PATRICK LAWRENCE: Hong Kong’s Inevitable Showdown

This reckoning with Beijing’s authority was baked into the cake 22 years ago when the Union Jack came down over Government House.

Police and protesters at a Hong Kong airport earlier this week. (YouTube)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

It is impossible not to admire the bravery and commitment pro-democracy demonstrators display daily as they clog Hong Kong streets, shut down its airport, and disrupt the territory’s beating heart in Central, the commercial and financial district. But neither can one deny the tragic fate that appears near as Beijing stiffens its resolve and signals the threat of military intervention.

The futility of all action, the necessity of any: Maybe those protestors building barricades and hurling Molotov cocktails at tear-gassing riot police are reading Camus in their off- hours.

There is no question of Chinese President Xi Jinping compromising Beijing’s authority to mollify those now in their third month of protests across Hong Kong. He is too firm a believer in the primacy of the Chinese Communist Party to entertain any such risk. But there is too much at stake for the Chinese president to order mainland troops or police units into the territory short of a decisive challenge to the local administration’s ability to govern. This accounts for Beijing’s restraint over the past 10 weeks.

The best outcome in prospect now — and the chances of this appear slim at the moment — is that Xi will authorize influential political allies in Hong Kong to frame a set of reforms sufficient to isolate demonstrators by eliminating the broad public support they have to date enjoyed. In any other resolution of this crisis, the democracy advocates in the streets stand to lose everything. Even as they number in the hundreds of thousands, they are simply no match against a government intent on centralized control over a nation of 1.4 billion.

The escalating protests across Hong Kong were a long time coming. So was Beijing’s refusal thus far to give way to any of the demonstrators’ substantive demands, apart from suspending an extradition bill. The protesters are right: They were promised autonomy, civil liberties and democratic government by way of the “one country, two systems” principle China committed to once it reassumed sovereignty from Britain in 1997. Beijing is right, too: Sovereignty is to be defended as a precept beyond negotiation. Once the Union Jack came down over Government House, no foreign power could credibly purport to tell China how to govern its own real estate. The foreign ministry in Beijing made this clear in a bluntly worded statement two years ago.

From China’s point of view, the markedly pro-American character of at least some of the protestors is concerning as Beijing considers the U.S. a destabilizing force in its sphere of influence.

Government House in 2005. (CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Face-Saving Instrument

In truth, the Sino–British Joint Declaration signed in 1984, setting the terms for the transition of power 13 years later, was never more than a face-saving instrument to spare London the embarrassment of handing over Hong Kong to an authoritarian government ruling on Leninist principles. In the breach, the Basic Law, the mini-constitution that document established, now proves fatally short on detail. It sustains the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong’s 7 million people while opening the door to Beijing’s self-serving interpretations and its creeping interventions into Hong Kong’s courts, legislature and other governing institutions.

What began in late April as a narrow demand that the Hong Kong government withdraw legislation allowing the extradition of criminal suspects across the border to China has mushroomed into a mass movement challenging Beijing to accept authentically democratic political processes in what is formally known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This is the showdown baked into the cake 22 years ago.

China’s error in pushing its extradition law without testing the local waters reflects another misjudgment, this one further back in history. In the decades after the 1949 revolution, the flood of mainlanders who took refuge in Hong Kong developed a separate identity of their own: They became “Hong Kongers” or “Hong Kong people,” precisely as they are now. The British missed this during the final decades of colonial rule simply because it made no difference to them. Beijing, which considers blood and descent the determinants of one’s status, still fails to understand that “Hong Kong Chinese” has come to mean something different from “Chinese.”

It would be difficult to overstate what is consequently at stake for Hong Kong as demonstrators continue to fill its public space. “We are at a crossroads,” Martin Lee, a long-honored democracy advocate, told The New York Times last Monday. “The future of Hong Kong — the future of democracy — depends on what’s going to happen in the next few months.”

June 9, 2019, demonstration in Hong Kong against the extradition bill. (Hf9631, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s beleaguered and widely disliked chief executive, agreed with Lee in the grimmest possible terms. “Violence, no matter if it’s using violence or condoning it, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return,” she said after the demonstrators shut down the airport for two days earlier this week. Hong Kong stands poised, she added, at the brink of “a very worrying and dangerous situation.” 

Dangers for Xi

Not to be missed, this crisis is worrisome and dangerous for Xi, too. Given it is the most serious challenge he has faced from political opponents since he took office seven years ago, his reputation as an adroit statesman, well-earned in cases such as North Korea, is on the line. A clumsy move now would obliterate Xi’s dedicated effort to advance China as a responsible regional power and a global power in the making. This is the first direct test of Xi’s alternative — efficient, authoritarian, a depoliticized populace — to Western democracy. He does not want it to end as an echo of Hungary in 1956. 

Hong Kong is less important to China than it once was, given Shanghai’s growth as the mainland’s preferred financial center. But a goodly number of Chinese companies still raise goodly amounts of money in Hong Kong capital markets; roughly 1,500 multinational corporations have regional headquarters in the territory.

Hong Kong is the mainland’s hood ornament, in short. If a single soldier with a People’s Liberation Army uniform were to appear on a Hong Kong street, the territory’s status as a global financial center with reliable legal and administrative systems would shatter instantly. 

China’s President Xi Jinping.

These considerations, hardly lost on Xi and his advisers, leave forceful intervention by the PLA or mainland police units the remotest possibility— Xi’s nuclear option. The PLA’s garrison in Hong Kong recently released a video of troops training to quell demonstrations with machine guns; its contingent in Shenzhen, the industrial city opposite Hong Kong on the mainland, made similar footage public last week. But these can be counted as gestures, signals, warnings without words. Restraint remains the order of the day until Xi comes up with a coherent strategy in Hong Kong. He does not yet have one.

What has so far amounted to Beijing’s daily improvisations effectively dead-ended when demonstrators shut down the airport last week: That was the first step along Lam’s “path of no return.” What is next remains unclear, but “next” is likely to arrive within a few weeks at the outside. For the moment, Xi’s best option is to work through Beijing’s allies in government and the private sector to swing public opinion away from the demonstrators in favor of some form of de-escalation. 

Michael Tien, a Hong Kong legislator who supports Beijing, recently urged it to accommodate some of the demonstrators’ demands for a more authentically representative political process. While it is a sliver, there is a middle ground here. Tien has a precedent to cite: China offered a series of political reforms in response to the Umbrella Movement five years ago. They were rejected for not going far enough; the probability of a similar response this time has to be counted high.

The long view of Hong Kong is not in the demonstrators’ favor. The Sino–British accord put the one-country, two systems principle in place for 50 years; come 2047, Hong Kong is to be a Chinese city like any other. The halfway mark in this interim approaches. This suggests the current crisis is best understood as a step along a bumpy path — a path with neither an exit nor a return.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutistHis web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site. 

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115 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: Hong Kong’s Inevitable Showdown

  1. John Patrick
    August 28, 2019 at 20:52

    Good article Patrick. Unfortunately, lot of apologist amongst the commenters for the totalitarian behemoth on HK’s border. While the US is no doubt involved in the protests, it’s effectiveness is grossly overstated. Those incompetent attempts at subterfuge by Bolton and Co. are then misused by ideologues to dismiss the legitimate concerns off HK protesters.
    Looking at the fate of a million Muslims in “re-education” camps, as well as those under siege for their religion (from Falun Gong to Christianity), I take HK protesters at their word… they should be fearful of the mainland regime.

  2. Abe
    August 28, 2019 at 10:46

    “While the NED repeatedly denies it is funding various figures leading Hong Kong’s unrest directly – it has been documented that it and its various subsidiaries fund organizations these figures work with or for.

    “The NED’s own website regarding its activities and funding in Hong Kong is deliberately ambiguous to conceal the full extent of its interference in China’s internal political affairs.

    “The fact that virtually every protest leader currently involved in Hong Kong’s protests has travelled to Washington DC at one point or another specifically to attend events supporting protests in Hong Kong and the undermining of Chinese sovereignty – or has consorted with US consulate representatives in Hong Kong itself – illustrates the deep, foreign-funded nature of Hong Kong’s current unrest.

    “The NED itself is chaired by prominent American pro-war advocates as well as advocates for regime change. For example, NED board member Elliot Abrams is listed as ‘on leave’ while he attempts to organize the overthrow of the Venezuelan government. Despite the organization’s name, the National Endowment for Democracy merely hides its regime change agenda behind the notion of ‘promoting democracy.’

    “The fact that UK-based Hong Kong Watch promotes – verbatim – the protesters’ demands and agenda – with Hong Kong Watch itself being funded by the British government, further illustrates how Hong Kong’s current protests are being engineered and promoted by and solely for the benefit of foreign interests.

    “Finally, an ‘Open Letter from 68 NGOs Regarding Proposed Changes To Hong Kong’s Extradition Law,’ was signed by organizations overwhelmingly either openly funded by the US and British governments – including […] PEN Hong Kong and Hong Kong Watch, indirectly through Western-based corporate-funded foundations like Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, or who obfuscate the source of their funding as many US-UK-EU funded fronts do to avoid exposing an otherwise glaring lack of legitimacy and agency.

    “Democracy by definition is a process of self-determination – not determined overseas by Washington, London, and Brussels. Whatever it is protesters in Hong Kong are fighting for – it is not ‘democracy.'”

    Hong Kong Crisis: Made in America
    By Tony Cartalucci

  3. Donald A Thomson
    August 20, 2019 at 21:06

    When China agreed to the one country, two systems arrangement, the British political system in Hong Kong was not democratic. The British only allowed democracy for the last 2 years of their rule and the Chinese changed the Hong Kong political system back to what it was when they agreed. What Hong Kong has now is the system the British imposed. The Chinese offer to make it somewhat more democratic came before the umbrella movement which wanted more. You have to remember that the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will have the same political system in 2047; the movement to stop the offered political improvement in Hong Kong was also an attempt to prevent China from becoming more democratic whether or not the demonstrators realized that. [email protected]

  4. Zhu
    August 20, 2019 at 05:27

    There are lots of Americans who don’t like the Chinese government being independent, not submissive, and the ordinary people of China being a little bit prosperous. Many, left and right think it hurts them if others prosper.

  5. August 19, 2019 at 14:15

    This is more bullshit from a “progressive” US journalist who has no idea of what he is talking about and looks at the situation from the most superficial perspective possible.

    No investigation into the forces behind the protests, the right-wing media moguls and HK oligarchs who fund and promote the demonstrations. No investigation into the ongoing US political machinations to destabilize HK in its escalating hybrid war against China. No investigation into the role of religious fundamentalism (of the Christian variety) motivating the most virulent and violent protesters.

