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What Are The Hong Kong Protests All About?

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Photos by Anthony Kwan & Peter Y. Chuang, Unsplash

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Protests in Hong Kong against an 'Extradition Bill' that threatens the freedom of residents have ramped up, to the point where the Hong Kong Airport had to be shut down and the Chinese army is closer to intervening upon this semi-autonomous nation.

  • Reflect On:

    Is Hong Kong now the central theatre playing out the struggle between Eastern and Western sociopolitical ideologies?

I decided to take on this article, first to inform myself better about the motivations behind the Hong Kong protests, which have been ratcheting up in recent days, and then to pass on a basic understanding to you, the reader, so that together we can follow the events going on in this allegedly ‘autonomous’ Chinese territory with some degree of context.

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First, it must be understood that Hong Kong developed into a commercial powerhouse as a British colony, and its residents enjoyed some aspects of democratic freedom not available on mainland China. British rule of Hong Kong ended when it was returned to China in July of 1997 under the framework of “one country, two systems.” The “Basic Law” constitution guaranteed to protect, for the next 50 years, the democratic institutions that make Hong Kong distinct from Communist-ruled mainland China.

The struggle for an expansion of democratic freedoms on the island have been ongoing in some form or another ever since, with some initiatives specifically supported by the “Basic Law.” Meanwhile, the national Chinese government has attempted to resist such reforms, and has been working to augment its own power and influence over Hong Kong:

  • In 2003, Hong Kong’s leaders introduced legislation that would forbid acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government. But when an estimated half a million people turned out to protest against the bill, it did not go forward.
  • In 2007, China delayed constitutional plans to implement universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive of Hong Kong until 2017; however, they added more seats for lawmakers elected by direct vote in a way that divided the pro-democracy camp.
  • In 2014, the Chinese government introduced a bill allowing Hong Kong residents to vote for their leader in 2017, but the candidates still needed to be approved by Beijing. Massive protests led legislators to formally reject the bill, and electoral reform stalled. As a result, the current chief executive, Carrie Lam, was hand-picked in 2017 by a 1,200-person committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites.

In other words, it was not a question of if there would be another populist uprising in Hong Kong, but when.

New Extradition Bill Is The Catalyst

Earlier this year, Chief Executive Lam pushed amendments to extradition laws that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face charges. In some ways, this had a similar agenda to the bill introduced in 2003 that would have directly forbidden acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government.

This latest bill is a bit more subtle, but the end result would be the same: those Chinese dissidents who are working for greater autonomy from mainland China and full democracy in Hong Kong are de facto enemies of the state, since they are working to erode China’s power over the economic and political affairs of Hong Kong. And China wants to be able prosecute such activities.

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Even before this bill, Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong had been on the rise. Activists have been jailed and pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from running or holding office, while independent booksellers started disappearing from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges. And so when the extradition bill came out, the population of Hong Kong clearly saw it as an attempt to undermine and subvert The “Basic Law” and give Beijing full authority to try pro-democracy activists under the judicial system of the mainland.

Protests Erupted

Protests started small, relatively speaking, but as we have seen with the Yellow Vest protests, attempts to crack down with a hard hand are not deterring people as much as they used to, and in fact protesters become emboldened by seeing an increase in participation. Here is an early timeline of the protests:

  • March 31: the first protest was attended by 12,000 pro-democracy protesters according to organizers (police put the peak figure at 5,200).
  • April 28: an estimated 130,000 protesters joined the march against the proposed extradition law (police estimated 22,800 joined at its height), the largest since an estimated 510,000 joined the annual July 1 protests in 2014. A day after the protest, Chief Executive Carrie Lam was adamant that the bill would be enacted and said the Legislative Councillors had to pass new extradition laws before their summer break.
  • June 9th: while reports suggested it had been the largest ever, it was certainly the largest protest Hong Kong has seen since the 1997 handover, surpassing the turnout seen at mass rallies in support of the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and July 1st demonstration of 2003. CHRF convenor Jimmy Sham said that 1.03 million people attended the march, while the police put the crowd at 270,000 at its peak.
  • June 16th: even though a day earlier Carrie Lam announced that she would suspend the second reading of the bill without a set a time frame on the seeking of public views, the pro-democracy camp demanded a full withdrawal of the bill, and went ahead with the rally, which the Civil Human Rights Front claimed saw the participation of “almost 2 million plus 1 citizens.” The government issued a statement at 8:30 pm where Carrie Lam apologized to Hong Kong residents and promised to “sincerely and humbly accept all criticism and to improve and serve the public.” Still, she did not meet the protesters’ demands of withdrawing the bill completely or resigning.

