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)…& 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.
How to make your own entertainment: fire burns for about 40 minutes near police HQ in Wan Chai, primarily an entertainment district. Explosions within the fire gave off enough heat to trigger the sprinkler system of a nearby hotel, which normally needs temperatures higher than 68 degrees Celsius to be set off.
Cops get heavier “Lai, 31, returning home from protests, was in a train car…He saw at least 20 police officers on the station platform when suddenly five or six ran into his carriage. “Everyone started to scream ‘they are coming, they’re crazy’,” Lai said. “They kept moving and hitting everyone in the car. I started running. I saw police using their batons to keep hitting the same person on the head, even though he was kneeling down in the corner,” he said. Video footage showed police pepper spraying protesters inside the train car, chasing and arresting others on the train platform and ordering them to kneel against a wall with their hands on the heads. One man could be seen bleeding from the head.”…3 metro stations closed as cops justify themselves (surprise surprise) “Senior Superintendent Yolanda Yu defended police tactics after officers stormed the platform, deploying pepper-spray and leaving passengers bloodied. She said that officers responded after protesters fought with a member of the public. Video footage showed an altercation between protesters and several older men which escalated into clashes. One man appeared to be wielding a hammer shortly before a fire extinguisher was set off in the train carriage… “When we were arresting them, they were resisting, so we used appropriate force to subdue them. When asked how police could identify whether people whom they later pepper-sprayed were protesters, she said that some were changing their clothes in the station: “We will use our professional ability to identify whether they are civilians or protesters”. .. police locked down Prince Edward and prevented medics from entering to treat wounded persons inside ”
Without in any way wanting to minimise the cops’ barbaric behaviour, in democracies such as France or the USA cops are a helluva lot heavier. In France, the cops maim and kill and the reaction is fairly subdued. I suspect the fact that Hong Kongers are surprised by cop brutality indicates a tradition of relatively hidden violence on their part, maybe inherited from British colonial times, when possibly – with typical dominant British 2-faced hypocrisy – the cops maintained a publicly friendly face, whilst in the cells they’d beat up their prisoners. Worth researching more on this.
Cops fire blue-dyed water cannon as protesters build fires round cop HQ during banned demo (video). More here “In response, some protesters threw tear-gas cannisters and rounds back at police, and flashed lasers… Some threw tear-gas canisters into the complex that serves as the Hong Kong headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army, which is next to the Hong Kong government building. Protesters also hurled Molotov cocktails at the Legislative Council building, most of them igniting just behind large white barriers that surround the compound” More here “Protesters in Hong Kong have piled barriers and other debris across a commercial street and set small fires after a retreat from outside government headquarters. Protesters dragged bleachers, chain link fences, traffic cones and plastic road blocks to build a barricade from police, which they then lit on fire. Firefighters put on the blaze. After a tense standoff between police and protesters, a water cannon vehicle arrived and demonstrators threw petrol bombs at the police. The water cannon hit protesters, spraying them in short bursts with blue dye, used to identify them later. As the protesters retreated they continued to throw petrol bombs at police, who fired rounds of teargas on them. Others banged on street signs, yelling at the police. …Earlier, riot police fired multiple rounds of teargas on thousands of demonstrators surrounding the government headquarters, escalating tensions on the city’s 13th straight weekend of mass protests. On Saturday protesters clad all in black, wearing helmets, gas masks and body armour, converged on the government headquarters after marching across the city in defiance of a police ban a day after a wave of arrests of prominent pro-democracy activists. Police fired teargas from inside Hong Kong’s the government complex, shrouding roads outside of the building in gas. Under a darkening sky, demonstrators crouched behind barricades improvised from plastic traffic barriers and huddled under umbrellas. Some threw rocks and petrol bombs from an overpass, setting barricades around the compound on fire. Others jeered at police officers and threw the canisters back toward the police.”
Hard to guess what the above photo indicates (it had no caption on the site from which it was taken) but maybe he’s posing for the camera..? Maybe it’s just a plastic gun..? Or maybe he’s an undercover cop and he wanted to provide his masters with fake evidence of ‘terrorism’? After all, two live rounds were fired by undercover police in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay this day (the chief cop said that protesters surrounded two undercover officers dressed in black and began attacking them with sticks and bricks, and the shots were fired as a warning).
Or maybe they’re preparing for the really heavy crackdown which everyone knows will come and he wanted some practice..? If the latter, and it comes to a real shooting war, I trust they get a lot of practice ahead of time if they think it’s worth resorting to firearms. In the Ferguson riots of 2014 in the USA people (probably only men) used guns: amongst the 7 people shot, not one was a cop (one participant in the movement lost his spleen, a kidney and miraculously survived a bullet in an artery of his heart). Until there’s a more general uprising – and at a far greater understanding of what they’re up against, a far clearer community of struggle, and a far more accurate and coordinated use of such weapons, using guns can put good people off participating, can be mere macho posturing, individualist and often dangerously idiotic.
Earlier report:“…by early afternoon, thousands of protesters many in their signature black T-shirts and under a colourful canopy of umbrellas, snaked through Hong Kong island, blocking roads. One group passed the official residence of Hong Kong’s embattled Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam, the focal point of anger after trying to pass a bill which would have allowed extradition to China. Another large group massed in the famed shopping district of Causeway Bay, occupying the road and chanting anti-government slogans… Police erected barricades near the Liaison Office — the department that represents China’s central government — while water cannon trucks were driven onto the streets in anticipation of renewed clashes with a hardcore minority of the mainly student protesters…In an attempt to sidestep Saturday’s protest ban, crowds earlier carried Christian crosses and sang “Hallelujah” in religious gatherings — which do not require the same stringent permission from authorities.”
Brief cyberatttack on protesters’ forum “This is the second large cyber attack to hit apps used this summer by protesters to organize during unrest in Hong Kong. In June, messaging service Telegram said it had been hit by a powerful attack coming out of China. The protesters’ use of messaging apps and chat rooms has allowed them to quickly change and implement plans, frustrating government efforts to control them. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said last week that she wouldn’t rule out all measures to quell protests, including invoking an emergency rule that would allow her to unilaterally shut down the internet or selectively block apps that were helping protesters organize.” More here
Protesters vow to defy ban on protests “Despite organisers of the banned march cancelling Saturday’s rally, protesters have said they will still take to the streets. “The mass arrests yesterday were an obvious tactic to scare us off. Instead, (the government) lures us to come out today and then they can start their second round of mass arrest,” said a protester online. As demonstrators were arranging how to sidestep the ban, some called for mass “shopping trips”, while a YouTuber with 800,000 followers called a fan meeting. However, in a blow to those efforts, LIHKG, the Reddit-like forum used by protesters to communicate, reported via Twitter that its app had suffered the “largest attack it has ever seen”. The demonstrators, who have earned a reputation for their creativity, have also said they will hold small religious gatherings, which do not require permission for groups of up to 30 people, for the “sinners of Hong Kong”.
Religion on the mainland – extracts from The Good Women Of China by Xinran (2002):
“…since religious freedom was declared in 1983 [apparently reversed since then], one household could have several altars dedicated to different gods. Most people who prayed only did so to ask for wealth or other benefits…He told us about his neighbours: one grandparent was a Buddhist and the other was a Taoist, so they were constantly arguing. Away from the joss sticks, the Christian granddaughter had set up a cross; the grandparents constantly scolded her for this, saying she was cursing them to an early death. The girl’s mother believed in some form of qigong and the father believed in the God of Wealth. They too were always quarrelling: the woman said that the man’s desire for money had damaged her spiritual standing, and the man accused the woman’s evil influences of attacking his wealth. The little money this family had was spent on religious rituals or holy pictures, but they had grown neither richer nor happier.
…a woman manager….in public speeches… would hail the Communist Party as China’s only hope; once off the podium she would preach Buddhism…she would wear a Communist Party badge on her coat, fasten a picture of Buddha to her vest and pin a portrait of Great Master Zhang of the Zangmigong sect to her bra…
“…women have to believe in something when they get to forty…Women can’t achieve anything big, anyway. Praying to some god is always better than playing mah-jong”…”So, once you turn forty, will you believe in a religion?”, I asked…“If I’m rich, I won’t believe. If I’m still this poor, I’ll believe.”. “So what religion are you going to beleive in?”, I asked. “That’ll depend on what religion is in fashion then”, she replied.”
Mainland Chinese begin to join protests “Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that a “small cohort of mainlanders have joined the demonstrations, taking extraordinary risks …The mainlanders said they value Hong Kong’s autonomy from Chinese control and have joined marches, signed open letters supporting Hong Kong, and defended the movement on social media. Their participation is an indication that the movement could spread to mainland China, despite attempts by the government to brand the Hong Kong protesters as traitors. Chinese authorities are reportedly checking travelers’ smartphones as they reenter China for evidence of participation in the demonstrations. Another mainland Chinese citizen who took part in the protests has fled to Taiwan where he is hoping to stay…”
Section of official opposition (Civil Human Rights Front) submit to the state and cancel weekend demo as leaders of another section (Demosisto) get arrested It remains to be seen if this leaderless movement will bow down before leaders & feel too scared by the obvious threat to anybody who dares stick their heads above the parapet by demonstrating this weekend. On June 22nd an interview in Crimethinc was published in which the anarchists interviewed said “…thus far, nobody is authorized to speak on behalf of the movement. Everybody is scrambling to come to terms with a nascent form of subjectivity that is taking shape before us, now that the formal figureheads of the tendencies you referenced have been crushed and largely marginalized. That includes the “scholarist” fraction of the students, now known as “Demosisto,” and the right-wing “nativists,” both of which were disqualified from participating in the legislative council after being voted in. ” [on the rise of the Chinese right-wing, see this, only just published – mainly a translation of a Chinese text written in February this year published on a site which was probably the most popular platform for Chinese left millennials until it was shut down by censors in a wave of repression earlier this year…I have yet to read most of it, so I cannot say whether it’s useful or not]
Were the leaders of Demosisto arrested in order to boost their popularity, to boost their potential future roles as participants in negotiation and the appearance of compromise on the part of Lam & co? Or to somehow associate the movement, in the eyes of the Chinese working class kept in a state of deliberate confusion, with Beijing’s propaganda which says that the whole thing is being manpulated by US interests. After all, Joshua Wong, probably the most famous of those arrested, said back in June, “As American security and business interests are also jeopardized by possible extradition arrangements with China, I believe the time is ripe for Washington to re-evaluate the U.S.–Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which governs relations between the two places. I also urge Congress to consider the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The rest of the international community should make similar efforts. A victory for Beijing is a victory for authoritarianism everywhere. Keeping an eye on this place sends an important message to Chinese authorities that democracy, not authoritarianism, is the way of the future. It also keeps our hopes alive knowing that we are not fighting alone. ” (here).
As I said here back in June (in response to the above): “This is the kind of rubbish one would expect from a politician, however apparently ‘dissident’… Apart from the fact that it takes sides in the cold … war between China and the USA, it’s a typical example of the current colonisation by dominant language – phrases such as “international community” which merely means the international “community” of capitalists, whether state capitalists or individual capitalists. This is the “community” of the commodity which Wong clearly hopes to have a political niche in. And of course, his contrast between ‘democracy’ and ‘authoritarianism’ nowadays makes little sense – democracies everywhere are becoming increasingly authoritarian … But so far there’s a difference between authoritarianism and totalitarianism, even though it’s also vital to realise that totalitarianism grows out of the polluted soil of authoritarianism. The ideology of self-determination put forward by his party is an ideology that’s been around since President Wilson advocated it as a tactic in the US’s struggle for imperialist hegemony at the end of WWI, an ideology where the vast majority of “selves” determine nothing. And besides, no rulers of any state can determine their country independently of the pressures of the global market. Wong’s appeal to the US state contradicts this ideology of ‘self-determination’. The constant shifts, between the various capitalist states, from rivalry to complicity, from competition to alliance, and back again, the inevitable product of the different states’ balance between mutual dependence and rival economic interests, means that the US can’t be relied on even as an ally of those aiming to mobilise (some of whom want to eventually rule) Hong Kong against the rulers of China. After Tiananmen Square, the US imposed sanctions on China, which however, did not stop George Bush snr. from secretly doing deals with the Chinese bureaucracy immediately after the massacre of at least 10,000 Chinese workers and students. And at the end of May this year, just a few weeks ago, the Belgian state, through its Beijing embassy, in an unprecedented move, called on the Chinese police to arrest and disappear a family of Muslim Uighurs seeking visas to enable them to reunite with the father of the family in Belgium…When Wong refers to the “international community” and “knowing that we are not fighting alone” he’s encouraging illusions in so-called allies who will, if convenient, stab such ‘friends’ in the back. “Not fighting alone” can only be developed by striving to recognise and act on the connections between different struggles amongst those who are fighting their own states and bosses and the market system not only in mainland China but also throughout the world.”
