HONG KONG latest!

…neither demockacy nor totalitarianism!

Introduction now moved here

September 2019 here

August 2019 – April 2011 here

A chronology of events


The flag was taken down by masked protesters at the iconic Star Ferry terminal in Kowloon on the mainland side of the territory of Hong Kong, before being thrown into Victoria Harbour, 3/8/19. It happened after tens of thousands of people defied a police ban and marched to the area following an anti-government rally in Tai Kok Tsui. 5 young people were detained by the cops about 2 weeks later, accused of conspiracy to desecrate the national flag .

See also:

“Hong Kong – its relevance to the rest of us……its resistance to the science & technology of social control”

 

&

this page on China giving masses amounts of information and analysis

&

this interesting Crimethinc interview with Hong Kong anarchists about events up until 22nd June 2019 and some of Hong Kong’s history

and this interview published on September 20th with the same people: “Three Months of Insurrection : An Anarchist Collective in Hong Kong Appraises the Achievements and Limits of the Revolt”

 

&

The Meaning of Tiananmen, 1989

&

these texts written by anarchists based in Hong Kong in the 1970s

Although I (SF) am primarily responsible for this, it would have been impossible without the invaluable contribution of GD.

Graffiti:

Left one painted near the Hong Kong Legislative Council, 18 August 2019             

Right one painted 31/8/19 (CCP=Chinese Communist Party, for those who don’t know)

 

 

 

Chronology

For technical reasons, the chronology for September 2019 is now here and  the chronology for august 2019 back to april 2011 has been placed separately here

Not everything here relates directly to Hong Kong – occasionally there are references to the technology of social control, opposition to which is one of the implicit reasons for this revolt, and to aspects of the situation in China or to developing totalitarianism elsewhere.

22/10/19:

State tries to boost the  ‘the economy’ as retail sales and tourism drops

economy secret police

20/10/19:

Hong Kong unchained

 Massive attacks on mainland-owned businesses, roads blocked, etc. 

 

“The arson attacks began from around 3pm and lasted for more than eight hours as protesters set fires inside mainland-linked businesses and police and metro stations, before gutting a Xiaomi shop and Chinese medicine store Tong Ren Tang in Mong Kok…Protesters cut down a surveillance camera near a Yau Ma Tei MTR exit with an electric chainsaw, before setting it on fire. They then threw petrol bombs inside at least four metro stations through their closed exits – forcing the partial suspension of the Tsuen Wan line and the closure of at least 14 stations…a bomb disposal robot – believed to have been deployed for the first time during the four-month protests – had also detonated a suspected explosive device inside a cardboard box placed at the intersection of Lai Chi Kok Road and Tong Mi Road in Tai Kok Tsui.Protesters also set a traffic light controller ablaze

Unfortunately the sick anti-looting ideology of the protesters  lead to  the tying up by protesters of an elderly man who’d nicked at least 3 mobile phones from a trashed store. Clearly they’d find what’s going on in Chile incomprehensible. Also noteworthy was the spraying of blue dye of a mosque   by the cops for no reason whatsoever (See this). Plus, of course, the above mentioned bomb disposal robot, possibly a psychological preparation for some future genuine bomb, possibly planted by a section of the state. 

18/10/19:

“Xi who must be obeyed” seen at demo

17/10/19 :

“People should not be afraid of their governments – governments should be afraid of their people”

This is a quote from the link to a moving video about young protesters ready to die. Though some of this sounds a bit like martyr-wish syndrome, it’s not as simple as that. Obviously anybody who is serious about striving for a revolution knows that being killed is a risk you take, though, without compromising fundamentals, it’s a risk that precautions should be taken against. This borders on this basic realism and a sacrificial mentality.  

More on explosives find (see entry for 14/10)

Red Guards show how they’re Blackguards

16/10/19 :

Almost 70% wish to disband police force (in Mandarin)

Another indication that Lam may well get kicked out

‘…pro-Beijing lawmakers criticised the policy address for not taking decisive steps to quell the ongoing protest movement: “Our view is that the policy address follows a well-worn path and is powerless in breaking the deadlock,” said DAB party leader Starry Lee. “Facing the chaos in society today, the public hopes to hear from [Lam on] how to bring things back to normal.”  The public does not feel that Lam can solve the deep-rooted issues facing Hong Kong, and the policy address did not offer concrete proposals to change that perception’’

Reactions to the speech from the business sector of HK were supportive because she addressed the housing issue, which, despite the official opposition’s dismissal of it, could hold out the carrot to some of HK’s population as a compensation for withdrawing from invovlement in the struggle, a clever bit of recuperative reform that I’ve mentioned previously as a possibility, but now seems very likely to go ahead.