As the timeline goes forward beyond the suspension of the second reading of the bill, the protests have grown bigger, with more widespread involvement. It is impossible to list all the events that have taken place, but a good compilation can be found here.

Police have violently clashed directly with protesters, repeatedly firing teargas and rubber bullets. As well, it seems that there have been instances of unsanctioned pro-Beijing thugs on a mission to injure protesters, where police did not intervene. However, as political authorities are slowly learning in recent times, protests that resist strong-arm tactics see their demands grow beyond their initial grievance and demand reparations for state violence that has occurred during the protests themselves. Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until these core demands are met:

  • the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam
  • an independent inquiry into police tactics
  • an amnesty for those arrested
  • a permanent withdrawal of the bill

The Geopolitical Context

The protests here are emblematic of a larger struggle between different systems of national governance. Hong Kong is a particularly unique case as it is a region that developed some mature institutions of Western Democracy while still always being tied to a major Eastern civilization.

Beijing has issued increasingly shrill condemnations of the protest but has left it to the city’s semi-autonomous government to deal with the situation. But that does not mean they cannot influence even more serious internal measures. On Thursday, Chen Daoxiang, the head of the Chinese army garrison in Hong Kong, said the military was “determined to protect [the] national sovereignty” of Hong Kong and would help put down the “intolerable” unrest if requested. The army released a promotional video showing tanks and soldiers firing on citizens in an anti-riot drill.

A tweet yesterday from the Editor in Chief of China’s state-owned tabloid, Hu Xijin, warns of an imminent showdown in the wake of protests at the Hong Kong airport that were so disruptive that the Hong Kong airport authority advised all passengers to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible:

There is an implied threat that the mainland Chinese army may get involved. Chinese military vehicles have gathered in Shenzhen, a city in mainland China bordering Hong Kong, and military exercises may soon be underway.

Of course, the actions of the Chinese government are being closely watched by the Western world, and there has been no lack of condemnation for the strong-armed tactics of police. The condemnation will only increase if the Chinese government institutes even more severe measures. Countering this, Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are “fanning the fire” of unrest in the city. China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi has ordered the US to “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form”.

Whatever happens, the people in Hong Kong seem quite steadfast in demonstrating that they don’t want to allow meaningful change to be kicked down the road any longer, and certainly don’t want any more limitations to their freedom. We will see how this struggle plays out this time around.

The Takeaway

Before we start taking sides on the issues behind this protest, it is important to note that neither Chinese-style communism nor any current implementation of Western-style democracy present themselves as true vehicles for the full burgeoning of our individual sovereignty and our collective evolution.

Certainly the struggle in Hong Kong provides more and more individual citizens the opportunity to implicate themselves directly in our system of governance, and the ripple effect of this is that more people in the world will awaken to the fact that each and every one of us has an innate choice in the way we consent to be governed as a society.

Once we clear the veils of control-based deception and come to truly grasp our sovereignty and our ability to choose, we will then be in a much better position to give an informed consent to any social or political institutions we decide to create and maintain.

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Spring Has Sprung In Sweden With No Coronavirus Quarantine Or Police Enforced Lockdown

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Sweden has not enforced a mandatory quarantine or police enforced lock-down, they are still experiencing deaths as well as infections, but have not enforced policies in place.

  • Reflect On:

    Just because many governments have taken an extreme approach to "flattening the curve" does not mean that this is the best approach. Sweden trusts it's citizens to make appropriate decisions for themselves and their families, why don't ours?

While the majority of rest of the world is under a state of quarantine and some places with a police enforced lockdown, the country of Sweden takes an entirely different approach. The Western approach has triggered mass panic, fear and confusion about what is going on and when and if they will ever get to go back to how things were. The Swedish government, on the other hand has a close bond with their citizens and they have developed a sense of trust over the years by treating the adults, as adults who are capable of making informed decisions and taking appropriate measures to keep themselves and their families safe.

