US Backs Xenophobia & Mob Violence in Hong Kong

The ferociously anti-Chinese network behind the demonstrations has been cultivated with the help of U.S. funding and a Washington-linked local media tycoon, reports Dan Cohen.

  By Dan Cohen 
  The Grayzone

President Donald Trump tweeted on August 13 that he “can’t imagine why” the United States has been blamed for the chaotic protests that have gripped Hong Kong. 

Trump’s befuddlement might be understandable considering the carefully managed narrative of the U.S. government and its unofficial media apparatus, which have portrayed the protests as an organic “pro-democracy” expression of grassroots youth. However, a look beneath the surface of this oversimplified, made-for-television script reveals that the ferociously anti-Chinese network behind the demonstrations has been cultivated with the help of millions of dollars from the U.S. government, as well as a Washington-linked local media tycoon. 

Since March, raucous protests have gripped Hong Kong. In July and August, these demonstrations transformed into ugly displays of xenophobia and mob violence. 

The protests ostensibly began in opposition to a proposed amendment to the extradition law between Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and Macau, which would have allowed Taiwanese authorities to prosecute a Hong Kong man for murdering his pregnant girlfriend and dumping her body in the bushes during a vacation to Taiwan. 

Highly organized networks of anti-China protesters quickly mobilized against the law, compelling Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdraw the bill. 

But the protests continued even after the extradition law was taken off the table — and these demonstrations degenerated into disturbing scenes. In recent days, hundreds of masked rioters have occupied the Hong Kong airport, forcing the cancellation of inbound flights while harassing travelers and viciously assaulting journalists and police.

The protesters’ stated goals remain vague. Joshua Wong, one of the most well known figures in the movement, has put forward a call for the Chinese government to “retract the proclamation that the protests were riots,” and restated the consensus demand for universal suffrage.

Wong is a bespectacled 22-year-old who has been trumpeted in Western media as a “freedom campaigner,” promoted to the English-speaking world through his own Netflix documentary, and rewarded with the backing of the U.S. government. 

But behind telegenic spokespeople like Wong are more extreme elements such as the Hong Kong National Party, whose members have appeared at protests waving the Stars and Stripes and belting out cacophonous renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner. The leadership of this officially banned party helped popularize the call for the full independence of Hong Kong, a radical goal that is music to the ears of hardliners in Washington.

Xenophobic resentment has defined the sensibility of the protesters, who vow to “retake Hong Kong” from Chinese mainlanders they depict as a horde of locusts. The demonstrators have even adopted one of the most widely recognized symbols of the alt-right, emblazoning images of Pepe the Frog on their protest literature. While it’s unclear that Hong Kong residents see Pepe the same way American white nationalists do, members of the U.S. far-right have embraced the protest movement as their own, and even personally joined their ranks.

Among the most central influencers of the demonstrations is a local tycoon named Jimmy Lai. The self-described “head of opposition media,” Lai is widely described as the Rupert Murdoch of Asia. For the masses of protesters, Lai is a transcendent figure. They clamor for photos with him and applaud the oligarch wildly when he walks by their encampments. 

Lai established his credentials by pouring millions of dollars into the 2014 Occupy Central protest, which is known popularly as the Umbrella Movement. He has since used his massive fortune to fund local anti-China political movers and shakers while injecting the protests with a virulent brand of Sinophobia through his media empire. 

Though Western media has depicted the Hong Kong protesters as the voice of an entire people yearning for freedom, the island is deeply divided. This August, a group of protesters mobilized outside Jimmy Lai’s house, denouncing him as a “running dog” of Washington and accusing him of national betrayal by unleashing chaos on the island. 

Days earlier, Lai was in Washington, coordinating with hardline members of Trump’s national security team, including John Bolton. His ties to Washington run deep — and so do those of the front-line protest leaders. 

Millions of dollars have flowed from U.S.  regime-change outfits like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) into civil society and political organizations that form the backbone of the anti-China mobilization. And Lai has supplemented it with his own fortune while instructing protesters on tactics through his various media organs.

With Donald Trump in the White House, Lai is convinced that his moment may be on the horizon. Trump “understands the Chinese like no president understood,” the tycoon told The Wall Street Journal. “I think he’s very good at dealing with gangsters.” 

 Born to Wealthy Mainland Parents 

Born in the mainland in 1948 to wealthy parents, whose fortune was expropriated by the Communist Party during the revolution the following year, Jimmy Lai began working at 9 years old, carrying bags for train travelers during the hard years of the Great Chinese Famine.

Inspired by the taste of a piece of chocolate gifted to him by a wealthy man, he decided to smuggle himself to Hong Kong to discover a future of wealth and luxury. There, Lai worked his way up the ranks of the garment industry, growing enamored with the libertarian theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, the latter of whom became his close friend. 

Friedman is famous for developing the neoliberal shock therapy doctrine that the U.S. has imposed on numerous countries, resulting in the excess deaths of millions. For his part, Hayek is the godfather of the Austrian economic school that forms the foundation of libertarian political movements across the West.

Lai built his business empire on Giordano, a garment label that became one of Asia’s most recognizable brands. In 1989, he threw his weight behind the Tiananmen Square protests, hawking t-shirts on the streets of Beijing calling for Deng Xiaoping to “step down.” 

