10 votes

Hong Kong protesters are using apps to avoid restaurants they suspect are pro-China

8 comments

  1. [9]
    Comment deleted by author
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    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I agree: vandalism is un-called-for. However, choosing which businesses to patronise based on what policies their owners support is a good idea.

      I agree: vandalism is un-called-for.

      However, choosing which businesses to patronise based on what policies their owners support is a good idea.

      11 votes
    2. Sahasrahla
      Link Parent
      I think one useful question is, could that ever be acceptable? A thought experiment to try to look at the situation with more empathy from an American/western perspective: Imagine a near-future...

      I think one useful question is, could that ever be acceptable? A thought experiment to try to look at the situation with more empathy from an American/western perspective:

      Imagine a near-future America. The fascists and alt-rightists were empowered by Trump's second term and by his third term democracy was effectively dead. Some local municipal elections still happen but the office of President is elected by hand-picked Republican senators—Republicans, of course, being the sole legal party at the state or federal level. In this climate the rule of law has become a mere suggestion: citizens are routinely kidnapped by the government and imprisoned indefinitely as the result of sham trials and forced confessions; everyone is surveilled including by invasive spyware in chat and payment apps necessary for daily life; and concentration camps have expanded to hold millions of ethnic and linguistic minorities for "re-Americanization" where they are subject to torture and medical experiments.

      However, there's a faint glimmer of hope. Though many Americans feel resigned to their fate and don't believe they can defeat their oppressors they've taken to the streets en masse anyway, with some demonstrations seeing almost a third of Americans (about 100 million) marching at once. These demonstrations started peacefully but the government responded with violence: a militarized police force has been blanketing the nation's cities with noxious tear gas (wild animals and pets have died, many people have gotten sick, and there is strong evidence of carcinogenic dioxins in the gas now used), protesters have been arrested in the hundreds of thousands and disappeared into a black hole of a prison system with those who have made it out telling of systemic abuse and rape, criminal gangs have been used as proxies to assault protesters and pro-democracy local politicians with knives and clubs, and roaming gangs of police in full riot gear who patrol the streets at all hours of the day randomly assault or arrest anyone they feel like.

      After months of constant police oppression, and years of civil rights being dismantled, most Americans are anti-government and on the side of the protesters. Some people, however, loudly and proudly declare that "blue lives matter" and that the uppity protesters are merely getting what's coming to them for the disruption they've caused. The country is divided, though not in half by number, along pro-government and pro-protester lines. Businesses belonging to the gangs involved in the terrorist stabbings are attacked, as well as banks and chains belonging to establishment pro-government billionaires. Vocal support for the government or the police is seen as helping to sustain an oppressive regime: every voice matters in a war for survival that will be lost or won depending on the strength and resolve of public opinion for the protesters and their tactics.

      However, in addition to attacks on gang and oligarch run businesses, some local mom-and-pop businesses belonging to vocal pro-police/pro-government owners have been vandalized as well—and this is where Americans lost international support. Because what are these "supposedly pro-democracy" vandals doing attacking the businesses of innocent people? Free speech is a democratic ideal and if you vandalize the business of someone supporting the oppressive and genocidal regime that you are rebelling against, well, you must not actually care about democracy at all. That doesn't make the regime the good guys but it does imply a moral equivalency between the oppressors and oppressed that lets us all throw up our hands and happily declare "there are bad people on both sides" before moving on with our lives.


      It's worth noting, of course, that this analogy is far from perfect. In trying to draw parallels between the situation in Hong Kong and the imagined dystopia of an ultra-Trumpian America I've included references to both conditions in Hong Kong and (to a lesser extent) conditions on the Mainland which many in Hong Kong fear will come to their home if consolidation of CCP rule continues. I've also left out some important factors that are unique to Hong Kong and which had no clear American point for comparison. Really, this comment is more of an exercise in empathy than it is an effort to summarize or explain what's happening in Hong Kong. There is unfortunately more injustice in the world than any of us could hope to understand or stay informed on, but hopefully an exercise like this can help us pause for a moment to consider the lives and points of view of some of the many people throughout the world right now who are fighting for their freedoms.

