intuition that causes you to automatically assume ‘big money is bad’ and ‘corporations are evil.’

          It would be shameful to let FEAR and mistrust determine how we live. It is appalling to let hatred define our relationship with one another.

        5. @ Saint,’the work product and personal opinion is shaped by personal opinion and beliefs…’, you actually believe the shit you write here? You ridicule a guy who happens to be right and your defense is that lame-ass argument? As if what the media is telling people is not geared towards the destabilizing of a government for monetary gain and geo-political influence? The proponent and what is gained by that proponent will not be elaborated on here, but your ridicule and retort are as ridiculous as your calling yourself a Saint, LOL !

          @ Triple r , if you want to know what is going on, look at who is accusing others and figure it is that entity that is doing what it accuse’s others of.(case in point:Taliban is accused of selling Heroin to finance its terrorist activities, according to coalition forces Reps.,yes? The Taliban,in Afghanistan ,was beaten down from ’06-’12 and yet Heroin supplies exported worldwide from Afghanistan exploded….WTF? Who is kidding who? REALLY?)

        6. “The proponent and what is gained by that proponent will not be elaborated on here, but your ridicule and retort are as ridiculous as your calling yourself a Saint, LOL!”

          HongKongDong will not elaborate or cite facts because he cannot. That is the simplest solution — provide evidence and reasoning to prove your argument. Otherwise it’s all hot air and bluster. And conspiracy theories that can never be proved.

        7. The following has nothing to do with the protests in Hong Kong. This is simply to clarify certain specious information being posted here:

          “Taliban is accused of selling Heroin to finance its terrorist activities, according to coalition forces Reps.,yes? The Taliban,in Afghanistan, was beaten down from ’06-’12 and yet Heroin supplies exported worldwide from Afghanistan exploded…WTF? Who is kidding who? REALLY?”

          Under Taliban rule (1994 to 2001), opium production in Afghanistan reached a high of 4,500 metric tons in 1999.

          By July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, collaborating with the United Nations to eradicate heroin production in Afghanistan, declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world’s most successful anti-drug campaigns. The Taliban enforced a total ban on poppy farming. Threats, forced eradication, and public punishment of transgressors. resulted in a 99 percent reduction of opium poppy farming in Taliban-controlled areas. This was the equivalent of roughly 75 percent of the world’s supply of heroin at the time. This ban was effective only briefly due to the deposition of the Taliban by the United States.

          From 2002 to the present, poppy farming and heroin production has steadily increased in the wake of the chaos that resulted from the US invasion and the subsequent civil war. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports the heroin trade is currently controlled by criminal interests within Europe and the United States. Afghanistan is already the world’s largest producer of opium; in 2012 it again accounted for 75 percent of the world’s heroin supply and is estimated to soon reach 90 percent.

          While the bulk of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics are NOT appropriated by terrorist groups (as the above post suggests is the popular claim), the Taliban is hardly innocent. The UNODC Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 states that Taliban insurgents took advantage of insecurity in several provinces to assist opium farmers and win popular support. Taliban drug lords, in turn, trade Afghan drugs for Russian guns and ammunition in Tajikistan, near the old Afghan-Soviet border. Conservative estimates from NATO indicate revenues from drug sales provide between 40 and 60 percent of their income.

        8. @ Saint, No, I already shared my comment on the subject elsewhere on this blog, I do not repeat myself for people like you. You are the bankrupt illiterate here, not me,Son.

      2. that is not what I said. You wouldn’t know a rock if it hit you in the head ,would you? I got your ‘GIST’ right here.

        1. 2 Triple r…So,What did I say? I wont repeat myself, not for sorry-ass loser like you. All you have as a comeback is an insult? It figures.You’re not even worth laughing at.

      3. wow, i did not know that so much could be made out of one sentence.

        I said: true just look at fox, they don’t even make pretenses to being objective.

        From that you interpreted:
        On the one hand you acknowledge the fact that no one can be truly objective and that it would be unrealistic to expect anyone to uphold this ideal. But why single out a specific news organisation — FOX News — to deride them for having a political opinion? Why is their position ‘distorted?’ For that matter, why not mention news organisations on the other end of the political spectrum, like MSNBC? Or is it because you disagree with FOX, thereby automatically making their reportage somehow ‘unworthy?’ Are you saying opinions count ONLY if they agree with yours? That’s highly HYPOCRITICAL. Either we all have the right to present our views in a free and open society or we don’t. Can’t have it both ways. Argue with FOX News (or MSNBC) based on facts, not sentiment.