Lai’s actions provoked the Chinese government to ban his company from operating on the mainland. A year later, he founded Next Weekly magazine, initiating a process that would revolutionize the mediascape in Hong Kong with a blend of smutty tabloid-style journalism, celebrity gossip and a heavy dose of anti-China spin.

The vociferously anti-communist baron soon became Hong Kong’s media kingpin, worth a whopping $660 million in 2009. 

Today, Lai is the founder and majority stakeholder of Next Digital, the largest listed media company in Hong Kong, which he uses to agitate for the end of what he calls the Chinese “dictatorship.” 

His flagship outlet is the popular tabloid Apple Daily, employing the trademark mix of raunchy material with a heavy dose of xenophobic, nativist propaganda.

In 2012, Apple Daily carried a full page advertisement depicting mainland Chinese citizens as invading locusts draining Hong Kong’s resources. The advertisement called for a stop to the “unlimited invasion of mainland pregnant women in Hong Kong.” (This was a crude reference to the Chinese citizens who had flocked to the island while pregnant to ensure that their children could earn Hong Kong residency, and resembled the resentment among the U.S. right-wing of immigrant “anchor babies.”)  

Ad in Lai’s Apple Daily: “That’s enough! Stop unlimited invasion of mainland pregnant women!”

The transformation of Hong Kong’s economy has provided fertile soil for Lai’s brand of demagoguery. As the country’s manufacturing base moved to mainland China after the golden years of the 1980s and ‘90s, the economy was rapidly financialized, enriching oligarchs like Lai. Left with rising debt and dimming career prospects, Hong Kong’s youth became easy prey to the demagogic politics of nativism

Many protesters have been seen waving British Union Jacks in recent weeks, expressing a yearning for an imaginary past under colonial control which they never personally experienced. 

In July, protesters vandalized the Hong Kong Liaison Office, spray-painting the word, “Shina” on its facade. This term is a xenophobic slur some in Hong Kong and Taiwan use to refer to mainland China. The anti-Chinese phenomenon was visible during the 2014 Umbrella movement protests as well, with signs plastered around the city reading, “Hong Kong for Hong Kongers.”

This month, protesters turned their fury on the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, spray-painting “rioters” on its office. The attack represented resentment of the left-wing group’s role in a violent 1967 uprising against the British colonial authorities, who are now seen as heroes among many of the anti-Chinese demonstrators.

Besides Lai, a large part of the credit for mobilizing latent xenophobia goes to the right-wing Hong Kong Indigenous party leader Edward Leung. Under the direction of the 28-year-old Leung, his pro-independence party has brandished British colonial flags and publicly harassed Chinese mainland tourists. In 2016, Leung was exposed for meeting with U.S. diplomatic officials at a local restaurant.

Though he is currently in jail for leading a 2016 riot where police were bombarded with bricks and pavement – and where he admitted to attacking an officer – Leung’s rightist politics and his slogan, “Retake Hong Kong,” have helped define the ongoing protests. 

A local legislator and protest leader described Leung to The New York Times as “the Che Guevara of Hong Kong’s revolution,” referring without a hint of irony to the Latin American communist revolutionary killed in a CIA-backed operation. According to the Times, Leung is “the closest thing Hong Kong’s tumultuous and leaderless protest movement has to a guiding light.”

The xenophobic sensibility of the protesters has provided fertile soil for Hong Kong National Party to recruit. Founded by the pro-independence activist Andy Chan, the officially banned party combines anti-Chinese resentment with calls for the U.S.  to intervene. Images and videos have surfaced of HKNP members waving the flags of the U.S. and U.K., singing the Star Spangled Banner, and carrying flags emblazoned with images of Pepe the Frog, the most recognizable symbol of the U.S.  alt-right. 

While the party lacks a wide base of popular support, it is perhaps the most outspoken within the protest ranks, and has attracted disproportionate international attention as a result. Chan has called for Trump to escalate the trade war and accused China of carrying out a “national cleansing” against Hong Kong. “We were once colonized by the Brits, and now we are by the Chinese,” he declared.

Displays of pro-American jingoism in the streets of Hong Kong have been like catnip for the international far-right.

Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson recently appeared at an anti-extradition protest in Hong Kong, livestreaming the event to his tens of thousands of followers. A month earlier, Gibson was seen roughing up antifa activists alongside ranks of club wielding fascists. In Hong Kong, the alt-right organizer marveled at the crowds. 

“They love our flag here more than they do in America!” Gibson exclaimed as marchers passed by, flashing him a thumbs up sign while he waved the Stars and Stripes.

 Xenophobic Propaganda 

 Such xenophobic propaganda is consistent with the clash of civilizations theory that Jimmy Lai has    promulgated through his media empire.

“You have to understand the Hong Kong people – a very tiny 7 million or 0.5 percent of the Chinese population – are very different from the rest of Chinese in China, because we grow up in the Western values, which was the legacy of the British colonial past, which gave us the instinct to revolt once this extradition law was threatening our freedom,” Lai told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. “Even America has to look at the world 20 years from now, whether you want the Chinese dictatorial values to dominate this world, or you want the values that you treasure [to] continue.”

During a panel discussion at the neoconservative Washington-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Lai told the pro-Israel lobbyist Jonathan Schanzer,

“We need to know that America is behind us. By backing us, America is also sowing to the will of their moral authority because we are the only place in China, a tiny island in China, which is sharing your values, which is fighting the same war you have with China.”

