Sunday, October 26, 2014

Civil Servants Show Support for HK Protests

Image credit: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

To those who think that the Hong Kong democracy protests are fuelled by student rabble rousers and blindly followed by the usual motley crowd of mindless defenders – think again!

It is a popular agitation that even draws support from Hong Kong civil servants. In fact, the latter have taken to Facebook to anonymously voice support for the ongoing protests on a public page that points to growing unease among some of those working at the heart of the city's government. Bureaucrats from a myriad of departments, including the government's own information service, the police and the judiciary, have been posting pictures of their official ID cards with their names redacted alongside slogans critical of their Beijing-backed paymasters.

The postings came as a group of 1,300 civil servants hit back Thursday at their union bosses, who had criticized the protest movement via a statement published on the union's website on October 20, 2014.

The former had taken out an advert in the Ming Pao newspaper, expressing their belief that the "peaceful and non-violent principle" of the democracy movement was being upheld by protesters. Parts of the city have been paralyzed for nearly a month by mass rallies and road blocks calling on Beijing to rescind its insistence that Hong Kong's next leader be vetted by a loyalist committee ahead of the 2017 elections.

The largest protest camp is situated outside the government's central offices, where many of the city's bureaucrats work. One message posted on Facebook next to an identity card belonging to a member of the city's police force used a traditional Chinese idiom that roughly translates to: "My body is in the belly of the beast, but my heart is with the people". It was posted Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning it had gathered nearly 6,000 likes and 600 shares.

Another photo showed a handwritten message next to a press officer's identity card. "I want universal suffrage, thank you to those who fight for Hong Kong (democracy) for more than 20 days," read the note.

"Civil servants are also normal citizens after they get off work, we also want universal suffrage," added another with an identity card from the Hong Kong housing authority.

Many commentators thanked the bureaucrats for their support. "I am extremely moved," Hong Kong Facebook user Koey Sit commented on the entry by the police officer, while others called the person an "officer with a conscience".

Already, a poll published Wednesday by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that support for the pro-democracy movement has risen since the protests began with nearly 38% saying they approved of the movement compared to 31% last month.

I continue to be hopeful that the government will relent and accede to the demands made.

Yesterday, Liverpool had another lousy game as they fired blanks to produce a goalless draw against Hull City at Anfield. With nine EPL games played todate, the Reds are occupying a lowly seventh position. Check out Southampton which lost five players to Liverpool – they are sitting pretty in second place after the same number of games. What a contrast of fortunes for the two clubs. Liverpool sucks big time!

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