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Opportunities and Constraints for Social Movement: Hong Kong

             The Umbrella Movement was unprecedented in Hong Kong's protests history in terms of both duration, scale and its ways of protest. Protesters have blocked the main roads for months demanding the withdrawal of the political reform framework for 2017 Chief Executive Election by Standing Committee of National People's Congress (SCNPC). While the movement is still going on, it is not difficult to notice both its opportunities and constraints that have already arisen. Meanwhile, it is also interesting to look into why this large-scale movement broke out right now, but not before other critical moments in Hong Kong history? .
             Opportunity 1.
             The Threat of Mainlandization.
             Political opportunity refers to "the consistent dimension of the political environment that provides incentives for collective action" (Tarrow, 1994). The Umbrella Movement broke out in a post-handover political environment with anxiety that One Country Two Systems" was a broken promise and integration with China unavoidably clashes with Hong Kong. As a result, core values, such as freedom of the press, speech and assembly and the rule of law, which were upheld in the colonial times has been eroding since 1997. The legislation of the anti-subversion Basic Law Article 23 prompted the 2003 marc with 500,000 protesters, who considered the Article a constraint of freedom. .
             In recent years, such worry of mainlandization was even more explicit. Beijing's White Paper released in June stipulates that it Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy is subject to the central government's authorization". This goes against what was stated in the Basic Law that the SAR shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy for all affairs except those regarding diplomatic affairs and national defense. In response, there is a belief shared by the protesters in the Umbrella Movement that a democratic system ensures a possibly for electing a government that upholds the autonomy guaranteed in the Basic Law.

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