For 150 years of colonial rule, during which Chinese people were third class citizens and protests were violently suppressed, all of HongKong’s politicians and officials were appointed by London. It was only once British control was coming to an end that the colonial administration reluctantly, and cynically, introduced some limited democratic measures to the region, for show. After the hand-over, most of HK regional and state leaders began to be elected: the Communist Party of China brought democracy to Hong Kong in 1997, and will be introducing more in the future.
“Hong Kong was stolen from China during the Opium War of 1839–1842, when Great Britain sought to punish China for denying it the right to import opium and reap massive drug profits. Until 1997, the British Crown ruled Hong Kong with an iron fist. In the first 153 years of colonial rule the British refused to allow any general election. London had always appointed a white British aristocrat to be governor of this colony that was 98 percent Chinese. This governor had absolute power. Britain only devised an “electoral” game in 1994 as they were about to leave. Now the British and other imperialists are talking about a grievous crime committed against democracy in Hong Kong.”
“…For the latter period of its colonial occupation the British switched tactics, opting for the carrot more frequently than the stick. Though it used a lighter touch in administration after World War II — and this approach had limits; see above — Britain never went so far as to risk its own position. Indeed, when push came to shove, the cudgel was still happily relied upon; discontent in the 1950s and ’60s was smothered with a force today’s protesters couldn’t begin to imagine.
Police, after all, did nothing to stop the Legislative Council from being ransacked and defaced with the colonial flag early last month — compare that treatment with the hundreds killed in protests under British rule. What’s more, even limited improvements in governance were done cynically, as a means of pacifying a restive population. “Democratic” reforms were never seriously pursued until negotiations began between Britain and China for the restoration of Chinese sovereignty. Surely we can put two and two together and see this as more than mere coincidence.
But for some, this strategy worked. With a few token concessions — none of which compare to the rights the population now enjoys — certain segments were won over to the idea of living as colonial subjects. This led to a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, where despite being occupiers, the British were looked upon more favorably as time passed. Sovereignty and self-determination were sacrificed at the altar of getting ahead in a notoriously unequal system, where class divisions only grew more and more pronounced.
Long-standing inequalities with deep roots in the colonial period are now blamed by nostalgics on post-handover administration, and this misplaced blame is amplified by bad actors with an axe to grind. These contradictions won’t be resolved so long as outside forces attempt to interfere, and there certainly won’t be any progress if the city’s past is viewed through rose-colored glasses.”
By contrast, the 1967 Hong Kong leftist, pro-mainland riots were violently suppressed by the colonial government, during which “51 people were killed (mostly by police), of whom 15 died in bomb attacks, with 832 people sustaining injuries, while 4979 people were arrested and 1936 convicted.”
And VICE recently reported on a secret British army file from the National Archives, which shows how UK soldiers in HK planned to deal with social unrest in the 1980s. While the Hong Kong police recently used used tear gas and blue water spray , the former British Army units stationed in Hong Kong would have immediately shot down any protestors with full metal jacket ammunition.
As with other protest movements funded, derailed, distorted, and misdirected toward anti-communism by imperialist forces, the legitimate grievances come from economic discontent, inequality, and the contradictions of capitalism.
HongKong was indeed in better overall economic shape in the period before reunification, but the real reasons are not understood. HK was very prosperous between 1970 and 1990 because at that time China was entirely closed off to international trade, and HK was the single port of entry for foreign businesses seeking access to mainland markets. But after China fully opened up, HK lost this lucky advantage and is now just another city, in economic decline from its former glory, exacerbated by its neo-liberal capitalist policies which benefit the rich property owners at the expense of the working-class. The decline since 1990s has nothing to do with reunification or socialism.
On top of that, since reunification the inequality which has always been in HK is much more visible, due to the rich being now not English, who were accepted to be the ruling class, but HongKong real estate moguls and Mainland Chinese capitalists. Inequality has also in some ways increased, such as in housing, due to the rampant neo-liberalism that the ultra rich has been taking advantage of, whose interests the HK capitalist government protects. The very HongKong billionaire class and real estate tycoons responsible for the extreme inequality, unaffordable housing, and desperate situations of the poor which is the underlying cause for legitimate grievances are, disgustingly, the ones funding these riots and misdirecting the rage of HK people against the only cure for these problems, mainland socialism, because they don’t want to curb their exorbitant accumulation of wealth and property when 2047 comes.