      7 votes
    3. Loire
      Link Parent
      In the fight against an autocratic superpower with a penchant for concentration camps and disapearing entire culturally distinct populations, the same one that rolled the tanks in the last time a...

      In the fight against an autocratic superpower with a penchant for concentration camps and disapearing entire culturally distinct populations, the same one that rolled the tanks in the last time a protest of this scale occured, how could the protesters be the bad guys for causing property damage?

      We don't get to criticize over here from our comfortable seats, especially as Americans meekly acquiesce to their own democracy being stolen from them. There is nothing too far in protecting a society from an overwhelming super power, and until that's understood this march of authoritarians will continue unabated.

      5 votes
    4. [5]
      MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Are outlets of commercial chains controlled or influenced by the very forces they're protesting against truly Hongkongese? While they may be hiring local people, the profits leave the Hong Kong...

      Are outlets of commercial chains controlled or influenced by the very forces they're protesting against truly Hongkongese? While they may be hiring local people, the profits leave the Hong Kong sphere to enrich China. Is that a neutral act?

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [4]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          A: I said nothing regarding local businesses, but also your quote doesn't back up your claim that it was a locally owned and operated business. The article said nothing about its ownership at all....

          A: I said nothing regarding local businesses, but also your quote doesn't back up your claim that it was a locally owned and operated business. The article said nothing about its ownership at all.

          B: I'm not claiming that anyone anywhere can be pure, but there's a concrete financial and political difference between a company controlled from the mainland and one from Hong Kong.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              You seem to have mistaken how the "yellow" and "blue" labels work. They don't identify businesses which are owned by Hongkongers or by mainland Chinese. They identify businesses whose owners...

              You seem to have mistaken how the "yellow" and "blue" labels work. They don't identify businesses which are owned by Hongkongers or by mainland Chinese. They identify businesses whose owners support local Hong Kong democracy or whose owners support Chinese rule:

              Apps and websites are springing up to advise residents on which businesses are declared yellow, or supportive of the pro-democracy campaign.

              Those suspected of being backers of Beijing are coded blue.

              They're political labels, not financial labels.

              FYI: @MimicSquid

              3 votes
              1. [3]
                Comment deleted by author
                Link Parent
                1. [2]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  You also had your own moment of confusion here: "The article's trying to present these "blue businesses" as being Mainland owned". The article makes no such assertion. It doesn't talk about...

                  That's the point I'm trying to make.

                  You also had your own moment of confusion here: "The article's trying to present these "blue businesses" as being Mainland owned". The article makes no such assertion. It doesn't talk about ownership of businesses, it talks about whether businesses support the Hong Kong protests.

                  but GGP seems to think

                  I don't recognise "GGP". What does this mean?

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Comment deleted by author
                    Link Parent
                    1. Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      Not necessarily. It implies that Chinese chains are "blue businesses" - and that's a natural connection to make. If a business is owned by a Chinese entity, it probably is supporting Chinese rule...

                      The above quote(wrongly) implies that "blue businesses" and Chinese chain stores are one and the same,

                      Not necessarily. It implies that Chinese chains are "blue businesses" - and that's a natural connection to make. If a business is owned by a Chinese entity, it probably is supporting Chinese rule over Hong Kong.

                      However, this sentence does not say or imply that Chinese chain stores are the only "blue businesses". There are other blue businesses which are not Chinese chain stores. Chinese chain stores are just one example of "blue businesses". They're not one and the same.

                      Here's a different example of that type of writing: "If you serve vegetables, things can be even worse. Broccoli has been repeatedly thrown off plates." Here, it's clearer that, while broccoli is an example of a vegetable, it's not the only vegetable.