    But, accepting all the biased tropes about “the bravery and commitment (of the) pro-democracy demonstrators,” or the “the tragic fate” that awaits them at the hands of “a government intent on centralized control over a nation of 1.4 billion.” This sort of framing is supposed to present the rioters in a favorable light, eliciting sympathy they do not deserve.

    How can an honest journalist say, “The protesters are right: They were promised autonomy, civil liberties and democratic government by way of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle China committed to once it re-assumed sovereignty from Britain in 1997,” when China has delivered more democratic rule to Hong Kong than the British ever dreamed of. In fact what the demonstrators demand is limiting or entirely eliminating Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.

    Analysis like this supports the left-wing imperialism of the Democrats and their progressive hangers-on. It is disingenuous at best, duplicitous at worst.

    • August 19, 2019 at 18:41

      Re: “How can an honest journalist say, ‘The protesters are right: They were promised autonomy, civil liberties and democratic government by way of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle China committed to once it re-assumed sovereignty from Britain in 1997,’ when China has delivered more democratic rule to Hong Kong than the British ever dreamed of. In fact what the demonstrators demand is limiting or entirely eliminating Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.”

      I think you misrepresent what Lawrence is saying. He is talking about what was promised and subsequent expectations. It is not a critique of what was or was not delivered under colonial rule. That’s another discussion. In any case, genuine honesty would seem to require a fuller quotation: “Beijing is right, too: Sovereignty is to be defended as a precept beyond negotiation. Once the Union Jack came down over Government House, no foreign power could credibly purport to tell China how to govern its own real estate.”

      The use of selective quotations and partial analyses to distort what someone is saying might also be seen as disingenuous and duplicitous.

  6. Antonio Costa
    August 19, 2019 at 13:19

    It’s always a tad tricky to know definitively what’s happening anywhere, let alone thousands of miles away through the filter of various media, much of it with a significant bias toward US hegemony, the “missed opportunity” to pivot to the East with TTP. (TPP is a bad agreement for Americans). Of course we all care our own confirmation biases.

    Here the (US Power) struggle is not about “rights” or “freedom” or “democracy”. No, the ones who call the shots in framing the world’s disruptions, even managing them, are interested in domination, pure and simple.

    So one can see US imperial finger prints. There is an economic “war” (that horrid word so many live by). Michael Hudson has presented it aptly enough in this

    Hudson provides a lucid view of the US policy having seen this movie before with far east nations like Japan and South Korea. The term is managed capitalism, and Hudson says that’s what much of the “monetary crisis/tariffs” are all about. China took a page from the Japanese playbook – you remember the 80s when Japan was eating our economic/trade lunch. The story was the Japanese were stealing our patents, intellectual properties, were being sneaky, even stole our quality programs (which “we” never used). Things changed as various negotiating partners came into leadership.

    The Chinese trade/monetary policy is clear. And from a purely capitalistic perspective it’s working like a charm. It’s not that China is playing unfair, but that they’re winning as did the Tigers of the East several decades ago. US cannot copy this approach because it runs against the very core of US imperial capitalistic precepts. Therefore the US must threaten China a host of ways.

    I’ve read enough to know that the US is involved in this Hong Kong episode (this too shall pass). The future is very long. HK like other nominal provenances continue to push China toward some sort of secession. But this doesn’t seem likely. Instead if there are real issues, I suspect they’ll be resolved. But as long as China perceives the long arm of the US, this will persist, much like the Venezuelan push and shove.

  7. Regula
    August 18, 2019 at 21:57

    It is sad that everybody in the west wants to believe that China is this Stalinist repressive state it may have been in its beginnings. But as a Chinese commenter remarked: “the US has many presidents but only one policy. China has only one party, but many different policies. “ The policies of China are changing continuously. New civil rights and freedoms are integrated. Problems are acknowledged and solved in constructive, rational ways. Government is reformed continuously. Poverty is overcome. Ethnicities and their ways of life are integrated in ways just to them but also in ways they partake of China’s new wealth. New industries are created, existing ones reorganized and modernized. Ecology and climate protection are increasingly integrated. Beijing is actually a green city with trees, shrubs and planting beds wherever a plant can be planted. China had the largest rate of increasing leaf forests. It is reforesting in Inner Mongolia in an effort to improve livelihoods. It entirely cleaned up the terrorism problem in Xinjiang by retraining people and teaching them the ways and goals of the Chinese state. All the western accusations of gulags in XInjiang are unfounded lies. There are 56 ethnicities coexisting near the border with the adjacent -stans. Xinjiang has become the hub of BRI.

    All of that is way more progress than the US has accomplished against its hundreds of mass shootings, its problems with racism and poverty. Yet the.US has nothing more urgent to do than to than to insinuate that Xi would ask the military police to crack down on the protests. In reality, the military police stood by inside mainland China in case the violence would go overboard. That is a reasonable preparation that any government would have taken in the circumstances. In reality, the people themselves organized a protest march against the violence. Over 700’000 people turned out to urge the protesters to stop the violence. As expected, the western media didn’t report on that.And that actually returned demonstrations back to peaceful marches, despite the obvious interference of the CIA in trying to push the protesters into civil war. As it turned out, the organizers of the protests took money from the National Endowment of Democracy: that same Endowment that instigated the bloody Maidan protests in Kiev. Everybody by now knows the endowment for democracy is a US regime change organization.

    As Pepe Escobar so tellingly shows, the US desires to turn Russia, China and Iran into US vassals to destroy the BRI for good. That is the purpose these protests have: to destabilize Xi’s government. Not exactly a democratic intention.

    The US takes it for granted that countries with another state form accept the US as being “ democratic” even when it acts completely autocratic and despotic and tyrannical. But the US is unable and unwilling to accept any other country’s state form, most certainly not where a country desires to be independent.

    How can any person or country in the world believe in the goodness of US democracy when all they get from it is destruction and subjugation and exploitation. Most countries have noticed that China is tolerant of their state form and that it does not colonize the way the US does. That trust underlies the BRI which the US is so intent on destroying.

    • August 19, 2019 at 11:50

      Well written comment. Nails it. If people want to see what China is doing just get into Youtube and look up China, Mega Projects. then they will clearly see the difference between what the >US considers good governance and what China considers good governance. The US system is everything for a tiny sliver of the population China`s system is everything for the overall well being of the people.

      And one other point. What government in any democracy would put up with what is happening in Hong Kong? look what happened during the OWS movement in the USA and the Yellow Vest movement in France. The Hong Kong police have been models of moderation as compared to the cops in France and the USA.

      • rosemerry
        August 19, 2019 at 16:21

        I was amazed that Patrick found the behavior of the “pro democracy protesters BRAVE!!!”

    • Realist
      August 20, 2019 at 01:53

      Impressive, well-written, fact-filled rejoinder to the original piece. Professional quality journalism on your part.

  8. Brockland
    August 18, 2019 at 21:05

    A well-written article; to read from between the lines though, maybe the Brits were planning a showdown from 1984, but triggering one now seems ill-timed.

    Colour revolutions are more a globalist thing than an American nationalist thing. As far as U.S. arch-nationalists would be concerned, globalism may serve the U.S. empire, but not the other way around.

    U.S. regime change ops tend to be far more direct. If a nationalist U.S. administration is playing along, then maybe this is more about the Hong Kong chicken being made an example for the Taiwan monkey, but otherwise not a direct priority for consolidating their frontier. Beijing seems to be testing the waters on back-yard understandings and the extent of Trump’s power, cancelling orders for Venezuelan oil to see what happens next.

    Looks like someone in London hit the panic button and is trying to draw the U.S. into saving British bacon, like those tanker incidents in the Persian Gulf and Med. Perhaps London’s hegemony in shadow finance is feeling sufficient squeeze that they can’t afford to lose any more ground in hubs like Hong Kong.

    However, as far as Beijing must be concerned, Britain’s lease expired, and morally and legally, that’s that. The U.S. realizes their empire is overextended; Hong Kong may not be the best long-term investment for their bottom line.

    Beijing may or may not belatedly realize they they’re taking the fall for letting Hong Kong govern itself, taking the blame for popular misery under Tycoon rule. Maybe they can fix that, except that Beijing’s need to save face can be played against them fairly easily, while the Hong Kong radicals just want political power, squeezing out the middle ground.

    The extradition law, though, is a joke. Beijing hardly needs a formal extradition law to nab anyone they want from Hong Kong. If anything, the extradition controversy complicates things for Beijing’s shadow hand and isn’t much of a favour to Beijing, if that’s what Lam’s brain trust was thinking.

    Similarly, electing representatives won’t improve the lot of the average Hong Kong person, and likely make things worse. Elected reps on the Western model tend to be captured by the most corrupt bidders, and such elected reps would keep playing the blame Beijing card till Hong Kong is run into the ground. The ground could come up to smack them fairly quickly; Hong Kong’s main product ultimately is access to mainland China.

    • August 19, 2019 at 11:54

      Maybe what Bejing needs is a Paul Bremmer to take over as viceroy for Hong Kong. You know the guy who said of Iraq. ” We will beng this country to our will.”

      • Abe
        August 21, 2019 at 16:48

        Obviously that was a typo, Dan, but definitely apropos Reichskommissar Bremmer and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

        ? beng
        – to collapse
        – to rupture; to burst
        – (of a monarch) to die

  9. Robert Browning
    August 18, 2019 at 20:29

    School starts September 2.

  10. August 18, 2019 at 18:57

    I disagree with this article by and large. I think this premise is especially problematic and is foundational to the other parts of the article.

    “So was Beijing’s refusal thus far to give way to any of the demonstrators’ substantive demands, apart from suspending an extradition bill.”

    Beijing has nothing to do with this bill and did not introduce it nor does it have power to repeal it. It was cooked up and suspended by the local government. Beijing has been loath to interfere with HK for fear that this would be (rightfully) interpreted as violating the one country, two systems principle. In fact, even opposition politicians have said on the record that this bill is only the work of Lam and her underlings. The conspiracy theory that she and her Beijing backers cooked up this bill to undermine HK’s sovereignty is just that, a half-baked conspiracy theory. In fact, I would even say that if it were up to Beijing, this whole bill should have never been introduced inthe first place and that they view Lam as wholly incompetent.

    The issue has nothing to do with Beijing but with Hong Kong’s society and its local government. Ironically, the problems which made these protests possible do not stem from too much Beijing control but too little. But Beijing is in a catch-22. They can allow HK’s oligarchs to destroy their society through their unrestrained greed, expand the well gap, make the place unlivable for a large percentage of its population through real estate price hiking, or they can intervene and violate the one country, two systems principle. Either way, they will be blamed for HK’s problems.

