The Umbrella Revolution

The Umbrella Revolution

Student protesters in Hong Kong’s Central District have been protecting themselves with umbrellas and plastic sheets. It’s raining tear gas and pepper spray.

Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 with the promise of “One Country, Two Systems,” a pledge that HK citizens could choose their own leaders by 2017. Beijing has reneged on this, hence the pro-democracy protests and the umbrellas. But don’t try to email, text, post, or tweet the word “umbrella” in the city today or you’ll get in trouble with Chinese authorities.

Some Hong Kong protesters put down their umbrellas to meet police with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture they learned from Ferguson’s protesters, but they wear surgical masks and goggles because it doesn’t stop the pepper spray.


“Hong Kong protests: What you need to know,” Katie Hunt, CNN

“Why is Hong Kong protesting?” BBC News

“How the umbrella became a symbol of the Hong Kong democracy protests,” John Henley, The Guardian

“How the humble umbrella became a HK protest symbol,” Samanthi Dissanayake, BBC News

 “Drone Shows Thousands Filling Hong Kong Streets,” Nero Chan video via Storyful/YouTube

“The View From Instagram: Hong Kong’s Democracy Protests,” Worldcrunch

“Hong Kong’s umbrella revolution may be the politest protest ever,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

“Not Even China’s Great Firewall Can Shut Out News About Hong Kong’s Democracy Protests,” Christina Larson, Businessweek

“Protesters Are Using FireChat’s Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

“Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Fighting for Their Economic Future,” Michael Schuman, TIME

“Hong Kong People!” Louisa Lim, New York Times

“Hong Kong’s democracy movement has moved way beyond just students,” Lily Kuo, Quartz


“Western media says Hong Kong protests are ‘clean and orderly.’ Is that racist?” Vox

“Why protesters want Hong Kong’s chief executive to go to hell,” Lily Kuo, Quartz

“Hong Kong chief vows to remain as tensions deepen with pro-democracy protesters,” William Wan and Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post


“The Surprising Way in Which China Censors the Internet,” Charles Q. Choi, Popular Mechanics

Keep up with the news:

“The best live-blogs, live streams and Twitter feeds for following Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution,’” Stefan Constantinescu, Quartz


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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