Cops stop regular foot patrols due partly to risk of being attacked “Police have stopped patrolling Hong Kong’s streets by foot and reduced several anti-crime operations due to a staff crunch and the risk of being attacked, with violent acts against them escalating as the city faces its worst civil unrest in five decades.“
Beijing threatens whilst HK state bans weekend demos “The garrison troops would fulfil their obligation of defending Hong Kong according to the law and would follow the orders of the Communist Party…They had the confidence, determination and capability to “protect and defend Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability”.
The obvious response to this would be “Whose prosperity? Whose stability?”. Whilst the lives of the vast majority are rarely stable or prosperous, most of us aim to become stable and prosperous, but within the terms of this society – ie to have a relatively ‘good’ level of consumption and not to have the rug pulled from under our feet constantly by the ever-changing crises and politics of the market system and its rulers. This seems a perfectly comprehensible goal, however illusory it is within the constantly shifting storm-blown sands of the commodity economy. In the past – the relatively ‘comfortable’ status quo of much of the life of those workers who remained relatively submissive to the system in many 1st World countries 40, 50 or 60 years ago (before the the Welfare State was bit-by-brutal-bit undermined) was obtained by possibly the majority of workers in the “advanced” countries within the logic of this world (largely as a result of the half-revolution carried out by workers of previous generations). But it still left workers at the margins of existence, at the margin of history, spectators of a life and world outside of our grasp, isolated in our roles, cliques and families and humiliated by work and constant frustration, not masters or mistresses of their lives.
A re-defining of prosperity would mean a totally different orientation of social relations, the transformation of life during class struggle, which invariably happens during significant social movements. Whilst the rulers’ enjoyment of “prosperity” is partly based on Adam Smith’s principle “the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches.” – having becomes the spectacle of having, becomes image embodied in all the displays of prosperity that overwhelm those who don’t have – those who don’t have much are encouraged to emulate their rulers’ notion of prosperity. In this perspective, for the rulers progress is merely the accumulation of capital, the goal being irrelevant other than more and more. For the have-nots (or have-very-littles), who imitate this it means having a car that looks good, buying the latest novelty commodities, etc. For those who oppose this, our richness and our chief enjoyment comes from becoming rich in ideas, desires, imagination, social connection, sense of life and meaning, comprehension of contradictions and of the enemy and ourselves (though this is certainly not to minimise the necessity of having enough, absolutely not intended to romanticise poverty). It consists in subverting this parade of commodified riches, rather than searching for some consumerist satisfaction. It also comes from subverting the “parade” of stability, which on the surface is the order of things whilst beneath this is the turmoil of people reduced to commodities, an order based on the repression and colonisation of subjective desire. Spectators of history reduce themsleves to such an “order”, even though it invariably niggles at them with a constant discomfort hoping to be calmed by endlessly watching shows or by participating in what this society encourages us to participate in. One ends up empty because one is totally defined by externally-directed notions of what you’re meant to do and be. The only tendency towards a “stability” that develops a sense of self and our connection with other selves for those without riches lies against all this, in a constant movement, because not participating in this movement aims at a false stability through fear and anxiety, which almost invariably ends up in entrenched depression &/or idiocy.
Hong Kong’s poorest district excited by a different sense of order for second night in a row “Hong Kong’s poorest district was hit by chaos for the second night in a row on Tuesday, with unrest lasting into Wednesday’s early hours, as riot police played cat-and-mouse with protesters in its narrow and dark streets. Almost 100 people, including masked protesters in black and many local residents without protective gear, had gathered outside the police station in Sham Shui Po since the evening, the fourth consecutive night the compound had become a lightning rod for anti-government discontent. They shouted the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our times” and aimed laser pointers at the building’s facade. Owners of nearby food stalls went along to give free sweet soup to the crowd, to show their support. At about 11.30pm, officers used a loudspeaker to ask the crowds to leave, riot police raising a blue flag from inside the compound. Emotions were running high among protesters, who then used rubbish bins and other large objects to block traffic near Yen Chow Street and Cheung Sha Wan Road, a major thoroughfare which was partly blocked. After midnight, a few dozen riot police officers rushed from the station to chase protesters, who fled to the nearby streets. Police officers then began to stop people on the street and search the area. At least four young men were taken away by police after being stopped on the street. One of them told reporters he was a local resident and had only gone out for a beer. During officers’ search of the area, which lasted about 40 minutes, residents shouted at them and told them to go away. Many more residents emerged from their homes to boo police, until the officers drove off before 12.50am.Crowds had gathered nightly at the station since Saturday “
Beijing offers money to those prepared to grass up fellow protestors ” A mysterious new website is offering rewards of up to $1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,500) for information leading to the arrest of masked individuals linked to major acts of violence or vandalism during Hong Kong protests. The website — 803.hk, named for the date on which protesters were filmed throwing a Chinese flag into Hong Kong’s harbor — offers cash rewards for information about 30 of the most notable acts of violence or political dissent during nearly three months of protests in the city. The biggest rewards of HK $1 million were offered for information on who was responsible for tearing down a Chinese flag and throwing it into the harbor, or for defacing the Chinese government’s official emblem on the China Liaison Office in central Hong Kong in July. Desecrating the national flag or emblem is illegal in Hong Kong and carries a potential punishment of up to three years in jail.”
Lam hints at state of emergency as the soft cop alternative to Beijing’s hard cop threat of a Tiananmen Square “Hong Kong’s leader said her government can handle unrest without assistance from Chinese forces, and still wants to hold talks with protesters despite a flare up in violence. “To this day, the SAR government is still confident it’s able to solve the disturbance that’s gone on for two months,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a regular briefing Tuesday before a weekly meeting of her top advisers. Lam was responding to a question about whether declaring a state of emergency was more effective than calling in the Hong Kong garrison of China’s People’s Liberation Army, amid concerns Beijing will seek to intervene more directly in quelling the city’s unrest. On Sunday, Beijing issued its most direct warning yet, saying in a Xinhua News Agency commentary that the central government had the legal authority and responsibility to intervene militarily to halt what it said had become a “color revolution,” even though analysts said such a move remained a last resort.”
Re. Sun Tzu, the man quoted above in the introduction: “Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu’s skills by commanding him to train a harem of 360 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king’s two favored concubines, to the king’s protests. He explained that if the general’s soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies, now well aware of the costs of further frivolity, performed their maneuvers flawlessly “ – here
The Cops’ New Clothes This article says “Britain suspended export licences to Hong Kong for crowd control equipment in June over human rights concerns, and called for an investigation into violent scenes during the protests. “ However, earlier this month a Hong Kong delegation was invited by the UK to attend an arms fair in London – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/09/hong-kong-delegation-invited-by-uk-to-attend-arms-fair-in-london? –“A delegation from Hong Kong has been invited by the British government to attend a flagship arms fair in London despite a promise made by the former foreign secretary in June to halt exports of teargas to the crisis-hit territory.”
Report on use of facial recogntion cameras in schools on the mainland ” Last June, the Globe and Mail reported on public fears of a new form of state surveillance over facial recognition cameras trained to recognize students’ emotion at a Hangzhou high school, and this March Sixth Tone reported on students protesting by disabling similar cameras at a Beijing secondary school ahead of final exams. This month, in an MIT Technology Review article on China’s wider experimentation with an “intelligent education” system allowing algorithms to curate specialized tutoring, a Harvard professor “cautions that cameras and other sensors could also be misused to judge a student’s emotions or state of mind … If students are smiling, greeting their teachers, taking the initiative to clean up trash, lining up neatly, or engaging in other good behavior; or if they are wrestling, fighting, crowding, or engaging in other dangerous acts, can be captured by artificial intelligence. Additionally, AI can also gather information on students’ seated disposition, hand-raising, standing, yawning, and other classroom behavior to analyze the status of a student’s learning process, their classroom efficacy, and their interest in learning. “
“A Hong Kong technology company will stop supplying parts for the government’s “smart lampposts” after its executives and employees received threats. They also cited public concerns over surveillance as a reason to back out of the programme. TickTack Technology Limited on Sunday said that their commitment will be limited to supporting the 50 existing smart lampposts only. The firm added that it was not affiliated with Shanghai Sansi, one of the mainland contractors behind China’s surveillance network.
“We understand that disputes in society over the past few months led the public to be cautious and mistrustful towards some technology,” it said in a statement. According to the statement, the family members of company executives, as well as its employees, were personally threatened. TickTack Technology said they hope their withdrawal from the government contract would reassure the public. On Saturday, pro-democracy protesters targeted the 50 smart lampposts being piloted in Kwun Tong and the Kai Tak development zone, which were installed in June. Protesters expressed fears that the lampposts could enable a mainland-style surveillance system which would affect personal liberties. The government has said that the devices do not have any facial recognition functions and data will not be shared with third parties for identification purposes. During the Saturday protests, some demonstrators used electric saws to cut down lampposts and exposed the electronic components within. Local media reported that around 20 lampposts were damaged to varying degrees….Political group Demosisto analysed the components in a Facebook post and said that TickTack’s Bluetooth GPS locator “had the same name” as the lampposts linked to Shanghai Sansi. TickTack responded by distancing themselves from the mainland company, saying that it had no affiliation with Shanghai Sansi and that the two executives of TickTack were born and bred in Hong Kong. One of its systems for lamppost lighting, which was provided by Shanghai Sansi, was linked to TickTack’s website by mistake, but Sansi never had any access to local servers, the company added.”
Cops use water cannon for the first time; cop fires sidearm “Hong Kong police have used water cannon for the first time and at least one officer fired his sidearm during pitched battles with protesters, one of the most violent nights in three months of pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the city. Thousands of protesters on Sunday poured onto the streets of the Tsuen Wan neighbourhood, where they clashed with police, who fired tear gas and eventually turned to two vehicles armed with water cannon to disperse the demonstrators, who gathered despite steady rains. At least one petrol bomb was thrown by protesters, some of whom took off down narrow side streets where the water cannon, which had not been used in years of anti-government protests, could not follow. In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms…Some dug up bricks from the pavement and wheeled them away to use as ammunition, others sprayed detergent on the road to make it slippery for the lines of police. The Chinese-ruled city’s MTR rail operator suspended some services to try to prevent people from gathering… Carrie Lam, has repeatedly called for an end to the protests…Earlier this week, she started what she called brainstorming conversations to come up with solutions that would satisfy the critics. “She invited 19 high-ranking people to discuss the issues, but there was no representative from the protesters so there is only a small chance of these protests ending,” Hay said. “Reports from that meeting suggest that more than half of those people present at those discussions want Carrie Lam to agree to some of the demands of the protesters, including an independent inquiry into police conduct,” he added. “She said, according to those reports, that the time is not right for an investigation. She wants peace in the streets first before she will start any kind of inquiry.”
Australia, Melbourne: Seemingly uninteresting demo by Tibetan citizens groups in solidarity, interesting only in being indicative of the fact that solidarity is spreading However, the fact that they made no reference to the Australian state’s continued fairly soft criticism of Beijing’s brutality towards Chinese- born Australian citizens is one indication of how merely symbolic such solidarity is.
Kids as young as 12 participate in movement “A group of middle-school students dressed in masks and protective gear were out at the protests. The police announced the next day that Hong Kongers aged 12 to 15 were arrested when the march turned violent. Parents and social workers were called afterwards. On social media, questions such as “Did the parents know they were out?” and “Are they alone because their parents do not share the same views?” mushroomed. Many protesters are putting their family relationships on the line by going out to protest.”