See also: Further evidence that the Hong Kong ruling class may get rid of Lam? Or just an opportunist attempt at popularity by opposition legislators?

Crackdown on social media use coming? – pro-Beijing HK deputy Junius Ho says anti-mask law is insufficient, urges government to regulate social media platforms to avoid children “being misled by press” (link in Mandarin)

14/10/19:

Students vandalise CCTV camera and glass doors after suspicious death of 15-year-old protester and suspicious CCTV footage of her More here.

Was this a bomb planted by the state or was it made by protesters ?

Who knows ? It’s certainly possible that the state is preparing the ground for a bigger bomb which would maybe seem to target cops but in fact kills loads of other people (see what I’ve written far too often before – in particular what I wrote on 11/9/19, though hopefully this is me crying wolf yet again), or some variant on this – eg one that does kill loads of cops, with all its obvious consequences and probably some not-so-obvious ones. It could also have been a bomb made by a protester with no sense of strategy. Who knows ? But speculation is potentially also preparation for such a possible event…

Possible freeze of the minimum wage

‘‘The government-appointed Minimum Wage Commission has refused to rule out the possibility of freezing it in future, citing the economic risk from the ongoing anti-government protests and the US-China trade war. Priscilla Wong Pui-sze, the chairwoman of the commission, said on Tuesday that any future adjustments would have to be based on “objective data and figures”. She also refused to commit to reviewing it on an annual basis, rather than the current two years, saying the commission was still assessing the impact of the latest increase in the minimum wage, which rose from HK$34.50 to HK$37.50 on May 1. Next year the commission is due to submit suggestions to the government on what the new minimum wage level should be in 2021. But commission representatives from both the labour and business sectors said that although no official data was available, the impact from the citywide protests that started in June was already being felt, with workers in the tourism and hotel industries being placed on unpaid leave….’’. Regardless of whether this comes from a purely (bourgeois) economic assessment of ‘‘affordability’’ or a conscious attempt to turn workers against the movement, this should/could provide an incentive for protesters to work out ways to connect this movement with other sections of the working class (not that most  protesters aren’t part of the working class, but that their protest is outside of their work concerns and doesn’t express itself in class terms).

13/10/19:

Nice short video

Hong Kong cop violence – made in the UK

Very interesting report, which I’ve just received from a friend. Shows not only how the UK cops directly help the HK filth in their tactics against HK protesters, but also how the experience of HK cops in 1967 helped cops at Orgreave against the miners in 1984 and elsewhere in the UK. 

Change of tactics

More here. A professional defender of  capitalist violence gets slashed in the neck with a box cutter, and other stuff.

12/10/19:

Government office and tube station torched during further protest 

“…police fired a shot outside the Mong Kok police station. The shot, possibly a rubber bullet or sponge round, was fired after a small group of protesters shouted obscenities and shone laser at police officers, who rushed out to subdue and beat a couple of young men…Many protesters wore medical masks on Saturday but a few also wore balaclavas…Onlookers jeered and yelled obscenities at officers who wore black face masks and obscured their police numbers. The atmosphere became tense when an officer rushed up to a young couple who wore medical masks but were not part of the protest. “Take off your bloody masks. Show your identity cards,” he shouted. Another officer said: “See a doctor if you’re ill.” Passersby shouted back at police. One young father, holding his infant daughter, told them: “Beware of what sort of a world you’re creating for your own children.” Several police officers rushed up to intimidate him. His wife said through tears: “We’re protesting today precisely because we have a child. If we don’t speak up for others now, who will speak up for us?” …A police officer shouted at and pointed a metal stick at the face of an elderly woman who was trying to mediate between him and an angry protester, leaving her trembling. Meanwhile, marchers vandalised two government offices and a coffee shop seen as being pro-Beijing, and a petrol bomb was thrown at the gate of a metro station not on the route of the protest. No one was hurt in the incident. Protesters smashed glass and sprayed graffiti on the walls of the Kowloon and Cheung Sha Wan government offices. Police said the demonstrators also broke the gate, entered the buildings and started a fire.”