“Civil unrest in Hong Kong stems in part from stratospheric housing prices that have locked many residents out of the market, says independent economist Andy Xie. Hong Kong property prices have risen over 300% since 2003.
Beijing needs to stop consulting with property “tycoons” and take away their political power, Xie says.”
Without the guiding light of Marxism, the legitimate grievances of people with capitalism are always misdirected onto scapegoat populations — the definition of fascism.
“Hong Kong is a harbinger of things to come…
Not for the long-awaited (and thus far still unrealized) collapse of communist China, but rather the wholesale collapse of capitalism as an economic system.
Hong Kong is a neo-liberal capitalist’s wet dream. Let’s just take a look at some numbers. 0% estate tax. 0% capital gains tax. 0% tax on income earned overseas. 0% tax on dividends from a Hong Kong company. 16.5% corporate tax. 17% top income tax bracket. And to top it all off, the Chief Executive is literally handpicked by the business community. Net result: #4 on the Ease of Doing Business Index (US is #8, by comparison).
And what is the result of having a city that’s so good for business? Well, let’s see… A Gini coefficient of 53.7 (vs. 46.5 in Mainland China and 47.0 in the US). Home ownership rate of 49.2% (vs. 90.0% in Mainland China and 64.8% in the US). The “honor” or having the world’s most expensive housing market with an average property price of $1.2 million (vs. $872k in Shanghai and $675k in NYC). Meanwhile, the monthly median HOUSEHOLD income in Hong Kong is $3,315 (vs. $4,408 in Shanghai and $4,815 in NYC). Well, at least Hong Kong has universal healthcare, which neither Mainland China nor the US has, so it does have that going for it.
As long as you have a system where millionaires and billionaires are running the show, this will be the ultimate result: desperate people rioting in the streets. As AI and automation will permanently render unemployable essentially all unskilled and semi-skilled blue collar workers (and an increasing proportion of white collar workers as well) in the next 10–15 years, scenes from today’s Hong Kong will be replicated across cities around the world (or in the case of Paris, it’s happening already).”
Overall conditions for the working class in HongKong having improved with the implementation of mainland policies which provided basic infrastructure that took care of people’s basic needs such as water, but these students have been brainwashed by the narrative popularised by the HK financial elites and foreign forces. These forces of hostile capitalist states, lead by the US, seek to use HongKong as a weak point, to drive a wedge into socialist China, the greatest threat to their exorbitant accumulation of wealth and global hegemony, and their great enemy. So it is that these confused students full of Stockholm Syndrome, misdirected rage, and self hatred have been lead to fight for those who are the actual source of their grievances, and to be against mainland socialism, their only hope of a better tomorrow.
“Despite decades of multimillion-dollar Western funding, Hong Kong has a poverty rate of 20 percent (23.1 percent for children) compared to less than 1 percent in mainland China. In the past 20 years poverty in Hong Kong has remained high while mainland China has lifted countless millions of people out of poverty. Recent protests, much like the “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong in 2014, have not raised this issue. The protests have been directed at leadership connected to mainland China, while ignoring the U.S.-connected banks and ultra-wealthy capitalists based in Hong Kong who clearly show no interest in addressing poverty or other desperate needs.”
The Chinese Communist Party is certainly at fault, for implementing the far too tolerant “1 nation, 2 systems” policy. They should have socialised HK immediately. (But their hands were tied. Had they chosen that course of action in 1997, China faced potential brutal sanctions, political isolation, as well as a colour revolution likely even bigger than this one)
The Extradition Bill
The spark of this current wave of protests was a murderer who killed his girlfriend in Taiwan hiding from consequences in Hong Kong.
There are similar and much looser extradition laws between most countries, and certainly between different regions of the same countries; for example, between Ireland and England, between New Zealand and Australia. It shows the sick and depraved hypocrisy of these countries being against the same bill (except more restrictive) in HongKong.
The HongKong bill was specifically designed to prevent uses such as political persecution: ONLY criminals indicted by HONGKONG courts can be extradited to mainland.
“Nowhere else in the world does a city have independent extradition laws, with authority above that of a sovereign country.”
Now, thanks to the retraction of the bill due to these protests, the murderer is free.
