John Lanchester, 9 December 2019
From abroad, you can get the gist about the protests, but you don’t see how completely inter-generational the divide is. It is one of those increasingly common issues – common globally, I mean – where you have a good chance of knowing what a person thinks if you know their age. Families are split; the accommodationist grown-ups miss few chances to harangue the protesting youngsters, and the youngsters miss few chances to resent it furiously. You get told, repeatedly, that the protesters are ‘children’, as young as 14 or 15 or even younger. This is supposed to suggest that the protests are in some sense trivial, though of course it’s possible to take it in the opposite sense, as a sign of how desperately fractured Hong Kong has become: a society in which only children can tell the truth, and only children feel they have any political agency.