More here “…A small group calling itself the “Silver-Haired Marchers” began a 48-hour sit-in at police headquarters on Saturday, describing themselves as “old but not obsolete”. “The young people have already sacrificed a lot, it is about time for us, the senior citizens in Hong Kong to come forward to take up part of the responsibility from the young people,” 63-year-old Shiu told local media. “I mean for us, even if we are caught by the police because of an illegal gathering, I don’t mind,” said Shiu, who was identified with only one name. Police have arrested more than 2,300 people since June. Since September nearly 40% were under the age of 18 and 10% under 15….Protesters have also targeted China banks and shops with perceived links to China, as well as U.S. coffee chain Starbucks, which had a store in Kowloon trashed on Saturday.

It’s easy to see limitations from a distance and for this reason maybe it’s presumptuous of me to make the following reflections. However,  it seems that this  movement could  well slow down through the repetition of the same tactics and ideas.   New tactics (such as occupations and more extensive strikes) and the development of some more subversive ideas are essential to keep the momentum going and to make some qualitative leaps. Attempting to influence the mainland again – as happened on the 8th July, when protesters used the  AirDrop app to breach China’s Great Firewall – if that particular breach hasn’t been dammed up since then – would also be an excellent development.

10% of ATM’s throughout territory made unoperational

Hong Kongers begin to realise, at long last, that Trump is as loyal to them as he is to the Syrian Kurds

“Trump said the trade deal he struck with China on Friday was “very positive” for Hong Kong and claimed the anti-government protests had de-escalated significantly, leaving some demonstrators disappointed he did not push for their cause. …“Trump thinks we should pack it in. We still want to count on the Americans?” A user wrote and won over 1,000 likes in three hours. Another user said: “I have said western countries would only view Hong Kong as their pawn. Don’t be so naive that they value the so-called ‘values of democracy and freedoms’.” The comment won over 160 likes in 3 hours. While some urged others to be “awake” and just count on themselves and Hongkongers, several others suggested the “escalation of force”. Yet another group of users believed they should work harder to explain to the world the reasons behind the drop of participants and organise another massive peaceful rally.” Sadly, as far as I can see, nobody suggested that the struggle is international – that they should connect to movements in Ecuador, Haiti, Indonesia, etc., even if the specificities of capitalism in each country are different.

11/10/19:

Report on triads and other gangs support for the state (and the state’s support for the triads)

“Hong Kong’s police, he and other officials claim, are behaving like “servants” of crime syndicates loyal to Beijing — and thus “forcing people to defend themselves.” …Since the 1980s, Hong Kong’s cops have been revered by its citizens and envied across much of Asia. They are the rare department that managed to purge the shakedowns and gangsterism that still plague police units throughout the region. Yet, Lam contends that police are now “colluding” with organized crime — or “at least turning a blind eye” when thugs mete out raw violence toward protesters.”…Why would Hong Kong’s mafioso take time away from extorting shopkeepers and dealing heroin to beat down protesters? But beneath Hong Kong’s surface are complex power dynamics — a world where gangsters can be pro-China patriots and, for crime bosses, terrorizing a protest might actually be a smart investment.”

9/10/19:

Report on undercover medics helping people fearing arrest if they go to government hospitals

7/10/19:

Days events (includes 6/10) – videos and links

China state media urges quicker trials and heavy sentences for Hong Kong protesters

Report on the spread of solidarity and the kindness of strangers Report about October 1st on how whole neighbourhood helped protesters escape cops and teargas, inviting them into their flats, providing reconnaissance information about cop movements etc. “So even those not protesting on the streets are protesting, all contributing to the resistance in their own way. The majority of the city is united against the regime. The story of Wan Chai is not new to me: I’ve experienced the kindness and aid of strangers many times in recent weeks. Just days before, I’d been going toward Causeway Bay together with about 2,000 protesters, again retreating from the police. We heard there were a lot of riot police in Causeway Bay and so decided to head southward, but every street we came to, we saw police at the end of it. Eventually, we had no choice but to go into Happy Valley, a prosperous neighbourhood that has seen little of the protests. It was terra incognita for most of us. Once there, we felt safer, but we knew it was just a matter of time before the police would try to flush us out, and we didn’t know where to go. Security guards emerged from middle-class high-rises and offered directions. A taxi driver had seen us and alerted his colleagues. Before long, dozens of taxis started to arrive. Private drivers pulled up, rolled down their windows, and announced their destination. Protesters hopped in. Within about a half hour, of those 2,000 protesters, no one but myself and a few others remained on the street. Among protesters, a guardian rule is you never leave anyone behind. I play the role of the one who remains until last to make sure everyone gets out. I changed out of my outfit and headed back to cross police lines. Along the way, knowing residents who witnessed and helped the evacuation gave me knowing smiles and thumbs up. “Stay safe, stay safe,” they said….This kind of resistance – it’s a feeling within us. Hong Kong people are famously phlegmatic, unexpressive. We don’t talk much or effuse. But these days, we recognise something in each other, a common purpose, a common identity. This is the sort of unity that can’t be crushed by force. In fact, police attacks fortify it, drawing us closer together. I’m often asked how this will all end. My true feeling is, it doesn’t matter, because the little secret that everyone knows and no one is saying (and perhaps many aren’t even admitting to ourselves) is, we’ve already won. The immediate and original concrete objective, the withdrawal of the extradition bill, has been achieved. We’ve won the battle for hearts and minds. But beyond that, we’ve achieved something much more profound than that: confidence in ourselves as a people and trust in one another for what is sure to be a long, hard struggle ahead.”