Cops and protesters clash (video) More here ” Tear gas and violence returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday after a week’s respite as police and protesters battled each other district by district across eastern Kowloon. The skirmishes lasted from early afternoon well into the night, spreading from the streets of industrial heartland Kwun Tong to nearby commercial and residential areas. In a now familiar pattern, the protesters threw bricks, petrol bombs, corrosive liquid and other projectiles at the police, who responded with tear gas, pepper balls and sponge grenades. Twenty-eight people were arrested, including an organiser of an approved protest march. At least 10 people were hospitalised, including two men in serious condition. Many onlookers were caught in the crossfire, with some restaurants at Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay, a main battleground, having to evacuate customers from their dinner tables. After last Sunday’s massive but peaceful rally, when hundreds of thousands of people – or 1.7 million, according to the organiser – braved torrential rain to show the movement could regain its peaceful moorings, there was some hope for peace. For eight days, there was no tear gas. But when she faced the press on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor did not respond directly to the protesters’ five demands, which include a complete withdrawal of the bill and the setting-up of an independent inquiry to look into alleged police brutality. Instead, she proposed a “platform for dialogue” be formed. On Saturday morning, 19 community leaders and politicians gathered at Government House to brainstorm a solution. More than half of them urged the embattled Hong Kong leader to launch a public inquiry to allow meaningful dialogue to take place…Lam did not dismiss the idea but told them it was not the right time to do so as Hong Kong first needed to return to peace and normality… Meanwhile, the central government gathered its top experts on Hong Kong affairs in neighbouring city Shenzhen to discuss how to resolve the crisis. According to state media, the seminar heard that Hong Kong must end the violence itself or Beijing would “intervene”. “The People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong are not scarecrows. They are a key part of ensuring the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ is being implemented in Hong Kong,” Maria Tam Wai-chu, a heavyweight pro-Beijing politician from Hong Kong, was quoted as saying. That message was lost on the hundreds of frustrated young protesters who barricaded part of Wai Yip Street in front of Ngau Tau Kok Police Station after an approved protest march through Kwun Tong in the early afternoon…They systematically vandalised … lamp posts one by one, the crowd cheering after dozens of masked protesters managed to topple one of them by sawing off the metal base and pulling it down with ropes. As protesters faced off with scores of riot police, tempers began to fray. Some threw bricks and water bottles at officers, and at 4.30pm, police unfurled a red banner warning the crowds to disperse or face the use of force. The police special tactical squad, or Raptors, suddenly charged at the protesters, wrestling several of them to the ground and making arrests. Amid the chaos, some demonstrators threw projectiles and a petrol bomb at the officers, who fired pepper balls, sponge grenades and eventually tear gas in return. The protesters quickly retreated via the footbridge to nearby district Kowloon Bay, where they occupied the podium of Telford Plaza – a major commercial and residential complex. From a height, protesters threw projectiles and at least two petrol bombs at the police, who responded with tear gas. Some bystanders were affected and had to be taken away to receive first aid. After several rounds of clashes, police gradually dispersed the protesters, who retreated to Choi Hung, where many of them went into the subway station and took the train to Wong Tai Sin. There, protesters occupied a major thoroughfare and continued their fight – again making use of the city’s railway system to play cat and mouse with police. …The railway operator has become a target of the protesters , who have accused it of siding with the police. Notices were put up at all stations on Friday night after the MTR Corp secured a court injunction banning people from “unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of stations and trains”…. protesters had in the past few weeks vandalised the railway operator’s property, destroying its CCTV cameras and spray-painting graffiti at stations. Earlier in the day, an attempt to cause disruption  at Hong Kong International Airport fizzled out, but the protesters vowed to try again next week. “
More here “Another protest was planned for Sunday in the working class district of Tsuen Wan, while demonstrators also plan a city-wide strike and class boycotts at universities in coming weeks. Hong Kong’s metro operator MTR said on Sunday that a number of stations on the Tsuen Wan line will be closed from 1.30pm, RTHK reported…The Kwai Fong and Tsuen Wan stations on the Tsuen Wan line as well as the Tsuen Wan West station on the West Rail line will be temporarily closed. Activists on Saturday threw petrol bombs and bricks in the gritty industrial area of Kwun Tong, a densely populated area of the Chinese territory on the east of the Kowloon peninsula. Four MTR subway stations were closed due to the protests. Police used tear gas after some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and bricks and others tore up “smart” lamp posts equipped with surveillance cameras. Others had set up roadblocks with bamboo scaffolding. It was the first use of tear gas in more than a week after a series of mostly peaceful demonstrations in the former British colony…Strongly condemning the “vandalistic and violent acts of radical protesters” on Saturday, the Hong Kong government said in a statement that the police will strictly follow up on all the illegal acts. It also appealed to the protesters to stop the violence so that order can be restored in society as soon as possible. “
More on station closures. “The court order, which was granted on Friday night after a closed-door hearing, prevents the public from “unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use and operation of the railway.” Other activities banned by judge Anderson Chow include: blocking train doors, improperly activating emergency devices, damaging property, graffiti, disorderly behaviour and loitering…. The rules will come into effect once displayed publicly at the relevant stations, and failure to comply may constitute contempt of court. …On Thursday night, a Kwai Fong MTR staffer reportedly assaulted a protester and ran into the control room after he tried to block the turnstiles. The latest MTR protest took place after the “Hong Kong Way” human chain on Friday night at Kwai Fong, which closed early at 9pm citing potential protests and a threat to the safety of employees. Protesters and local residents stayed inside the station’s lobby nevertheless, chanting “I want to take the train” and “MTR is rubbish”. Walls were graffitied with slogans such as “dog train” and “fuck the popo-MTR”…After the MTR announced the early closure of Kwai Fong Station at 9pm, protesters have gathered at the station for the second consecutive night on Friday, demanding an answer as to why police managed to fire tear gas indoors there on August 11. “
More here “Meanwhile, in the Richland Gardens residential complex in Kowloon Bay, angry residents surrounded the management office after it urgently changed the passcodes to each block on Saturday afternoon. “The office has immediately changed the passcodes to all buildings to ensure safety after it discovered that the passcodes have been revealed online,” read a notice. Some Telegram groups have been circulating passcodes to different residential buildings to allow protesters to flee indoors during police operations. But the office added it would not inform residents of the new code until Monday, leaving many locked out of their homes unless they brought their residents’ ID card or were recognised by security guards. Some residents shouted “are you colluding with the police?” and “we will stop paying management fees.” At around 11pm, a management office staffer called the police, and dozens arrived. Police deployed pepper spray against residents, injuring legislator Jeremy Tam who was on the scene. Two residents were arrested in the incident… Residents have promised to not pay management fees unless the office provides an explanation by Sunday.”
This article, about the 30-mile human chain, aims to prettify and hype up a far-too-easy risk-free show of opposition within the movement itself, and so ends up supporting the status quo even as it pretends not to: “As a protest action, it was incredibly effective: entirely peaceful, a striking visual spectacle…and put paid to any suggestion that these ongoing protests were just a few hot-headed young student agitators. The feeling of “enchantment”… is something that stops you in your tracks, leaving you transfixed and spellbound – a suspension of time and movement. Places or moments of enchantment can inspire a sense of wonder or awe, even fill us with overwhelming feelings of generosity and love for the world. But enchantment can also serve a political purpose… The government seems to fail to understand that…it needs to enchant the people if it wants to compete.”
The author describes himself as a “writer and lawyer” and makes a great deal of reference to a Professor of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, a specialist “in political theory: ecological philosophy, art and politics, American political thought, political rhetoric and persuasion, and contemporary social theory”. This way of ideologising a form of action is typical of wordsmiths who are largely spectators of movements and interpret them in order to give their mostly well-heeled careers in the division of labour an air of rebelliousness. But they never contribute anything that could help to clarify the contradictions of a movement or any practical initiatives that could help to advance such movements because their aim is mainly to valorise themselves. As part of this, the author’s explicit “political purpose” is to advertise purely peaceful symbolic protest as a jolly good show, as “enchantement“. But, given the author’s desire to maintain the security of his submission to his social role (whilst giving himself the thrill of seeming to revolt) his underlying “political purpose” is to separate peaceful and merely symbolic protest from more practical forms of protest, whether they can be described as “violent”, “hot-headed” or not.
Lam and Beijing certainly want the situation to be “transfixed and spellbound “, for “movement” to be suspended or stopped in its tracks. This aestheticisation of holding hands but hardly holding even a conversation, let alone passionate views, is just what they’d like this movement to focus on. Real “generosity and love” for at least part of the world (only masochists show generosity and love for their oppressors) is being shown in the anger and spirit of solidarity such as owners of food stalls giving free sweet soup to a crowd besieging a police station (28/8/19). This has nothing to do with “a striking visual spectacle” or “enchantment”, but people beginning to make their own history without waiting for a smartphone to capture their enchanting smiles. “Enchantment” is a state of being under a spell. On the contrary, people in Hong Kong are beginning to wake up from the hypnotic spell of the aestheticisation of miserable social relations, from the sleep of reason imposed by an irrational world and are beginning to confront the spectacle.
Mass protest against mass surveillance
“… many demonstrators still chose to cover their faces with medical masks and many even wore balaclava-style scarves and dark glasses covered with tin foil. By mid afternoon, a number of protesters had built barricades with bamboo rods and plastic traffic barriers and faced off with riot police outside a police station. The key theme of the march on Saturday was to oppose the government’s installation of smart lamp posts equipped with sensors, closed-circuit cameras and data networks. The government said the lamp posts would collect air quality, traffic flow and weather data only, although many at the protests say they have covered up themselves in protective gear due to privacy concerns. Many even wrap their wallets and mobile phones in tin foil to skirt possible detection. “We feel unsafe, that’s why we have to speak up,” said Harry Yip, a school leaver, who said he wore a hat, reflective dark glasses and a black scarf to cover his face to avoid government surveillance. “Oppose surveillance, save Hong Kong!”, shouted some, while others cried: “Free Hong Kong!”, “Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our era!”… Some handed out medical masks while others handed out tin foil to cover phones, credit cards with smart pay functions and also smart identity cards that Hongkongers are mandated to carry. Others called on fellow protesters to open their umbrellas to shield their faces from surveillance cameras. “Even though this is a police-approved march, you just never know what the police might do later,” said Chris Lam, also in full protective gear. The fear of surveillance comes amid reports that many Hong Kong residents have been interrogated upon entering mainland China, taken into rooms to have their messages and photos on their phones and computers checked.”
August 23, 2019:
YouTube blocks obvious Beijing anti-protest videos, joining Twitter and Google:
Meanwhile, the Chinese ruling class find ways round the bans from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube:
“…mainland citizens who are normally subject to strict controls on their online behaviour have been using virtual private networks to bypass the “Great Firewall” and spread anti-protest messages internationally, as well as on Chinese social media sites. “It’s only really the hypernationalists that are given free rein, their content isn’t censored,” said Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) who studies Chinese social media. “They’re allowed to conduct campaigns, they’re able to organise online … so that happens in China within the Great Firewall, and then we see also it spill out into the wider Internet,” he said…. Wang said she and her group of online peers, also known as ‘fan girls’ or ‘fanquan girls’, began to campaign against the protests after her idol Zhang, a member of South Korean boy band Exo, joined other Chinese celebrities last week to say that he backed the Hong Kong police and Beijing’s territorial sovereignty. “Since our big brother loves our country so much, we fans have to support him,” she told Reuters. “So I went on Instagram to post messages such as ‘Hong Kong is part of China,’ ‘Reject violence,’ and ‘Hong Kong police are the best!’” They were joined by other internet denizens such as those on ‘Di Bar,’ a discussion forum that is part of search engine giant Baidu’s platform, where calls went out to the group’s 31.3 million members asking them to flood overseas social media platforms with similar slogans and posts.”
Hong Kong banks take out newspaper ads to call for order:
The anti-economic effect of the protests:
“The blue-blooded Standard Chartered bank, which is based in Hong Kong but also listed on the London stock market, said in Thursday’s advertisements that it supported the city’s government to uphold social order and “guard the status of Hong Kong as an international financial centre”. HSBC condemned “violence of any kind” and called for talks to resolve the dispute.
August 22, 2019:
Hong Kong students plan class boycott for protest demands :
“Student union leaders from 10 universities said they want students to skip the first two weeks of classes in September. They vowed to escalate their action if the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, fails to respond by Sept. 13.”
A human rights lawyer mysteriously disappeared and a UK consulate worker was detained for 15 days as China cracks down on Hong Kong supporters:
August 21 2019:
Hong Kong protesters clash with riot police at metro station
“Two exits at a Hong Kong MTR station were closed on Friday morning after anti-government protesters had vandalised facilities there the night before…In Kwai Fong, local media footage showed people standing in front of the turnstiles and asking passengers to enter without paying…According to the rail operator, about 30 people gathered in the station at around 10am, and the number increased to roughly 200 an hour later.”
