Are the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong coming to an end? No, but the airport is once again open and back in operation. If nothing else, that should diffuse some of the tension with the Chinese government. They’ve been highly critical of the impact the airport closure has had on tourism and commerce in general. That situation appears to have changed significantly in the past twelve hours, with protest leaders publishing apologies to the traveling public and moving into designated protest areas in the airport terminals. (Associated Press)
Flights resumed at Hong Kong’s airport Wednesday morning after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence that highlight the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and the authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
About three dozen protesters remained camped in the airport’s arrivals area, a day after a mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancelations. Additional identification checks were in place, but check-in counters were open and flights appeared to be operating normally.
Protesters spread pamphlets and posters across the floor in a section of the terminal but were not impeding travelers.
One group published an apology online, saying, “It is not our intention to cause delays to your travels and we do not want to cause inconvenience to you, We ask for your understanding and forgiveness as young people in Hong Kong continue to fight for freedom and democracy.”
This seems like a wise move on the part of the protest organizers. As much as I sympathize with the pro-democracy movement, I’ve long objected to these types of tactics when they are employed here in the United States and the same applies to Hong Kong. When you want to get your point across and hopefully elicit sympathy and support from the public, shutting down major routes of travel is not the way to go about it. It’s beyond disruptive to a damaging degree and all you’re going to accomplish is angering the very people you’re hoping to convince.
Of course, that might not matter to some of the protest organizers because they appear to be performing for a different audience. If you watch the video coming from these protests you will notice that many of the protesters are carrying signs banners printed in English. Others are waving American flags. They are clearly trying to drag the United States into this dispute in the hopes that we will apply diplomatic or economic pressure on China to give in to some of their demands. Sadly, I think we already have enough problems of our own with the Chinese.
Meanwhile, the Chinese military continues to assemble at the border. This brief report from Sky News Australia captures video of Chinese tanks, armored personnel carriers and other hardware streaming into the area. On one highway, the line of military vehicles speeding toward Hong Kong literally stretched to the horizon.