Why Is Hong Kong the No.1 Most Inspiring City in Good Magazine’s Good City Index?

    Hong Kong comes alive at night. (<a href=Harald Kobler/Flickr)"/>View of Repulse Bay in HK. (Image: Jenny Ng/KZG)Protesters' tents in Admiralty in HK.  (Image: Jenny Ng/KZG)

    Good Magazine‘s GOOD City Index rates the top 50 most inspiring cities in the world.

    This year, Hong Kong took the No.1 position.

    Cities are rated according to 8 criteria: Hub for Progress, Civic Engagement, Street Life, Defining Moment, Connectivity, Green Life, Diversity, and Work/Life Balance.

    Even though Hong Kong was in the middle of the Umbrella Movement protests, this actually added credit to HK as an inspiring city.

    Civic engagement

    In August, the HK government issued an agreement with China allowing Hongkongers to vote for their chief executive—but only from a pre-approved list of candidates. Finding no platform or forum to vent their frustrations and opinions on this “fake democracy,” citizens of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement (which formed in 2013) organized an act of civil disobedience in late September, which later turned into the protests that have made headlines all over the world.

    However, it’s very impressive that during the Umbrella Movement, there was little violence up to the time the ranking. Up till then, no shops were damaged, no police cars, overturned or burned, and all the rubbish was removed. Protesters even separated the rubbish according to its categories for recycling. Things were well organized. Even when police used tear gas in the beginning, people still did not take violent actions. The protesters adhered to non-violence.

    Good Magazine also praised HK for the“glory of the tiny fishing village that grew into Asia’s bridge to the West—not only rerouted the political consciousness of Hong Kong, but also showed the world that impassioned protests could be conducted with the utmost civility. Symbolized by the creativity and ingenuity of the ‘Umbrella Movement,’ the protest has been rooted in a strong yearning for mutual respect, freedom of expression, and an abiding belief in possibility.”

    During the Occupy Central movement, those in the education sector offered classes to students within the occupied areas, setting up impromptu classrooms and lecture areas, while nurses and trained medics volunteered at the dozens of first aid booths. On a larger scale, city workers came together to volunteer and donate. Bathrooms in government buildings were filled with donated toiletries and makeshift showers built out of tents and punctured water bottles. It’s another example of how the protests brought the city together.

    That is unique for HK. The real human nature of compassion is seen in the Umbrella Revolution. China should be proud of HK.

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