While Lai makes no attempt to conceal his political agenda, his bankrolling of central figures in the 2014 Occupy Central, or Umbrella movement protests, was not always public. 

Leaked emails revealed that Lai poured more than $1.2 million to anti-China political parties including  $637,000 to the Democratic Party and $382,000 to the Civic Party. Lai also gave $115,000 to the Hong Kong Civic Education Foundation and Hong Kong Democratic Development Network, both of which were co-founded by Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. Lai also spent $446,000 on Occupy Central’s 2014 unofficial referendum.

Lai’s U.S.  consigliere is a former Navy intelligence analyst who interned with the CIA and leveraged his intelligence connections to build his boss’s business empire. Named Mark Simon, the veteran spook arranged for former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to meet with a group in the anti-China camp during a 2009 visit to Hong Kong. Five years later, Lai paid $75,000 to neoconservative Iraq war author and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to organize a meeting with top military figures in Myanmar.

This July, as the Hong Kong protests gathered steam, Lai was junketed to Washington, D.C., for meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Cory Gardner, and Rick Scott. Bloomberg News correspondent Nicholas Wadhams remarked on Lai’s visit, “Very unusual for a [non-government] visitor to get that kind of access.”

One of Lai’s closest allies, Martin Lee, was also granted an audience with Pompeo, and has held court with U.S. leaders including Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Joseph Biden.

Among the most prominent figures in Hong Kong’s pro-U.S. political parties, Lee began collaborating with Lai during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. A recipient of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy’s “Democracy Award” in 1997, Lee is the founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, now considered part of the pro-U.S.  camp’s old guard. 

While Martin Lee has long been highly visible on the pro-western Hong Kong scene, a younger generation of activists emerged during the 2014 Occupy Central protests with a new brand of localized politics.

Joshua Wong meets with Sen. Marco Rubio in Washington on May 8, 2017.

Joshua Wong was just 17 years old when the Umbrella Movement took form in 2014. After emerging in the protest ranks as one of the more charismatic voices, he was steadily groomed as the pro-West camp’s teenage poster child. Wong received lavish praised in Time magazine, Fortune, and Foreign Policy as a “freedom campaigner,” and became the subject of an award-winning Netflix documentary called “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower.”

 

Unsurprisingly, these puff pieces have overlooked Wong’s ties to the U.S. regime-change apparatus. For instance, National Endowment for Democracy’s National Democratic Institute (NDI) maintains a close relationship with Demosisto, the political party Wong founded in 2016 with fellow Umbrella movement alumnus Nathan Law. 

In August, a candid photo surfaced of Wong and Law meeting with Julie Eadeh, the political counselor at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, raising questions about the content of the meeting and setting off a diplomatic showdown between Washington and Beijing.

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong submitted a formal complaint with the U.S. consulate general, calling on the U.S. “to immediately make a clean break from anti-China forces who stir up trouble in Hong Kong, stop sending out wrong signals to violent offenders, refrain from meddling with Hong Kong affairs and avoid going further down the wrong path.”

The pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao published personal details about Eadeh, including the names of her children and her address. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus lashed out, accusing the Chinese government of being behind the leak but offering no evidence. “I don’t think that leaking an American diplomat’s private information, pictures, names of their children, I don’t think that is a formal protest, that is what a thuggish regime would do,” she said at a State Department briefing. 

But the photo underscored the close relationship between Hong Kong’s pro-West movement and the U.S. government. Since the 2014 Occupy Central protests that vaulted Wong into prominence, he and his peers have been assiduously cultivated by the elite Washington institutions to act as the faces and voices of Hong Kong’s burgeoning anti-China movement.

In September 2015, Wong, Martin Lee, and University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Lee were honored by Freedom House, a right-wing soft-power organization that is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and other arms of the U.S. government.  

Just days after Trump’s election as president in November 2016, Wong was back in Washington to appeal for more U.S. support. “Being a businessman, I hope Donald Trump could know the dynamics in Hong Kong and know that to maintain the business sector benefits in Hong Kong, it’s necessary to fully support human rights in Hong Kong to maintain the judicial independence and the rule of law,” he said.

Wong’s visit provided occasion for the Senate’s two most aggressively neoconservative members, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, to introduce the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” which would “identify those responsible for abduction, surveillance, detention and forced confessions, and the perpetrators will have their U.S. assets, if any… frozen and their entry to the country denied.”

Wong was then taken on a junket of elite U.S. institutions including the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank and the newsrooms of The New York Times and Financial Times. He then held court with Rubio, Cotton, Pelosi, and Sen. Ben Sasse

In September 2017, Rubio, Ben Cardin, Tom Cotton, Sherrod Brown, and Cory Gardner signed off on a letter to Wong, Law and fellow anti-China activist Alex Chow, praising them for their “efforts to build a genuinely autonomous Hong Kong.” The bipartisan cast of senators proclaimed that “the United States cannot stand idly by.”

A year later, Rubio and his colleagues nominated the trio of Wong, Law, and Chow for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. 

Washington’s support for the designated spokesmen of the “retake Hong Kong movement” was supplemented with untold sums of money from U.S. regime-change outfits like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and subsidiaries like the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to civil society, media and political groups. 