On fires and firebombs The fact that such an apparently ‘neutral’ source of information as the fire brigade could warn of potentially frightening consequences of firebombs got me thinking that instead of an obvious terrorist attack (like the fascists’ Piazza Fontana bombing following the Italian autumn movement of 1969 – see also this), the state might try to arrange a fire that kills loads of people. They did this in Athens in May 2010, when young nihilist anarchists firebombed a bank. It was a strike day, and the young guys thought the bank was empty (the doors were locked). In fact, the management had locked employees in – and 3 were killed. There was no fire exit, no sprinklers or fire extinguishing apparatus in the bank (see this and the following posts for details…eventually 3 bank officials were found guilty, though the head of the bank – Andreas Vgenopoulos – the main person responsible – got off scott-free, surprise surprise). I’ve cried wolf so many times over the possibility of a state (or maybe triad) strategy like the Piazza Fontana bombing in ’69, maybe nobody will believe me, but it seems like a real possibility but maybe taking another form like a fire.

6/10/19:

Mong Kok – solidarity with Indonesia, 6/10/19

Fury across the island For the first time in the crisis, men on the roof of one of the Chinese military’s barracks in Hong Kong raised a yellow banner warning protesters they were breaking the law when laser pointers were flashed at the building, according to video broadcast by Hong Kong media….” They can’t arrest us all. There are thousands of us…There is no going back — we are at the point of no return.” … Groups of black-clad youths roamed the city center, setting up barricades, covering the urban landscape with anti-China graffiti, cutting power lines to traffic lights and using walkie-talkies and messaging apps to coordinate.”

Sadly, it’s only mainland banks that are targeted. Although a lot of mainland Chinese-owned shops and businesses have been targeted, no looting to speak of has taken place. On the contrary, there’s been a lot of discussion on the internet expressly prohibiting it. In fact, when some middle-aged women went into a Bestmart 360 to take something for themselves recently, they were publicly condemned, without the slightest proof, as being cheap mainlanders who were probably against the movement, but were ready to profit from the disorder if they could. A truly sad indication of how limited to purely political concerns most of the discussion round the movement is, and how shallow stereotyping of anybody who doesn’t conform to the democratic discourse is necessary to tightly constrain this discourse. In order to maintain the ideology of “unity” which prevents anybody discussing differences within the movement, those who don’t conform to the parameters of this political discourse have to be seen to be outside this movement in order for this ideology to be set aside.

In another context, me and a friend wrote: “…the ideology of unity is mainly used … to say “Shut up” to discordant and minority voices. “Unity”, justified by the argument that one must not …be a minority, serves above all to get as many people as possible caught up in the dominant logic… against all aspects of the autonomy of those who revolt. It prevents any discussion, any possibility for individuals to exchange opinions and to go beyond their limits, their illusions, by giving them the false feeling of being part of something… It is only with debate and criticism that those who revolt – proletarians – can glimpse new possibilities, conceive of the project to get rid of this society, and start working on it.” here

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Catapult made out of bamboo sticks in Mong Kok, used to launch bricks

Starbucks, in the form of a franchise, is owned and run by Maxim’s, a food and beverage group in Hong Kong that owns a sizeable spread of chain restaurants and cafes; its boss recently came out in support of the police.

Rich film star who’d (in July) called the protesters “rubbish” attacked

Instead of making out she’d physically attacked them first (which she hadn’t), it’s a pity these protesters didn’t affirm that they were perfectly right to attack her for defending the filth and the state. People like her live such cocooned lives that they don’t get anything and think they can arrogantly trash youths desperately worried about their future without suffering the consequences.

