Many Americans have taken a blind eye to the state in Hong Kong during the last few weeks, but not Pacific Lutheran University’s Lutes.
Hong Kong has been in the midst of numerous ongoing riots because of 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 2017, meaning the citizens of China would have been able to choose who they wanted to elect to government offices.
The government has now backed out of that offer because the National Peoples Congress announced that there will be no such election because the committee wishes not to place anyone from opposing parties inside its government.
Since the government took back their promises, the people of China have taken to the streets in protest. The protests have become violent in some areas and Chinese citizens are being tear gassed, hosed and managed in other violent manners by the government.
Senior journalism major and exchange student, Shunying Wang feels that what the government is doing is absolutely wrong. 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,” Wang said. “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.”
Not only have the riots impacted the students 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 believes the 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,” Manfredi said.
Manfredi said 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,” Manfredi said. “The ‘Umbrella Protests’ are a very good test case for the possibility of neutrality and objectivity in world news media.”
It has become apparent that the behaviors within the political issues have triggered more riots throughout Hong Kong. Wang said she hopes 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,” Wang said.