As journalist Alex Rubinstein reported, the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, a key member of the coalition that organized against the now-defunct extradition law, has received more than $2 million in NED funds since 1995. And other groups in the coalition reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars from the NED and NDI last year alone.

While U.S. lawmakers nominate Hong Kong protest leaders for peace prizes and pump their organizations with money to “promote democracy,” the demonstrations have begun to spiral out of control. 

Protests Become More Aggressive

After the extradition law was scrapped, the protests moved into a more aggressive phase, launching “hit and run attacks” against government targets, erecting roadblocks, besieging police stations, and generally embracing the extreme modalities put on display during U.S.-backed regime-change operations from Ukraine to Venezuela to Nicaragua. 

The techniques clearly reflected the training many activists have received from Western soft-power outfits. But they also bore the mark of Jimmy Lai’s media operation. 

In addition to the vast sums Lai spent on political parties directly involved in the protests, his media group created an animated video “showing how to resist police in case force was used to disperse people in a mass protest.” 

While dumping money into the Hong Kong’s pro-U.S. political camp in 2013, Lai traveled to Taiwan for a secret roundtable consultation with Shih Ming-teh, a key figure in Taiwan’s social movement that forced then-president Chen Shui-bian to resign in 2008. Shih reportedly instructed Lai on non-violent tactics to bring the government to heel, emphasizing the importance of a commitment to go to jail. 

According to journalist Peter Lee, “Shih supposedly gave Lai advice on putting students, young girls, and mothers with children in the vanguard of the street protests, in order to attract the support of the international community and press, and to sustain the movement with continual activities to keep it dynamic and fresh.” Lai reportedly turned off his recording device during multiple sections of Shih’s tutorial.

One protester explained to The New York Times how the movement attempted to embrace a strategy called, “Marginal Violence Theory:” By using “mild force” to provoke security services into attacking the protesters, the protesters aimed to shift international sympathy away from the state. 

But as the protest movement intensifies, its rank-and-file are doing away with tactical restraint and lashing out at their targets with full fury. They have thrown molotov cocktails into intersections to block traffic; attacked vehicles and their drivers for attempting to break through roadblocks; beaten opponents with truncheons; attacked a wounded man with a U.S. flag; menaced a reporter into deleting her photos; kidnapped and beat a journalist senseless; beat a mainland traveler unconscious and prevented paramedics from reaching the victim; and hurled petrol bombs at police officers.

The charged atmosphere has provided a shot in the arm to Lai’s media empire, which had been suffering heavy losses since the last round of national protests in 2014. After the mass marches against the extradition bill on June 9, which Lai’s Apple Daily aggressively promoted, his Next Digital doubled in value, according to Eji Insight. 

Meanwhile, the protest leaders show no sign of backing down. Nathan Law, the youth activist celebrated in Washington and photographed meeting with U.S.  officials in Hong Kong, took to Twitter to urge his peers to soldier on: “We have to persist and keep the faith no matter how devastated the reality seems to be,” he wrote. 

Law was tweeting from New Haven, Connecticut, where he was enrolled with a full scholarship at Yale University. While the young activist basked in the adulation of his U.S. patrons thousands of miles from the chaos he helped spark, a movement that defined itself as a “leaderless resistance” forged ahead back home.

Dan Cohen is a journalist and co-producer of the award-winning documentary, “Killing Gaza.” He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine, Latin America, the U.S.-Mexico border and Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @DanCohen3000.

This article is from The Grayzone.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry’s Comment Policy. Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed.

41 comments for “US Backs Xenophobia & Mob Violence in Hong Kong

  1. DC
    September 2, 2019 at 12:27

    “Friedman is famous for developing the neoliberal shock therapy doctrine that the U.S. has imposed on numerous countries, resulting in the excess deaths of millions.”

    Details? Evidence? Sources? Sounds like propaganda.

  2. Kam
    August 28, 2019 at 09:48

    So it seems that this site is run by chinese trolls. Yea right- the only argument for people wanting freedom amd democracy is because of the nudging of the black hand. How ignorant of the facts. But then again, why waste my free speech on trolls who know nothing about the topic.

  3. em sos
    August 27, 2019 at 12:31

    Like the author explains: Standard American foreign policy procedure when dealing with those governments not sanctioned by the U.S. hegemon.

  4. Lionel
    August 26, 2019 at 12:02

    If only there were more journalists like Dan Cohen, and if only pieces like this could get more dissemination!

  5. August 25, 2019 at 16:08

    this is certainly a grossly slanted opinion piece that does no justice to either the protest movement or the actual facts and policies of the Chinese regime

  6. August 22, 2019 at 21:45

    People interviewed on TV, have said the law would allow people of Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial, if in trouble with the law, as the reason for the protests. Have those people been misinformed?

    • Nicholas Smith
      August 23, 2019 at 15:54

      And Taiwan, and European countries, and other Asian countries. It wasn’t solely with China, and would have required the approval of Hong Kong’s judiciary, as is common in most other countries.