More here: https://www.scmp.com/print/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3024210/hong-kongs-mtr-pays-price-aiding-and-abetting-protesters “A mob of hysterical protesters laid siege to the control room, harassing and abusing railway staff after the MTR closed the station early, expecting exactly that kind of behaviour following a previous night of protest anarchy on the premises…As if yelling expletives at traumatised frontline railway workers and spray-painting obscenities on the walls were not foul enough, one protester saw fit to express his contempt for the MTR by urinating into a beer can right there and then, in full public view, like some wild animal, while his unhinged comrades pasted sanitary pads on the glass walls of the control booth. Our reporter at the scene spotted what looked like a used pad among them…Who are these people? Is this really us? Is this what we have become in this great “revolution of our times”? I’m struggling to understand any of it; perhaps some psychiatrist can explain…tormenting and attacking fully armed police officers has replaced horse racing as Hong Kong’s favourite pastime, and citizens have the freedom to firebomb police stations with impunity… Not only has the rail operator allowed radicals to use stations as convenient safe zones they can retreat into after every bout of violence, and to rely on the network to travel to the next target, its staff have been openly hostile to police coming in after the lawbreakers. Some employees have even been accused of leaking internal plans to protesters to help them sabotage and disrupt operations…“The MTR dared to arrange special train services for the rioters and even sent them home free of charge,” an incredulous news anchor declared on state television, referring to repeated instances of protesters being ferried home for free after battling police and trashing train stations… when riot police stormed into Kwai Fong station and fired tear gas in an enclosed space for the first time as they chased after a violent mob, the MTR complained about passenger safety being put at risk by police – not a peep about what the protesters were doing in the first place. Well, just like it did with Cathay Pacific Airways, Beijing has forced the city’s government-owned railway operator to stand up and be counted, and for staff to stop biting the hand that’s feeding them. Be assured of more shocking confrontations in the days to come, and commuting chaos for nearly 5 million passengers who use the railway network daily. Things have gone completely off the rails.”
Videos: Protesters Spray Water, Soap to Stop Riot Police from Advancing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxGtK-qKuWA
Protesters Form Barricades, Use Fire Extinguishers To Block Police https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vatqBdNtcw0
August 20, 2019:
More pro-state violence:
“Hong Kong was reeling on Tuesday following a knife attack by a pro-police thug on two anti-extradition protesters and a former journalist. The blue-shirted attacker slashed and stabbed three people at an anti-extradition “Lennon Wall” in a pedestrian tunnel in Tseung Kwan O district late on Monday…”Police believe that the attacker discarded his blue shirt and other clothing, before putting on a red shirt to make his escape,” the paper reported. Meanwhile, surveillance camera footage has emerged of two uniformed police officers assaulting an elderly man on a hospital gurney. In the video, which was widely shared on social media, the officers torture the man while he lies prone on the gurney, assaulting his abdomen, genital area and head with fists and batons. Family members told journalists that the victim — who is in his sixties — lost control of his bladder during the assault and was told to “drink your own piss” by one officer after they removed his clothing.” Meanwhile Beijing journalist compares protesters to Nazis: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3023457/chinese-state-broadcaster-uses-holocaust-poem-liken-hong-kong
Incidentally, Martin Niemöller, the author of this famous ‘poem’ –“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist….etc.”, had been, during the Ruhr Uprising in 1920, a battalion commander of the “III. Bataillon der Akademischen Wehr Münster” and belonged to the paramilitary Freikorps, the assassins of Luxembourg and Liebknecht, and later became a supporter of Hitler for a short while. His poem was a guilty reflection on himself and should have read “First I came for the socialists…”.) Like Karl Doenitz, he’d been the commander of a U-boat, in this case UC 67, in the Mediterranean during the last half of 1918. The small ship commanders and their crews were more disposed to being reactionary than the crews of the big ships like Thüeringen, whose stokers launched the mutiny that would end WWI. The crowning irony is that Thüringen was Niemueller’s first ship in the Navy. However, he spent the majority of the war in the U-boat fleet. Reactionary sailors were among the worst of the Freikorps, like the Marinebrigade Erhardt. It was active in the suppression of the revolutionaries in the northern cities of Wilhelmshaven, Cuxhaven and Bremen, in Munich, and in the industrial districts which connected them, as well as being active in the Kapp Putsch.
August 19, 2019 :
“Scientists at China’s Fudan University are developing an invisibility mask that uses tiny infrared LEDs wired to the inside of a baseball cap to project dots of light on to the wearer’s face.”
Fudan University is China’s 3rd best university, the first institution of higher education to be founded by a Chinese person, probably as elitist as Oxford or Cambridge, though not as ancient. It’s obviously financed by the state. Given that the Chinese state is the world’s no.1 country for the proliferation of facial recognition cameras, this research at Fudan University should not be presented as something that resists facial recognition, whether private or state. The chances are that, at best, it’ll be only available for use by the police, the army or other defenders of the totalitarian state, or by private security guards defending the increasing totalitarianism of the world market. No need to worry about cameras taking photos of cops or undercover cops beating the shit out of protesters. Maybe even Xi Jinping could wear one in order to avoid being recognised by potential future crowds hoping to do to him what Italians did to Mussolini on 28th April 1945. Or maybe the research is being carried out in order to anticipate methods of avoiding facial recognition so as to combat these devices in advance of their proliferation. Either way, this article curiously avoids any scepticism about the reasons for this research.
August 19, 2019 :
“Tensions from continuing mass protests in Hong Kong reached Vancouver’s streets for the second day in a row, as two opposing protest groups faced off outside the Chinese consulate in the city. A few hundred people showed up in front of the consulate in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon, with those in solidarity with Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters condemning brutality from the territory’s police, while a pro-China group decried violence from demonstrators in Hong Kong. Similar confrontations also happened on Saturday outside of a SkyTrain station in Vancouver. “Love Hong Kong, love China; no secession, no violence,” people from the pro-China group chanted, many waving the Chinese national flag. Across the street, a huge group of pro-democracy protesters, holding Canadian flags, shouted, “Hong Kong police, shame, shame, shame” and “Freedom for Hong Kong now.”…Meanwhile, the Chinese Benevolent Association in Vancouver held a news conference on Sunday afternoon, supporting the police and the Government of Hong Kong.
“We strongly condemn the extreme violence by the radical demonstrators and we strongly support the Hong Kong government to safeguard Hong Kong basic laws and Hong Kong police to stop the spread of the violence and the lawlessness,”
Despite the fact that Canada’s Foreign Secretary ” defended the actions of Hong Kong police, saying the protests “deteriorated and evolved into extreme violence.” Beijing has denounced her comments as “meddling” in China’s internal affairs “. Perhaps it was because she didn’t explicitly assign blame to either the government or the protestors. Or maybe the bureaucratic class were anticipating a potential criticism in the future and wanted to implicitly show the difference between her and the US commerce secretary, who said that the Hong Kong protests were an ‘internal matter’ – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/aug/14/trump-news-today-live-stacey-abrams-asap-rocky-epstein-latest-updates .
Even in Canada, Hong Kong supporters fear retaliation:
“For the first time in 30 years of fighting for human rights in China, Mabel Tung and Fenella Sung felt afraid last weekend. They were among the hundreds who went to rallies in Vancouver to support the Hong Kong’s peaceful protest movement. They came face to face with counter-protesters who walked up to them and took close-up photos of them on their phones.
They were already unnerved by social media postings by some counter-protesters claiming they would bring knives, stones, bricks and even an axe and a pellet gun “Reply
“One group surrounded a police station in Mong Kok and threw eggs at the building until riot police charged at the group, dispersing them. Others vandalised the offices of a pro-Beijing political party. One group left pineapples, meant to symbolise grenades, at the door of a pro-government organisation, the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, which played a key role in anti-colonial government riots in 1967, when homemade bombs were planted at street corners around the city…. on Friday secondary school students pledged to boycott classes one day a week when term begins, and university students are expected to launch similar campaigns.
Hard to know how much this is consciously manipulated strategy on the part of the state being played out here. It gives the appearance of defiance on the part of the demonstrators at the same time as complying with the state’s need to maintain its monopoly of class violence whilst showing that the state needn’t be violent if faced with a nice peaceful demonstration, even when it’s illegal. This – https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hongkong-peaceful-08192019121918.html – says “Sunday’s anti-extradition march in Hong Kong, which saw some 1.7 million people flood the city’s streets in a mass protest against extradition to mainland China, was peaceful because police didn’t use violence, protesters said at a news conference on Monday.” Regardless of whether or not this is a strategically planned manipulation, which seems to me to be quite conscious on the part of the cops, this demonstration tends to divide the radical sections from those who want to maintain their image of opposition without risk. But maybe it’s just a momentary tactical retreat.
Meanwhile, the tankies of the Morning Starlinist show their disgusting true-blue/dead-red colours: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/rival-demonstrations-mounted-hong-kong-over-weekendReply
Lasers in the Tear Gas: A Guide to Tactics in Hong Kong:
India, Dharamshala: Tibetans demonstrate in solidarity with Hong Kong
Twitter hosts Chinese propaganda ads attacking HK protesters – https://www.dailydot.com/irl/twitter-china-state-tweets-hong-kong-protesters/
And so does Facebook –
” Though Twitter and Facebook are banned in China, Chinese state media run several English-language accounts to present their views to the outside world. “It’s very clear that the Chinese state media is essentially buying ads on Twitter and Facebook for the purpose of reaching an international audience as part of China’s effort to ‘tell its story better,’” said Adam Ni, a China researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney. The Communist Party sees this “as critical in the battle of hearts and minds,” he added.
Twitter forced to withdraw many of the Chinese state’s accounts:
How they did it:
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gyzv9x/china-used-twitter-porn-bots-to-spread-disinformation-about-the-hong-kong-protests “The network of accounts identified by Twitter included a small number of accounts created specifically for this campaign and a much larger network of re-purposed accounts that had built large followings by tweeting about a variety of topics ranging from sport to IT support and porn. The oldest account in the data set was created almost 12 years ago. “Such accounts are readily and cheaply available for purchase from resellers, often for a few dollars or less,” the researchers said. “Accounts in the data set have tweeted in a variety of languages, including Indonesian, Arabic, English, Korean, Japanese, and Russian, and on topics ranging from British football to Indonesian tech support, Korean boy bands, and pornography.”
US commerce secretary says Hong Kong protests are an ‘internal matter’ – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/aug/14/trump-news-today-live-stacey-abrams-asap-rocky-epstein-latest-updates
Never mind the mealy-mouthed statements of the president – he’s president of a country with a slimey history of “betraying” revolts against bureaucratic capitalism. Clearly a “sellout” before the fact, giving the green light to Beijing to do whatever it wants to do. As always, any future brutal repression by Beijing will be condemned, but it’ll still be business-as-usual, just as Beijing has condemned US cop brutality in the past, particularly racist cop brutality, but it’s made no difference other than to pretend that the 2 systems have nothing in common. Realpoltik invariably means the all-mouth cheap talk of fake outrage goes hand in hand with the thumbs-up in practice.
August 17, 2019:
Hong Kong protests take toll on city’s tourism workers as earnings slump 74 per cent on average over past two months – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=6edd0fd5d2&e=8fd112807f
Whether this includes tourism workers or not, I have no idea, but, despite the anti-economic effect of the protests (which is the invariable result of all social movements of any significance, and sometimes the aim of such movements), a survey has found that Hong Kong protesters increasingly sympathise with radical action after months of anti-government unrest – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=3493b359b5&e=8fd112807fReply
Hong Kong delegation invited by UK to attend arms fair in London The Guardian, August 9, 2019 – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/09/hong-kong-delegation-invited-by-uk-to-attend-arms-fair-in-london?
“A delegation from Hong Kong has been invited by the British government to attend a flagship arms fair in London despite a promise made by the former foreign secretary in June to halt exports of teargas to the crisis-hit territory.”
Interview with protesters who threw bricks and set fire outside police stations: We are anti-authoritarian, not anti-society – Stand News, August 10, 2019 . In Chinese (Mandarin) here – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=d416ad2ef7&e=8fd112807f
(The abuses by the pigs are rendered even more easy to comprehend in the light of the accusation by Willy Lam that the numbers of cops are being swelled by filth brought in from the mainland itself, filth that are used to extreme measures and total impunity)
“Corrected” Google Translate (ie since I don’t understand Mandarin, I’ve changed what I’ve understood of this translation into comprehensible English, though I may well have misunderstood):
” When the abuse of power over the past two months provoked “anger” towards it, everything seems to be self-evident or innocent. … the police stations in Tseung Kwan O, Kwun Tong, Ma On Shan, Tin Siu Wai and Wong Tai Sin were all surrounded by hundreds of people. …outside at least five district police stations outside there was arson. “A series of extreme acts of violence are pushing Hong Kong into a very dangerous situation.” On the morning of August 5, the chief executive Lin Zhengyue read with a gloomy face to the camera: “Four out of the main roads containing district Police stations, were attacked and there was wanton destruction of public property… A handful of extremely violent people even threw bricks…petrol bombs, home-made bombs, and possessed a large number of offensive weapons… They defiled the national flag and even removed a flag on a flagpole and threw it into the sea, threatening to engage in revolution…”…On the evening of August 5, they torched the outside of the Shatian Police Station and there was an explosion at the scene… …The two do not think that the direction of the movement has changed as the struggle has changed from “five major demands” to more and more police conflicts and even direct conflicts with police stations. “I feel that “turning” is the wrong word, the direction has not changed – it has only widened.” Alfred said: “Maybe when the “reaction” starts, some citizens will really only worry that the regulations [extradition law, I suppose – SF] endanger their rights and safety, or Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center, etc. But then we saw the police abuse of power and abuse of force, and the government supported it. So even if we see the suspension of the regulations, we will continue to fight and ensure that the future government cannot erode our rights.” … it is extremely important to resist the police….Ian believes that the masses may not be conscious of the police station as a target for resistance….”…the arrested demonstrators had no bail, so they went to the Kwai Chung Police Station and then went to the Kwai Chung Police Station. Ma On Shan, Wong Tai Sin, Tin Shui Wai and later Sham Shui Po all had incidents, some people were arrested… It was a spontaneous and immediate thing…” We have to defeat the police and have the opportunity to face the political power.”
