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Peaceful protests necessary in China-Hong Kong dispute

Protesters frantically using umbrellas to fend off pepper spray attacks and police using batons to strike out at protesters—these are the images that have been splattering newspaper pages recently. In Hong Kong, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets, protesting the Chinese government’s decision to block open nominations to their 2017 city leadership poll. Protesters must utilize diplomacy and peaceful protesting to negotiate with the government, and not resort to violence in their demands.
Although they historically have a precarious relationship, Hong Kong and China have coexisted in relative stability since 1997 under the constitutional motto “one country, two systems”—indicating Hong Kong’s limited democracy and China’s communist government. However, many view Beijing’s stance on the 2017 elections as an infringement upon this agreement.
Despite the current violence, ending protests in Hong Kong would not only be unlikely, but also counterproductive. Due to the clashing ideologies of capitalist democracy and communism, peaceful protesting remains the most effective way for Hong Kong citizens to voice their discontent. In 2003, when a controversial security law was proposed, Hong Kong residents publicly dissented and dropped it from the legislative agenda. Likewise, protests remain an effective method for citizens to promote their agenda.
However, protesters should not resort to violence, as is the status quo. Violence only heightens tensions, hindering efforts to reach a consensus. Though scheduled diplomatic talks have potential, a reduction of violence would help create a stable environment for genuinely effective talks to be held.
Thus, the national government and the Hong Kong city government must resolve issues regarding balance of power through negotiation. Hong Kong citizens should push their agenda through demonstrations—not violently, but using peaceful and collected protests.

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