  7. RW Nye
    August 22, 2019 at 11:42

    The author’s use of the term “xenophobia” here is certainly inappropriate, as virtually all persons involved are Chinese–however divided they may be on issues of politics. Those political issues are thorny ones, stemming from the different historical experiences of the Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland. Weak government doomed the imperial dynasty, so it is understandable that the Chinese leadership should place a high premium on maintaining order and stability. Ordinary people also value order and stability, but not necessarily as much as they treasure their personal liberties. The percentage of Hong Kong’s population supporting the protesters is difficult to determine from overseas, but available sources suggest it is substantial. Extradition procedures and suffrage issues may be only the tip of the iceberg. I suspect the real concern is the increasingly repressive “social credit” policies and universal surveillance of mainland society.

    • Nicholas Smith
      August 23, 2019 at 16:22

      I’m sorry, but the usage of locusts to refer to “outsiders” is classical xenophobic imagery, regardless of ethnic similarities. By your logic the french considering the Germans “huns” wouldn’t be xenophobic, because they’re both Caucasian.

    • Kam
      August 28, 2019 at 09:52

      Huh? The xenophobes are the mainlanders and the CCP who use brute immigration policy to force Han chinese on HK, Tibet and the Uyghars, thereby eliminating the local culture. A pure Mao strategy.

  8. yvon j. hyde
    August 22, 2019 at 02:15

    Misleading and mendacious headline. Shame on Consortium and Mr. Nat Parry. I have extreme respect for your late father and the courage and excellence of his life’s work. I live and work here in Hong Kong. I’m American. I work with and am intimate friends with many Hong Kongers as well as mainland Chinese and mainlanders who have immigrated here who consider themselves to be Hong Kongers. The author is not well informed about Hong Kong life as it is lived in reality by us here; the article is filled with political cant serving a particular agenda. Many of the commenters are equally ignorant, riding pre-formed biases and misapplying them to a truly complex and fluid situation on the ground here. I think it is fair to say that the author identifies as liberal/left/progressive and sees the situation in Hong Kong through that lens. I understand that the readers of Consortium (including myself) mostly self-identify as liberal/left in their political orientation. But the biases and dichotomies of American political discourse do not supply meaningful explanations for the Hong Kong situation. Mr. Cohen throws around triggering labels like hand-grenades: “alt-right” “far-right” neoconservative” “xenophobia” and “right-wing” – designed to explode in the minds of liberal readers and link the protests here with some illegitimate “regime-change outfit” operating in dark bowels of Steve Bannon’s mind. And Pepe the Frog! God save us! The white supremacists are here in Hong Kong! This rhetoric is not in the least useful to understanding and informing the readers of Consortium. The vast, overwhelming majority of Hong Kongers abhor the violent tactics of the extreme elements of the protesters; yet they correctly fear – with absolutely unerring political acumen – that their unique history, language, culture, traditions and institutions will be swept away gradually by an outside force, namely the Communist-led government of the PRC. Even as I write this, there are people here who are trying to re-establish the primacy of a purely non-violent movement. What ordinary Hong Kongers are striving to manifest is not aligned with Western political tribalism – NED, Heritage Foundation or DOS support notwithstanding – rather, it is the simple, eternal wish to determine their own lives and futures. They are totally clear-sighted about their very slim chances of achieving any kind of enduring autonomy. And they are very pessimistic – almost despairing – about the prospects for their children. I’ve never seen anything so poignant as the way perfectly ordinary Hong Kong mothers and fathers are willing to march with their little children, simply to show that they did not let their freedoms die without making a last stand. Dear readers, please be discerning and critical of all sources, be widely informed, make your own judgments! For a true Hong Kong perspective, albeit only one person’s view, Please, please, please read this article Hong Kong Free Press:
    https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/08/19/hong-kongs-last-stand-gallant-battle-face-unspeakable-sacrifice-overwhelming-odds/

  9. Maricata
    August 21, 2019 at 18:26

    ““You have to understand the Hong Kong people – a very tiny 7 million or 0.5 percent of the Chinese population – are very different from the rest of Chinese in China, because we grow up in the Western values, which was the legacy of the British colonial past, which gave us the instinct to revolt once this extradition law was threatening our freedom,” Lai told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo”

    Right.

    Western values of imperialism, class, racism, violence, misogyny and indignity.

    This is where Trump comes in. Anyone who doesn’t understand that Western civilization is crumbling just needs to look at Trump.

    Funny,no mention of Soros. You know he is lurking somewhere behind the scenes.

  10. Robert
    August 21, 2019 at 14:10

    US is pushing for a Chinese Maidan. Soon the escalation of false-flag violence will occur, pushing China to respond with force. In the East, the CIA is fomenting separatism and extremism among Muslim Uighurs, pushing them to volunteer for ISIS and Al Qaeda in the ME, and then blaming China for responding to their terrorism with re-training camps.

    • Maricata
      August 21, 2019 at 18:27

      That is how the CIA works.

  11. John Patrick
    August 21, 2019 at 05:28

    I don’t see any mention of the China’s “re-education” camps for 1 million Muslims or of the brutal religious persecution (from Christianity to Falun Gong) by the author or commenters. The list of atrocities could go on, but they might have something to do with the huge number of people (“small streets” or not) in HK protesting against the possibility being sent across the boarder to the totalitarian behemoth on their border. No, but they’re all dupes of the US.
    Yes, of course, the US is corrupt and its foreign policy evil, but the same for China. (Check in with the Dali Lama on that). So here’s a news flash for you idealogues: both countries suck. They are oppressive and ruthless.
    And “xenophobic”? What SJW drivel. Fortunately, China and HK are both mostly Asian, otherwise the ever so woke author would be playing enough race cards to fill the East China Sea.

