Wednesday 13th of November 2019

chinese capers...

hong kong
Protesters in Hong Kong breached the city’s parliament building, partially occupying the structure after violent clashes with police. US President Donald Trump appeared to endorse the unrest as being “all about democracy.”

The demonstrators used a metal trolley to break into the Hong Kong Legislative Council building after a standoff with riot police on Monday afternoon, smashing windows and eventually entering the building.


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saving the facade...

Police firing tear gas have evicted protesters who stormed and ransacked Hong Kong's parliament.

Activists had occupied the Legislative Council (LegCo) building for hours after breaking away from a protest on the anniversary of Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty to China from Britain.

After midnight (16:00 GMT), hundreds of police secured the building following a warning to protesters to clear it.

It follows weeks of unrest in the city over a controversial extradition law.

Hundreds of thousands took part in the earlier peaceful protest - the latest rally against a proposed law that critics fear could be used to extradite political dissidents to mainland China.

The protesters have also been demanding an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality during an earlier protest on 12 June. 

Hong Kong's embattled political leader Carrie Lam held a press conference at 04:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in which she condemned the "extreme use of violence" of those who broke into the legislature.

How did the day unfold?

Peaceful demonstrations had been planned for Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the handover of sovereignty.

A large-scale march, involving hundreds of thousands of people, took place in the city, and passed off in a largely peaceful manner.

Separately, officials from the government raised glasses of champagne at a formal ceremony celebrating the handover.

But at about lunchtime, dozens of demonstrators broke off and made their way to LegCo. They effectively besieged the building, as a large crowd of several hundred watched from a distance, before eventually smashing their way through the glass facade.


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this is very embarrassing...

Since the transfer of sovereignty from the British Empire to the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong is along with Macao, one of the two Chinese special administrative regions. Under the 1997’s agreements, Beijing established the western democracy in Hong Kong, which had never seen it before. For the first time, the Parliament was elected by the people.

However, while the return of Hong Kong to China marked an improvement in the living conditions of the population, it remained culturally more British than Chinese. This is no surprise to travelers.

The present massive demonstrations must first be understood as the recognition of the cultural impossibility of Chinese unification. They are disturbed by the United Kingdom and the United States, involving a “diplomat” who met and coached the leaders of the protests. We saw the most prominent element of the protests, the Hong Kong Independence Movement, waving the old colonial flag in the middle of a press conference. The same phenomenon was observed in Libya and in Syria where the National Transitional Council adopted the flag of the King Idriss and the Free Syrian Army of the French mandate.

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Jean-Louis Scarsi



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This weekend there was a further intensification of police violence against campaigners in Hong Kong. Over the past two months, police officers have attacked pro-democracy protesters using teargas, CS grenades, batons and small arms. More than 1,000 rounds of tear gas and 160 rubber bullets have been used since June, with human rights monitors accusing the authorities of beating protesters and applying “excessive and unnecessary force”.

It is likely that many of the weapons being used were made in the UK: the Omega Research Foundation has published photos of UK-made CS grenades deployed by Hong Kong police against crowds. Since 2015, the UK government has licensed £8.6m worth of arms to the Hong Kong administration. This includes licences for teargas, anti-riot shields, pyrotechnic ammunition, spying technology and other equipment that could be used in the crackdown.



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the western media ignores its ignorance...

Americans are bombarded with non-stop news on Hong Kong and Moscow rallies, but how come mass protests in Honduras and Brazil aren’t high on the agenda? Lee Camp looks at why the US corporate media are keeping mum on the subject.

Honduras, a Latin American nation of nine million people, has been hit by massive unrest, with people venting anger at pro-US President Orlando Hernandez. The wave of violent demonstrations saw the US diplomatic mission attacked by protesters – but the American mainstream media didn’t say a word about it, Camp pointed out, speaking on Redacted Tonight.

