At a BBC World TV interview on 6 October, my fellow interviewee mentioned Hong Kong's identity. This I happened to have flagged up in an earlier TV interview on Beijing's CCTV.
As Mainland China's political, economic and social impacts on Hong Kong have grown dramatically in recent years, the perception that Hong Kong's unique identity and way of life may be at risk is feeding much of the passion driving what in many ways is a spontaneous student movement, with no lack of supporters from younger members of the general public.
This rising consciousness of Hong Kong's separate identity is well dissected in an aricle by Wang Gungwu, a celebrated historian who is now chairman of the East Asian Institute and a professor at the National University of Singapore. The article first featured in the Straits Times and was later reprinted in the South China Morning Post of 8 October, 2014. Download South China Morning Post - Wang Gungwu - Test of Wills
At the BBC interview, I referred to the genie let out of the bottle. It's a genie that obeys the dream in Hong Kong's young hearts and minds - the dream of a more equitable and just future where the leader is freely chosen by the people and fighting for their dreams.
That dream is articulated by a Hong Kong young lady in a video of the New York Times of 7 October and in an anonymous letter to the students by a HK Mainlander which first appeared in the Asia Literary Review and was reprinted in the South China Morning Post on 10 October, 2014. Download Letter to HK students - Tonight I picked a side
It is also captured in the impassioned songs sung loud by the crowds such as the Beatles' (John Lennon's) Imagineand Hong Kong's late pop singer Beyond's Broad Seas and Open Skies (in Cantonese).
These are manifestations of the so-called "Generation Z", born in the internet era and passionate with ideals to change the world, as expounded in a research paper of 22 October, 2014 by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a Hong Kong think-tank. Download Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre 智經研究中心 - Generation Z (in Chinese)
This shows that a powerful driver of Hong Kong's civil disobedience movement is as much the dissatisfaction and frustration with an unequal and unjust society as the perceived erosion of Hong Kong's own identity, which a Chief Executive chosen by a narrow committee is perceived as unable to defend. Hence, the rapid build-up of broad-based support by the younger Generation Z, armed with passion and mobile technology.
Nevertheless, Beijing's worries about a free-for-all universal suffrage system for Hong Kong are well understood. Hence, safeguards in Article 45 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution, to ensure what some may regard as wanting to know the outcome before an election is held. Click here
Moreover, there are suspicions that there could be more extraneous influence at work than meets the eye.Click here
On 11 October, the English edition of The People's Daily, China's official mouthpiece, featured a front-page articlesaying that Louisa Greve, Vice President of the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), met key members of the Occupy Central movement several months ago. Greve is responsible for Asia, Middle East and North Africa and was frequently associated with "Tibetan independence", "eastern Turkistan" and other independence movements. The article decries US's vain attempt to trigger a "Colour Revoultion" in China by fermenting an "Umbrella Revolution" in Hong Kong.
The timing of the latest revelations about CY Leung's pre-election deal with an Australian company may invite further suspicions.
Identity aside, social discontent out of unbridled capitalism, of which Hong Kong may be an exemplar, is rising across a globe embracing capitalism with a vengeance. In this regard, the Hong Kong young lady may well be speaking for the rest of the world.
The following are apt illustrations in this regard -
For China, Embarrassing Parallels Between Hong Kong Protestors and America's 99% , Ana Swanson, Forbes Online, 6 October, 2014 Click here
Hong Kong Occupy Central - Globalization, Capitalism, Identity - IMD Professor Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Forbes Online, 5 October, 2014 Click here
With the dynamics playing out for the heart and soul of Hong Kong under the One Country Two Systems formula, Hong Kong is near what I would call a Martin Luther King moment. There comes a time when a society's rift has to be healed. A game of chicken is no substitute. It's time for both sides to explore pragmatic ideas for the way forward. Some are suggested in my Op-ed article in the South China Morning Post of 7 Ootober.
My participation in a radio panel discussion on Voice of Russia on 8 October together with Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World and an RT analyst.