A Classic “Colour Revolution” / Destabilisation Campaign
HongKong is the single weak point in what is becoming a robust socialist country, and this classic colour revolution is the wedge that imperialists are using to use to create chaos and instability toward regime change and the toppling of governments disobedient to US hegemony. These are the methods and objectives in a trade-mark CIA operation, which we have witnessed countless times around the world:
- Fan and redirect the flames of economic discontent (from inequality produced during colonial rule and neo-liberal capitalist policies) against socialism
• Isolate and detach HongKong from China
• Reinstate foreign control
• Establish US military presence
• Destabilise and hopefully balkanise PRC
• Neutralise the greatest threat to US/capitalist global hegemony
• Recolonise China and re-enslave her people
US imperialists were behind the 2014 “Umbrella” protests, in the same way they are in this 2019 movement, and have even admitted as much.
Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation.
“Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong.”
Prominent anti-Beijing activists were caught plotting at a Hong Kong hotel with Julie Eadeh, the political unit chief of the U.S. Consulate General, adding fuel to the speculation that the uprisings in Hong Kong are the handiwork of U.S. interventionists.
“U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Martin Lee on Thursday, the State Department said”
“Multiple member organizations of the Civil Human Rights Front, the coalition behind the recent protests, receive or have received funding from the NED, a U.S.-funded soft power organization that doles out money in the interests of U.S. imperialism. These include the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong Journalists Association, Civic Party, Labor Party and Democratic Party.
Over 37,000 NGOs, with staff in the tens of thousands, are registered in Hong Kong, many of which receive funding from the U.S. and Europe.
Martin Lee, founder of the Democratic Party in the Civil Human Rights Front, met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the protests. Pompeo expressed support for the protests at the meeting. If the protests are in fact serving a progressive end, they would not be supported by the reactionary leadership of U.S. imperialism — the very force attempting to carry out a coup in Venezuela, threatening People’s Korea and trying to start a war with Iran.”
Over the last 4 months, the pro-”democracy” thugs have engaged in countless incidents of violence against people who disagree with their “protest”, and putting them in hospitals, especially the elderly who have lived under British rule. Here is just one example, not the most gruesome, but which clearly demonstrates the fascist violence of these colonised minds, fuelled by anglo-superiority complex and funded by US imperialist dollars:
The Larger Perspective
”China’s response has been rooted not in anxiety but in confidence. Beijing is convinced that Hong Kong’s elites and a substantial part of the public do not support the demonstrators and that what truly ails the territory are economic problems rather than political ones — in particular, a combination of stagnant incomes and rising rents. …
Beijing therefore thinks that its local allies will stand firm and that the demonstrations will gradually lose public support and eventually die out. As the demonstrations shrink, some frustrated activists will engage in further violence, and that in turn will accelerate the movement’s decline. Meanwhile, Beijing is turning its attention to economic development projects that it believes will address some of the underlying grievances that led many people to take to the streets in the first place…
In a speech Xi delivered in early September to a new class of rising political stars at the Central Party School in Beijing, he rejected the suggestion of some officials that China should declare a state of emergency in Hong Kong and send in the People’s Liberation Army. “That would be going down a political road of no return,” Xi said. “The central government will exercise the most patience and restraint and allow the [regional government] and the local police force to resolve the crisis.” In separate remarks that Xi made around the same time, he spelled out what he sees as the proper way to proceed: “Economic development is the only golden key to resolving all sorts of problems facing Hong Kong today.”
– Andrew J. Nathan, “How China Sees the Hong Kong Crisis — The Real Reasons Behind Beijing’s Restraint”
The Marxists in BeiJing are of course right, about the root of the problem, how to solve it, as well as the fact that these pro-imperialism and pro-colonialism protests do not represent the majority in Hong Kong. There have been many millions-strong pro-mainland and pro-communism demonstrations in Hong Kong on a much larger scale than the violent terrorism of the traitors, but are totally ignored by Western media.
The fraudulent pro-”democracy” movement will boil over and subside, as previous astroturf movements in China have. Beijing is even more experienced in dealing with such foreign sponsored disturbances after the TianAnMen Square incident of 1989. But sadly for the HongKong colonised minds, the long lasting effect of this tantrum of misdirected rage and self-hatred will be the loss of their prominent place in China’s future socialist development.