5/10/19:

Will Lam get the sack in order to give the appearance of change and reform? This article suggests she should be replaced by Matthew Cheung, a somewhat reticent poolitician whose only notable statement was in response to a high school students’ strike – “Schools are places for learning, and are absolutely not places for expressing political views or demands.” But as some high school students in Soweto said in 1976 “The school for the oppressed is a revolution”. The article also says that any new leader “should find a new voice and immediately announce a wholly transparent and independent inquiry into the anti-extradition debacle that includes an investigation into allegations of police brutality. And the police need to take this bitter bill and swallow it whole for the good of the city.”, an option which, from this distance, seems a genuine possibility and more likely than a Tiananmen-type massacre. Of course, “a wholly transparent and independent inquiry…that includes an investigation into allegations of police brutality ” is likely to be the way that they’ll dress it up rather than be genuinely “transparent and independent”. Given that Hong Kongers have some – to be polite – “naive” illusions in the UK, we can expect the kind of “transparent and independent” enquiries that go on there, “transparent and independent” enquiries which have never ever once found a single cop guilty of any one of the innumerable deaths at their hands.

State demands a return to its monopoly of violence as tourist gets his priorities right – the despair caused by his inability to get to Disneyland “Can’t go anywhere,” said Kevin Cui, a tourist from mainland China who’d planned to visit Disneyland only to discover at a shuttered subway station in central Hong Kong that the network was suspended. “This is very troublesome.” …After widespread arson attacks, looting, fighting with police and beatings, the government appealed for a public shift in attitude against rioting. John Lee, the government’s security secretary, said by not condemning violence, people are stoking it. “What is adding oil to violence is people’s support for these acts,” he said.

2nd teenager shot by live round as fury erupts against face mask law “The city’s major transport network MTR suspended all of its operations after demonstrators vandalized multiple train stations, setting fire to entrances and smashing ticketing facilities. Numerous mainland Chinese-owned banks and stores were also targeted by protesters. All of the city’s 161 MTR stations remain closed Saturday, as do many major shopping malls, bank branches and supermarket chains. Many of the grocery stores and banking facilities that are open have long lines reminiscent of the run-up to typhoons, as Hong Kongers withdraw cash and stock up on supplies. Violent protests which began Friday stretched into the early hours of Saturday, beyond the midnight deadline when the new anti-mask regulations began. They spread out across the city and soon devolved into violent clashes, with protesters throwing petrol bombs and police responding with pepper spray and tear gas. A second protester was shot with a firearm in an incident in Yuen Long — the site of an attack on protesters by alleged triad gangsters in July which has become a key rallying cry for the anti-government movement. Police said a 14-year-old boy was injured in a shooting incident after a lone plain clothed officer was attacked by protesters. Hospital authorities said the boy was shot in the left thigh and is in a “critical condition…police said after the police officer was isolated by protesters, he “fell onto the ground and was beaten up by the group. Facing serious threat to his life, he fired one shot in self-defense. A rioter then threw a petrol bomb at him and his body was on fire.” A video circulating online showed the officer, wearing a white t-shirt, getting up from the floor when a petrol bomb hits him and engulfs him in flames. The officer staggers forward and manages to extinguish the fire on his clothes, but appears severely dazed. He drops his weapon and it is almost grabbed by a protester before he lunges forward and manages to wrestle it away from them”

Metro station on fire

4/10/19:

Pro-Beijing Trade Union bureaucracy that participates in Legislative Council complains about being attacked “The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong’s largest labor organization, said its many service centers were attacked by rioters, who scrawled the walls, smashed the gates and broke window glasses. The HKFTU said some centers sustained damage so severe that their service might be suspended for days…Noting that the violence only made it firmer in its patriotic resolution, it urged the HKSAR government to come up with effective measures to combat violence and the police to bring rioters to justice.” The HKFTU “…is a pro-Beijing labour and political group established in 1948 in Hong Kong. It is the largest labour group in Hong Kong with over 410,000 members in 251 affiliates and associated trade unions. Presided by Ng Chau-pei and chaired by Wong Kwok, it currently commands five seats in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and 30 District Councillors. Being one of the oldest existing labour unions in Hong Kong, the HKFTU has a long tradition of following the command of the Communist Party of China… In the 1980s, the HKFTU took the vanguard role in opposing faster democratisation in Hong Kong… It allied with the Hong Kong government on many issues…Due to its government loyalist nature, industrial militancy has been remarkably absent from the HKFTU’s action programmeWikipedia. Re. the president, Ng Chau-Pei – he is even more anti-democratic than Lam, having slammed the Appeals Court decision in September 2018 to free the group of 13 activists, who had each received jail sentences of up to 13 months from a lower court for unlawful assembly outside the Legislative Council on 13 June 2014, calling the judges “sinners of society”, comments which Lam said were “unacceptable”.

