Monthly Archives: October 2014

Huffington Post: Umbrellas vs. Riot Shields as Hong Kong Protesters Expand Occupy Camp, 15.10.14

Photo story for Huffington Post

tom grundy huffington post

‘Umbrella Movement’ activists in Hong Kong clashed with riot police on Tuesday evening in an attempt to expand an area near the city’s government headquarters currently being occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators.

Quartz: Here’s the Simple, Democratic Way to Hold a Chinese Election, 10.10.14

Analysis for

As Hong Kong’s pro-democracy sit-in protests wane, the city’s impeccably behaved student demonstrators can already claim a moral victory. Yet no amount of peaceful dissent is likely to cause Beijing to budge on its conservative reform plan for the city’s 2017 elections.

Over the past fortnight, student protesters have gained public sympathy and succeeded in laying bare the illegitimacy of the local government. They were never going to win against China, but it may not matter. This is because the man who originally inspired the city-wide occupations has a Plan B—one which will likely infuriate Beijing and may even work.

The idea to block roads and bring Hong Kong to a standstill as a protest of “last resort” was first suggested by law professor Benny Tai almost two years ago. State media and pro-government groups dubbed Tai and his co-organizers “radicals” and “extremists,” labeling their proposal “terrorism.” But just as support seemed to be fading for Occupy Central last month, students embraced Tai’s strategy for mass occupations off the back of their own week-long class boycott.

Hong Kong Occupy Central leaders

Occupy Central organisers Chan Kin-Man, Benny Tai and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming officially launch their civil disobedience campaign on Aug. 31st.(Photo/Tom Grundy)

This gave rise to the pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” with tens-of-thousands of mostly young protesters shutting down some of the city’s main thoroughfares. They scrubbed protest sites clean, recycled trash and stood firm despite tear gas and attacks from pro-government mobs—thus winning hearts and minds at home and abroad.

Huffington Post: How Hong Kong Protesters Put the ‘Civil’ into ‘Civil Disobedience’, 09.10.14

Feature for Huffington Post

“It’s made in China so we don’t trust it would even blow up properly.” Sirius Lee (his real name) has few concerns over the safety of the crude-looking 40-socket USB charger he purchased for HK$500 (US$64) from the mainland. The contraption sits in a mesh of cables at a mall near the main Occupy Central protest camp in Hong Kong. Over the past six days, over 2,000 people have entrusted their phones and tablets to 22-year-old Lee and his team of 30 friends who man the “Recharge Corner” in shifts.

Smartphone-addicted Hong Kongers at the protest camp are so grateful for the free service, they have given food and chocolates to the team. Should the police move in, Lee’s team can escape rapidly into the metro system after pulling down an “emergency sign” that tells people who to contact to retrieve their phones.