        From this I interpret: You watch too much FOX NEWS

        Joking aside, Point is since fox and msnbc present opinions and not the news (just look at their shows: they consist of one talking head clearly identified as a conservative(faux news) or liberal (commie msnbc) talking to like minded people or shouting down anyone who dissents) , we all know that opinions are like assholes everyone has one.

        So why should their opinions be more valid then my own? Just because they own a media empire and I am a socially inept person living in my mother’s basement?

        Also not all corporations are evil. I love coke, levis, and the people who make kinder eggs.

        1. And again you focus on the wrong thing. Forget FOX News. Forget MSNBC. (Apparently you are only familiar with their talk shows that offer commentary on political issues.)

          We’re both agreed on the fact that everyone has their own ideology and the beliefs we hold shape our opinion. What I have always maintained is that if we engage in an honest exchange of ideas, our statements should be clear, and supported by evidence and facts. Regardless of whether the statement comes from a corporation, a government or idle musings in your basement. (You really should get more sun.) That way, your opinion can never be dismissed outright. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to the wrong interpretation by readers.

        2. o wise one, please tell me what i should focus on?

          also on your dismissal of ideas outright? how do you determine which ideas should be dismissed outright? my ideas have been dismissed by you….what right do you have to dismiss them? However, they still are posted on this site, so are they really “dismissed”?

          how and when is an “honest” engagement of ideas conducted?

          I think I’ll support my statements with facts and evidence when fox and msnbc decide to do the same. Damn if only fox and msnbc decided to support their reporting of the run up to the iraq war with facts and evidence then probably we would have known that there were no WMDs.

          The ironic thing here is we are probably misinterpreting each other but you started it and I’m having fun.

        3. Then it’s pointless to continue if you intentionally reduce any discussion to blurting out disjointed factoids because you believe even professional news organisations follow the same formula.

        4. @ Triple r, Saint THINKS he knows everything, so you are not entitled to your opinion. He is just a tyical silly-li’l-know-it-all FLIP-TARD.A possesor of massive ego, he can never accept MAYBE he is wrong, and can never admit he is wrong.Like Teddy Locsin Jr., but with no credentials.

          YOU TELL HIM.

          A word to the wise: Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see. For things are not what they seem.

        5. @ Saint,reduced to abstract one liners.Nice comeback Son…NOT !

          You have nothing but a massive ego, will live in the tiny apartment you live in for the next 30 years and have the same 2007 Dell PC for another 20 of those years.Why? if I tell you, you will have the key to your escape.So,The keys shall not be given:

          Have fun in that slum,SON.

      4. @ Saint, “NATO says the ‘Taliban’ gets 40-60 % of their income from narcotics trafficking”,

        What do you think they are going to say?”No, it is us exporting the shit world-wide.”?

        You truly are a clue-less brainwashed puppy.

        Alexander the Great always kept one ear away from his Generals. It enabled him to hear others sides of matters-at-hand,namely, the truth came limping along eventually.Usually disguised as something it was not meant to be.
        You could be learned,MAYBE, if you look at all the angles and forget what you think you already know.

        1. Hi my name is saint and I like to use complicated and big words so people will think I’m smart.

          I like to tell others to back up their statements with facts but when I opine I don’t back my statements with facts.

          I go with what I feel and that is all the evidence I need.

          P.S. I am always right.

        2. What Dong wants readers to believe: Dong implies that claims were made to the effect that the majority of the revenues from the heroin trade out of Afghanistan and the surrounding regions were being diverted to the Taliban. He derided this idea, saying that because the Taliban were on the run from the US and its allies after 2001, the increase in heroin production over the past decade could not be attributed to them.

          What reality tells us: NO SUCH CLAIMS WERE MADE. Apart from US propaganda playing up the forays of the Taliban and its allied organisations into the drug trade, it was NEVER seriously contended that ALL the profits from illegal drugs were lining the pockets of the terrorists (as Dong implies).

          The UNODC reports that the majority of the world’s supply of heroin and opium originates in Afghanistan. Most of the revenue from this illegal trade accrues to criminal syndicates and business interests in the United States and Europe. The chaos and insecurity resulting from the 2001 US invasion drove many Afghan farmers back to poppy cultivation and provided the Taliban with a significant source of funding and weapons to sustain the insurgency. Not surprisingly, the terrorists used the money to commit even more acts of violence.