 

JPMorgan banker beaten by anti mask law protester

Hong Kong adopts classic slogan, 4/10/19

1000s wear masks in protest against impending anti-mask law “Large crowds of mostly office workers hit the streets during the workday lunch break over the pro-Beijing regime’s expected use of colonial-era laws that opponents said would tip the city towards authoritarianism… “Youngsters are risking their lives, they don’t mind being jailed for ten years, so wearing masks is not a problem,” a 34-year-old office worker wearing a surgical mask, who gave her first name as Mary, told AFP at a protest on Friday afternoon… the city’s subway system said 83 of its 91 underground stations had been vandalised in recent months after protesters turned on the operator because it began shutting down parts of the network ahead of large protests…Pro-establishment lawmakers and a prominent police officer association have ramped up their calls for the government to invoke the emergency laws, which were last used 52 years ago by the British during deadly leftist riots.” Video “Protests in at least 14 neighbourhoods…” Lam suggests more to come, such as curfews

Nobody with a position in the social hierarchy has suggested that people remove the masks imposed by the system they profit from which are needed to hide their inner doubts, dreams and individuality, needed to repress anger and desire, masks that everyone is forced to put on in order to sell their labour and not get sent to an asylum, prison, or Coventry, masks that keep us separate, masks that above all protect” us against the anxiety of genuine communication whilst also avoiding recognising the absence of genuine communication. There’s an irony in the fact that those people who are forced to wear masks to avoid arrest are beginning to overcome these socially-required masks conditioned by the permanent pressure of the system: “Hong Kong people are famously phlegmatic, unexpressive. We don’t talk much or effuse. But these days, we recognise something in each other, a common purpose, a common identity.” here

3/10/19:

Face masks to be bannedclashes begin in response to this proposalHong Kong police and legal experts say it’d be hard to enforce in streets and courtrooms “A police chief inspector who has been at the front lines of the protest crisis since June, said a ban on protesters wearing masks would “unnecessarily stir up more trouble”. “Right now, only when we arrest protesters will they remove, or be forced to remove, their masks,” said the inspector who requested anonymity. “But if the law is passed, a protester wearing a mask will be seen as provoking the police and asking for trouble. This will definitely cause more conflict.” Another inspector said protesters would strive to find exemptions from the ban. “What if the guy says he wears a mask because has a cold and shows us a doctor’s certificate? We’ll have to give him reasonable doubt, and it will take a lot of time and energy to find out if he is really ill or not,” the inspector said.” There’s an irony in the ideology of democracy of the movement here – in Canada, a democracy, you can get up to 10 years in jail for wearing a face mask, whereas Lam is proposing up to 1 year. In the UK in May a man trying to cover his face during a cop experiment with facial recognition cameras was jumped on and eventually fined £90, and this outside any demonstration (here). France has draconian anti-face mask laws, similar to the ones they’re going to try to apply in HK.

Cops call for imposition of curfew as molotovs continue to fly “Hong Kong demonstrators clashed with police into the early hours of Thursday, throwing petrol bombs and venting their anger over the shooting of a teenager earlier in the week, as months of anti-government protests showed no sign of letting up. Police urged the government to impose curfews to help curb the escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city, where officers have become a target of protesters amid accusations of excessive force. Activists went on the rampage in districts across the Asian financial hub late into the night, setting fires, blocking roads and vandalising shops and metro stations as police fired tear gas to disperse them. “Wherever there are protests nearby I’ll come … I’m out tonight for a simple reason. You don’t shoot a teenager at point blank range,” said Alex Chan, an interior designer at a protest in the bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay.“These protests will continue and we won’t give up.” . Thousands took to the streets on Wednesday to denounce the shooting by police of Tony Tsang…He has been charged with rioting and assaulting an officer…Rail operator MTR Corp closed stations in districts including Po Lam, Hang Hau and Tseung Kwan O just before midnight on Wednesday as violence escalated once again. All affected stations had reopened on Thursday.”