“Protesters are literally burning the US embassy because we installed a f******d [Hernandez] rule over them, how is that non-news?” he wondered.

Hondurans are rightfully furious about “the neoliberal austerity measures supported by our country and the IMF.” It caused massive layoffs, increased costs of basic goods and essentially made their lives suck down there, Camp reminded viewers.

But as long as their government is pillaging the people appropriately, our government is cool with it.

All in all, Honduras isn’t the only unrest-hit country overlooked by the US corporate media. Brazil, “the largest of countries Americans don’t care about,” has been rocked by a massive strike led by trade unions. Over 45 million people there – “can you imagine 45 million Americans agreeing on everything?”– are protesting against the right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and his controversial pension reform.

But this is “not a story your corporate media will cover,” and for obvious reasons, Camp offered. On the one hand, it may not look good for the White House administration, including a particular president. On the other hand...

The American workers might think, ’what if WE have a general strike?’

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western propaganda is well known for this type of acrobatics...

Caught red-handed! When the Chinese media published a picture showing four leaders of the Hong Kong protest movement with the head of the political department of the US Consulate, the whole anti-Beijing rhetoric took a hit. It suddenly became difficult to deny the interference of a foreign power – at 15,000 kilometres from its borders – in a situation in which that was none of its concern. Trying to conceal the obvious is always a challenging manoeuvre, and Western propaganda is well known for this type of acrobatics!

Since the beginning of the recent Hong Kong protests in June 2019, the narration of the events by the voices of the free world has been displaying a blatant lack of good faith and has been reversing all the signs, probably causing the fascination of political scientists of the future. By multiplying language distortions, it can make a Chinese domestic affair look like an international conflict, decolonisation like colonisation and a foreign interference like a humanitarian enterprise.

As with Taiwan – but for different reasons –, the Hong Kong issue is the historical legacy of a bygone era. Inherited from the salutary colonialism of the Crown, the particularity of Hong Kong gave it the right to a “special administrative regime” that the People’s Republic of China has consented to establish when the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in 1984. We are probably stating the obvious, but let us remember that Hong Kong belongs to China, as does Beijing or Shanghai. The deliberate omission of this reality lies at the root of many confusions and endless deceptions. The colonial conquest of the “Fragrant Harbour” in the 19th century unfolded in three steps. The British first annexed Hong Kong island in 1842 at the end of an “opium war” that led to the ruin of the Qing Empire and left China at the mercy of colonial greed. Then, the Kowloon peninsula was taken in 1860 during the Franco-British military intervention that devastated Beijing Summer Palace. Eventually, the “new territories” were handed over to London in 1898 for a ninety-nine-year period, adding to the long list of humiliations inflicted to China by the foreign invaders at the beginning of the century. 

This territorial unit – now named Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – was solemnly returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1997 following the procedure detailed in the 1984 agreement. Of course, Margaret Thatcher would have preferred to keep it, but Hong Kong is not the Falkland Islands, and China is not Argentina. The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declatation is a compromise between a declining colonial power that has forfeited and a major emerging force that favours negotiation that establishes a semi-autonomous regime and sets the application of the “one country, two systems” principle up until 2047. This compromise represents a twofold advantage for Beijing. The first one is political. Inclined to long-term policies, the Chinese leaders have opted for a slow transition. Without presuming its status beyond 2047, it is clear that the growing dependence of Hong Kong territory on the continent will facilitate a progressive assimilation. The second advantage is of economic nature. Equipped with remuneration for geographical location, supported by the power of the City, Hong Kong has developed into a center for Asian financial transactions.