Voice of Russia's brief transcript is here. Please note that the reference to a "Law Arbritration Committee"" is erroneous. If my intervention was carefully listened to, I did refer to a "nominating committee"" under Hong Kong's Basic Law. Naturally, the overall slant of the discussion was not as balanced as I wished.
My live TV interview with Beijing's CCTV English on 5 October, 2014. I ventured to highlight the conundrum of One Country Two Systems as the student and other protests in Hong Kong reflect a growing clash of identities with those in the motherland. My interview slot starts at 16:50 of the recorded TV clip.
In my live interview on RT in London on 2 October, 2014, the lady anchor suggests that there is some evidence of possible foreign influence in the Hong Kong protests.
There are growing suspicions in Beijing that foreign forces have been at work. Some of the student leaders were trained in America's Hong Kong Centre in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The US National Democracy Institute (NDI), whose objective is to promote democrcacy and electoral reform worldwide, has been funding a web program in the University of Hong Kong where Dr Benny Tai is the top leader of the Occupy Central movement.
What is more, it has been widely reported in the Hong Kong media that Jimmy Lai, the owner of the most anti-Beijing and anti-establishment newspaer, the Apple Daily, has secretly donated millions of dollars to prominent activist groups and individuals. Mr Lai is a good friend of Paul Wolfowitz, former US Deputy Defence Secretary.
Last year, a large caste of military-grade rifles dis-assemblied in various parts was uncovered by customs in Hong Kong. The shipment came from the United States.
While none of the above is conclusive evidence of foreign instigation, it is no surprise that Beijing has become rattled as the students and the other activists demand no less than the overthrow of the decision of the highest state organ in Beijing and the resignation of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong appointed by the Beijing government.
The fact that Hong Kong has enjoyed international reputation as the freest economy in the world with freedoms and liberties many countries would envy and that it was Beijing's initiative to include the idea of universal suffrage in Hong Kong's Basic Law in the first place has rubbed salt in Beijing's wounds..
Beijng now smells a plot to engineer a "Colour Revolution" in China through an "Umbrella Revolution" in Hong Kong. The article of 1 October 2014 Xi Jinping could be China's last Communist ruler by Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Director of Standford's Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, only served to confirm Beijing's suspicions. Beijing's anxiety was manifested in the tight censorship in China of reports on Hong Kong's protests and suspending the free flow of Chinese tourists to Hong Kong for the time being.
Most of the Hong Kong population, while all welcoming more democracy, do not want to risk Hong Kong's stability by turning it into a base for subversion. Hence months ago, there was a massive rally of Anti-Occupy Central campaign gathering over 1.5 million personal signatures.
Meanwhile, many businesses and workers are getting impatient and worried that the Occupy movement is disrupting and threatening their daily livelihood. So the society has become polarized.
The Hong Kong government is now taking a strong stand on maintaining law and order so that the normal actitivities of the city can resume while offering to talk with the students and other activist groups to explore avenues to resolve the impasse. But there is no hope that any solution will depart from the safeguards of the Basic Law and threaten, in Beijing's mind, the very foundation of the One Country Two Systems formula.
At the end of the day, the majority of Hong Kong people are likley to support implementation of One Man One Vote in 2017 as promised by Beijng, however restricted the nomination system, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Furthermore, the students and the pro-democracy camp have been jeering C.Y.Leung, who became the current Chief Executive by winning only 689 votes in a 1,200-member election committee. They have been reported as admitting that if the electoral reform is derailed by their opposition, CY is likely to be the greatest beneficiary if the current election system remains unchanged.
The reality is that there has never been trust between Beijing and the pro-demcracy camp. If One Man One Vote were allowed to proceed as planned, however imperfect the nomination scheme, there would at least be a chance to build the necessary trust on both sides to take democracy in Hong Kong forward in future.
In the eyes of Beijing, that would accord with the principle of gradual and orderly progress in the light of the actual situation in Hong Kong. as enshrined in Article 45 of the Basic Law.
Whilst in London on a visit, I was interviewed by long distance phone call on Beijing's CCTV News on 3 October. The update focussed on the impact on Hong Kong's business and other sectors of the community.
My appearance on the News clip starts at meter reading 07:40.