    • Rad
      August 21, 2019 at 20:34

      “(Check in with the Dali Lama on that).” What makes you think the Delai Lama is objective? After all, his brother worked for the CIA and also had skin in the game. Look up the article in the Chicago Tribune on CIA funding for the Tibetan warriors. The writer managed to interview Tibetians involved in the failed uprising many many years later and they were willing to talk because they realised they had sacrificed their lives for nothing.

  12. Anonymot
    August 20, 2019 at 19:18

    One of the more interesting things about our trajectory of failed regime changes and installing ignorant quislings is that they have happened from the Democratic administrations, like Truman with Korea, Cuba with Kennedy, Vietnam that started with Democrats and ended with Republicans on to the inflaming of the Middle East under Bush and exploding with Libya, Afghanistan, Irak etc. under Obama and the Ukraine and hate-Russia, ostensibly Democrat. under Hillary.

    If you look at the overall rather than piecemeal it is perfectly clear that the sole consistency in all of it is the CIA AND ITS BROTHER INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES. They and the State Dept. were and are the sole filters and providers of foreign affairs policy recommendations to Presidents and Congress, Republican and Democrat.

    Considered beyond the surface level that clearly says that neither the Presidents nor Congress control anything we do overseas. The options, the personnel, and their weights are all provided by our sole experts, via the CIA.

    Our domestic issues may be argued until Kingdom Come, by Sanders, Warren, or Marion whatsername, but they don’t say anything of any significance about foreign affairs. (The sole exception being Tulsi Gabbard who’s just been run off the rails by the Clinton controlled DNC.)

    You can rail until you’re blue, vote for whoever you will. The mindset of the CIA is directed now and always has been by oil and MIC interests. The reason they have all failed is a vision of failure representing semi-permanent chaos in those countries as power. It’s a variation of divide-and-conquer, because the divided are too weak to resist our advances.

    One day we’ll wahe up to the discovery that we don’t need the expensive facade of elected official at any level. They only make noise. The Harrises and O’Rourkes may argue over the best toothpaste or hypothesize over how to gussie up police uniforms, but none of the billions they spend to become elected make any difference on what goes down the sewers in our foreign policies.

    Democracy was a great idea. Too bad we never tried it.

  13. August 20, 2019 at 18:34

    I fear this is only Part One of the US plan. The expectation is that sooner or later China will have to crack down on this movement, and the demonstrators will ensure the crackdown is harsh and brutal. It is what happens afterwards in Taiwan that will matter. There a wave of sympathy for Hong Kong will lead to popular demands to declare independence. US agents will encourage them. Taiwan independence for China means war, because if they allow it, Taiwan will become a massive US military base. The US is already arming Taiwan to prepare for that war. They think that a largely naval and air war is winnable for them. They think that the modest Chinese nuclear deterrent (max. 300 warheads) has been neutralized by the Thaad anti-missile system in South Korea. The US war party is actually betting on winning a war with China to set it back 3o years. And they think this is the moment to do it.

    • Realist
      August 21, 2019 at 06:23

      Your remarks about Taiwan are really food for thought. It seemed almost unthinkable to me that Washington would eagerly instigate a war with China on its own turf. They undoubtedly assume that China cannot or will not strike at the American homeland in response. Japan and South Korea, certainly at risk in such a war, are probably incapable of talking any sense into the Americans. They haven’t succeeded with respect to North Korea. Russia has plenty of nukes to spare, what makes Washington think that they would not be for sale or gifting to the Chinese in the extreme scenario you picture. A conquered China would pretty much mean the quick end of an independent Russia. Putin has to know that.

    • Maricata
      August 21, 2019 at 18:28

      Thank Steve Bannon for this. He consistently meets with Chinese ‘dissidents’ to create the subjective and material basis for chaos and crisis.

  14. August 20, 2019 at 11:46

    If this writer can identify the leaders, ( collaboraters of the US and Brit Governmenst) why can`t the Chinese authorities pick them up one at a time. If this were happening in the USA all of these leaders would be in maximum security lockups. Just pick them up and disappear them for a while. You never fight a fire by dumping water into the centre of the fire you fight it from around the edges. Cut off it`s oxygen supply.

    I am sure China has a plan to end this rebellion , but so long as these people are running around free Hong Kong will be unmanageable. Cut off the head of the snake. Go for the leaders. First step cancel the one country two systems treaty, the Brits and US are doing their best to subvert the word and intent of the treaty so why should China be forced to live with it? Out law every NGO in the country. close the US embassy there. Then clear the streets. Businesses that want to leave let them go. Those that want to stay need to understand that they will stay out of politics and live under the rule of law.

    • lysias
      August 20, 2019 at 14:45

      The West wants an excuse to treat China as a pariah state. China should react with patience. Time is on its side.

    • August 25, 2019 at 16:10

      time is on the side of no despotic nation, not even China

  15. August 20, 2019 at 11:25

    The “Yellow Vest” are rendered essentially invisible by Western MSM, and if covered at all are roundly vilified even after 9 straight months of being on the streets all over France. Any resistance to our neoliberal military/police state paradise is unacceptable and will be treated as such. One is hard pressed in examining MSM to find any critique of the brutality of the French police in suppressing these protests.