The question is how to “beat” the police? Although the number of demonstrators is large, its strength can never be compared with the police, and … conflicts will inevitably bring casualties…. recent protesters have made progress against the police….in recent days, demonstrators have made guerrilla warfare in various districts… In the eyes of many people, it seems violent to throw bricks and set fire to the police station. However, some demonstrators have determined that the damage to the police station is justified… “After the brutality of the police, one wants to kill…I can understand this kind of emotion.”…Ah San (pseudonym) said that the most violent police incident was… when a girl was humiliated….Alfred felt that many policemen had long wanted to kill demonstrators on the front line with the police…. His personal bottom line is that he will only fight back after police officers attack, without actively hurting people…Helen…believes that the chaotic conflicts at the scene of the protests are inevitable, and the prosperity and stability that… are still loved are false…Some must suffer, she thinks… “In the past, I lived in positive virtual prosperity and stability, and put a lot of problems at the bottom of my thoughts. But if I want to improve the situation, I have to know the root cause and the severity of problems…”. Much of this was incomprehensible in Google Translate, and the above hardly does justice to the interviews. It would be great if anybody reading this who understands Mandarin could provide a proper translation.
Universities are turning a blind eye to Chinese bullies – Foreign Policy, August 9, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=0f066d7f62&e=8fd112807fReply
Chinese propaganda goes tech-savvy to reach a new generation – https://theconversation.com/chinese-propaganda-goes-tech-savvy-to-reach-a-new-generation-119642?
Sample quote: “Earlier this year, a new app was launched in China to put the patriotism of Chinese citizens to the test. Named “Study Xi to Strengthen the Nation”, the app quizzes users on all things related to President Xi Jinping – his policies, activities, achievements, theories and thoughts. Users can earn points and win prizes for correct answers and compete with colleagues and friends to see who knows the most about China’s leader….Thanks to a number of developments, the old propaganda messages of previous generations can easily be repackaged for millennials. Like the rest of the world, Chinese millennials are keen adopters of the latest mobile technologies and suffer from short attention spans. They are also just as enthusiastic as their Western counterparts about posting jokes, music videos and short, sharp, attention-grabbing memes on social media. The Chinese government, meanwhile, is putting more of an emphasis on humanising its approach to leadership. Politicians are keen to be seen as relatable rather than authoritative figures. So, to get its messaging across in a new way, party propaganda has morphed from dry sermons to what I like to call indoctritainment. And these campaigns are often high-end productions. Increasingly, ideological messages are more effective if they are delivered using a platform that’s already been trialled and proven in marketing. In 2016, for instance, CCTV launched a promotion of the Communist Party in the form of a public awareness advertisement to mark the 95th anniversary of the founding of the party. The one-minute video, titled “I am a Chinese Communist Party member,” features heartwarming vignettes of individuals from different walks of life – teacher, cleaner, surgeon, policeman, local public servant, fisherman – who are all good Samaritans doing their bit to help others. The message is clear: the party is being re-branded as an organisation made up of unsung heroes. As the voice-over explains: I am the first one to arrive, I am the last one to leave, I’m the one who thinks of myself the least, and cares about others the most … I am the Chinese Communist Party, and I am always there with you. Another video promoting the Chinese military, “I am a Chinese soldier”, demonstrates the point. Even without the English subtitles, it’s not hard to see what the producers were going for: a patriotic Hollywood movie or romantic tear-jerker….In 2015, a video called “The 13 what” used catchy pop music, colourful animation, and American-accented English to explain China’s 13th five-year national plan. Channelling David Bowie, Monty Python and the psychedelia of the 1960s, the three-minute video was produced by a digital media production team operating under the auspices of the government’s main propaganda offices in Beijing. Two years earlier, the same studio also produced the widely circulated five-minute video clip, “How leaders are made”. Xi Jinping appears in the clip as a cartoon character, as do US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Light-hearted, zany, and (again) featuring American English, the video informs viewers that Xi has worked long and hard to move up China’s political ladder. The implication is that Xi’s power is just as legitimate as that of his Western counterparts. Within a short period after its release, the video had been viewed more than a million times on Youku, China’s version of YouTube…. Increasingly, the Communist Party’s propaganda material goes viral only after it appears on popular video-sharing websites with “bullet screens”. This is an interactive feature that enables viewers to “shoot” text comments across the screen as the video is being streamed. It’s very popular with younger audiences. …”
475,000 (apparently) demonstrate in favour of cop violence – https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/08/17/oppose-violence-save-hong-kong-476000-attend-pro-police-rally-organisers-say/Reply
Video of latests clashes:
Teachers join demos:
Chinese security trial giant ‘electric’ fork devices – https://uk.news.yahoo.com/chinese-forces-prepare-to-use-giant-electric-fork-devices-on-hong-kong-protesters-121033621.html?
August 16, 2019:
On the state’s strategy:
“Manipulation of public opinion and pressure on the region’s businesses, universities and judiciary are part of the strategy…the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist party…drew a distinction between violent extremists who have used opposition to the extradition law amendment bill as a pretext for other goals, and the vast majority of the Hong Kong public, who were called upon to unite against unruly protesters. The gist of this line was repeated in press briefings by Lam, and by Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macau affairs office in Beijing, in a meeting with 300 members of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing elite in Shenzhen last week. Zhang argued that Beijing should not compromise with the opposition movement and should make no concession to its demands. He declared that Beijing should rely on Hong Kong’s chief executive and government, the “one country, two systems” principle, the Hong Kong police and judiciary, patriotic forces within Hong Kong, and what he believed to be the overwhelming majority of people living there, who desired peace and stability. Zhang’s statement laid out a multi-pronged strategy…. patriotic forces will be mobilised to reunify the extremely disunited pro-establishment camp: businesses will face disproportionate retaliation or boycotts if they do not actively oppose the protests; universities and public institutions in Hong Kong will be brought back under control through internal discipline. This will raise the cost of sympathising with and participating in the anti-government movement for ordinary protesters. Indeed, pro-establishment politicians immediately lined up behind Beijing’s wording, putting an end to calls for Lam’s resignation or an independent inquiry into police violence… Beijing has engaged in a battle to turn public opinion in Hong Kong against the movement and to isolate the “violent extremists” from the “patriotic silent majority”, especially by highlighting the economic impact of protests. Depictions of the protests as instigated by “foreign forces” were stepped up. Beijing continues to rely on a “strategy of attrition” – one that served them well during the 2014 unrest. But at the same time, China continues to hint at the possibility of a military crackdown, releasing videos showing troop carriers moving to the border. The Chinese government position is no doubt driven by fear of contagion to the mainland and geopolitical anxiety about Hong Kong’s loyalty. This must be balanced against the need to maintain Hong Kong’s perceived stability and prosperity, and to safeguard China’s influence in Taiwan…While the leaderless “be water” strategy has served the growth of the protest movement well, it has also emerged as a liability, because there is no forum to coordinate a return to non-violent tactics or possible negotiations with authorities. Finding an exit strategy is almost always the most difficult part of anti-government mobilisation, and it remains unclear how the spiral of violence can be halted now.”
This was written by Sebastian Veg, professor of contemporary history of China at EHESS, Paris, author of ” Minjian: The Rise of China’s Grassroots Intellectuals”. He doesn’t really see how the inability to stop or channel the leaderless movement is due to the logic of people wanting to be ever more free as a rising expectation fostered by the development of at least a little power to contest the social terrain. Neither does he seem to have a critique of bureaucratic power, which regardless of how limited the demands of the protestors, knows that the cat is out of the bag once ordinary people discover that the bonds which held them in place can be broken. What thinking, feeling person would settle for less when the possibility of having complete autonomy shows itself? The bureaucrat in power instinctively knows that any revolt raises the spectre of a general questioning of society and the possibility of this power being seriously contested.
“China has issued its most pointed threat yet to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, warning that it has “enough solutions and enough power to swiftly quell unrest” should it deem the situation “uncontrollable”.
Beijing says that there’ll be no Tiananmen Square: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hong-kong-protests-china-intervention-beijing-tiananmen-square-intervention-a9062356.html
– which is impossible to say whether this’ll be the case or not, though I’d guess that, given that people are far more reduced to spectators and fearful than 30 years ago, won’t be necessary – maybe a few killings by cops or soldiers, but repression can take far more subtle forms than a ‘simple’ massacre. Whilst the threat of a Tiananmen Square constantly hovers in the background of this movement, more likely is martial law, a massive crackdown on the more radical elements, and the image of reform involving (long-term, probably) getting rid of Lam, replacing her with one of the official dissident leaders (or at least, involving him/her in the process of negotiations and the image of reform) and perhaps doing a “Red Brigade”-type manipulation (not that Sanguinetti’s depiction of what happened in the late 70s is really accurate, but that’s another question) to help with the marginalisation of the more radical sections, some of whom are already being classified as “terrorist”. See this, which was maybe anticipated a bit too early: HONG KONG LATEST! . Of course, speculation from a distance is a way of connecting with a movement that may not be much more than a purely subjective feeling on my part…
Worth looking again at this, about mainland activists:
“The challenges Chinese youth activists face stem primarily from the escalation of political pressure in recent years. The unfavorable political reality has lead to a lack of resources…curbing their progress and preventing youth activists from advancing their careers and earning a living; the unfavorable political environment and work conditions have left youth activists with acutely poor economic, familial, and public support. In this vulnerable state, the proportion of activists suffering from clinical depression is fairly large”…Many interview subjects feel pessimistic about the future of Chinese society… One said, “For the mainland, if you don’t take any violent action, if you don’t make any sacrifice of blood, then you can’t really accomplish anything”…The extinction level crackdown on all sorts of activist groups has given the majority of activists personal experience of just how little possibility there is for civil society in China right now.” However, one of the problems of activists is that even if they think in terms of how to connect to those who are not activists – workers, students, school students etc. – they think in terms of their role as activists, not in terms of individuals who face a horrible future even worse than the horrible present which is also the lot of workers, students, school students, etc. That is, their approach is almost invariably in terms of using their specialist role, rather than in connecting with other proletarians what they have in common with them; which strategy might reduce the “sacrifice of blood” that the activist mindset makes them feel might be necessary. It’s not a question of sacrifice to a cause, which is not only unattractive but has also revealed itself through historical experience as being a dead-end (literally). It’s a question of taking risks which could possibly end in death but which should also aim to minimise such a possibility by not only taking as many precautions as possible but also thinking in more strategic terms without compromising one’s long-term desires.Reply
Loads of links & videos from the period 6th – 11th August:
Catyhay Pacific airlines’ CEO & chief commercial officer forced to resign for failoing to stop Cathay workers joining protests: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines/cathay-pacific-ceo-resigns-as-hong-kong-protests-continue.html
“The resignations come just a week after the Civil Aviation Administration of China banned any of the airline’s employees who supported Hong Kong’s illegal protests from entering mainland China airspace, citing safety grounds.”