  11. Robert Browning
    August 18, 2019 at 18:12

    5,000 PRC troops are garrisoned in downtown Hong Kong and the protesters won’t go near the place, why? Too brave?

  12. hetro
    August 18, 2019 at 16:52

    Today 1.7 million protestors in Hong Kong took to the streets. Why? Apparently, according to commenters here, ALL OF THEM have been massively duped into cooperating with US designs NED etc etc.

    Is this what you’re saying? It’s the impression I have from all the bitching and complaining in this thread.

    I submit this is over-simplified, and an excuse to bitch and complain and one-up on Patrick Lawrence. Well, have a nice day.

    On “perspectives” these next two seem more balanced IMV.

    Here’s Pepe Escobar from August 17:

    “A small, radical nucleus of agents provocateurs in Hong Kong, using copycat methods from the Maidan in Kiev, sticks to a single-minded road map: force Beijing to commit a Tiananmen 2.0, thus elevating the all-out demonization of China to the next level.

    “The inevitable consequence, according to the privileged scenario, would be the “West”, as well as vast sectors of the Global South, boycotting the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, a complex, multi-layered strategy of economic integration that has expanded well beyond Eurasia.”


    “China is also being hit, hybrid war-style, with a rolling trade war plus sanctions. The ultimate American imperial “dream” is to engineer a Chinese vassal. This has nothing to do with trade. There’s no logic of avoiding a trade deficit with China only to see the same products produced in Thailand or India. What’s goin’ on is rather hybrid war all over the spectrum: attempts to destabilize and possibly defeat Russia, China and Iran, the three key hubs of Eurasia integration.”

    From another piece at Asia Times:

    “Hong Kong’s summer of rage was sparked by broad opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.

    “Millions have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for 10 consecutive weeks in the greatest challenge to Beijing’s authority since the city’s 1997 handover.”

    • Abe
      August 19, 2019 at 18:54

      Comrades “hetro”, “Cara” and “Det_Mcnulty”, apparently very much “with” each other since they all take pains to tell us so, bitch and complain in unison that Lawrence’s account is “balanced” for neglecting to mention the generosity of the NED.

      Presumably to one-up all the haters on “this thread” and show how awesomely “balanced” Lawrence’s account is, comrade “hetro” quotes Pepe Escobar from Asia Times on August 17.

      Apparently the haters are supposed to admit how “over-simplified” it is to presume that “ALL” 1.7 million protestors in Hong Kong were “massively duped” by what Escobar on August 17 described as a mere “small, radical nucleus of agents provocateurs”.

      Right now, if you’ll allow me, I’ll cut to the chase and quote the earlier, more explicit “perspective” offered by Escobar on August 7:

      “Beijing has clearly identified the color revolution provocation inbuilt in the protests – with the NED excelling as CIA soft, facilitating the sprawl of fifth columnists even in the civil service.”

      Haters might point out that it’s obvious why “hetro” and comrades might not be so eager to quote Escobar’s earlier August 7 “perspective”: it can’t be spun to create the impression that it somehow aligns with Lawrence’s so-called “balanced” account.

      Haters also might point out that Escobar is perfectly aware how the generosity of the NED enabled the “methods” employed by that zealous (and, as it turned out, extraordinarily well-armed) “nucleus” at Maidan.

      Like the haters so reviled by “hetro” and comrades, Escobar does not neglect to mention the “color revolution provocation” along with “other components” of the Hong Kong protest.

      So clearly Escobar is nowhere near the “balanced” color-blind “perspective” of Lawrence.

      Rooftop snipers may not be the inevitable consequence in Hong Kong, but it’s inevitable that color-blind comrades will keep bitching and complaining on his behalf.

      • Det_Mcnulty
        August 20, 2019 at 10:39

        Say I am to take everything you’re saying to be true, does it actually undermine the central point that the people of HK want something different to the PRC’s expanding authoritarianism? In my comments, I acknowledged foreign interference (concluding that it’s to be expected in any geopolitical dispute and kind of beside the point, if you support the attempts by HK residents to protect their limited freedoms) and I think China’s sovereignty should be respected. Nevertheless, I think all forms of unjustified state power should be rejected; whether that be in respect to China, the US or any other state that attempts to control the lives of its citizens through statist forms of power and often by extension, real manifestations of physical and psychological violence on the population itself. I hope the PRC and the people of HK come to a conclusion that’s in the interests of both parties; these aspirations will depend on the abilities of the population to conduct mass mobilised non-violent resistance through civil means.

      • Abe
        August 20, 2019 at 23:09

        Comrade “Det_Mcnulty”:

        “Say I am to take everything you’re saying to be true” is a meaningless rhetorical phrase, so we can dispense with that nonsense outright.

        Let’s examine your comments:

        You dismissively claim that “foreign interference” is “to be expected” and “kind of beside the point”.

        “Nevertheless,” you claim that “all forms of unjustified state power should be rejected”.

        The fact remains: NED funding for the Hong Kong protests, a clear exercise of US state power, necessarily means that the protests are not the result of organic free associations that somehow magically “mass mobilized”.

        As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the HK protests have involved a heck of a lot more than the jarring presence of flags.

        The central point:

        Ongoing NED backing for the protests is a US state power effort to control the lives of Hong Kong citizens through physical and psychological violence on the population.

        And as we’ve seen in recent decades of color revolutions, the US is prepared to do a lot more than hand out cash and cookies.

        The leaders of the HK protest certainly haven’t “rejected” the loads of cash and other manifestations of US state power. No doubt they consider it all “justified”. Who knows, maybe the rooftop snipers are on the way.

    • August 20, 2019 at 01:14

      The numbers participating in Hong Kong demonstrations quoted by the MSM are greatly exaggerated in many if not all cases, by over 10 times in some. The link below shows a nice example of the extent of a recent exaggeration which cannot square with a fundamental law of physics (the Pauli exclusion principle) nor with mathematics/arithmetic (packing density and area).

  13. Drew Hunkins
    August 18, 2019 at 15:32

    C’mon Mr. Lawrence, where’s your b.s. detector? I would expect better from your otherwise excellent columns.

    This is a color “velvet” rebellion spurred on my Washington NGOs and U.S. intel operatives.

    • michael
      August 19, 2019 at 06:03

      Agreed. Since Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA overthrow of Iran, generating mass demonstrations by “the People” has been a favored American interference method. Governments have only minimal interest in grievances, and Hong Kong has passed that threshold.
      China at some point will have no choice but to respond, and by sheer numbers the results will be much more than the 4,000 casualties (so far) of Macron cracking down on the Gilets Jaunes.

  14. August 18, 2019 at 14:02

    I’m with you hetro. What a curious comment thread. I seem to have read a completely different article. Lawrence has over the years written numerous columns about China’s rise as a global power — and quite favorably. Indeed, he’s written almost glowingly of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. On the whole I read this as a fair and balanced commentary. But maybe that is precisely what’s provoked other readers. Perhaps Lawrence hasn’t proven himself sufficiently anti-imperialist with this piece.

    • Abe
      August 18, 2019 at 18:46

      Lawrence’s solitary oblique mention of US influence in the protests is a single “curious comment”:

      “From China’s point of view, the markedly pro-American character of at least some of the protestors is concerning as Beijing considers the U.S. a destabilizing force in its sphere of influence”, accompanied by a YouTube link to a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

      Given the torrent of US cash behind the Hong Kong protests, Lawrence certainly has “proven himself” useful to the waning imperialist “global power” by writing a “completely different” article.

      The critics agree:
      “On the whole […] a fair and balanced commentary” – FOX News
      “I’m with you” – NED

      • August 19, 2019 at 12:07

        How interesting. A commentary cannot be “fair and balanced” because FOX news appropriated those words? Wow. That’s giving them a lot of power.

        Organizations, movements, protests are often infiltrated. It doesn’t undermine their importance or validity. I’m reminded of just how single-minded, blind, and nasty the left can be.

      • Rob
        August 19, 2019 at 14:25

        If you think that Patrick Lawrence is a servant of “waning imperialist ‘global power,'” then you obviously have not been reading his columns for years, as I have. Lawrence is highly critical of U.S. foreign policy that demonizes Russia, Iran, N. Korea and other U.S. bogeymen. His take on the Hong Kong demonstrations may be wrong, or it may be right, but he is an independent thinker.

      • hetro
        August 19, 2019 at 16:21

        Lawrence’s article focuses on “the cake baked in” analogy from conditions 22 years ago. This is pretty straightforward, seems to me–on his focus/thesis/what he wanted to concentrate on. We’ve then had numerous disagreements accompanied by judgments on the writer’s skill as not up to the mark etc. etc.

        Because he does not highlight multiple aspects of the protests, including antifa-like violence, this analysis is not to your liking, although that was not his focus.

        Disagreement on what the writer has chosen to emphasize then passes beyond simple disagreement, or additions, to add in judgment on his skills, his “poor performance,” and insinuations he is not doing his job properly. This is accompanied by snarking references with various phrasings.

        I find this sort of commentary akin to the trolling usually despised. It also sets a low bar for CN, which has been (used to be?) a place for considered, rational, and civil discussion, avoiding snark and all the accompanying venom.

      • Abe
        August 20, 2019 at 14:39

        The thunderous applause from “hetro”and comrades for Lawrence’s “balanced” reporting in this piece sets a low bar for trolling.

        An analysis of the Hong Kong protests that does not include mention (let alone substantive discussion) of the NED and well-financed US destabilization efforts is poor journalism at best and unmitigated propaganda at worst.

        There’s nothing wrong with Lawrence being an “independent thinker” with a conspicuously limited “focus”.

        But Lawrence’s “color revolution” cheerleading, combined with zero mention of US government backing for the protests, is most concerning.

        The widespread rebuke in the comments actually gives Lawrence the benefit of the doubt, generally assuming negligence and ineptitude rather than malice.

        Lawrence’s paltry “Beijing considers the U.S. a destabilizing force” may be a factually accurate statement, but it contributes nothing to readers’ understanding about why China has this view.

        But keep on posting all those “fair and balanced” comments of yours, comrades. ‘Cause everybody needs to be “reminded of just how […] nasty the left can be”.

    • Det_Mcnulty
      August 19, 2019 at 09:34

      I agree with both you and Hetro – the commentators here are behaving in a reactionary manner. The article is a balanced summary of the events in HK, which have mass popular support regardless of assumed foreign funding for aspects of the groups involved. The fact remains; these are organic free associations which have evolved into a mass movement against state repression. And yes, many observers and HKers feel the use of colonial era flags or the UK and US flags are deeply problematic – in fact, I’ve seen footage showing pro-democracy protestors confronting those who are using these flags and that makes sense, considering their jarring presence in something which should be about the rights of the people of HK.