Sweden Takes A More Relaxed Approach

Unlike most of their European neighbours, Sweden has not closed non-essential businesses, borders or schools. They also have not banned gatherings containing two or more people. Sweden’s response to the global pandemic is being overseen mostly by the country’s Public Health Agency, which by the way, is a separate entity from their government. Sweden puts the power in the hands of the people, trusting that they will voluntarily adopt the recommended measures to delay the spread of the virus. They are still encouraging those who are vulnerable to stay at home and practice social distancing, and those who are ill to do the same, but they are not using force, hysteria, fear and panic to do so.

But in view of the evident worsening of the situation, Lena Hallengren, Minister of Social Affairs and Health and Johan Carlson, Director General of the National Institute of Public Health, presented new guidelines and regulations to try to limit the damage caused by the Covid-19 virus.

The most important of these guidelines concerns the number of customers in shops and stores, public transport and the activities of the country’s sports clubs.

Johan Carlson said, “Everyone should avoid participating in large social events, such as baptisms, weddings and big parties.” (source)

Controversial Measures

Of course, considering the state of the rest of the world, Sweden has attracted a lot of criticism from within the country and outside of it. The leading epidemiologist for the Public Health Agency, Anders Tegnell told CNBC in an interview that although his country was attempting a different strategy to defeat the spread of the virus, their aim was the same, “My view is that basically all European countries are trying to do the same thing — we’re trying to slow down the spread as much as possible to keep healthcare and society working … and we have shown some different methods to slow down the spread. Sweden has gone mostly for voluntary measures because that’s how we’re used to working, and we have a long tradition that it works rather well.”

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Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven has announced that times will be tough and has put the responsibility on the individual Swedes rather than having governments enforce strict measures, saying, “We all, as individuals, have to take responsibility. We can’t legislate and ban everything.”

Is Sweden In Danger?

It is interesting to note that as of today (April 3rd) there have been only 6,131 cases of Covid19 reported in Sweden, this ranks Sweden as 19th on the worldmeters.info list. So, in comparison to 18 other countries Sweden is actually doing alright with the measures they have put in to place.

Only time will tell if the measures taken by Sweden were appropriate or not. If they are able to manage the problem and still effectively “flatten the curve” it may be upsetting to the all the countries that are currently being asked to stay inside at all costs. A positive aspect to Sweden’s approach is that they are not using fear tactics as a means to control their citizens, less fear/stress means stronger immune systems.

Imagine if your government trusted you as a citizen enough to make the best decisions for you and your family based off recommendations instead of enforcing measures to control its citizens. I mean, can we get a little credit here to make appropriate decisions on our own during times like these? Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history shared his thoughts on the measures that are being taken to combat the new coronavirus, he referred to them as “draconian.” You can see his statement and read more about that here.

According to 21stcenturywire.com,

Only time will tell what the best response to this year’s outbreak turns out to be, but for the moment Sweden’s more laissez-faire approach should be heartening to its population. The government entrusting its citizens to observe advice and adjust their behaviours accordingly without the threat of police intervention is something that should be applauded in a free society. It also maintains a higher level of trust going in the other direction, from the public to the government. On a practical level, not employing draconian measures immediately prevents hysteria from taking hold amongst the public and allows for a slower escalation of measures should they be needed.

Trust is an important factor in a democracy where a government rules by consent of the people. Public trust in Sweden is exceptionally high, with citizens having faith that their politicians are acting in the public interest. Their propensity to treat adults like adults is key to that trust remaining.”

Final Thoughts

Just because many governments worldwide have enforced these strict measures doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the only option we have and they are the only way to effectively stop the spread. There are a lot of points worth pondering when it comes to the approach taken by most of the western world and it’s important to always keep asking questions. Absolutely stay home if you’re sick or have a compromised immune system, but for those who aren’t don’t forget to get out in the sunshine, get some fresh air, go for walks in nature and try to mitigate some of the fear and stress you may be feeling.

We are all in this together.

Articles From Collective Evolution That Go Into More Detail About The New Coronavirus.

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What Is Humanity Capable Of? This Man Got 152 Million Mangrove Trees Planted In 10 Years

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Haidar el Ali, who once served as Senegal's Minister of Environment, has led one of the largest reforestation projects the world has ever seen. The program that has successfully planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta, Senegal.

  • Reflect On:

    If one person can do this, why can't the 'global elite' who have access to tremendous resources do more of this type of thing? What's really on?