Clashes between pro- and anti- Beijing demonstrators throughout Australia: https://www.scmp.com/print/news/asia/australasia/article/3023191/pro-hong-kong-group-clashes-rival-protesters-melbourne
But HK protesters feel (rightly) that there’s not been enough international support: https://www.france24.com/en/video/20190816-hong-kong-protesters-dont-feel-like-theres-been-enough-international-support
Reasons for this lack of support could well include the pathetic nature of a small section of Leftism which continues to see in China’s state capitalism something better than “Western” neoliberalism; but also maybe the fact that the ideology of democracy which the movement affirms would jar with genuine rebels against this world, who have long experienced “democrazy/” at first hand and have not found it something particularly endearing.Reply
HK billionaire condemns the “violence” of the protesters:
Perhaps, drunk on the power of money , he was also drunk on this powerful drug:
Report on normal violence in Hong Kong:
Fake news as yet another form of manipulation (not that there hasn’t been fake news for over a century – eg about German soldiers raping and bayoneting Belgian nuns on the eve of WWl):
More on the horrors of the Xinjiang Muslim region (and one article on the complicity of Turkey (!) in China’s concentration camps for mainly Muslims/Uighurs):
Muslim women “sterilised” in China detention camps, say former detainees Independent, August 12, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=dff9ddbd59&e=8fd112807f
China builds more secret “re-education camps” to detain Uighur Muslims despite global outcry over human suffering Independent, August 12, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=83fdc86ff5&e=8fd112807f
探寻新疆拘禁营”关闭”真相 China said it closed Muslim detention camps. There’s reason to doubt that. The New York Times, August 9, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=0c0d0da873&e=8fd112807f
Uyghur mother, daughters deported to China from Turkey Radio Free Asia, August 9, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=bf8c21eae1&e=8fd112807fReply
Versace grovels to Beijing’s bureaucracy:
Fashion firms apologise for implying Taiwan and Hong Kong separate from China The Guardian, August 12, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=241f60c389&e=8fd112807f
Versace in trouble for tops implying Hong Kong is not part of China, brand ambassador Yang Mi “outraged” South China Morning Post, August 11, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=4b7f24d905&e=8fd112807f
Versace apologizes for mislabeling HK, Macau as countries on T-shirt Sina, August 12, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=90490314de&e=8fd112807f
Why fashion brands are rushing to apologize in China – Quartz, August 12, 2019 – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=2b63da8e48&e=8fd112807f
Barbarians at the gates Part1:
“… the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office released a stern statement, calling attacks on police “signs of terrorism”. Online, internet users speculated that the armed presence was a show of power to Hong Kong….“They are just waiting for an order before they’ll drive to Hong Kong to calm the riots. We hope the armed forces can enter Hong Kong and beat the hell out of these idiotic youth,” one commenter said on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform. Beijing-based military specialist Zhou Chenming said that the armed police were taking part in regular drills and that people should not feel nervous. “The central government has repeatedly stated it will only interfere if there are large-scale riots and the Hong Kong government has applied voluntarily for support,” Zhou said. …“If the situation does not reach that point, then this is only a deterrence measure, to deter these [small group of people] from stepping over the line.” Dixon Sing Ming, a political-science professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the move was a “psychological warfare tactic”.”
Barbarians at the gates Part 2:
“Mainland China is believed to have already dispatched officers to fortify the ranks of the Hong Kong police, and may also have planted decoys among the protesters in order to encourage more violent acts that could eventually turn ordinary Hongkongers against the protest movement.
Such a change in sentiments does not yet appear to have happened despite rising violence surrounding protests and the shutdown of the city’s usually bustling international airport for two days after it was occupied by demonstrators.”
Various videos of clashes on 14th August, plus some links:
Flights resume at airport:
Yucky apologetics: “Protesters have now asked travellers and the general public for forgiveness after their blockade turned into chaotic and frenzied violence. While the movement’s supporters still have street protests planned, it’s unclear what their next move is or whether they will be able to find new rallying sites to keep the pressure on authorities. Protesters spread pamphlets and posters on the floor in one section of the terminal but were not impeding travellers. Online, they also circulated letters and promotional materials apologising for the inconveniences during the past five days of the airport occupation. “It is not our intention to cause delays to your travels and we do not want to cause inconvenience to you,” said an emailed statement from a group of protesters.
We ask for your understanding and forgiveness as young people in Hong Kong continue to fight for freedom and democracy.”
Tactical needs might demand temporary retreats. However, such retreat is self-destructive if it resorts to such false defensiveness. Not making abundantly clear that the terrorism of the state (particularly the Chinese one) and the money-terrorist system it defends is hardly equivalent to thumping a journocop and an armed cop violently assaulting a woman reduces defence to apologetic wimpishness, to image, respectable image. They may fantasise of placating the barbarian-capitalists at the gate, but the barbarians aren’t fooled. They rather would feel encouraged by such complicity with a divide-and-rule strategy they’re only too pleased to manipulate. Particularly the divide and rule between those who use more “violent” expressions of rage and those who, through choice or through inability, use other, less risky, expressions of anxiety and anger. Accepting such divisions on the basis of moral image and the hope of a reform that can be won by such a moral image is a weak display of “goodness” complicit with ruling violence, complicit in reinforcing the divide and rule…
“In Hong Kong’s blue-collar Sham Shui Po neighbourhood, police fired tear gas today at a group of protesters rallying outside a police station. The protesters had gathered to burn phony currency and incense as a way to show their opposition to the police during the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival, when offerings are made to ward off the spirits of ancestors.
Police armed with riot shields and batons marched through the neighbourhood. Officers carried warning flags and fired tear gas as they advanced, but protesters had already scrambled away.”
Barbarians at the gates Part1:
“… the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office released a stern statement, calling attacks on police “signs of terrorism”. Online, internet users speculated that the armed presence was a show of power to Hong Kong….“They are just waiting for an order before they’ll drive to Hong Kong to calm the riots. We hope the armed forces can enter Hong Kong and beat the hell out of these idiotic youth,” one commenter said on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform. Beijing-based military specialist Zhou Chenming said that the armed police were taking part in regular drills and that people should not feel nervous. “The central government has repeatedly stated it will only interfere if there are large-scale riots and the Hong Kong government has applied voluntarily for support,” Zhou said. …“If the situation does not reach that point, then this is only a deterrence measure, to deter these [small group of people] from stepping over the line.” Dixon Sing Ming, a political-science professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the move was a “psychological warfare tactic”.”
August 13, 2019:
More technologically-equipped social control in a demockracy:
“What has played out politically, since the 2011 announcement that the military would transition to a quasi-civilian, democratically-elected parliament, has done so concurrently with what is perhaps the fastest digital rollout in human history.
Cell phone towers were erected as people began the countdown to the 2015 elections, the first credibly democratic ballot in decades. But the digital rollout has also prompted a new authoritarian crackdown. “Netizens are being jailed for writing criticism against the government, when some content in their criticism harms or discredits the authorities. Any online user could easily be charged with the Telecommunications Law, Electronic transition law and Law Protection the Privacy and Security of Citizens,” freedom of expression activist Maung Saungkha told Coda.”Reply
On the Hong Kong filth (there are obviously liberal ideological expressions here, such as “honest police officers” and the idea of a “truly independent” enquiry into them, but this is usefully informative) :
“Hong Kong barely has a government these days but it most certainly has a police force. Such is the dysfunctionality of the system that the force is practically the only part of the administration responding to the burgeoning protest movement. The headless chickens occupying the government complex in Tamar have either gone into hiding or are merely clucking around hoping against all reasonable hope that somehow the protests will disappear. In the meantime, the administration has surrendered its responsibilities to the police as the last line of defence against the wrath of the people….The force is now barrelling its way into the centre of the political arena, banning marches, regularly issuing demonstration crowd size estimates to belittle their strength and allowing the police unions to make astonishingly rabid attacks on protesters without fear of repercussions. Meanwhile, the rules governing police operations are being flagrantly flouted. Officers now routinely remove their number tags when involved in crowd control, tear gas canisters that should be fired above the heads of targets are now launched at chest level, and then there’s the police response to gang thuggery in Yuen Long….Such is the power of the police these days that it is now clear that the main reason why the administration will not allow the establishment of an independent inquiry into events surrounding the extradition saga is that this is opposed by the police, fearful of what might be unearthed were the inquiry to be truly independent. Hong Kong’s police force worked long and hard to recover its tarnished reputation from a low point in 1974, when the Independent Commission Against Corruption was established. This was followed by a police riot protesting against its activities and a backdown by the colonial government authorising an amnesty for corrupt officers, who were also allowed to keep their ill-gotten gains on the understanding that a line would now be drawn under rampant corruption. Public trust in what was called the ‘best police force money can buy’ was understandably low and the police had to work hard to persuade the public of their integrity and ability to uphold the law. It took herculean efforts and the dedication of hard-working and honest police officers, to assure the public and restore the reputation of the force. But hard-won reputations can be lost much quicker than they are gained. Distrust of the police is spreading fast; they are taunted at rallies for being triads, and ordinary citizens engaging in peaceful protests increasingly regard the police as the enemy. This impression is reinforced by the stream of pro-government personalities lining up to shower gifts on policemen and offer their support. In effect, they are doing their best to assert where police political allegiance lies, regardless of the tradition of a politically neutral force. The police rank and file meanwhile remain on the front line, taking abuse and sweltering in the summer heat and humidity, regardless of how they personally feel about becoming the battering ram for a government that has ceased to govern. Even officers who might have felt sympathy for the demonstrators find it harder to do so while being abused. This, in turn, leads to a vicious circle of police officers literally hitting out and the demonstrators becoming more and more convinced that they are the enemy. At the top of the force stands the lacklustre police chief Stephen Lo, a lifelong bureaucrat who gives every impression of being more suited to sitting behind a bank clerk’s desk than performing the complex role of Police Commissioner. His credibility among the rank and file is, apparently, rather low but no one dares touch him because, as matters stand, the police are beyond reproach in official circles. Right up to two months ago it was still possible to describe the Hong Kong police force as being highly successful because it enjoyed the citizens’ respect. This respect was not earned because it had the biggest weapons. Now, as respect fades only the weapons remain.”
And the ruling class hail the conquering hero:
And more on the filth (and on other stuff, including sompe obviously dubious ideas about the HK economy): https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/08/06/masked-protesters-hold-press-conference-hong-kong-ngos-condemn-alleged-police-abuses/?
“Organisers were responding to the government’s new policy of having more frequent press briefings, which the trio said contained “malicious distortions” and “untruth.” Kim, along with two others who used the pseudonyms Mary Tsang and Jerry Chan, said they were not speaking on behalf of the movement. The “civil press conference” grew out of discussions in a Telegram group, they said, though they declined to identify its members. While the idea also gained traction on the Reddit-like LIHKG forum, the three said LIHKG was just one source of online opinion and they did not mean to only represent netizens. On Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam cited the popular protest slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time.” She said the slogan was intended as a call to revolution and a challenge to Chinese sovereignty.When asked how protesters interpreted the slogan, Tsang said that the slogan was first used during localist Edward Leung’s 2016 election campaign, but it may have gained new meanings in 2019. “Different people can have different interpretations of what this slogan means, and we hope to invite people who adopted it to explain it,” Tsang said, adding that they hoped to get more ordinary citizens to speak at future press conferences…” What’s great about some of this is the disgust for cop violence, which is far less than the cop violence in France, where I live. In France, if the cops were as relatively restrained as this, “good (ie submissive) citizens” would be writing outraged complaints to Le Figaro.Reply
Undercover cops attacked at airport (video):
Cathay Pacific shares slump after China cracks down on staff protests – https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=f3e4798442&e=8fd112807f
August 12, 2019:
Doctors and nurses rally in hospital wearing helmets and eyepatches to protest police violence; in Chinese here: https://thestandnews.com/politics/8-12-%E6%9D%B1%E5%8D%80%E9%86%AB%E9%99%A2%E9%80%BE200%E9%86%AB%E8%AD%B7%E9%9B%86%E6%9C%83-%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E8%AD%A6%E5%AF%9F%E4%BC%81%E5%9C%96%E8%AC%80%E6%AE%BA%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E5%B8%82%E6%B0%91/?
Group of medical professionals calls for indefinite strike in response to police brutality – in Chinese here: https://hrichina.us9.list-manage.com/track/click?u=be71fffd3e2fea33689a7d0d8&id=66d06c8353&e=8fd112807f
And an interview with a socialist:
” The young generation is more determined than the older generation to demand the government withdraw the China extradition bill. There is strong anxiety and bitterness among them — and fear that, if they cannot win this time, they will lose forever…. Despite the violence, the young people are still widely supported by the broader yellow ribbon camp. How big is the yellow ribbon camp? The turnout on June 9, June 16, and July 1 was 1 million, 2 million, and half a million, respectively. In contrast, the pro-Beijing “blue ribbon” camp mobilized no more than 150,000. There is also growing anger among older citizens now. Not only were they duped into believing Beijing’s promise of universal suffrage, but also their children may end up with the same disappointment and face even worse social mobility… …Hong Kong’s union density as of 2017 is 25 percent, which isn’t low. But this level of density is accomplished through ridiculously low union dues — so low that the main trade unions do not rely on membership dues for their funding but on running retraining programs funded by the government, operating for-profit businesses, or receiving foreign funding. Few members are really active. Although there are many “industrial unions,” most of them are either very small or just in individual workplaces.”
X writes: Three different interesting elements in this: an analysis of why the joining of the unions in the general strike was no big deal (HK unions comprise some 25% of the workforce), the emergence and tactics of the nativist “localists”, whose xenophobic and racist attacks on mainlanders have provided fodder for the propagandists in Beijing in their effort to paint the Hong Kong people as dangerous and reactionary “separatists”, and the tentative way this interviewee deployed the expression “bureaucratic capitalism” to describe the kind of society that exists in China, notwithstanding the fact that it has been used by Socialisme ou Barbarie and others thereafter since at least the late 1940s.