2/10/19:

“This is War!” video

Further fury “A petrol bomb was thrown at the Tsuen Wan police station and a Bank of China ATM machine set on fire. Police used tear gas. But the police response was mild compared to the 1400 rounds of tear gas, 900 rubber bullets and 190 bean bag rounds fired at protesters on Tuesday. The Wong Tai Sin Mass Transit Railway station was flooded by protesters with a fire hydrant and multiple train stations were shut.” For those who don’t know what a “round ” of teargas is, it’s a cannister which explodes to release about 20 or so teargas pellets (at least in France it releases this amount; maybe not in HK). So 1400 rounds could mean 28,000 or so pellets in total. Some teargas is extremely, though temporarily, debilitating, though not sure whether in Hong Kong they’re using the short-term, five minutes of blinding-cum-disorientation stuff that’s been used in France since February. Ironic that some protesters wave the US flag when much of the teargas supplied to HK comes from the US, produced by wage slaves paid a measly $9.50 an hour. “… interviews with former employees found the company relies on American workers who are paid low wages to assemble products with hazardous materials and few safety measures to protect them. Employees described aging equipment that caught fire and injuries and severe irritation caused by working long hours with chemicals. After one of its buildings burned down, the company declined to rebuild the facility, instead shifting more of the production into shipping containers. The company has been fined multiple times for safety violations by the Department of Labor; the owner himself severely burned his hands in a fire while handling hazardous chemicals. Yet while its American workers are paid very little to work in potentially dangerous conditions, its shipments continue — largely to foreign governments who reap the benefits of its products, employees said, including Turkey, Bahrain, and Egypt during the height of the Arab Spring. “Your skin burns all day long. You’re outside in a full suit and gas mask but it still burns,” said Mike Dawson, who worked at Nonlethal Technologies for 15 years and became a supervisor. “You could never get used to it.”

Cops had relaxed guidlines for use of lethal force a day before shooting

Hundreds take to streets to protest cop shooting of school student

High school students stage sit-in at school of teenager shot by copas business focuses on the the most tragic and important result of this movement – their deepened woes coming from plunging retail salesand $4bn is moved out of HK to Singapore

1/10/19:

Cop shoots protester in chestVideo here and here and here More here ” Video footage posted online showed a group of protesters chasing a police officer with a long shield into an alleyway, pinning him to the ground and beating him. Another officer in a gas mask then rushes forward with his service revolver pointed at protesters. As they clashed, the officer with his gun drawn was seen kicking Tsang, who swung his metal rod at the officer. At this point the officer pointed his gun and opened fire.”Cops apparently replace the teenager’s plastic rod with heavy iron rod (report in Mandarin, but with more or less comprehensible video). No pity for the defenders of a heavily armed brutal order obviously but let’s not fall into the left/liberal trap of seeing those who affirm their humanity against this world as solely victims. FTP (“Fuck the police”), tagged increasingly in Hong Kong, isn’t just a complaint against their brutality but also, quite rightly, means trying to physically fuck them over. This is war and it’s good to see sometimes that this is not just a one-sided war, that sometimes cops get a beating and the state and market forces are weakened. Nicey nicey moral complaining, as if this is Angels v. Devils, does nothing to encourage fully justified fury. But perhaps the fully justified fury for the whole of this stupid sick society becomes focused on a very specific instance of it (though not the worst). Sure, mass solidarity warns the state to back off and that’s vital but peaceful outrage plays the victim role too much and avoids saying that it was quite right that that cop got a thumping, and it was brave and audacious of those youths to attack these armed thugs.

Some are calling for the dissolution of the Hong Kong cops – an impossible demand this side of a revolution, but healthy: the realisation of the 2014 student umbrella rebellion mirroring May ’68 in France with their slogan – “Soyez realiste – demandez l’impossible!”.

HK be realistic
Hong Kong students with May ’68 slogan, from 29th April 2014
我们自己奋斗吧

No U-turn – the movement’s not for turning (photo from October 1st 2019)

More here “Hong Kong protesters threw petrol bombs and police fired tear gas in street battles across the city …Police fired water cannon and tear gas to try to disperse protesters throwing petrol bombs outside central government offices in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong island and ordered the evacuation of the Legislative Council building, trashed by activists weeks ago, next door. In the New Territories town of Sha Tin, police fired tear gas canisters directly at high-rise windows, though it was not clear why, as the Chinese-ruled city was gripped by the most widespread violence in nearly four months of unrest. Police said “rioters” had used corrosive fluid in Tuen Mun in the west of the New Territories, “injuring multiple police officers and reporters”. More here “At least 66 people were injured, four of them seriously, and over 180 people arrested, police said. The demonstrations also paralysed much of the city, forcing the shut down of nearly half its metro stations as authorities tried to prevent larger crowds reaching protest sites. The chaotic scenes over-shadowed a carefully-choreographed military parade and evening gala meant to celebrate China’s rise to global super-power status, and showcase the rule of strongman president Xi Jinping. The shooting of Tsang caused particular outrage in Hong Kong and around the world, with the UK calling the use of live ammunition “disproportionate” and Amnesty International calling for an urgent independent investigation.”

