What can Tibetans learn from Hong Kong?

Ugyen Gyalpo

Ugyen Gyalpo

By Ugyen Gyalpo

WOODSIDE, NY, US, 20 November 2019

As the US Senate unanimously passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, President Trump is faced with the biggest challenge of his presidency, to sign it into law which warrants sanctions against the Hong Kong government at the risk of derailing a deal on the bitter trade war, and to risk a US stock market that has seen the longest bull run in the history of Wall Street. A lot is at stake here given the back-breaking trade war between the two giants that Trump started.

Almost a year ago, amidst the escalating trade war and China on the receiving end of it as per actual losses due to the huge trade imbalance with the US, Trump defiantly doubled down by signing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act into law despite condemnation from the Chinese. Given the US election in the corner, no trade deal with China at the expense of keeping the American values of liberty and freedom intact would actually give Trump a huge moral boost in the upcoming election and also improve his global image in question.

The People of Hong Kong are not even faced with the atrocities and colossal repression that the people of Tibet have suffered, and as of late the Uyghurs are going through. But the looming fear alone of having their sacred liberties snatched away and democracy taken hostage is enough to make them come out on the streets in droves, and they have come out loud, fearless, and in huge numbers. Not for days, not for weeks but for months now.

The Hong Kong movement for democracy is truly epitomizing the quote “give me liberty or give me death.” Every pro-democracy protester seems to be wearing a hearts made out of pure steel. An army of brave hearts who are not even scared by live bullets, not even flinching from guns pointed at them from just a few meters away, not even scared to fight off sword-wielding paid underworld mafias, not even demoralized after many young Hong Kong youths having to cut off their ties with their terrified elders who are still thinking the old ways and are now against them. Not even afraid to light gasoline on people who are pro-Chinese. For the youth there, Hong Kong is their home, a free home they were born into and they want to protect it at all costs, even if that means giving up their lives. Tiananmen that is censored in China, Tibet that is censored in China, these youth of the free society have seen it all and they don’t want them knocking at their doors. The fear is just too real. The outcry and the protest is simply spontaneous without any actual leadership.

And here we are, the children of the stolen lands, the sons and daughters of the dehumanized race and of parents who have died in exile dreaming of one day tracing back their footstep to their lost homeland, sitting comfortably and at the same time engrossed into the the levity of the social media world, the swiping finger as our mouthpiece to shoot angry emojis to vent out anger at the Hong Kong police, while forgetting to act on our own crushing cause. We have shown solidarity towards others’ cause marching hand in hand, but what about ours? How can we all sleep when we have dead countrymen and burnt bodies in the minds of our houses?

Instead of being inspired by their relentless protest and unfathomable courage, we are lost into our joyful mirth, one-sided debate, lost our head banging against the wall for decades now, the wall that swears nothing but to open door only for our complete annihilation.

When Hong Kong is as we speak suffering robbery of their ‘one country two systems’ under the very open eyes of the world, how do we suppose, how is it even plausible for the CCP to grant the same status to Tibetans, the same autonomy we dream and aspire to obtain, that is under threat in Hong Kong. I am simply dumbfounded!

And on top of this, Hong Kong’s significance to the world economy as a home to all the world’s corporations and the gateway to connect Asia to the western economies, the disruption that China is able to risk to shroud the iron clad of the totalitarian regime over a free liberal system of governance is mind-boggling to say the least.

I can only hope the Tibetan movement led by the Central Tibetan administration can learn something from this.

About the author

Ugyen Gyalpo lives in Woodside, New York, and works as an insurance agent for United Health Group, New York.

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