And so…the gathering of a few dozen Yellow Ribbon students and political activists at UMAC’s Hengqin Island campus, born as a protest and later announced as an assembly, which although again one of protest, did not become a bitter challenge to academia, the government, the conservatives or the pro-Beijing establishment, the Basic Law, China itself, or to anyone. In times of enormous political strain, to say the least, the winds blowing from Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement could negatively influence the better judgment of the students who have been voicing nothing more than solidarity with the Hong Kong Federation of Students. When common sense goes, it is usually replaced by paranoia.
However, it took just one wise guy like the University of Macau Rector, Wei Zhao, albeit in absentia, to make a difference and allow the get-together of pro-democracy activists, and even score some points. On one hand, Jason Chao deemed the event “historical”, since it was the first-ever to be held in Hengqin, thus establishing extra-territorial jurisdiction as being respected; Yet on the other, Wei Zhao took the opportunity to swear allegiance to “academic freedom” as unchallengeable, making the very best of the attendance of dismissed professor and pro-democracy persona, Bill Chou.
The following week, Jason Chao, and umbrella group Rainbow Macau, wearing no ribbons, indeed, came to the limelight again to promote a “postcard campaign” dressed to encourage LBGT residents to demand the right to be equally protected as same-sex couples in the domestic violence bill. One way or another, Jason Chao has been proving his resourcefulness in his leadership of the unofficial political/social agenda, even though he has to resort to histrionics with his preparedness to become the MSAR’s first political prisoner.
The Macau Special Administrative Region has to learn how to live with its own brand of pro-democracy, one restricted to ways of small-size activism with minimal means and limited objectives; and far, far away from the sizable Occupy/Federation/Scholarism that turned Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok into blind alleys. Although, the deadlocked pro-democracy demonstrators and C.Y. Leung found themselves bogged down, a better reinterpretation would be to let us call spade a spade.
Actually, both Occupy Central pro-democracy activists and the Blue Ribbon Hong Kong conservative establishment are not about to negotiate any kind of understanding, rather they are out to force the other side to show its true colors. The pro-democracy camp managed to have an input of candid disclosures like C.Y. Leung’s USD1,800 statement or Laura Cha’s degrading comment diminishing the Occupy movement by association with US slavery. Cha is an Exco member and a HK deputy in the NPC.
Conservative circles and PRC officials got the best of the Occupy colors when it comes to democracy, autonomy, rule of law. How to preserve one country without compromising the two systems?
PS: To be fair, looking back there’s a symbolic connection with spontaneous May ’68 Paris demonstrations. Comparing the colors:
Blue Ribbon – This concerns everyone (Cela nous concerne tous).
Yellow Ribbon – Be realistic, ask the impossible (Soyez realists, demandez l’impossible).