      Obviously, the PRC is being actively undermined by the much greater imperial power (or to be precise, the world’s only superpower), but that doesn’t excuse the oppressive actions of China against the people of HK and yes, there’s more focus on this than the Gilet Jaunes, which is indeed problematic but that still equivocates from the specific point. I would consider myself an anti-imperialist, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to excuse the actions of China simply because the US and its allies/proxies have far greater power and influence in world affairs. The fact remains that China is an authoritarian dictatorship, with an opaque legal system which serves the interests of the PRC’s centralised power and control over the lives of the population, who are disenfranchised and using their labour to prop up world’s consumer demands. As an example, China has the death penalty and uses it frequently; Hong Kong doesn’t. I know which place I’d rather reside in based on that fact alone. China is state-capitalist, whereas HK is capitalist. Neither is a democracy, but one is more democratic than the other as a result of historical material conditions. It makes sense that people in HK would want to protect their rights and have these evolve, rather than regress.

      But as to the specific point, anyone who has visited China or HK, knows that these places have considerable differences in terms of daily life, especially in the legal and political sense, which means the experience on the ground is notably distinct. Obviously, HK has inherited huge problems due to the way the colony was exploited and managed by the British and these should be researched and documented, but that doesn’t mean China should be excused.

      The world isn’t black and white. HK was first exploited by the British, now mainland China is doing the same.

  15. Theo
    August 18, 2019 at 12:47

    Concerning the Hong Kong protests there are two interesting articles today on””.

  16. August 18, 2019 at 11:58

    A great review of both the historical context and current on the ground events from Grayzone:

  17. August 18, 2019 at 11:23

    From Beijing’s point of view ‘sovereignty is…a precept beyond negotiation’, as is survival. It sees America’s influence – rightly or wrongly – behind the protests, accusing Washington of trying to destabilize the country. People have differing visions of the future, but are on course for the future nobody wants: a post-Apocalyptic hell.

  18. August 18, 2019 at 08:05

    Read this, from Dan Cohen of the Grayzone. It’s the best article so far on the truly nefarious forces and interests behind the Hong Kong protests. They have hijacked the just grievances of ordinary Hong Kong people, and the colour of their ‘revolution’ is black.

  19. Chris
    August 18, 2019 at 07:24

    It’s funny. I’m a huge admirer of Consortium News, but every time I feel the urge to post a comment, which is usually in moments when commentators have resorted to excusing the actions of imperial powers, the comment never gets published.

  20. Symen Danziger
    August 18, 2019 at 07:18

    Consortium News is the gold standard of journalism. Unfortunately this article fails to achieve that high standard.

    For more accurate reporting on HK I will go to

    • August 19, 2019 at 11:18

      I have the impression that lately, CN, which I also considered the gold standard of journalism, has been coopted. Recently, several articles sounded more like MSM. Fortunately, the comment section is still the best of any publication. So instead of sharing these recent articles on FB, and have now resorted to publishing the best of the reader comments which are still honest and un-compromised.

  21. E Wright
    August 18, 2019 at 06:18

    Just one small point about Government House. It isn’t the seat of Government; just the official residence of the Chief Executive. In colonial times it was more important and they actually had a cypher office in the basement. It was the last link to London.

  22. E Wright
    August 18, 2019 at 04:40

    A well written article which I can partially subscribe to. However Mr Lawrence failed to mention the dispensation of the small tycoon class which has hitherto dominated Hong Kong’s economy. Neither has he mentioned the 27 million mainland tourists which visited Hong Kong last year. It is these two significant phenomena which snookers the Government and yet which represent a significant reason for the anger of the protesters.

    The tycoon class are the remnants of a pirate economy facilitated by invasion, war and revolution. The original group first benefited from the opium trade (along with their British suppliers) achieving protection from British warships. During the Japanese occupation a new group made their mark by smuggling and racketeering. The second biggest infusion of wealth came in 1949 when mainland tycoons fled Shanghai and other commercial centers in the face of the Communists. Many went to Taiwan, but a good number came to Hong Kong. They established manufacturing industry and as things settled down they made billions of dollars by re-labeling goods made in China to pretend they were made in Hong Kong. This arbitrage was possible due to colonial Hong Kong having higher quotas than China under GATT.

    The biggest expansion of the tycoon class came when China joined the WTO. Hong Kong became a major money laundering center overnight as the new rich in China sought to offshore their funds. This coincided with Hong Kong’s return to China. It also resulted in massive inflation of the property market. Over the past 20 years ordinary Hong Kongers have been priced out of owning their own homes, unless they take out eye watering mortgages.

    The tycoons don’t care. They look after their own families. That is their culture. They buy up all kinds of assets with their wealth, obtaining rent from electricity, container ports, supermarkets, in fact anything you can think of.

    They naturally welcome the huge influx of visitors because it boosts their often monopolistic profits. Entry of competitors into the market (unless they are well funded PRC backed conglomerates) is almost impossible due to high rents extracted by the tycoon class. The large influx of mainland visitors which swamp Hong Kong every day has resulted in practically all shopping malls being reorientated towards their needs. Ordinary Hong Kong people feel isolated. Not only that, there is a daily quota set for new mainland immigrants to be granted residency. After 22 years this new group is noticeable. They speak a different language. The tycoons love this too, because it keeps labor costs down (sound familiar)?

    So, there is common ground between the protesters and the Government. But the tycoons are standing on it. Ironically the protests have dampened the desire for some mainlanders to come to Hong Kong, but not for long. You see, Hong Kong still represents a great arbitrage opportunity for them. Prices are higher on the Mainland due to sales tax. In addition, some foreign products available only in Hong Kong are considered safer and of higher quality. Oh, the ironies.

    • Regula
      August 18, 2019 at 22:17

      There is likely no other city state as corrupt and criminal as Hong Kong. Yet when it comes to the US justifying its interference into the internal affairs of another nation on an effort to launch a color revolution to destabilize Xi’s government, they can’t sing in highminded enough tones about the courage of these protesters fighting so courageously for freedom and democracy – all paid by the US Endowment fir Democracy and orchestrated by the CIA.

      I wonder what would happen if a group of US nationals were to ask Russia or China to pass a law to sanction the US if the latter doesn’t accede to these individuals’ demands! Isn’t that treason? But the protest leaders of Hong Kong did just that in DC.

  23. August 18, 2019 at 04:00

    These protesters are working for USA. They are not spontaneous.

  24. Abe
    August 18, 2019 at 03:56

    “The [Hong Kong] protest’s messaging and the groups associated with it […] raise a number of questions about just how organic the movement is.

    “Some of the groups involved receive significant funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA soft-power cutout that has played a critical role in innumerable U.S. regime-change operations. […]

    “the issue of autonomy is not just of importance to Hong Kongers, but to the United States government as well. And it’s not all just harshly worded statements: the U.S. government is pumping up some of the organizers with loads of cash via the NED.

    “Maintaining Hong Kong’s distance from China has been important to the U.S. for decades. One former CIA agent even admitted that “Hong Kong was our listening post.” […]

    “The NED has four main branches, at least two of which are active in Hong Kong: the Solidarity Center (SC) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The latter has been active in Hong Kong since 1997, and NED funding for Hong Kong-based groups has been “consistent,” says Louisa Greve, vice president of programs for Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. While NED funding for groups in Hong Kong actually dates back to 1994, 1997 was the year the territory was transferred from control by the British.

    “In 2018, NED granted $155,000 to SC and $200,000 to NDI for work in Hong Kong, and $90,000 to HKHRM [Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor], which is not itself a branch of NED but a partner in Hong Kong. Between 1995 and 2013, HKHRM received more than $1.9 million in funds from the NED.

    “Through its NDI and SC branches, NED has had close relations with other groups in Hong Kong. […]

    “It is inconceivable that the organizers of the protests are unaware of the NED ties to some of its members.”

    American Gov’t, NGOs Fuel and Fund Hong Kong Anti-Extradition Protests
    By Alexander Rubinstein

  25. Abe
    August 18, 2019 at 03:29

    “$1.7 million in grants was spent by NED in Hong Kong since 2017 which was a significant increase from their $400 000 spent to coordinate the failed ‘Occupy HK’ protest in 2014. […]

    “The British have not been able to conduct their manipulation of Hong Kong without the vital role of America’s NGO dirty ops, and in true imperial fashion, the political class from both sides of the aisle have attacked China with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi making the loudest noise driving the American House Foreign Affairs Committee to threaten ‘universal condemnation and swift consequences’ if Beijing intervenes. This has only made the photographs of Julie Eadeh, the head of Political Office at the American Consulate in Hong Kong meeting with leaders of the Hong Kong demonstrations that much more disgusting to any onlooker. […]

    “Of course, the vast web of NGOs permeating the geopolitical terrain can only be effective as long as no one says the truth and ‘names the game’. The very act of calling out their nefarious motives renders them impotent and this simple fact has made the recently announced China-Russia arrangement to formulate a proper strategic response to color revolutions so important in the current fight.”

    The Anglo-American Origins of Color Revolutions & NED
    By Matthew Ehret

  26. August 17, 2019 at 23:29

    Thank you, Gary Weglarz. Really appreciate the article. It is extremely well informed article. I enjoyed writing of the author who really understands the history, international law and the whole situation in Hong Kong.

  27. hetro
    August 17, 2019 at 20:00

    It’s unfortunate that protests get co-opted in various ways despite the cause to dig out from under the authoritarians. It always happens. A few years ago at Berkeley antifa came in to ruin that one. I’m a little appalled at all the knee-jerk and I must add smug commentaries running down Patrick’s article here. Definitely overboard. Not for me, however. I appreciate the perspective.

  28. Nathan Mulcahy
    August 17, 2019 at 17:43

    Democracy? My foot. Just look at all the democracy we have spread in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine,…. just recently. This is what US (and the west) do.

    So what if China (or Russia or Iran) has no democracy? Just consider what western “democracy” in the US vs. “non-democracy” in China have done to the citizens of these two countries. During the last two decades, the huge wealth created (through globalization) has helped eliminate poverty for 300 million Chinese. In contrast, in the “democratic” US this new wealth went exclusively to the billionaires, while increasing income inequality astronomically in this country. Sorry, can’t get too hyped up by US democracy.