    However, Western MSM simply LOVES protests that can be used to paint our official enemies as “evil,” or “totalitarian,” or “un-democratic,” as if the word “democracy” has ANY meaning whatsoever in the Western lexicon other than “rule by oligarchy.”

    One need not be the proverbial “rocket scientist” to see the events unfolding in Hong Kong within the prism of the ever present American and Western neocolonial soft power and propaganda operations. However, one does need to close one’s eyes rather tightly and to deny a great deal of well documented recent history from about the globe NOT TO SEE these connections.

    – “citizen-consumers are daily less interested in whether something is a fact than in whether it is convenient that it should be believed”- this quote from far back in 1962 – Alex Carey quoting Daniel Boorstin from Boorstin’s book – “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America”

    The following quote by Carey of Boorstin from the same book seems to sum up our current reality all to well:

    “we are threatened by a new and peculiarly American menace . . . It is the menace of unreality . . . We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them. We are the most illusioned people on earth. Yet we dare not become disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live, they are our news, our heroes . . . our very experience.”

  16. Ma Laoshi
    August 20, 2019 at 10:41

    There is one question which I can’t seem to get answered; perhaps this means it is the right question. As far as I know, all these CIA fronts NED, NDI, IRI, etc., violate HK’s Basic Law when they operate in the territory. And I’m positive that foreign affairs are explicitly excluded from HK’s autonomy deal. So why on earth are these outfits still allowed to meddle in Hong Kong’s, and thus China’s, politics, financially and otherwise? Part of me says that the weak HK Govt is only getting what it deserves if they don’t keep their own house in order.

  17. Carroll Price
    August 20, 2019 at 08:03

    The planners of international chaos strike again. Does Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, ring any bells?

  18. Zhu
    August 20, 2019 at 07:40

    I find it hard to believe anyone in the US political elite really has good will for Chinese people. They’ve slaughtered yellpw
    People by the million thrughout my lifetime. Probably Trump, Wolfowitz, et al. lust to turn China into another Itaq. :-(

  19. August 20, 2019 at 06:46

    t seems the anti-PRC forces are using the failure of Hong Government to provide a rising standard of living for ordinary people as a reason for protesting against the PRC. The PRC has demonstrated the ability of its government to raise the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people. Hong Kong has not.

    I would guess the PRC will be patient and let the authorities in Hong Kong regain control of the island and aiding those who see what is happening as another color revolution engineered by America. Private persons with personal fortunes who see the opportunity to shape events can be very dangerous as we have seen in America.

    Hong Kong appears to be a one percent city, where the elite shape events, and this needs to be addressed by the people of Hong Kong with assistance from the PRC. Hong Kong is, after all, part of China.

    Does anyone else see the constant use of the left wing right wing dichotomy as both tiresome and unproductive. And confusing.

  20. Realist
    August 20, 2019 at 05:11

    The Diem brothers, Nguyen Van Thieu, Nguyen Cao Ky, Bill Browder, Porky Poroshenko, Yats, Juan Guaido, Ahmed Chalabi, Hamid Karzai, Chung Kai-shek, and now Jimmie Lai, Martin Lee and Joshua Wong: all just Quislings to American hegemony. There are and have been legions of others, some, like Marco Rubio and Clarence Thomas, even operate within the United States and against the interests of most of its people. Though they purport to be champions to their community of origin, they are simply exploiting their ethnicity to surreptitiously push dangerous far right agendas that are to no one’s benefit but the richest oligarchs. That’s what all these names have in common; they were all spawned of wealth and privilege and adopted by the American aristocracy to bring their own people under American vassalage.

    What was the impetus for this latest color revolution propped up by Washington? That citizens of Hong Kong have the freedom to kill their pregnant girl friend in another jurisdiction and not be extradited and prosecuted for the crime? Why is that “get out of jail free” card not being played on behalf of Julian Assange, who committed only noble acts to expose high crimes by the state against humanity only to better our dysfunctional society? He exposed deliberate murder, he did not commit it. It was done systematically by powerful elements in society, not by a single deluded individual. An awful lot of gullible people in the Orient are being misled to preserve privileges for a subset of their population, and it’s not “white privilege” in this case. It’s just good old fashioned might makes right. Meanwhile, the white folks back in their own bailiwick are crucifying one of their own to protect the rich and powerful rather than to hold them accountable for their atrocious behavior–all justified with the most erudite hypocrisies conceived within the minds of men. (And I use that last word as it has been employed over the last thousand years or so in this language. The alphabet community can keep their collective shirts on. You’ve all been included in these bad decisions, if only for the optics by geniuses like Karl Rove, Rahm Emanuel, and John Bolton.)

    Thanks to the authors for underscoring that “members of the U.S. far-right have embraced the protest movement as their own, and even personally joined their ranks.” That certainly elucidates why grizzled pols like Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Cardin and even Sherrod Brown have embraced the coup plotters. They know how to maintain a grasp on power while not exerting the slightest effort to uphold moral principles. The warmongering Dems have long been every bit as antagonistic to true freedom, democracy and the American constitution as the GOPers, substituting instead this absurd charade, this bait and switch we see played out in the news media every day. Certainly no surprise that right wing extremist and noted toady to plutocrats, Marco Rubio, would nominate that lot for a Nobel Peace Prize. Considering the Zeitgeist, it would also not surprise me if they won, assuming Washington wanted them to win. Norway (this Nobel is awarded from Oslo rather than Stockholm) has apparently had some kind of epiphany in this new millennium and now shares Washington’s every niggling paranoia… which brings us full circle, because the original Quisling, who acted as a puppet for the Third Reich, was from Norway.

