French Révolutionaires, too old for Hong Kong democrats
French are oddly not concerned by the pro-democracy fight in HK
La guillotine is much more entertaining.
After announcing my departure to Hong Kong I more than once had the occasion to be asked from my fellow frenchmen how lucky or crazy I was to go to Japan. Japan?
It is hard to produce something appealing to the reader when you deal with pro-democratic movements. No sit-in, no silence march is entertaining enough to catch its attention. Yet this becomes even harder when the movement in question is located in an almost unknown of but by name place by your audiences. But meanwhile, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement is by many ways appealing to a french public. OCLP threatens to disrupt the financial center of Hong Kong if China doesn’t allow for the organisation of democratic elections by international standards, in accordance to its engagements with the UK when HK was retroceded. It is a fight, and a fight for democracy, something our French historical myths are being built-on. And such a fight against China could fit into the long and ongoing coverage of the Dalai Lama peaceful combat for Nepal against China.
Too much work for would-be activists
But the coverage of the recent events by the French media was maybe not up to the stakes at play: le Monde and le Figaro both relied on the AFP press agency to produce a good enough but flat article. The leftist and activist history of Libération lead it to propose a much more engaged article from their correspondant in Hong Kong. After all Hong Kong means China, and whatever concerns China and can induce some fear sells well in France. But it is the long lasting tradition of the French people taking on the streets that should have lead to some kind of reaction in France. At least an expression of sympathy… Even before the Beijing Olympics, the flame run got interrupted by pro-tibet french activists in Paris. Sadly for OCLP the middle-east and Eastern Ukraine issues overshadowed the fight for democracy of a once colony of the UK, somewhere far far away.
Occupy central new winter collection: let’s Cocarde up!
What lacks is a element of color, something the French people can relate too. The Hong Kong protesters need a sign that could trigger empathy from the self-called mother nation of the Human Rights. From Gandhi to the monks of tibet, our french mindset tends to associate directly a shaved head to the fight for democracy and auto-determination in Asia. I doubt the OCLP leaders had that in mind yesterday, when they got their head shaved. As one of my fellow Chinese classmate told us, such a gesture is a way to prove its determination in Asian culture. But if every opponent to China gets its head shaved, you can bet some Parisian students from la Sorbonne will do the same as a sign of support soon, even if I doubt that it would help the movement to any sensible extent…
But at least, that might mean the start of a money-earning freelancing career for the selfish me…