  29. martin hickel
    August 17, 2019 at 14:27

    protests are happening in many countries w/o exciting the interests of the press — these protests receive inordinate amount of coverage because they play into the anti-communist narrative — a drama which never stops showing there are no alternatives to corporatism — regardless of the reasons & outcomes in china — the only reason to tell about these events is they can be reported in such a way as to support the fundamental belief which the media preaches endlessly — yes — capitalism is terrible — but communism is far worse…

  30. Jeff Harrison
    August 17, 2019 at 12:40

    Actually, Patrick, I think it was baked in a lot longer ago than that. Try back in the opium wars of the late 19th century wherein the British empire, which is truly at the cusp of disappearing, force a weak Chinese government to temporarily cede control of Hong Kong. The Chinese are anything but fools. I wouldn’t be surprised if the government starts to arrest those that appear to be leading these demonstrations and then ships them off to the mainland. If the US thinks it’s going to start a color revolution in China, it’s got another think coming.

    • Matthew Fulco
      August 18, 2019 at 05:54

      Dear Patrick,

      Excellent commentary sizing up the challenges facing Hong Kong and the Communist leadership in Beijing. Appreciate that you raised the possibility of a detente, even if it’s not a “win-win” as Beijing likes to say. It’s telling that the pro-China commenters here use Western names to mask their identities and regurgitate propaganda talking points from the Chinese state media. The chip that the CCP and its supporters have on their shoulder is putting China on a collision course with the free world. It’s not just Hong Kong or Taiwan, where Beijing has failed to browbeat the Taiwanese into accepting the failed “One Country, Systems” model. In recent years, Beijing’s bellicose behavior has caused it to become entangled in disputes with the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. China clearly has bitten off more than it can chew, and needs to recalibrate its policies accordingly. If not, it will become increasingly isolated, especially as the trade war reduces its economic importance.

      • Josep
        August 20, 2019 at 15:04

        It’s telling that the pro-China commenters here use Western names to mask their identities and regurgitate propaganda talking points from the Chinese state media.

        But how many of those commentators really are Westerners then?
        How is Beijing’s “bellicose behavior” any worse than Washington’s? Does Xi bully his opponents like Trump?

  31. Trisha Driscoll
    August 17, 2019 at 11:49

    Westerners have always misunderstood and abused China, as perfectly illustrated by the many things wrong with this article, most already mentioned.

    For nearly 3000 years China’s society has been based upon principles – primarily Confucian – where bedrock concept is “selflessness”. That is, the individual is to fulfill one’s social roles to those above, peers, and below, placing relationships with others over one’s own self-interest.

    This is entirely different from western society’s elevation of the self to the top of pyramid. Attempting to impose western-style “democracy” is an exercise in futility, as was the attempt in the late 1880s to impose Christianity on China.

    • Realist
      August 18, 2019 at 00:37

      It’s funny. I know we call ourselves a “Christian” nation, but I don’t think one of the so-called beatitudes JC preached on the Mount was “Look out for number one.” Nor did he say “Money talks and bullshit walks” in the temple the day before the insider elites extreme renditioned him. I’m pretty sure he never even said “Heaven helps those who help themselves” as a brush-off to the needy. Truth be told, I doubt there has ever been any human tribe that actually lived by its pious platitudes, not one that survived long term in this earthly snakepit.

  32. August 17, 2019 at 10:55

    The same situation with some rather important “context” included:

    • Theo
      August 18, 2019 at 08:23

      Concerning the Hong Kong protests there are some interesting articles today on

  33. Fabrizio Zambuto
    August 17, 2019 at 10:35

    Mr Lawrence is a good journalist but this article is not so good.
    Useless to point out the embarassment of the UK handing over HK to an authoritarian government, it’s the law. UK could only comply.
    UK could have given HK citizens UK citizenship but didn’t. Most of HKgers fled to Canada.
    The US flag and the consul meddling have helped escalate the situation and a 5 year old kid with some basic knowledge of China should have known better not to show US meddling, especially after Ukraine “color revolution”. That gives a pretext to Xi for eventual intervention.
    The statement “Restraint remains the order of the day until Xi comes up with a coherent strategy in Hong Kong. He does not yet have one”
    How could Mr Lawrence possibly know that? Maybe he does have one or more, but he’s waiting to see how things evolve.
    Last thing: these courageous protesters that disrupted the airport have been caught on record beating people, including a journalist from mainland (hours of beating, not a few minutes) and blocked paramedics who tried to rescue him.

  34. August 17, 2019 at 10:28

    I have read that the Politburo of China consists entirely of billionaires. If so, from the point of view of the American oligarchy, it’s almost an ideal system, but it does lack one resource tending toward stability: a widely supported system of legitimation, which the US and its satellites have through oligarchically managed democratic institutions and procedures. The system may be illusory, but obviously most of the people in the US believe in it. The PRC talks about its Communist Party and its revolution as a legitimating agency, but in fact that institution is neither communist nor a party; it’s just an extension of the plutocratic bureaucracy, a circular system of support. While it’s certainly likely that some elements of the US ruling class are stirring up trouble in Hong Kong, the reason they can do so is at least partly the lack of legitimation. I am surprised that the Emperor Xi and his friends can’t devise and install the sort of thing we observe in the West, which mostly seems to work pretty well for its rulers. Thirty or forty years of putting the screws to the working class, and all the US Established Order had to deal with was Occupy Wall Street. Oh, and maybe Trump; but Trump will be tamed or disposed of.

    • August 17, 2019 at 16:35

      Trump has already been well and truly tamed, that supposes he wasn’t anything more than a lying place man in the first place.

    • Brigitte
      August 18, 2019 at 22:39

      The primary issue of division between Hong Kong and mainland China is not the CCP. The primary issue is money: GDP in Hong Kong is $49’000; in mainland Chiba it is $9’500. The well to do are afraid of losing their high incomes. The workers are under paid in Hong Kong. But they are not the ones protesting.

  35. August 17, 2019 at 10:20

    Color revolution from the nasty “my-way-or-highway” US of Amnesia, no doubt in my mind from what I read. There was an article on the wretched colonial treatment of China by the Brits in the 19th century, forcing them to grow opium that led to the two devastating Opium Wars. China certainly hasn’t forgotten that. The overlords of England and America don’t know how to respect other nations. They bamboozle their citizens with b.s. They would bring down the world if they could, in order to get their way.

    • Realist
      August 17, 2019 at 18:12

      “They would bring down the world if they could, in order to get their way.”

      I agree, the world sees the consequences of this every day, yet they are never able to demonstrate the imperative, the utility or the superiority of “their way,” which more often than not results in some conspicuous catastrophe. Sometimes I think it is the mere exercise of their naked will ( or as Nietzsche called it, “der Wille zur Macht”) that is all that matters to them, not whether the changes they impose result in good or evil. They can’t feel “in charge of things” unless they make their presumed inferiors and would-be vassals suffer by destabilizing their societies, so they never stop effing with people somewhere on the planet at any given moment.

      Anarcissie above has it right, the Chinese plutocracy–run by a small coterie of obscenely rich oligarchs–is exactly what America’s aristocracy aspires to, though I think our chaps target the world, not just our little corner of it. Perhaps our Asian competition got it right because their empire has had at least a 3,000 year head start on our own. There is nothing they haven’t seen that is new under the sun and from which they can draw lessons for today.

      The first lesson Washington needs to learn if it is going to exist as a stable unified entity into deep history is to stop meddling everywhere at once around the globe and focus on ameliorating the massively metastasizing problems of a now dis-unified, multiracial, sexually-fluid, economically-stratified, polyglot empire on its own continent, a society where authority is no longer respected (because it no longer deserves to be), and identity politics and preservation of elite (not white) privileges trump arriving at practical but egalitarian solutions that older and wiser societies arrived at generations ago. But rather than emulating the successes in educating, sustaining and healing their emergent generations with workable social programs like they have throughout Europe, Washington basically instigates destabilization in those countries by creating forever wars, destroying infrastructure, starving entire populations out with embargoes, sanctions, bald-faced theft and–frankly–classical sieges weaponizing even medical supplies, food and fuel, such that many millions of refugees are now flooding out of the targeted countries (mostly in the Middle East) and into the tranquil efficient European societies causing turmoil and destabilization there!

      And what does Washington demand in response from its European vassals? The purchase of more American weapons (at the cost of domestic spending), the building of more American bases on their turf (ceding yet more sovereignty), squandering multi-billions of the dollars we demand that they exclusively trade in on fleets of technologically-flawed fighter jets, and to serve as targets for the nuclear missile launch sites we’ve pointed at Russia. Recently, some big muckety-muck from the U.S. Navy was bellyaching that these small European countries without a huge tax base are simply remiss (incompetent he called them) in not building the armadas of modern war ships that the U.S. expects from NATO members to protect its empire (i.e., to threaten Russia) on the European subcontinent. What brazen arrogance to go along with the dangerously deranged thinking. The only likely consequence of pursuing such folly would be to ultimately drag the standard of living and quality of life in Europe down to the stage of imminent pre-collapse which is staring the U.S.A. smack in the face. Either that or total annihilation if their American overlords actually see fit to push the nuclear button at some point.

      China will solve its domestic problems by itself one way or another. Washington needs to butt the heck out and stop fantasizing about more color revolutions. The biggest cancer on the globe today are the warmongers ensconced in Langley, Arlington, Foggy Bottom and New York City. However, nobody dares protest against them. We all saw what happened to the “Occupy Wall Street” kids a few years ago. It’s okay for American goon squads to mace, taser and beat on protesters, but let no one else lift a finger against an American-fomented color revolution!

  36. journey80
    August 17, 2019 at 10:11

    Is anyone but me reminded of Kiev? Can anyone say “color revolution”? Can anyone say “who benefits?” No? No one?

  37. August 17, 2019 at 10:01

    Mr. Lawrence, judging by the comments has touched a nerve of many informed folks. Looking at past and present behavior of the United States regarding just about every country, it leads partly informed folks like me to conclude that the articles author is on the wrong track.

    Forms of governance are important, but so is the extraordinary performance of the China government to raise hundreds of millions out of poverty. Charles Freeman’s article does a good job of describing what has happened.

    Bottom line, Hong Kong is part of China. Interference in the internal affairs of another nation is very dangerous, particularly when they are just as powerful as you are. China is not Venezuela.

    • JohnK
      August 17, 2019 at 12:52

      Totally agree. Well said. I can’t believe such an article would appear here.

      • Theo
        August 18, 2019 at 08:31

        Neither can I.