Haidar el Ali, who once served as Senegal’s Minister of Environment, led a program that has successfully planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta of souther Senegal over the past decade. This represents one of the largest reforestation projects the world has ever seen.  He’s been planting since 2009, and the success of the project truly goes to show what the human race is capable of, let alone one person.

As most of you reading this know, forests are one of the most exploited habitats on our planet, and a number of industries are responsible for their rapid destruction. Animal agriculture, alone, for example, makes up the large majority of amazon deforestation. It’s linked to 75 percent of historic deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Nearly a third of biodiversity loss to date has been linked to animal agriculture. According to some estimates,  27 per cent – more than a quarter – of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues. (source)

To truly begin exploring how new ideas can be implemented practically, watch the following video we recently put out: Regenerate: beyond The CO2 Narrative

Deforestation is a tragedy that plagues our world, and it’s something that can be solved as we have the potential as one human race to initiate large scale tree planting and reforestation, and this example from Senegal is a great example of that.

In a video interview with BBC, Haidar described how the original mangrove forest in Southern Senegal was disrupted in the 80s and 90s as the nation began to build roads which diverted or ended the flow of rivers. “At the time there were no environmental impact studies, of course.” After this he described lumbermen who clear-cut the mangroves, and then goes on to explain that the salt from sea water ended up coming in as a result and poisoning nearby rice fields. This really got peoples attention to the point where they began thinking about replacing what had been lost.

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The truth is, the human race has a tremendous amount of potential. All we hear from politicians and mainstream media seems to be nothing but talk, without the implementation of actual solutions. They’ve been doing this for years, yet you have people like Ali out there who are actually getting things done without access to the resources that the world’s elite have access to. If one man can do something as tremendous as this, imagine if the most wealthiest people in the world came together, pooled their resources and started something similar? It seems that ideas are always given, and conferences are always held and initiatives are always started, but nothing ever seems to get done when it comes to the political sphere. Countries agree to enter into certain accords that really do nothing for the planet, and crisis’ like climate change and pandemics, for example, always seem to be used for the elite to somehow profit off of them.

It’s time to ask the question, do our ‘leaders’ really have the intention to change our world for the better? Are our global organizations and politicians put in place to tackle these issues really making planet Earth a priority?

It’s hard to imagine that we couldn’t change this planet and clean it up in the blink of an eye if it actually were a priority.

If we can shut down the planet for months due to an outbreak, why can’t we do the same to make sure everybody is fed? Why can’t we do the same to spark a massive global reforestation campaign? Why are there so many barriers and obstacles to implementing solutions that can help change our world? The solutions are abundant and available, so one should ask themselves, if the solutions to our problems aren’t the issue, what is? Something to think about…

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White House: Out of 327 Million Americans – Coronavirus May Kill Up To 200,000

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the latest White House press conference regarding the novel coronavirus, President Trump and his team predicted that, with the current data available, between 100,000 and 200,000 may die from Coronavirus.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we doing the right thing here? How accurate is the date, do we have enough data? Why haven't we taken these measures before for previous outbreaks and already existing coronaviruses that infect millions of people every single year?

In one of Donald Trump’s latest press conferences, it was suggested that up to 200,000 American citizens will die from the new coronavirus. The briefing included projections between 100,000 and 200,000, as a possible best-case scenario, and indicated that they are working hard and that they can end up with a number below one hundred thousand if everything goes well. You may be thinking that one hundred thousand and two hundred thousand deaths out of three hundred and twenty seven million Americans is nothing, and in a sense, compared to other viruses and diseases that are circulating out there, you’re right. The difference with the coronavirus, however, is that the deaths are accumulating in such a short period of time.

That being said, the world, as well as America, has been through major pandemics before, with the last one receiving major media attention being the swine flu. This particular strain of the flu virus infected 1.4 billion people around the world, and in one year took approximately 60,000 American lives. The flu alone is responsible for up to 70,000 deaths every single year in America alone. In fact, a large portion of this with a flu virus, prior to the new coronavirus, already have some sort of coronavirus infection within them. (source)

Some doctors and scientists around the world are raising red flags and calling into question the measures that are being taken as a result of the new coronavirus. Claiming that there is unnecessary panic and hysteria going on. For example, Dr. Martin Dubravec, an allergist-immunologist, wrote an article for the  Association of American Physicians and Surgeons published on March 29th, in it he states the following in an attempt to provide people with perspective.

