The other day, in a meeting with the Women’s Empowerment Network here at Pace, I was asked what work I was most proud of (in general).. I answered that it was my research work on the Hong Kong Democracy movement and the impact it has had on me and my future career in international relations. It is with great honor that I was accepted into this program and connected with Professor Joseph T. H. Lee whom I had not had the chance to take a course with but our passion for Hong Kong was instantly shared.
While I am finalizing this year-long project and compiling my resources, I have realized that there are many lessons I have learned while being apart of this program.
- From countless presentations/papers on my research, I have been challenged to differentiate the context of my work so that it is not only fresh for my audience but also to myself.
- A good night’s rest is also quite helpful in the nights leading up to long presentations so that I do not drone on about a topic I indeed find quite fascinating and almost unbelievable.
- It is handy to have a presentation prepared in case someone asks for me to come into a class, especially on a last minute request.. These presentations must have visuals that engage and interact with the audience —- ALSO make sure that your YouTube videos are still working, many a time I have had difficulties with embedded videos
- Things are always changing and evolving in any research subject so be sure to check the news and research journals before preparing for a paper/presentation for there may be updates you are not aware of that should be incorporated or at least mentioned
Writing is not the only method of research and those who enjoy talking to others should invest in taking time out to give presentations of their scholarly work to their peers or other audiences. I hope that these tips come in handy for researchers to come…
This past weekend, Professor Lee and I presented our research and insight on the topic of “The Hong Kong Democracy Movement: What it says about Power Politics and why students should care”. As part of this presentation I wanted to create an interactive element to engage my audience and to have them thinking about what they can do themselves to advocate for causes they are passionate about. Through this idea, I came up with a mini activism workshop and presented it after my lecture on Hong Kong.
- What is the cause or campaign that you want to advocate?
- What do you want people to think about/act on
- Is it a worldwide phenomenon, or local?
- What resources do you have at hand or at your capability?
- NYC is a great resource in itself
- What kind of action do you wish to make?
- What do you want to do about this
- How will you reason for people to care about your cause?
- Relate it to your audience
- Rationalizing for its importance
Power politics, as defined by Merriam Webster as politics based primarily on the use of power (as military and economic strength) as a coercive force rather than on ethical precepts, plays an influential role in Hong Kong and in relations between China and other nations, when concerning the Hong Kong democracy movement. During the 1997 handover, Hong Kong was experiencing negative effects from the Asian financial crisis and the economic support of China took precedent over democratization (Cheng, 260). In effect, China was able to exert its authority over the region by amending the Public Order Ordinance right before the British relinquished their power (Cheng, 260). This act demonstrated China’s interests in keeping Hong Kong under its control although they had agreed to the British requesting a promise for democracy.
Hong Kongers’ political participation tends to draw responses from large powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom (Cheng, 347). These responses from high government officials were made after the public demanded statements on the situation in Hong Kong after being informed about the recent student protests. These responses drew criticisms from China as they argued that foreign governments reporting on the matter is an infringement upon their state sovereignty. For example, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry made a brief statement on October 2nd, 2014, in response to the police and student clashes during protests in Hong Kong, where he reiterated Washington support for universal suffrage. In response, the Chinese foreign minister asserted that Hong Kong affairs were Chinese internal affairs and asked that they respect China’s sovereignty.
The pro-democracy camps in Hong Kong have long been criticized for being seen as promoting a “leaderless” political movement. This popular criticism of the democracy camps makes them appear to be weak or illegitimate political powers to some. From personal observation during the July 1st rallies in 2014, it was clear that there were no central figures leading the debate but instead they were collectivist groups displaying related grievances against the HKSAR government. Cheng predicts that if the Chief Executive is elected on the basis of universal suffrage in 2017 then their would be increased incentives for party development, thus paving the way for key figures to make an impact on the community (Cheng, xxvi). It is crucial for democracy to be initiated in order for political groups to develop into full fledged organized and legitimate bodies, able to serve the public.
- Cheng, Yushuo. New Trends of Political Participation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: City U of Hong Kong, 2014. Print.
This year I will be continuing my ongoing research about the Hong Kong Democracy Movement and the Dichotomy of Identity as it relates to political participation. From my ground research and personal observations this summer, I was able to get a feel for the political climate in the area and how it influenced daily lives. Now that I have returned to the US, I have been able to reflect on my findings and think analytically about what my perspective may see that others do not. What I hope to do this year is open the eyes of my fellow students and inform them about the peaceful processions taking place by modern revolutionaries in Hong Kong. What I will be focused on this year the topics of political mistrust and how post-colonialism in Asia has developed.