    • Det McNulty
      August 18, 2019 at 04:35

      That’s not what this is about. The article doesn’t take sides, it simply suggests that Hong Kong people have been exploited by both the British and the Chinese. These are legitimate protests with legitimate goals and for anyone with any familiarity to Hong Kong knows that the city enjoys far greater freedoms and has a vibrant labour movement than is present in contemporary China. This unique identity should be supported, rather than undermined by impulsive anti-imperialism. Unfortunately the movement will be crushed by the power of the PRC, rather than having a negotiated settlement (say, maybe federalism or simply withdrawing the extradition bill) that acknowledges the independent development of HK in relation to mainland China.

      • Marko
        August 18, 2019 at 20:45

        “These are legitimate protests with legitimate goals….”

        Would you think that way about similar protests in some foreign country that were supported and organized by , say , Russia or Iran ?

  38. August 17, 2019 at 09:43

    Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Chaputovic said that the United States should increase the military contingent. Polish Foreign Minister unveils plan to “contain” Russia by US troops

    Polish Foreign Minister unveils plan to “contain” Russia by US troops

    • Piotr Berman
      August 18, 2019 at 15:36

      The cited article repeats incorrect spelling, but the correct one is Jacek Czaputowicz. One missing letter, two wrong letters, 8 correct, so “mostly correct”.

  39. AnneR
    August 17, 2019 at 08:52

    I would just like to add a word about democracy.

    What democracy do we have in the so-called democratic western(ized) countries? What we have is the right to vote (and even that is heavily constricted by whether you’ve been in prison, you have a birth certificate, are a citizen and so on).

    But what does that right to vote actually afford us? A choice between candidates hand-picked by the (in this country) parties (really one party with two slightly different heads). Once we’ve ticked the appropriate boxes – or ignored the whole charade – do we, the hoi polloi, their constituents, have *any* say, *any* effect, *any* leverage on what our so-called “representatives” do (supposedly on “our” behalf)? NO. None. They gladly take their cut from our taxes and get a nice medical coverage out of the same. But once in DC (or in Westminster), we their constituents lose all sway – unless of course we happen to be one of those individuals or in one the groups in the top 1% whose $$$ paved (paid) the way to their “seat” in the Senate, House or White House.

    A genuine democracy would not be a “representative” one. Or if representatives were retained they would have to abide by the results of referenda on everything.

    What we have in the west is a simulacrum.

    • August 17, 2019 at 10:48

      Thank you AnneR. My gag reflex kicks in whenever I hear a Western commentator use the word “democracy” as if it meant something other than simply – “rule by oligarchy.”

    • Antiwar7
      August 17, 2019 at 19:54

      Exactly! The US has fake democracy. No real choice on anything that matters.

      • August 17, 2019 at 23:39

        Totally agree with AnneR . Many thanks for Gary Weglarz providing a great article!

      • Realist
        August 18, 2019 at 00:07

        Yet spooks from our government never cease to incite other countries to war over use of the term.

        It’s almost like a magical incantation: Abrakadabra alakazam! Freedom and democracy: Now start rioting!

        It’s like the head “Yang” said to Captain Kirk in an original Star Trek episode:
        “Freedom? Freedom is our worship word! You will not speak it!”

    • August 19, 2019 at 03:21

      Anne R, hit the nail square on the head. Thanks for the new word, too.

  40. Cunning Stunt
    August 17, 2019 at 05:59

    Western governments, using the the mainstream media as their conduit as per usual, are working hard to make China the new foreign “threat” bogeyman and encouraging all citizens to morally condemn its actions. It is hoped that a new manufacturerd “threat from without”, akin to Reagan’s evil empire, will unite the feuding neoliberal subjects and make them forget their grievances against their governments and each other. Hypocrisy and promoting double-standards that absolve it if any wrong doing whatsoever are, of course, what the west does best.

    Telling countries it considers “adversaries” how to run their affairs and using covert and economic means to promote instability and civil unrest in these places, when not explicitly invading and attacking them militarily, is standard operating procedure for America and its allies. Indeed, Europe and the United States have a long history of promoting western superiority and “civilizing” unruly savages and backwards regimes via the soothing balm of “progress”, “freedom” and “democracy”. While the media stokes panic and outrage over the KKK-style white supremacy of a few deranged cranks and fringe weirdos it very actively encourages western supremacy, which is a much more insidious ideology. That the targets of western “help” are always located outside of the Anglo-American/EU axis, and overwhelmingly “people of color,” is conveniently overlooked by the same media that is supposedly so concerned about the welfare of oppressed peoples.

    Nation states, like people, are not perfect and will never be perfect. Culture and history shape and influence the always in flux political, social and economic systems that govern the countries of the world. Western Europe and the United Sates went through extremely brutal and blood soaked phases throughout their histories and ISIS style wanton slaughter and sadism was practiced on a massive scale by these nations. Another inconvenient fact tossed down the memory hole.

    Other countries, however, are not allowed to develop their own systems and ways of doing things. They must immediately accept the US-led west as their lord and master. The west still believes, with a religious fervor, that the sinking ship of liberal capitalist pseudo-democracy is objectively the best system of governance ever devised and that it has a right, and a moral duty, to force every country in the world to adopt this system (or to let itself be exploited by it).

    From the mid-19th century to World War II China experienced the joys of civilized progress and technological prowess foisted on it by the British Empire (e.g. the Opium Wars) and its, at the time, junior partners the United States and Germany. Foreign meddling in China peaked with the vicious occupation of the country by imperial Japan and at the end of the Second World War all the invaders were finally sent packing once and for all. Contemporary China has only been an entity since 1949 and its economic, technological and social development since then is unprecedented in the history of the world and the story of this remarkable era in China’s long history is far from over.

    The west, predictably enough, is having none of it. While western civilization is a sinking ship riddled by increasing internal unrest and massive corruption, in which ordinary citizens are deliberately pitted against each other and locked out of economic prosperity while being relegated to the status of disposable pawns and dupes to be exploited by a small psychopathic capitalist ruling class that has made unchecked greed and pathological self-interest its guiding principles, the west’s trademark arrogance and hypocrisy continues apace as it focuses not on saving itself but on the criticism and demonization of foreign “enemies.”

    Unfortunately the alternative media is not immune to the never ending psyops that encourage Americans to focus their attention on the transgressions, real and imagined, of countries over which they have exactly zero influence. I have seen several pieces lately by usually level-headed and informed journalists and commentators “voicing concern” over events in Hong Kong and speculating how the Chinese government might eventually respond. This is not a good sign. Begining with the 1999 NATO air war against Serbia thoughtful critics of western imperialism have been propagandized into taking an “I’m anti-war and anti-imperialist BUT” stance and that “Milosevic (or Saddam or al-Assad or Qaddafi or Putin or Maduro or Ortega and so on) are evil dictators/killing their own people and we must do something!” Will they be joined by new converts proclaiming that “this time” it’s different and “something must be done” to save democracy from China?

    Jumping on the bandwagon to condemn the latest country or “regime” the west wants to eliminate or usurp serves no useful purpose other than to reinforce the propaganda narrative that the west really is best and therefore has a divine right and duty to remake the world in its own image. Considering the sordid history of the Greater European Empire (the American empire is simply a continuation of pre-WWII European imperialism) and the crisis engulfing the liberal democratic (sic) powers, that could quite possibly result in a widespread totalitarian crackdown and/or major civil unrest, it is a foolish, arrogant and hypocritical project that plays into the hands of the John Boltons and Samantha Powers of the world.

    • AnneR
      August 18, 2019 at 06:52

      Cunning Stunt – well argued and rightly, from my perspective. Thank you.

    • Zhu
      August 19, 2019 at 03:29

      Take a look at Haiti and Philippines to see countries remadevin the US’ image. It’s not pretty.

  41. padre
    August 17, 2019 at 05:56

    It just amazes me how full of yourself and righteous the westerners are!

    • Realist
      August 18, 2019 at 01:11

      Yes, two things gave us that attitude: our bible and our carbine!

      There was a famous quote from the Kipling era of Western empires:

      “Whatever happens we have got
      the Maxim gun and they have not.” (Hilaire Belloc)


      “When the missionary came, he had the bible and we had the land,
      now we have the bible and he has the land.”

      • Realist
        August 18, 2019 at 16:42

        Finally something of mine appears.

        Now where are the two lengthier commentaries I made YESTERDAY (the 17th)?

        Posting something on this forum has become like random chance and not worth the effort.

  42. August 17, 2019 at 05:41

    They are not ‘pro-democracy protesters’. If they were, they wouldn’t be brandishing US and UK flags. Period.

    They deserve what they are going to get.

    • Yeahso
      August 18, 2019 at 20:36

      I’m curious, where do you get the idea that the protestors are “brandishing US and UK flags”? From the pictures I’ve seen, the vast majority clearly aren’t.

      (I love the hyperbolic use of the enflaming term of “brandishing”, as if they’re simple weapons. And good lord–the presumptive ignorance on display here in the comments–from both alleged “sides”–is truly stunning, and the vicious lengths to which egos will go to attach themselves to what they imagine to be the “righteous” and the “good” is disheartening, to say the least. We’re all mostly full of sh*t and express it as bullsh*t, and yet are desperately unwilling or simply unable to face up to, and accept responsibility for the havoc it wreaks upon the world.)

      OTOH, I could be wrong. ;-)

    • Zhu
      August 19, 2019 at 03:31

      Take a look at Haiti and Philippines to see countries remadevin the US’ image. It’s not pretty.

  43. Ma Laoshi
    August 17, 2019 at 05:14

    Several phrases here are so slanted to a Western perspective that the whole comes off as borderline colonial in mentality. Just for starters the claim that the Chinese govt is “ruling on Leninist principles”. Go visit the place, Patrick: it’s capitalist, extremely modern–and authoritarian; our traditional categories may not apply.

    The Basic Law “sustains the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong’s 7 million people while opening the door to Beijing’s self-serving interpretations and its creeping interventions”. I happen to have a copy of the Basic Law, and participated in the British farewell ceremony for what it’s worth. The Basic Law only promises “a high degree” of autonomy, and a small measure of representative democracy (i.e. still more than the Hong Kongers had for 140 out of the 150 British years). Full democracy was something to be considered after the first decade, i.e. never a solid commitment. We and more pointedly the kids in HK may not like it, but the Beijing govt prioritizes sovereignty and stability over freedom, and were never going to just roll the dice without some sort of veto power and safeguards (from their point of view) like the Election Committee.