Downsizing local government offices

Trump congratulates Xi on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China

On the 70th anniversary of the People’s [sic] Republic of China, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the Tiananmen massacre. See particularly “The Meaning of Tiananmen” . This received a disclaimer from libcom’s admin on their utterly compromised site,  a sign that the article is almost certainly worth reading. The disclaimer claims that the article has factual inaccuracies, but they can’t be bothered to give even one example of an inaccuracy (there is one – it talks of 1989 as being 30 years after the CCP took power, when it’s 40 years, but that’s more an easily recognised slip of calculation rather than an inaccuracy). Re. this libcom version, the author, Burt Green, writes:

The version of my 2004 essay The Meaning of Tiananmen on the libcom.org website doesn’t have the graphics or the footnotes with which it was originally produced, and it was pubished without my knowledge or approval.

To compare this piece with that of Katsiaficas, who, years later in 2012, attempts to (re)tell a much longer story of the event, shows what is at best, the bad judgement of Nao and of their obliging hosts at libcom.org, who, in all liklihood, simply took Nao’s evaluation as given without troubling to look too deeply themselves.

The two pieces of writing were never attempts at the same object. I wrote my little essay as a reaction to the plethora of books and articles which had come out at the time (among them the crucial text of documents reflecting the struggle within the CCP leadership that concluded in the decision to massacre, The Tiananmen Papers), without, as I saw it, adequately assessing the novelty, profundity, or global implications for social contestation, of the movement whose eruption had led to a crisis of Chinese bureaucratic capitalist power. I took for granted that there was already a great deal of factual material that had been made public by well-informed scholars and witnesses for those who cared to inform themselves in detail as to what had happened, and deliberately kept my narrative of events to a near-absolute minimum, limiting myself to only what I thought essential to the support of my argument.

Katsiaficas, writing in another context, chose his approach to spare his readers the effort of investigating, or selecting from, the existing literature themselves.

My principle motivation was an ovewhelming frustration at the lack of a suffiently incisive analyses of the events presented in the existing stream of literature and the failure to draw conclusions which I felt were obvious, and so consequently I wrote a libertarian communist polemic. In it I put forward the thesis for the first time (as even Nao has had to admit) of the Tiananmen Square occupation as the advent of a new form of mass contestation expressed through the taking possession and self-organizing of social space (inspired to some degree, it must be admitted, by certain ideas in the first book by Kristin Ross on the Paris Commune). To put it another way, I wrote what I did solely to provide a weapon to the proletariat in its fight to abolish class society. “Burt Green” has no “name”, no credentials, no institution, and no career aspirations.

Katsiaficas’ motivation seems primarily to have been the pursuit of his academic and journalistic career, an impression not at all belied by the unoriginal and unrelievedly leftist presentation I had seen him give to promote his book at an anarchist book fair in San Francisco.

What I had written, bad self-proofreading (quite possibly a redundant term) notwithstanding, was at least in good faith – unlike what I suspect of Katsiaficas’ Dan Rather citation (which I had fortuitously caught off a live TV broadcast), like as not snatched from the beginning of my piece (which he never mentions) and inserted as one of three quotations at the head of his, a thing evidently beyond the notice or speculation of Nao or the site administrators. It should be additionally noted, and more firmly established, that libcom.org. itself, in its choice to put up without footnotes what I had written (if not for its silence on Katsiaficas’ eyebrow-raising choice in citing an estimation of June 4th casualties as “as many as seven hundred”), has betrayed an attitude toward the business of accuracy rather at variance with the strict disapproval registered in its unsolicited introduction to the piece it had elected to mutilate.

Altogether, in spirit, in execution, and in its goal, what I strove to accomplish was neither intended in the realm of journalism nor in the pursuit of some career, which is precisely where Katsiaficas’ work is for the most part situated. It is disappointing but not altogether surprising that Nao and libcom.org, both, would be unable, or unwilling, to tell the difference.”

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