August 11, 2019:
More on Big Brother surveillance technology:
The shrinking of public space (physical and otherwise) outside &/or against &/or parallel to the state is, of course, the object: the elimination of such public space where a potentially free public deliberation, exchange and formulation of actions can occur. All the states and all corporations have the same objectives. It is immaterial which country or which state. The deterioration of differentiating features and the global cooperation of their directing personnel (i.e. leadership) – a result of their necessary activity against similar obstacles around the world – shows us more and more that they are uniform in ethos and telos and as part of our struggle for a free world, must be uniformly annihilated.
…and so it continues:
August 10, 2019:
1, Western Academia Helps Build China’s Automated Racism:
2. Free speech and privacy on the wane across the world
I obviously don’t accept the liberal terms in which this is couched but it’s also obvious that what the bourgeoisie terms ‘free speech’ is being attacked even in its own capitalist terms.
3. How people in China are trying to evade Beijing’s digital surveillance
4. China’s Paramilitary Police Could Crush Hong Kong
5. Why China Won’t Deploy Its Army in Hong Kong…
X writes: This interview is with Willy Lam, well-known commentator on China issues. His most recent book addresses the conflict between Chinese civil society and the State as a fight for China’s future, and so this somewhat frames the comments supplied here, particularly the conclusions. There is more optimism than I might have expected, especially in the assertion that the “continued struggle of the people in Hong Kong over the past few weeks has inspired civil society in mainland Chinaa, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world. I predict that the stability maintenance regime of the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship won’t stay effective for very long.”
Also of note is the flat assertion that “China is facing a serious financial crisis and it is basically insolvent.” This, with the news that there are 20 billion dollars worth of I.O.U.s floating around the Chinese economy right now, does somewhat underscore China’s fragility in the larger context, not just of its present condition (and therefore limited tactical options), but also its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, on whose success a considerable amount of China’s future prestige depends.
SamFanto writes: not sure about all this, too much a tendency towards an optimistic determinism, particularly the bit about China’s financial crisis, which has been impending for almost 2 decades now…Still, I might be wrong this time – stopped clocks are sometimes right.
6. Hong Kong protesters use flashmob tactics to evade police
Hong Kong riot police fire teargas at protest groups
“Hong Kong has been gripped by another night of violence after a peaceful afternoon march in Tai Po splintered into several fronts as protesters attempted to outrun the police. Riot police fired teargas at crowds in the neighbouring districts of Shatin and Tai Wai on Saturday night in an attempt to disperse black-clad protesters who had barricaded roads with nearby supplies. Several kilometres away, riot police also used teargas on crowds in the tourist district of Tsim Sha Tsui, while across the city at Hong Kong International airport a peaceful sit-in continued into its second day. The majority of protesters, however, appeared to be mobile on Saturday night, with thousands dispersing across the New Territories and Kowloon after receiving reports of police movements on messaging apps. … “The strategy is, when the police come we will leave and change to a different place,” said Michael Wong, a nursing student and volunteer medic. “When the police come to a different place they need to plan and have a reaction time, so we use [it] to just buy time.” The cat and mouse game, often referred to by the slogan “be water”, has made recent protests less predictable than at the beginning of June when anti-government demonstrations began against a legislative bill that many feared was an attack on Hong Kong’s civil and political rights. “Everyone is the frontline. You can decide what you are going to do,” said one protester who asked to not be named for fear of repercussions. “[Some] are going to Shatin or the airport, but you can decide what to do.”
Sounds a bit like the student and high school student demos of 2010 – 2011 in the UK. Seems like somebody should write a history of tactics, or at least list the most innovative ones. Could be useful in “buying” time for any social movement; repeating past mistakes or learning too slowly from the most successful strategies could be crucial – an aspect of social contestation that could help push a movement across the fine line between defeat and success. Of course theoretical questions – a more general understanding of the immensity of what we’re up against – are also important; but those who critique movements only for their lack of theory show how they’ve reduced their own idea of struggle to the relatively safe terrain of intellectual ideas, and ignore other aspects of practice (which is not to say ideas are not an element of practice; for instance, a conversation of any significance almost invariably has some practical and emotional effect).
Live streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU8IDsTh8F8
Thousands of demonstrators continued what is intended to be a peaceful three-day sit-in at Hong Kong’s international airport on Saturday, while police used tear gas on protesters at two other sites in the city. This is the 10th straight weekend of protests throughout the financial hub. Police used tear gas to disperse a group who barricaded a roundabout in Tai Wai, according to a government press release. They used tear gas for a second time on Saturday evening after demonstrators began starting fires outside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station, which was also vandalized last weekend…Another group of demonstrators blocked the Kowloon entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which connects the Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island. The airport sit-in, in the arrivals hall of the main terminal, has not disrupted operations so far. Earlier, Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific said some flights to China had been canceled due to Typhoon Lekima, which prompted the evacuation of more than 1 million people in the eastern province of Zhejiang. …Chanting “Hong Kong people, add oil” — an expression used to express support and encouragement — protesters started gathering at the airport from midday Friday. The move is the latest challenge to the government’s apparent strategy of waiting out the ongoing political crisis and comes just days after a citywide strike shut down flights and trains, causing travel chaos. Protesters held signs in English and Chinese and had printed leaflets in multiple languages explaining the causes and demands of the demonstrations for arriving tourists. Hong Kong’s airport is one of the busiest in the world, handling 1,100 passenger and cargo flights daily, with services between the city and about 200 international destinations. In a statement, the city’s Airport Authority said that additional security would be deployed on site Friday to assist passengers and airport staff. In order to minimize disruption to flights, only departing passengers with valid tickets or boarding passes and travel documents would be allowed to enter to the check-in aisles at Terminal 1, said the statement. On Thursday, China issued a ban on Cathay Pacific staff who have supported and participated in the protests, according to a statement published on China’s Civil Aviation Administration’s website. It said that from midnight on Saturday, the airline “must stop all those who have participated in and those who support the illegal demonstrations, protests and violent attacks, as well as those who have had radical behaviors, from executing all flights to and from the mainland.”…China issued the ban on Thursday to any Cathay Pacific airline staff who have participated or supported the protests. New rules will also be implemented from Sunday that require the airline to “submit the ID information of all crew members flying to the mainland and flying over the mainland air space to the relevant mainland authorities for approval.” “Cathay flights will not be accepted without getting the approval,” the statement added. In response, Cathay told CNN in a statement that it was treating China’s directive “seriously” and was studying it very carefully. “The safety of our passengers is always the top priority of Cathay Pacific. There is zero tolerance to any inappropriate and unprofessional behavior that may affect aviation safety. We deal with these incidents very seriously,” the airline’s statement added. Cathay’s CEO, Rupert Hogg, confirmed in a message to employees Saturday that the airline would cooperate with the Chinese ban. Employees who “support or take part in illegal protests, violent actions, or overly radical behavior” will be banned from working on flights or any related activities to mainland China, Hogg said. Cathay also said in a press release Saturday that a pilot charged with rioting in Hong Kong had been removed from “flying duties,” while two airport ground staff were fired for “misconduct.”
Video of airport sit-in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0IeZd7NVVY
Rarely have companies involved in tourism shown their miserable function so explicitly. But it’s good to see that the movement is, unintentionally, undermining tourism. As Guru Debord said: “Tourism — human circulation packaged for consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities — is the opportunity to go and see what has been banalized. The economic organization of travel to different places already guarantees their equivalence. The modernization that has eliminated the time involved in travel has simultaneously eliminated any real space from it.”
Video of airport sit-in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0IeZd7NVVY
Chinese state’s propaganda video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVi6JagkT8g
August 8, 2019:
“Hundreds of people have staged a “laser show” in Hong Kong to protest against the arrest of a student union leader who bought a bag of laser pointers for possessing an offensive weapon. Police had sought to justify the arrest of Keith Fong, head of the Baptist University student union, by showing how one of the lasers could burn through newspaper. On Wednesday night, protesters gathered at the Space Museum’s planetarium and pretended to set the building and trees outside on fire using the lasers. They chanted “fire, fire, not on fire”, as they pointed dozens of laser beams at the outside wall of the building.
In a trolling homage to Tuesday’s arrest, protesters also held up a pro-Beijing newspaper, pointing dozens of laser beams at it in an attempt to set it on fire, without success.”
The Chinese state seems so far to be relying on bluster, threats and the memory of Tiananmen Square to stop this eclectic movement. From the safe distance of Europe, I’d say the state is stuck between a rock and a hard place – because if they really go in and kill masses of people this will not necessarily terrify many people into retreat but could enrage passions further. But if they do nothing they’ll risk the spread of unrest to Taiwan, and potentially the mainland (considering that news is definitely getting through the great firewall in sporadic spurts). The first is possibly the option they’ll take, but they’d have to also confuse the movement by recruiting some reformist leader with credibility amongst some sections of the movement so as to divide and rule. Everything depends on the movement maintaining the initiative and thinking up not just new innovative tactics but also deepening their critique so that those in the democracies could potentially recognise themselves in the uprising, recognise its relevance to them and to the desire to attack misery in its democratic forms as well as its totalitarian ones. Which, of course, would require a massive leap of consciousness and action, though not so massive that its mere wishful thinking on my part.
This interview ( ‘Anyone Resisting Orders Will be Sent to a Concentration Camp’) should dispel any notions about the relative “privilege” being accorded Han residents of Xinjiang:
Sample quote: ” nobody dares to tell the truth if they’re being interviewed by the media, least of all people who actually live there. Nobody would dare to say a word, and every single thing they say is scripted, as if they were actors. If you were to say anything at all that departed from the official script, your entire family could get sent to a concentration camp. That wouldn’t be unusual at all…We did have someone in our neighborhood who spoke out against the persecution and treatment of Uyghurs. All he said was: Wherever there is oppression, there will be resistance. I don’t know who informed on him, but his entire family was locked up in a concentration camp for so-called vocational training. They call it vocational training, but actually there’s not much difference from a prison in appearance. But it is far more frightening than prison, because there is no legal process involved at all. These concentration camps are black jails. There is no record of detentions there, so everyone is terrified of them. … people who are the same age as me, who grew up with me, are pretty much still adolescents, the way they think. All they think about is what they are going to eat today, what game they are going to play. They don’t worry about their future, because they don’t even know what is going on right now. They enjoy Chinese Communist Party rule. They think that life is pretty peaceful now that they have detained all of the Uyghurs, and they never think about the sort of trouble that has brought down on their own heads. They think it’s fine just to turn a blind eye to all of that. Don’t talk about it. What’s it to us if they are rounding up Uyghurs? I don’t care about politics. That’s how they think.