    One of the biggest violations of the Basic Law is the continued presence there of the “regime-change” CIA fronts NED, IRI, USAID and what have you. The only function of these foreign outfits is to meddle in the politics of HK and thus China, financially and otherwise. For the love of me, I don’t understand why these haven’t all been thrown out after the Maidan at the latest; maybe it’s HK’s slavish devotion to an ideology that money should be absolutely free. Regardless, HK is currently paying a bitter price for this oversight; given that foreign relations are explicitly excluded from HK’s autonomy deal, it seems Beijing would be fully in its rights to show them the door tomorrow.

    “Hong Kong is the mainland’s hood ornament” Time goes quicky: HK currently accounts for < 3% of China's GDP. Cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen are surpassing it and that's just the best known ones. These mainland cities also absorb far, far more immigrants than does Hong Kong, and contribute substantial taxes to the central govt, from which HK is exempt. With a list like this, small wonder that HK is seen as a problem child more than a crown jewel, and that was before the protests escalated. So the youth of HK has genuine grounds for discontent, but many of the answers must be sought close to home; see the interview with Martin Jaques on YouTube.

    “Martin Lee, a long-honored democracy advocate” — honored by parties like the NED and the awful Pompeo. Notice the sleight of hand: while the CPC in the mainland has no democratic pretenses, the pro-Beijing parties in HK contest the local elections under exactly the same rules as the pro-Western ones–and usually with more success. Yet it seems only the pro-American side is worthy of the “democratic” mantle. How can one not see the similarity with how the liberal/establishment side see itself as the only legitimate voice in the West, inclined to “shut down” others over the slightest wrongthink–liberal indeed!

    At its core, these protests are about preserving HK’s unique identity; to a large extent they are anti-immigration protests. The “democracy” which Mr. Lawrence mentions is a talking point of Western media. The rioting blackshirts never seem to mention it, or it’s something in English, i.e., for consumption of people like Mr. Lawrence, but largely irrelevant to the local debate in Cantonese. Now there is much I like about HK’s identity and culture, so I was initially sympathetic to the protests. But one cannot help but notice how Establishment media cheer on in HK what would be strictly forbidden to the goyim of Europe and North America.

    • August 18, 2019 at 06:28

      You are both wrong. The Stalinist bureaucracy that monopolises political power is most certainly not Leninist. Its politics are of neccessity, nationally based. They are not revolutionaries.

      However China is not capitalist. The commanding heights of the economy -heavy industry, banking etc. are still collectivised and the bureacracy directs them.
      The US (and other capitalist powers) know this. That is why they are determined to smash the bureaucracy’s hold on state power by any & various means: economic, military, political support to the offshore & onshore bourgois elements who might challenge etc.

      When the workers joined the students at Tienanmen they sang the Internationale not (as in HK) the Star Spangled Rag. This terrified the bureaucrats and they then cracked down. They know where the legitimacy lies.
      The Chinese workers are deprived of polital power, but it is THEIR state – not the nomenklatura’s. They know what’s going on in HK is a counterevoltionary scam and a threat to Chinese national self-determination.

  44. August 17, 2019 at 03:21

    Nearly all the comments below are excellent. Thanks for saving the effort of refuting this piece. Suffice to say, since 1949 China has been in the crosshairs of US imperialism to restore capitalism there and reimpose imperialist domination. It should also be pointed out that the right wing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions receives lots of funding from the usual US regime change suspects. Accordingly, some sectors of Hong Kong’s workers have been mobilised to support this attempted ‘color revolution’ that’s not in their interests.

    No prizes for guessing which other union movement in similar circumstances was supported and funded by normally fanatically anti-union and anti-working class western regimes. That’s right, Solidarnosc.

    Finally, unlike Tiananmen Square there are no renditions of the Internationale, and many demonstrators are carrying the US flag (even as they assault Mandarin speaking mainlanders at Hong Kong airport), and singing the star spangled banner. No red flags, but all the signs and symptoms of these Hong Kong protests should be one giant red flag for anyone reading about them, especially given that there’s virtually no reportage of who’s leading them.

    Another excellent antidote to the imperialist propaganda around Hong Kong, with a good rap sheet on its leaders is:

  45. August 17, 2019 at 01:38

    Meanwhile the yellow vest movement is still fighting against neo liberalism and was beaten down viscously by the state and isn’t covered at all by western media.

    These protesters took hostages and beat people at the airport.

    Hong Kong is part of China and it’s not as if the neoliberal agenda hasn’t used the totalitarian government system for cheap easily abused labor for decades.

    Why is the west promoting the protests in China while ignoring the protests in France and the soft neoliberal coup= pro Brexit in the UK by Blairites?

    I can guess

    • AnneR
      August 17, 2019 at 08:37

      Right, Emma.

      The only time I’ve heard anything about the Gilets Jaunes protests on either the BBC World Service (actually can’t recall a single mention on it) or NPR is when the GJs can be blamed for some property damage (much more likely to have been effected by false flaggers or local louts) in Paris. Never have either of these MSM stenographers for the neo-liberal corporate-capitalist-imperialist ruling elites said a word about the brutal injuries that the French Police have inflicted on so many to the GJs. Not a dicky bird.

      But when the HK police use tear gas – we hear all about it (you can almost hear such as the BBC, NPR slavering for the HK police to cause serious injuries or kill a protestor – the condemnations would be fast, thick and never-ending).

      • Realist
        August 20, 2019 at 02:38

        Surprised that hasn’t been referred to as “gassing their own people” in the Western media.

  46. August 17, 2019 at 00:58

    In Western MSM commentary and analysis any and all protestors rallying against the governments of our official enemies are to be admired – while fellow Western populations daring to protest against the policies of our neoliberal militarist Western police-state paradise are to be simply ignored, a la the Yellow Vests. Sorry, we’re not buying it anymore no matter how you package it.

    • August 17, 2019 at 03:26

      Interesting that Hong Kong is the focus and not yellow vest protests that have been beaten down by the police state.

      Meanwhile Brexit that’s been decided Democratically by the voters is being undermined by neoliberals.

  47. Godfree Roberts
    August 17, 2019 at 00:54

    Hong Kong’s democracy was a parting gift of the British Government which had thitherto denied its blessings to the Colony.

    Hong Kong’s democracy democracy has produced precisely the same outcomes as British and American democracy have produced in their own countries: economic stagnation, unaffordable housing, high child poverty and public frustration.

    China’s democracy*, on the other hand, has produced very different results: next year, every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health- and old age care. 300,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of American kids and live longer, healthier lives and there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.

    * Regardless of how one measures it–constitutionally, electively, popularly, procedurally, operationally, substantively financially, even theocratically–China comes out ahead. In survey after survey, China has the most trusted government in the world and its policies enjoy the highest support. Read ‘Selling Democracy to the Chinese’

  48. Tom Kath
    August 17, 2019 at 00:28

    In rough terms it seems to me that Taiwan and Hong Kong (amongst other Chinese provinces) are about as “independent” of China as California or Hawaii are of America, or Scotland and Northern Ireland are of Britain.
    Perhaps a year or two of lawless chaos would make any kind of law and order more palatable.

  49. jaycee
    August 16, 2019 at 23:43

    The extradition bill, which was regional including Macau and Taiwan, was withdrawn two months ago. It was a triumph of people power, setting a sort of red line for the future and giving notice that Hong Kong’s residents are alert to even partial attempts to undermine their common identity. Since then, the more militant faction of the “pro-democracy” movement has gradually expanded their demands to include independent commissions to examine police conduct, then to complaints of a local housing crisis, then demands for universal suffrage, and now this week it turns out they reject the authority of China’s communist party and wish to separate or possibly return to their previous colonial status. This is not a realistic demand, not least because Hong Kong lacks water resources and imports most of its food.

    The protest movement in Hong Kong is not coherent. If they wish to challenge the communist party, then the only hope would be an alliance with like-minded persons on the mainland. But the protesters have attacked mainlanders and frequently verbally disparage them. If the protester’s wish to retain a one country/ two systems status for their region beyond 2047, then antagonizing Beijing and assuming a belligerent militant posture is guaranteed to sabotage such negotiation. If they wish to petition the government for redress of their grievances, then engaging in transportation blockades and attacks on police stations leads to confrontation and violence rather than political settlement. It has been well established that resistance to solving housing issues or democratic reform comes from within the Hong Kong establishment itself rather than the edict of Beijing.

    The leadership of the protest movement, providing encouragement for more militant expression, have been direct recipients of aid from the NED for many years. The direction of the protests appears to be rather blatant attempts to spark a direct response, a violent overreaction, from China’s central government – which is not in Hong Kong’s interest at all. This strategy is a common feature of NED “pro-democracy” militancy.

  50. August 16, 2019 at 23:31

    There is simply no question but that the United States has covertly encouraged the demonstrations.

    And American Consular official was photographed talking to some demonstrators. The photo is easily found on the Internet.

    Something that is absolutely none of her business.

    Today’s imperial America just cannot keep itself from interfering in the internal affairs of others. You name the place – Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, Ukraine, Taiwan, Gibraltar, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Russia, China ,etc, and there’s the United States interfering.

    God, would it ever be a change for the American government to pay some attention to its own country, one literally spilling over with problems of every description.

    But no, the establishment in Washington has no time or resources for that, only for trying to tell the rest of the world what they should do.

    Truly, just sick.

  51. John Gilberts
    August 16, 2019 at 23:26

    Sorry, but this has all the earmarks of classic American color revolution. Shades of Maidan square anyone? Where’s Vicky Nuland and her cookies? No surprise therefore to find pictures of protest leaders meeting with US consular staff now circulating on the internet, not to mention the obvious but unmentioned fact that someone has to be paying for all of these primarily student rioters to go this long battling the police, smashing up the place, waving those Stars and Stripes around and singing the American anthem for many weeks with no visible means of support. Where is the money coming from to sustain all of this? I think I can guess.

    Furthermore, I very much doubt that Beijing will make the kind of move on Hong Kong that these provocations are so desperate to provoke – the better to demonize China. Not only would it be bad for business, Beijing doesn’t have to. The Hong Kong police are more than capable of handing this and have shown quite remarkable restraint given the degree of violent destruction and disorder caused. Just imagine what American police might do if a mob occupied and shut down a major airport? The measured approach taken may change as ordinary citizens begins to tire of the nonsense and disruption. Or the thing may fizzle out by itself once the schools and unis are back in session and the America’s failed color revolution fades to black.

    • August 16, 2019 at 23:35

      Indeed. And there are a number of reasons for saying so.

      Apart from a photo of an American Consular official, a would-be Victoria Nuland, talking to some Hong Kong demonstrators, many of the words of Washington’s responses suggest exactly that.

    • Antiwar7
      August 17, 2019 at 06:36

      The protesters are a bunch of spoiled jerks. I have no sympathy for them. Basically, they just hate the mainland Chinese, and yet they’re as free as I am in the US. I passed through the airport and told them if they tried that in the US, they’d get beaten by the police, but they obviously didn’t care to listen.