          Those are facts previously stated. Simple, straightforward and verifiable.

        3. @ Saint, THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID, you see what you want to see and believe what you want to believe. I do not care what you believe or what other people believe. I do not.

          My one prophetic statement here, now: You ,John Saint, will be doing the same thing you are doing now for the next thirty years.

          WHY? Shall not be said, again, as I do not repeat myself. Words to the wise are given but once!

        4. @ Saint, to see what you’d say, I took one last look…….I said the original story was hi-jacked, and it was. I sadi most students did not know what it was about, maybe true and maybe not: A poll was not conducted, but the kids I saw making comments to the press were like you…clue-less.
          Your stats about Taliban Heroin production must be made up, as they contradict every major East/West/U.N. estimates and Heroin supplies in the EU and USA have sky-rocketed , its all over the place.

          Good luck with your country Sonny, but my bet is: Your just as fucked as it is.

  6. Unfortunetely the HK students will shoot themselves in the foot. The Chinese government wont allow this to continue for too long. They are too afraid it will spread to other parts of main country China.
    Local shops in HK are now closed but for how long can they do that?
    And also Taiwan is looking very interestingly to these protests.

    Will/Can this ever happen in Philippines? I really doubt it. No guts, no glory.

    1. Yes indeed. Majority of Filipinos are just bunch of self-centered cowards who can’t even decide what they really want for themselves much more to be concerned about their country.

  7. In Hong Kong, it is very clear in the minds of the protesters what is exactly they are fighting for; the democratic freedom to choose their leader without the influence of Beijing or the central government. For the people in Hong Kong, democracy is very important.

    In the Philippines, we take democracy for granted. We don‘t take elections with serious and critical thoughts. We don‘t even know when to protest and how to voice out our anger towards government‘s abusing their powers.

    Protesters in HK are not afraid of powerful and mighty China. But, in the Philippines, we are coward to protest against PNoy.

    1. Your an even bigger retard than I thought possible. You think you live in a democracy?

      I could not make this up in a hundred years, its too funny.

      As for HK:
      Have you been there? Were you there when it started?

      This story has been HI-JACKED. I dont give a shit if U believe me or not, but when this all started this was NOT what the whole thing was about.I am THERE, I FUCKIN KNOW!!! if you listen to News Media outlets from the West or The East…you will get two different stories behind the same news, almost as if your on a different planet you’d think.

      So if you think you know what is going on because you read a newspaper, LOL ! read it again, in a different country,in a different language.

      YOU ONLY SEE WHAT THEY SHOW YOU, OLAY CHIT MON!

  8. In the Philippines, more than half of protesters don’t really understand what the protest is about. They’re just angry at the government because they’re not getting enough freebies.

      1. Hong Kong could hardly be more different to the Philippines. How long have you been there? It sounds like maybe a week!

        1. it was not meant literally Frank. The circumstances of the hi-jacked news story is what the comment was meant to say. it may not be obvious, as you do not know me…my bad.

  9. There are some Filipinos joined this so called “Umbrella Revolution”. I think it is not right to join because as a OFW and temporary residence on that country, he/she should not involved in any protests/ riots. Mgpapakabayani naman mga Pinoy dun at sisigaw ng Pinoy Prayd, kala nila papayag sila ng permanent residence. NANGARAP NG GISING, MALABONG MANGYARI.

    1. If they want to protest, they should go back home. We have more problems than HKers. Wag pumapel. Kapag nanalo ang Tsina at pinadeport kayo, walang sisihan.

  10. I love Hong Kong. Have been going there for over 40 years, several times a year for business and vacation. Ive done business under the Brits and undr China, as a foreign businessman, i prefered the former. Am heading over for the weekend to check things out, hope the RHKYC is open.

  11. It’s going to be Tiananmen Square all over again if this keeps up. What makes you think China will bow down to protesters especially when they’re crying out for changes that are contrary to the Communist Party’s interests? The government has been there and done that and it’ll be put down just like previous uprisings.

  12. @kaloy – “In Hong Kong, it is very clear in the minds of the protesters what is exactly they are fighting for; the democratic freedom to choose their leader without the influence of Beijing or the central government. For the people in Hong Kong, democracy is very important.”

    Well, that’s odd, since for over 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong was never given universal suffrage. All the (white) governors were chosen by London and the people of Hong Kong had no say whatsoever in the matter.

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