Philosophies and Rules of the Protest Movement
As the protests escalate, we will see things that make people uncomfortable. There will be smear campaigns, undercover agents and people trying to create infighting within the protest movement.
Here, I'll share the three philosophies from the beginning of the movement and four rules adopted in the beginning of September that guide the movement. There will obviously be individual cases of protesters breaking these but protesters who are deeply involved in the movement will try to abide by these principles.
Hopefully this can give some context to how protesters behave.
兄弟爬山, 各自努力 - Brothers climb a mountain, each putting in their own effort. This philosophy highlights several points. First of all, Hong Kongers should see each other as a family working together to achieve a common goal. Whether you are in the peaceful, rational, non-violent camp or the valiant group, you are still part of the same group working towards the same thing. When you disagree, you should treat other protesters the way you would want your family to treat you. The next part means that each person should do what they are willing and able to do. Nobody should feel shame for not taking risks that they are uncomfortable with. At the same time, people should respect that others are doing what what they think is right and respect their efforts. There are different ways to support the movement and people should engage the ones they feel are right for them. You can try to convince others to do certain things, but you should not force them if they are unwilling.
不分化, 不割席 - No separation or division. This philosophy deals with the right way to handle internal conflict. Different people will have different ideas of what the best course of action is. Internal fighting will weaken the movement, making it more difficult to achieve the common goal. Protesters may elaborate this list with further points such as 不抺黑 (no smearing/slandering), 不篤灰 (no betraying), 不指責 (no blaming or pointing fingers), 不譴責 (no condemning). These actions hurt the protesters involved in the movement rather than the government. When a protester sees something they don't agree with, instead of condemning anyone, they should try to convince others to improve (改善). This can mean suggesting alternatives or providing evidence and arguments for why a course of action was wrong.
齊上齊落, 一個都不能少 - Advance together, retreat together. Don't leave anyone behind. This philosophy is based on the idea that protesters are not disposable. Protesters want to minimize injury, sexual abuse, deaths and arrests as much as possible. Protesters also don't want to abandon those who have been arrested or hurt which is why there is the demand for "release all arrested protesters". To protesters, property is less important than people because property is replaceable while each individual person cannot be replaced. Each case of injury, suicide, arrest or abuse should be a source of sadness. That's why some tactics used by Martin Luther King such as sending children to be arrested, hit by fire hoses and bitten by dogs without fighting back to showcase police brutality would be unacceptable but protesters in Hong Kong will set fire to a barricade that can stop police from charging in to arrest and beat up people.
When it became apparent that there would be undercover agents and smear campaigns by the Hong Kong and CCP governments, protesters came up with rules to abide by.
People who are not following these rules are likely to be undercover agents or criminals taking advantage of the situation rather than genuine protesters:
Protesters will not maliciously harm the person or personal property of innocent individuals
Protesters will not rape or rob.
Protesters will show respect for journalists reporting the facts, medical staff, foreign friends, etc.
All actions of protesters target the Hong Kong and Chinese government's totalitarianism or persons, groups or organizations that promote/support the Hong Kong and Chinese government's totalitarianism.
Note: Examples of innocent individuals include passerby and tourists.