  21. Det McNulty
    August 20, 2019 at 03:44

    As an investigation of some of the reactionary forces that are operating amongst the HK protests, this offers points of interest and concern, which warrant exploration and condemnation. However, I disagree with the framing; to see these elements as representative of the protests as a whole is simply propaganda that supports the most right-wing elements inside the PRC that claim all the protestors are rioters. When it comes to complex politics events, there will always be foreign interference at some levels and on all sides. Yet the writing here is not balanced and does not recognise that the vast majority of the protestors are ordinary working people, many of whom are non-aligned and simply want to protect the freedoms they are afforded in HK and not have the place be completely absorbed into the opaque legal system of the PRC. The lack of empathy for the people of HK in some parts of the radical left is quite revolting. The PRC has never been some haven of democratic socialism and doesn’t support real workers’ self management or anything of the like. HK is being exploited by powerful forces, but our support should be with its people against state oppression in all forms.

    • August 21, 2019 at 19:08

      Thank you for your comments here and on Patrick Lawrence’s recent column. Your perspective is refreshingly sensible. I find the leftist orthodoxy (that word now seems to apply) where these protests are concerned disturbing. As a friend of mine who lived in HK for a decade put it: the notion that these protests are being choreographed mainly by US interests is just another expression of US-centrism. As if the people of HK couldn’t possibly have their own worthy agenda.

    • Realist
      August 22, 2019 at 06:07

      Yet they wave a sea of American flags and sing the American national anthem at their protests. They may have an agenda but they are telegraphing that it is an integral part of Washington’s agenda with this symbolism. Or did you miss that?

    • Det_McNulty
      August 22, 2019 at 16:40

      Indeed, I find it rather ridiculous that people seem more concerned with ‘exposing’ what appears to be a relatively small element of the protests and not actually addressing the legitimate concerns of those protesting and engaging with those involved in the movement, i.e. interviewing ordinary people on the street and representatives from trade unions. Investigating the role of different states and their intermediaries in fomenting and tactically supporting aspects of the movement is of course important, but reads like propaganda when it doesn’t account for the complexities of the situation and reduces the events to something along the lines of orchestration by US imperial agents and neoconservative NGOs, rather than a popular movement. Also, if people are concerned about such contradictions, why’s there no focus on the role of the UK in selling arms to HK (I believe there’s an HK delegation at the upcoming September arms bazaar at the Excel Centre in London); such a point should be of interest to anyone concerned with power and corruption.

  22. Gui Lottine
    August 20, 2019 at 02:48

    What happened to god old fashioned “off with his/her head”? China needs to take out these servants of the anglo-zionist empire, once and for all.

    • Zhu
      August 20, 2019 at 07:25

      You can be absolutely certain that no one in China gives 2 fen about Zionism, Anti-zionism, etc

  23. August 20, 2019 at 02:19

    Yes, the author is right. This represents just one more front of a new massive effort against China. For America’s establishment, China’s rise and competition are just unacceptable.

    American officials have a great deal of experience encouraging and supporting discontent abroad – in Ukraine, in Venezuela, in half a dozen other Latin countries, and now in Hong Kong.

    It is always possible in any country to find a fair number of discontented people.

    There are literally millions of such people in the US for example.

    So when some highly trained and organizers come into a place – as the US has very much done in Hong Kong – it is not hard to create some trouble.

    Here is some really interesting analysis of crowd sizes in Hong Kong.

    This is science-based estimating.

    The numbers coming out of it, which really cannot be terribly wrong, tell us the crowds are far less than much of the mainline press claims.

    With the city’s narrow streets, photos can give quite a false impression.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/08/which-hong-kong-protest-size-estimate-is-right.html#more

  24. IOANNHS
    August 20, 2019 at 01:45

    8/20/19
    Dear CN,
    HERE’S ONE OF THE BETTER WESTERN COVERAGES ON THE HK UPHEAVAL, AND MORE.
    (THERE’S 1 MORE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC BY “The Duran” DATED AUG. 6, 2018) — these guys are really good!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZTYb43zA5g

    GO TO YOU TUBE, THEN LOOK FOR “The Duran” videos. I think you’ll like many / most of their videos; they make mince meat of western MSM. More in their own site. I’m sure Mr. Lauria knows them.

  25. August 20, 2019 at 01:01

    Thanks for publishing Dan’s excellent article.

  26. geeyp
    August 20, 2019 at 00:31

    I am curious as to who actually wrote this piece. There are two different authors listed: Norton or Cohen?

  27. August 19, 2019 at 22:56

    In keeping with standard operating procedure, when does the CIA begin shipping weapons to Hong Kong?

  28. August 19, 2019 at 22:14

    Thank you for publishing this. I have lived in Hong Kong all my life and I despaired of reading anything in the English-language press that was vaguely fair about the riots here. All I see are Guardian style pejorative bias. Well done.

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