Two different perspectives on Hong Kong’s mass protests

October 6, 2014 11:19 amViews: 282

“Big business is trying to say that we are privileged” 

Hong Kong-based journalist Shannon Van Sant interviewed billionaire Allan Zeman and protester Pa Sha. These segments of her interview were posted on her facebook page.

Two very different perspectives on the protests: Hong Kong billionaire Alan Zeman and protester Pa Sha.

I profiled Allan as part of a 2007 CCTV documentary on how Hong Kong had changed since the handover from the British, so it was interesting to talk with him again today.

Allan Zeman: “The protests have polarized the community. Many people’s businesses, many people’s livelihoods depend on the streets being open and earning a living. Many shops are losing their small businesses, they can’t afford to keep staff. There needs to be an end in sight. There is no system in the world that is a perfect political system. Hong Kong never had universal suffrage. We have to understand it from China’s side. The Chinese government doesn’t want this to spread to China, because then they can’t keep China stable. If you understand China, sometimes you understand why they need to black out news reports, because they need to keep a good life.”

Hong Kong Billionaire Allan Zeman.

Hong Kong Billionaire Allan Zeman.

Pa Sha: “The rich and the business sector have stood firmly against democratic rights in Hong Kong. The ordinary people are pro democracy and have been pouring into the streets over the last week. Big business is trying to say that we are privileged enough and we don’t need democracy. And even by their logic, if you compare us with China, it’s like you are comparing hell with a lesser hell. Hong Kong is dominated by big business, tycoons, big corporations which are in league with the CCP and the Hong Kong government. And it is because of such an alliance between corporations and the government, the government over the years has implemented a lot of pro-business policies that have angered a lot of people. This is why people have come out on the streets in such anger. This is not only about the future, it is about the livelihood of ordinary citizens. Hong Kong has the most unaffaordable houses in the whole world. As a young person we can’t own our own homes in the future. Stagnating wages are another issue and the lack of a universal pension system, and the lack of standard working hours in Hong Kong.”

Socialist Action member Pa Sha (left) at campaign stall in Mong Kok occupation.

Socialist Action member Pa Sha (left) at campaign stall in Mong Kok occupation.

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