Hong Kong Protests

Time Magazine Umbrella Revolution Cover

Analysis of Time’s Umbrella Revolution Cover Page

Is the fight for democracy over? On the 31 August 2014, China ruled against open nominations for Hong Kong’s chief executive and on the week of 22 September 2014, the protest for fair democratic elections started in Hong Kong. Numerous images depict Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Revolution” and most, if not all of them are moving. The analysis this time though, would be on Time’s cover page for their October issue. Without background information, it will be difficult to understand the image.
As a country that has known democracy for more than 60 years it is hard to grasp what it feels like to return to a type of system that controls many things such as socialism. In Hong Kong, socialism may soon be it’s next fate. Hong Kong had been a part of China until Britain took control of it in the early 20th century and when Britain handed it back to China in 1997 with one exception, the Basic Law. The Basic Law stated that Hong Kong would not follow China’s rules, would follow the rules set out previously by Britain, and that the appointment of the Chief Executive along with their members of legislature would be through universal suffrage. The problem with the decision that China has made is that while it allows for voting, it is in the end, a farce.
The new Chief Executive election steps are: a 1200-member committee would vote for two-three candidates, then the popular choice vote, and finally China’s Central People’s Government will have to approve the candidate that the people have chosen. The problem is the two-three candidates must have more than 50% votes of the nominating committee and China must approve the candidate that was voted by popular choice. So if China doesn’t like the candidate then they’re thrown out, making the Chief Executive a pro-supporter of China or even a puppet. It is ironic because China’s new system is more democratic than the current system right now since there is currently no popular choice voting for the Chief Executive.
The image brings to point that the majority of Hong Kongers are uniting in standing up for freedom. Ever since the enactment of “One country, two systems”, China’s influence of completely regaining Hong Kong grows. The image shows a serious movement with it’s muted out colours, tear gas, sanitary masks, and the two people in the background clearly suffering from the tear gas. The neon yellow text that draws your eye in and the “HONG KONG’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IS A CHALLENGE TO CHINA” explicitly lists what the citizens of Hong Kong are doing. The man centred in the middle holding both umbrellas up is making the statement that translates to “Even if you knock us down, we will get back up, no amount of tear gas or physical brutality will ever change us.”

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