By preserving a special regime, Beijing will be able to attract assets from the Chinese diaspora and from foreign investors to China.
As a gateway for financial flows drawn by economic reforms, this tiny territory of 1,106 km² and 7.5 million inhabitants has continued to enjoy a special status since 1997 and has no equivalent (except Macao) in popular China. The territory has its own legislation, its own currency, its own sports teams. Combining election and co-option of leaders, Hong Kong’s administrative system is more “democratic” than the one left by the British. The demonstrators demand democracy by waving British flags, the first general elections were held in 1991, i.e. after the 1984 agreements, in order to bring the administrative system into line with the objectives of the transfer of sovereignty planned for 1997. If the current crisis were to escalate, the main losers would be the people of Hong Kong themselves. Supported by the international financial world, the prosperity of the territory would quickly be destroyed and Hong Kong would be dethroned by the southern megacities of Canton and Shenzen, both of which are much more populous and powerful than the port city.

A sleight of hand that makes foreign interference appear legitimate

With a per capita GDP ten times higher than on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong demonstrators should reflect in good time on the consequences of violent actions for their island of prosperity. Instead of waving American and British flags, they should think about what West-imported democracy really is, not to mention the fate of those whom Washington abandoned overnight after pushing them into confrontation. Hong Kong’s special status and its insolent wealth are not eternal. Its special regime is transitional, even if the date of its possible disappearance is far off (2047). No international rule obligated China to adopt it, and China did so because it was in line with its national interest. Hong Kong was taken from China by the foreign coloniser 187 years ago and therefore rightly belongs to the Chinese state. It was returned by negotiation, and that is a good thing. But after this return, everything else is of no concern to the rest of the world. Therefore the only rational answer to Western warnings is that which has been read in the “Chinese People’s Newspaper” [“Renmin Ribao”] since the beginning of the crisis: “Mind your own business!”
But a leopard cannot change its spots! Most Western leaders and their media reprensentatives – they really can’t help it – keep indulging in wishful thinking. They see Hong Kong’s special status as a kind of international regime – which does not exist anywhere – even though it is an internal regulation under Chinese sovereignty. This sleight of hand gives an appearance of legitimacy to foreign interference. In a hypocritical way, it transforms a domestic issue into an international conflict and seems to justify the opinionated tone of Western leaders towards a manipulated public opinion. Then we hear how Western leaders, whose poor respect for international law is known from experience, teach Beijing lessons as if Hong Kong were a territory occupied by China! They even repeat the childish rhetoric of Hong Kong agitators, who claim that Beijing is responsible of “interference in the territory’s internal affairs”, forgetting that this territory is part of the People’s Republic of China. Fortunately for them, stupidity doesn’t kill. Overtaken by China on an economic level and unable to militarily defeat it – for obvious reasons – the United States is firing all its weapons to destabilise its systemic rival. Seasonal human rights activism is the only weapon they have left. They use it in Hong Kong as well as in Caracas or Tehran, and no one is fooled. 

When will there be a Chinese protest over the way the US government manages the multiple crises on its territory or over the centuries-old oppression inflicted on African Americans? Are those who denounce the unbearable repression that is supposed to reign in Hong Kong the same as those who organise deadly embargoes against Iran, Syria, Cuba or Venezuela? According to the calculations of the liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs, sanctions imposed on Venezuela since 2017 have resulted in the death of 40,000 people, including thousands of children deprived of medication. Aren’t the whiny women’s choirs from Paris, who demand our solidarity with the Hong Kong demonstrators for being exposed to “outrageous violence”, the same ones who, without complaining, accepted the action of the French government against the social movement of the Yellow Vests, with its 10,000 arrests, 1,800 convictions and 200 serious injuries, including 25 mutilations? Or like those who have no objection to France’s participation in a war of extermination in Yemen, that caused 50,000 dead, one million cholera victims and 8 million civilians threatened by starvation? But it’s true, wiping on your own doorstep isn’t very popular in Washington and Paris. And in these capitals of the civilised world, we are always ready to interfere in the affairs of others by invoking humanitarian principles that we trample on every day.•

* Bruno Guigue was born 1962 in Toulouse, France. He is a French former senior civil servant, a political philosophy researcher and an international relations analyst.


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