Technology, The Second Amendment, And Hong Kong

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong should be instructive for everyone in this country. You have a territory that was once a colony of Britain and is now essentially a vassal state of Red China. The people there have never been entirely free. While freer as a British colony, they were still ruled by edicts from London. Now as part of China with the “one country, two systems” policy, they are still ruled from afar. What they want is what we take for granted in the US – human rights, freedom, and democracy.

These protesters understand something that all the Democrats running for president, much of the media, and even too many Republicans don’t. That is the real purpose of the Second Amendment.

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

They don’t plan to go duck hunting or deer hunting in Hong Kong. They fully understand the Second Amendment is what gives the people the power to change or overthrow a tyrannical government. While former presidential candidate Rep. Eric “Nuke’em” Swalwell is incredulous that people armed with mere small arms could take on a world power, one need only look to Afghanistan or to our former adversaries in Vietnam.

Modern technology gives the pro-democracy protesters a communication advantage that is hard to stop. They have found that Tinder can be used for more than hookups and that Poke’man Go isn’t just for my son-in-law to drive my daughter crazy.

Posting information about protests on Tinder is just one of several creative ways Hongkongers are using technology to mobilize people. For more than eight weeks now, technology has been at the center of organizing demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill.

People primarily communicated through Telegram groups and streamed their actions on gaming platform Twitch. As violence has escalated in recent weeks, though, police have been cracking down harder. So now protesters are resorting to more unorthodox methods of organizing and communicating online.

One of those methods, besides Tinder, is Pokémon Go.

When the Hong Kong police denied protesters permission to march in one of the city’s suburban neighborhoods on safety grounds, the protesters decided to say that they weren’t going for a march — they were just showing up for a game of Pokémon Go.

Rather than sneaking out messages like dissidents did using samizdat in the old Soviet Union, protesters are using Apple’s peer-to-peer AirDrop to pass on information to visitors from the rest of China. These visitors normally would only hear what the government allowed them to hear in China.

What makes AirDrop the ideal communication tool in this case is that it bypasses Chinese censors; news of protests in Hong Kong against the extradition bill have been blocked on popular social media platforms in China such as Weibo, WeChat and Baidu

I don’t know what will eventually happen in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, we in the United States should be paying attention. This is true especially now that you have media and technology giants controlling some much of what we see and hear. When you combine that with the statist nature of most politicians, right or left, it becomes an imperative that alternate voices are heard. You know like ones that ask the hard questions about the efficacy of background checks or red flag laws.

Hog Wild In Hong Kong

I knew that Texas and many places in the South have trouble with wild pigs. It looks like they aren’t the only ones. According to the Wall Street Journal, the population of wild pigs or boars has exploded in Hong Kong. The number of human-pig interactions has grown due to the growth in the number of wild pigs.

On a Sunday in May, a wild boar got into the Paradise Mall in the city’s Chai Wan district, walked into a children’s clothing store and scared off the two employees. The small female boar climbed up into, and then crashed through, the store’s ceiling. It bit a mannequin and was trapped in a changing room before it was tranquilized by authorities.

Earlier in the day on the other side of town, another wild boar was subdued in a public park after taking a swim in a lake. The week before, police with riot shields chased a boar into a parking garage and barricaded it with dumpsters before it was taken away.

“They are wild animals and not pets,” says Chan Kang, the 72-year-old factory owner who leads the Sai Kung Wild Pig Hunting Club—so named because Hong Kongers use the terms “wild pig” and “wild boar” interchangeably. “They are fierce and not kind.”

But partly due to the new boar boosters, Mr. Chan’s team killed “less than 3 boars” last year compared with “over a hundred” a year a decade ago. The boars are growing in number and “fear no man,” Mr. Chan said.

The city, he says, didn’t have a wild boar problem when the hunters were allowed to roam more freely.

On the other side of the spectrum is the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group who contend that the boars are gentle and the hunting of them  should stop. Roni Wong, who founded the group, hands out pamphlets featuring drawings of the boars as fuzzy, adorable animals. Even though he has a picture of a boar nuzzling a cat, I’m wondering if the boar is merely sizing up the cat as a potential meal.

Seeing the damage that hogs have caused both farmers and the environment in the US, it is hard to believe that Chinese hogs are any different. Perhaps Hong Kong would be better off letting Mr. Chan turn a few hogs into Moo Shu Pork. Either that or we send them Pigman.