Of all the deaths reported in the United States as of today, only 2 have been in patients under 18 years of age.  Currently, our death rate (deaths/confirmed cases) has been as high as 2.3% and as low as 1.1% over the past 2 weeks.  The President’s COVID-19 Taskforce estimated that as many at 1/1000 New Yorkers may have the virus.  If this were projected to the entire United States (population 328,239,523), then the total number of COVID-19 would be approximately 328, 239 and deaths from COVID-19 (1.8% death rate) at 5,909.  Even if this ends up being wrong by 1,000 percent, the death rate would still be 59,000, i.e., within range of the estimates for influenza deaths.  You can look at it in another way.  98% of people who get COVID-19 fully recover!

As of today (March 29, 2020) there are 123,828 confirmed cases and 2229 deaths (1.8% death rate) from COVID-19 in the United States.  Compare that with the influenza estimates so far this year:  29,000 deaths!  And the flu season is not yet over, with the CDC estimating as many as 59,000 will die of influenza by May of this year.

The CDC estimates a death rate of 7.4% for influenza like illnesses and pneumonia this year.  This death rate is similar to previous years.  Who in the media is discussing this? (source)

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Coronaviruses have been in existence for a number of years, they infect tens of millions of people every single year worldwide and also contribute to their deaths. It appears that the novel coronavirus will be no different, but I don’t have a crystal ball.

 paper recently published in The International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents titled “SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data” claims that the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated. (source)

Contradictory Reporting?

In the recent White House briefing where the president provided the White House’s estimates, Dr. Deborah Leah Birx, an American physician and diplomat who specializes in HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health who is currently serving as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stated that there is not a shortage of ventilators in New York City, as claimed by multiple mainstream media outlets, like CNN. This is also confusing, to see these comments in a White House Press conference directly contradict what mainstream media outlets are reporting.  Not to say hospitals are not overwhelmed right now, but mainstream media also using hospital footage from Italy and claiming it’s from New York further contributed to the distrust people have of mainstream media.

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history recently shared his thoughts on the measures that are being taken to combat the new coronavirus. Bhakdi created a YouTube channel on March 18th, and has since posted four videos that have received more than one million views, total, in a very short span of time. Based on his reasoning, the current measures being put in by global governments are unnecessary and “draconian.” You can watch his last video, which was in the form of a letter written to the German Chancellor, here.  If you can’t understand German, be sure to turn on the English subtitles.

Implementation of the current draconian measures that are so extremely restrict fundamental rights can only be justified if there is reason to fear that a truly, exceptionally dangerous virus is threatening us. Do any scientifically sound data exist to support this contention for COVID-19? I assert that the answer is simply, no.

Dr. Wolfgang Wodargm, a well known pulmonologist sharing his thoughts on the new coronavirus. In it, he questions the current lockdown measures being taken by governments worldwide. You can watch that video and read more about it here.  Again, if you can’t understand German, be sure to turn on the English subtitles.

These sentiments also echo those of three Stanford professors of medicine who recently shared their expert opinion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary data. You can read more about that specifically, here.

Will Donald Trump and his staff be correct? Will the death toll in the United States be no higher than 200,000. We have yet to see. It should be noted that models are always very inaccurate, and new data is constantly coming in that are changing the projections.

For the most part, it seems that the measures we are taken and have may not be warranted, but is it better to be safe than sorry, or is something else going on here? Just simply suggesting that something else could be taking place will have ‘fact-checkers’ all over one’s platform, censoring it and also flagging it as ‘false news.’

According to Dr. Ron Paul. people should ask themselves whether the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic. He was flagged by fact-checkers for simply sharing his opinion.

Beyond Fear

Nonetheless, we have provided many tools to not only move beyond fear, but to increase your immune system with food, breathwork and quality supplements. We have also put out some of our latest content o help people shift conversations away from a far narrative and into one where we can question our reality and how we can effectively change it. See the links below for details.

How To Take Vitamin C Orally. It MAY Help Protect Against Viruses

How We Can Regenerate Our Environment & Planet (Documentary)

Enjoy This Free Conscious Breathing Course To Bring Peace & Heightened Immunity

Foods That Weaken Your Immune System

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