  52. Abe
    August 16, 2019 at 23:06

    Lawrence belts out the propaganda chorus of every US-backed “color revolution” since Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004).

    The clueless “correspondent abroad” finds it “impossible not to admire the bravery and commitment pro-democracy demonstrators display daily” and bemoans a purported “tragic fate that appears near”.

    Ultimately it was rooftop snipers in Kiev in February 2014, accompanied by a prompt visit from CIA director John Brennan to ensure that glorious Maidan “revolution” was effectively weaponized. Similar examples (such as Daraa, near the Syria’s border with Jordan, in March 2011) readily come to mind for anyone but Lawrence.

    The Chinese ain’t stupid.

    As geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci has pointed out:

    “Beijing has reclaimed Hong Kong through economic and political means. Projects like the recently completed Hong Kong high-speed rail link and the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge have helped increase the number of mainlanders – laborers, visitors, and entrepreneurs – travelling to, living in, and doing business with Hong Kong. With them come mainland values, culture, and politics.

    “Hong Kong’s elected government is now composed of a majority of openly pro-Beijing parties and politicians. They regularly and easily defeat Hong Kong’s so-called ‘pan-democratic’ and ‘independence’ parties during elections. It is the elected, pro-Beijing government of Hong Kong that has proposed the recent extradition bill to begin with – a fact regularly omitted in Western coverage of the protests against the bill.

    “US Color Revolution Masquerades as ‘Popular Opposition’

    “Unable to defeat the bill legislatively, Hong Kong’s pro-Western opposition has taken to the streets. With the help of Western media spin – the illusion of popular opposition to the extradition bill and Beijing’s growing influence over Hong Kong is created.

    “What is not only omitted – but actively denied – is the fact that the opposition’s core leaders, parties, organizations, and media operations are all tied directly to Washington DC via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) [and its subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI)] and corporate foundations like Open Society Foundation.

    “Hong Kong’s opposition has already long been exposed as US-sponsored.

    “This includes the entire core leadership of the 2014 so-called ‘Occupy Central’ protests, also known as the ‘Umbrella Revolution.’ Western media has portrayed recent anti-extradition bill protests as a continuation of the ‘Umbrella’ protests with many of the same organizations, parties, and individuals leading and supporting them.

    “The Western media has attempted to dismiss this in the past. […]

    “Hong Kong’s opposition leaders receiving US support include:

    Benny Tai [,] Joshua Wong [,] Audrey Eu Yuet-mee [and] Martin Lee

    “During a talk in Washington titled, ‘Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters,’ Lee and Chan would lay out the entire ‘Occupy Central’ narrative about independence from Beijing and a desire for self-governance before an American audience representing a foreign government Lee, Chan, and their entire opposition are ironically very much dependent on. […]

    “by 2015, after ‘Occupy Central’ was over, NED subsidiary Freedom House would not only invite Benny Tai and Joshua Wong to Washington, but also Martin Lee in an event acknowledging the three as ‘Hong Kong democracy leaders.’ All three would take to the stage with their signature yellow umbrellas, representing their roles in the ‘Occupy Central’ protests, and of course – exposing NED’s lie denying Lee’s leadership role in the protests. Additionally, multiple leaked US diplomatic cables […] indicate that Martin Lee has been in close contact with the US government for years, and regularly asked for and received various forms of aid.

    “Other opposition leaders have been literally caught meeting secretly with US diplomats including Hong Kong opposition leaders Edward Leung and Ray Wong in 2016 […]

    “Despite the supposed size of the protests it should be remembered that similar protests in 2014 and 2016 were also large and disruptive yet yielded no concessions from either Hong Kong’s elected government or Beijing.

    “The extradition bill will pass – if not now – in the near future. The process of reintegration it represents will continue moving forward as well.”

    Form more analysis see Cartalucci’s “US ‘Color Revolution’ Struggles in Hong Kong”

    Note how Lawrence’s report says absolutely nothing nothing about who is actually behind the “escalating protests” in Hong Kong. Apparently US “improvisations” don’t interest him. Maybe he’s waiting for the rooftop snipers.

    • Abe
      August 17, 2019 at 00:54

      Multiple classified US diplomatic cables (from 2006, 2007 and 2009) published by Wikileaks clearly indicate that so-called “democracy advocate” Martin Lee has indeed been “long-honored” by the US government.

      Lee has been in close contact with American officials for years, and regularly asked for and received various forms of aid from the US.

      But this article isn’t the first demonstration of cluelessness by Lawrence.

      Lawrence’s April 29, 2019 CN article discussed the “irrational world views” that undergird the Trump administration’s bellicose foreign policy

      Lawrence averred that “Trump may not have chosen his foreign policy team so much as its members have been imposed upon him”.

      As I noted in the comments, there is absolutely no evidence for Lawrence’s assertion.

      Both Trump and Hillary Clinton (and all their rivals from the 2016 presidential campaign) are Israel-Firsters deep in the pockets of the pro-Israel Lobby. Trump merely excelled with his self-professed “1000 percent” pro-Israel stance.

      Trump’s whole 2016 “insurgent” campaign, including his purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel’s commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel’s undivided capital, were an elaborate propaganda scam engineered by the Israel Lobby from the very beginning.

      Lawrence conspicuously neglected to mention that Trump’s handpicked cabal of “zealots and crusaders” are all pro-Israel Lobby stalwarts.

      Trump’s “foreign policy team”, the Pompeo-Bolton axis and myriad minions, precisely represent the pro-Israel Lobby signature “toxic combination of neoconservatives, many drawn from the Heritage Foundation [and other decidedly pro-Israel policy think tanks], and evangelical Christians”.

      Trump deliberately surrounded himself with pro-Israel Lobby “foreign policy Manicheans” devoted to an aggressive, militaristic agenda aimed at “securing the realm” for Israel.

      The results are entirely predictable.

      Trump’s foreign policy antics are not merely “shambolic”, “amateurish and discombobulated”, as Lawrence speciously claimed in his article.

      Trump and his team are more accurately described as monomaniacally pro-Israel, no matter how much damage is done to key US interests.

      How much more of Lawrence’s cluelessness will CN see fit to publish?

      • August 19, 2019 at 13:49

        Lawrence offers nuanced perspectives, ones you disagree with, and you propose he be censored and not allowed to publish on CN? How enlightened. And how revealing.

      • Abe
        August 20, 2019 at 01:20

        The above remark by comrade “Cara” is pure calumny. There was no proposal that Lawrence “be censored and not allowed to publish”.

        Revealing indeed.

        Lawrence certainly has offered “nuanced perspectives” that conveniently neglect to mention the obvious US influence in the Hong Kong protests and the obvious pro-Israel Lobby influence in Trump’s foreign policy.

        For “Cara” and comrades, not mentioning the obvious is what constitutes “balanced” journalism.

        How “enlightened” and no less revealing.

        So by all means, keep posting your cheers for Lawrence’s cluelessness.

        But please don’t be too upset with Lawrence if he suddenly gets a clue and discovers the generosity of the NED in Hong Kong by reading the articles of Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Dan Cohen, and other reporters published here at Consortium News.

    • August 17, 2019 at 01:00

      Abe – excellent post. Thanks.

    • August 17, 2019 at 02:51

      Good post. I wish only to add that the news late 16th August was that six riot organisers had just fled Hong Kong, mostly to Taiwan. Whether they have return tickets is unknown.

    • AnneR
      August 17, 2019 at 08:31

      Absolutely, Abe.

      Indeed, I was surprised at Patrick Lawrence’s completely in-line with the US-UK MSM, governmental, construct of what is going on in HK.

      Hong Kong never had democracy or anything approaching it while under UK rule. It still has many westerners dwelling there; its judiciary are, I believe, largely of British origin (imagine that in the US? Or Australia?). We are constantly told on the BBC World Service and NPR how large the demos are in Hong Kong – the impression we are supposed to take away is that all Hong Kong people are pro the demonstrators (who, by the way, don’t seem to be in need of employment given how much time they devote to protesting).

      As is so typical of the MSM propaganda machine, we only hear from the pro side, and usually those who are closely connected to NED and whatnot.

      And there was nothing wrong with the extradition bill so far as I can tell. Almost all countries have them. And apparently, because HK doesn’t have one with Mainland China, it is a place to which criminals flee and set up shop.

      So – Mr Lawrence’s article was a real disappointment.

  53. James O'Neill
    August 16, 2019 at 22:16

    There are basic facts that need to be remembered. Hong Kong has always been a part of China. It is fundamentally outrageous that a colonial power should dictate the terms of the return of sovereign territory to the country from which it was seized. That is precisely what happened in Hong Kong. China was a much weaker state in 1997 than it is now. It is showing remarkable forbearance in the face of unlawful dissent clearly promoted by foreign elements. The western response is hypocritical in the extreme.

    • Eddie S
      August 16, 2019 at 22:49

      Yes, it’s as-if Boston were still a British protectorate, or the Dutch ran NYC, or the French did the same with New Orleans. City states like that are very rare — Monaco, Vatican City, and Singapore are the only ones that readily come to mind without Googling — and especially in situations where there’s a significant difference in governmental philosophies. While it does appear inevitable that HK will be absorbed into China, it is an improvement NOT to see tanks rolling into the city, ala Tiananmen Square….

    • Babyl-on
      August 16, 2019 at 22:56

      Could not agree more. The riots are classic Gene Sharp hybrid war tactics and are clearly heavily supported by US Imperial operations.

      This author acts as if there once was democracy in Hog Kong – there NEVER WAS.

      Brave fighters for democracy, really – I want to vomit.

      One thing is certain, there is no new cold war there is hybrid warfare by the Western Empire centered in the US against the rest of the world. Look around, Venezuela, and across Latin America Hong Kong, arms sales to Taiwan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia and across Africa it is war hybrid or hot as needed.

      Now that the nuclear treaties have been negated the Empire is free to move out into the world with small nuclear weapons.

      The war to take over the rest of the world has started.

  54. August 16, 2019 at 21:09

    President Xi Jinping faces humanity attempting to say something. He knows that. He also knows that an attempt to communicate in the information-age is wrapped in physics. The collected intelligence of Hong Kong is sufficient for critical mass mind meld to couple with the life force flow of cosmic powered biology manifest as human. President Xi Jinping knows that. The age old problem is how does one relate to something beyond any individual understanding.

    • Chris
      August 18, 2019 at 10:54

      Why can’t I post my comment?

Comments are closed.