Thousands of youth protesters have crowded the streets the past weeks in central Hong Kong, demanding increased democracy and universal suffrage. Protesters are responding to China’s refusal to allow open selection of candidates for the leader of Hong Kong, according to USA Today. The first “democratic” election is scheduled for 2017, for which a panel of Chinese officials will select the candidates. One banner created by protesters read, “don’t want fake democracy.”
Although issues in the U.S. are usually not as severe as China’s untrustworthy Communist regime, the youth culture here can still learn from student-led protests. Students in America are not as involved in politics as students in other countries are, or at least not as involved as they should be. For example, in 2012, only 38 percent of citizens aged 18-24 voted in the presidential election, and that is not the lowest percentage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hong Kong citizen and 17-year-old Joshua Wong has been called the symbol of democracy across the city by the New York Times, and is one of the leaders of the protests. This student, not even of voting age , exemplifies what students should be in any government.
Many of the older generation in Hong Kong, especially those old enough to remember the massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, do not approve of the protests for fear of aggravating the Chinese government for what they believe to be a lost cause, according to a TIME article.
While people have reason to be wary, the protesters are right and brave in their decisions to stand firm in their positions. If the government resorts to force to remove them from the streets, hopefully they will have the sense to keep themselves safe. Until then, those students remain powerful role models for anyone who is faced with an injustice.
Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.