What could they do, even if they did express dissatisfaction with such things? They still have games to be played, TV shows to be watched. “
The psychopathology of everyday anti-life in China: ‘Once Their Mental State Is Healthy, They Will Be Able to Live Happily in Society’ –
Sample quote: “An unidentified young Uighur woman dressed in a red and black tracksuit spoke to a Reuters reporter as dozens of other Uighurs donning the same uniform wrote feverishly behind schoolhouse-style desks. Her eyes nervously shifted on and off camera. She recalled suffering from extremist thoughts, which had invaded her brain after she listened to several religious sermons delivered by a non-state-employed imam. Authorities in her hometown quickly intervened. They told the young woman her actions violated state law and “recommended” she enter a new government program to overcome her deviance. If her incarceration follows the pattern of others, she will remain in re-education until authorities “let her out” and grant her permission to be transferred to a factory or placed under house arrest… Their treatment reflects Chinese state practices for handling severe mental illness, addiction, and disease. As such, we should pause before impetuously tracing the practice of describing Islam as an illness, disease, or even cancer to “Western” politicians. While the United States-led “War on Terror” and subsequent global anxieties over Islam have undeniably emboldened the C.C.P. to act with impudence toward Turkic Muslim populations, we must also recognize a history of C.C.P. attempts to pathologize any culture that poses a political threat. Indeed, the Party has applied the language of pathology—and to great utility—to theorize state violence towards non-Han cultures. The application of this language in official discourse taps into a long history of what anthropologist Stevan Harrell called China’s “civilizing project,” treating people on China’s geographic and cultural periphery as inferior and therefore deserving of the colonial predation visited upon them. The pathology metaphor dwells outside the spotlights that beam down on colorful exhibits of ethnic minority cultures. “Sick” minorities cannot lure tourists or sell souvenir trinkets, so this imagery rarely appears in popular media. Yet, the C.C.P. has routinely portrayed religious and ethnic minorities as sickly patients and desperate addicts in need of the state’s salvation. As early as 1942, Mao expressed that “our object in exposing errors and criticizing shortcoming is like that of a doctor curing a disease.” …officials in the region have extended the lexicon of pathology to its recent efforts to incarcerate scores of Turkic Muslims, especially Uighurs and Kazakhs. The Party’s use of phrases such as “contracting illness” (ganran bingdu), “penetrate like an intravenous needle” (guanchuan diandi), and “cure” or “reform through criticism” exposes an escalation of the C.C.P.’s rhetoric: Turkic Muslims must be treated as patients….“targeted population” is a remnant of Mao’s social management apparatus that survives in the present. In 1953, the term, which was used only in tightly-knit law enforcement circles, replaced and extended the state’s blacklist system….Uighurs may be thrown into the “targeted population” category simply because of their clothing, grooming habits, and religious devotions…The first notable expansion of the “targeted population” was packaged in the region-wide “five types of people” and “Project Beauty” campaigns—a five-year, U.S.$8 million dollar multi-media initiative that promotes “modern” (i.e. secular) female fashion and educates women to discard their veils—which culminated in legislation introduced in 2015. The “five types of people” referred to women who donned hijab, lichäk, chumbäl, and jilbāb, young men who groomed “abnormally long” beards, and individuals who wore clothing featuring star and moon insignia in any public area….The criteria defining Xinjiang’s “targeted population” were broadened once again in 2017 when officials introduced a social taxonomy—referred to officially as a “social credit system”—that labels each citizen either “safe,” “normal,” or “unsafe.” These designations are based on metrics such as age, faith, religious practices, foreign contacts, and experience abroad. Freedom of movement, both physical and virtual (including the ability to freely travel, surf the Internet, and gain access to government entitlements), is determined by this point system. According to one account, each individual is initially provided a 100-point base score but is penalized points for such things as having relatives abroad, praying, criticizing the government, and even owning a compass. Individuals whose scores fall below the 60-point threshold risk detainment….In a Chinese-Uighur bilingual article entitled “Re-education Classes Are a Type of Free Hospital Stay for People with Ideological Illnesses,” the author insists:
Being “infected” [ganran] by religious extremism and violent terrorist ideology but not receiving immediate “re-education” is similar to contracting an illness but not seeking a cure, or becoming a drug addict but refusing treatment. It is wishful thinking (jiaoxing xinli) to believe [you] will not be affected or shaken by [these thoughts]. Authoritarian Now: Long-read link on Revolt in Hong Kong “and its relevance to the rest of us”. | Web Address of Paul Murufas
August 6, 2019:
Ruling class warns it’s only a matter of time – https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/china-warns-hong-kong-protesters-that-punishment-is-coming Which means that the initiative of the movement must not be lost, that it has to constantly surprise (say by creating a movement of occupations or something else) in order to stop time becoming frozen and to stop becoming frozen in time.
Masked press conference: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/06/masked-hong-kongers-democracy-china-thugs
And a different report on the same press con: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/08/06/masked-protesters-hold-press-conference-hong-kong-ngos-condemn-alleged-police-abuses/?
Note especially the fine spraypaint caligraphy on the column in one of the pictures included in the article (third one down), saying “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time”.
Lots of information and videos about this day here:
Sample quote: Lam…later referenced chants by protesters for a “revolution”, describing this as a challenge to the “one country, two systems” framework…Activists descended on subway stations during morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing and paralysing large parts of a network that millions of people use daily. In the afternoon they held seven simultaneous rallies, stretching the resources of police who have become lightning rods for public anger. Tear gas was fired in four separate locations, with the most sustained volleys outside the city’s parliament, making Monday’s clashes the most geographically spread out so far…. the protesters remain unbowed. “Support for the political strike today seems strong and it has been bolstered further by the escalating violence between the police and protesters,” political analyst Dixon Wong told AFP….The strike — a rare occurrence in a freewheeling finance hub where unions traditionally have little sway — hit the vital aviation sector. More than 160 flights at the city’s airport, one of the world’s busiest, were listed as cancelled on Monday afternoon. Many of the disrupted flights were with Cathay Pacific.The carrier did not give a reason for the cancellations, but its flight attendants union confirmed some of its members had walked out. Some key roads were also blocked, causing gridlock. Many shops across the city were shuttered, including big-name fashion outlets in the central commercial district….One video, verified by AFP, showed a car smashing its way through a protester roadblock in the northern town of Yuen Long. But while some commuters were angered by the disruptions, others said they supported the action. “As long as the government doesn’t respond then for sure the movement will escalate,” a civil servant, who gave his surname as Leung, told AFP as he tried to make his way to work….The past fortnight has seen a surge in violence from both sides, with police repeatedly firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse increasingly hostile projectile-throwing crowds. ”
And this gives details about strike.
“What began as a mass transit strike that halted trains and kept planes from taking off quickly morphed into street blockades, occupied tunnels, and attacks on police stations. Hong Kong police used tear gas on protesters who blocked highways and rampaged police stations. Riot police also moved against peaceful protesters who filled a major highway celebrating the city’s first mass strike in decades. Anti-government activists struck back by throwing gasoline bombs in intersections and torching parts of a few government buildings. One working class neighborhood that has battled police for days defied riot police, who fired tear gas and sponge grenades. So did protesters who persisted as police fired rubber bullets from the top floor of a police station in another suburban district….Protesters jammed the doors of commuter trains. They walked into tunnels and blocked drivers. They marched down commercial boulevards and through busy suburban neighborhoods, and filled Harcourt Road, one of the biggest highways in the city center. They jammed the commercial spine of Kowloon, Nathan Road, and highways in the city’s northwest, along with the Cross Harbor Tunnel, the major artery that ties Hong Kong Island to the rest of the city. They were joined by workers and professional groups and unions who did not report to their jobs. Air traffic controllers called in sick to Hong Kong International Airport, forcing the authority to cancel more than 200 flights. Several major banks closed branches. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, a group that favors democracy, asked its workers to strike. By evening, the actions grew more provocative and dangerous, with multiple fires lit. Police fired tear gas in dense urban areas.”
August 4, 2019
Chinese propaganda: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/01/hong-kong-protests-china-military-breaks-silence-to-warn-unrest-will-not-be-tolerated This video’s been put out to terrorise the people of HK. All those scenarios with tightly packed groups of troops firing into fleeing “citizens”, offshore bombardment with medium caliber (nobody has heavy caliber – 203mm and up – naval guns any more, unless the Americans want to turn their WWII Iowa-class monuments into warships again) naval artillery, infantry combat teams bursting into peoples’ houses and apartments with guns blazing. Clearly they are talking about the possiblity of an all-out slaughter, which Trump is condoning.
But we should recall how it went with unsupported armor in Budapest in 1956. The kinds of vehicles vessels and aircraft we have seen in the propaganda film and on the streets of Wuhan recently (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y1ezo6m8V8 ) show that things have changed, but how much? How many helicopters, how many MICVs and special infantry combat teams would it take if the whole city put up a determined resistance? Hong Kong, structurally – ie as a city and island – would almost certainly be far harder to control than Tiananmen square.
Protestor’s thought :
Although this Pink Floyd quote is applied to a context beyond the banal recuperation of commodified music, I feel it’s worth quoting this, from a brief text I wrote 35 years ago:
The Wall On The Screen Guarantees The Walls In Your Life
For Capital, it’s fine that kids buy records which chant, “We don’t want no education, we don’t want no thought control”. But, of course, the spectacle is not meant to be taken literally, but consumed at a distance, which is why, when they act such phrases out, by burning down some of the walls (of schools, even), throwing some of the bricks and refusing ‘thought control’, it’s not just Capital’s most overt representatives (politicians, screws, social workers, etc.) who rush to patch up the holes. That the film of the song of the actually lived reality, “Pink Floyd’s The Wall”, presents the riots [UK 1981] as macho, racist and fascist-inspired, even to the point of subtly suggesting a comparison between the anti-hierarchical violence of the riots and the hierarchical violence of World War II, shows how the more sophisticated purveyors of culture are shit-scared of any real and direct attacks on the walls of the prison. They only articulate the rebellions and frustrations of their possible consumers in order to preserve their lucrative niche; a niche threatened by any genuine rebellion from those whose consumption habits they are financially and socially dependent on. When the film first went on release, Top Shop in London’s shopping concentration camp, Brent X, advertised school uniforms placed on sexy plastic models who stood in front of a polystyrene brick wall with the words “We don’t want no education” on it. The blatant nature of this contradiction reveals in a crude form the contradictions of all spectacular pseudo-rebellion, ‘rebellion’ which tolerates the commodity system whose misery engenders rebellion. Disgust with this world (in this case, school, the conditioning factory which prepares kids for the boredom-inducing sacrifices of the commodity system) is used to sell commodities (school uniforms) which can only reinforce this disgust. Such hypocrisy, already clear in the mouths of political gangsters who claim to be champions of “liberty” or “communism”, is the inevitable product of all those who believe that rebellion and revolt is compatible with acceptance of the hierarchical organisation of life which degrades individuality and community wherever the world market reigns. – from here
This is useful for many of its facts – e.g. this – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/meet-activists-fighting-great-chinese-firewall-180603134803816.html. However, Michelle Chen’s cautious and somewhat youthful and naïve optimism (ie naïve in relation to struggle and ideas, not in relation to China, of which she’s an expert), is still too optimistic. She relies on “the workers” and “civil society” and “the Left” and even “the economy” whilst having a confused and contradictory attitude towards these terms – which befits her career as a left-liberal journalist on “The Nation”. But despite some of the irritating ways she frames and simplifies things, the basic idea that she raises here is explosive: that a collaboration between the people of Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, and between American workers and Chinese workers is not entirely out of the bounds of possibility, at least in the long term. Whilst together enormous things could be achieved, neverthless, this is a somewhat shortcut to proletarian internationalism which looks good on paper but doesn’t seriously unravel the enormous obstacles to such togetherness. But despite all these misgivings, the fact that a journalist such as her even dares to pose the question of proletarian internationalism, and in ways that are more than just a slogan, is indicative of tremblings beneath the superficially calm surface of current resignation. It could well encourage such internationalism even if it oversimplifies this necessary essential project.
Movement starts fire outside police station: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/03/hong-kong-police-fire-teargas-in-clashes-with-protesters “Police fired teargas and pepper spray, and pinned protesters to the ground after tense standoffs in at least four locations throughout the city on Saturday evening, following a peaceful march earlier in the day. Thousands of protesters attending the march in Mong Kok deviated from a pre-approved route and occupied main roads in Kowloon, where they built barricades out of dismantled metal traffic barriers, handed out gas masks and helmets, and prepared to face off against police. In Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping district where protesters had gathered to evade the police, authorities fired multiple rounds of teargas outside a police station after demonstrators had thrown rubbish and traffic cones into the compound. Protesters, protecting themselves with plastic traffic barriers and construction panels, eventually retreated to a nearby university. The police said in a statement that protesters had hurled bricks into the station and set fire to objects outside it. Police were also seen subduing demonstrators outside a police station in Mong Kok by forcing them on the ground…In a separate incident, hundreds of residents and demonstrators surrounded police in Wang Tai Sin, a district in New Kowloon, late into the night, where protesters threw helmets and umbrellas at police and demanded they release protesters believed held there. Residents called the police “black society”, a term to refer to gangster…As clashes continued into the early morning on Sunday, demonstrators yelled at police who pepper-sprayed and fired several rounds of teargas on the group, many of them residents who were not wearing masks or other protective equipment….Earlier in the evening, demonstrators also blocked the entrance to Hong Kong’s cross-harbour tunnel. A group removed a Chinese flag from a pier and threw it into the sea. On Saturday, thousands also attended a rival rally held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, in support of the police and the government.“
China, Hong Kong: shops close, major road blocked as protestors deviate from cop-prescribed route “Thousands of civil servants, medical workers and staff from the city’s finance sector rallied on Thursday and Friday, while further protests were planned through the weekend. Demonstrators have also called for a citywide strike on Monday, which has already been backed by major businesses and unions. …On Thursday, Chen Daoxiang, the head of the Chinese army garrison in Hong Kong, said the military was “determined to protect [the] national sovereignty” of Hong Kong and would help put down the “intolerable” unrest if requested. The army released a promotional video showing tanks and soldiers firing on citizens in an anti-riot drill.” – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/03/hong-kong-protesters-risk-arrest-as-beijing-steps-up-warnings
Rare display of solidarity with HK movement on the mainland – https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3021054/hong-kong-extradition-bill-protesters-win-rare-support?
“Photos shared on LIHKG – a Reddit-like online platform that has served as a virtual main stage for the extradition bill protests – showed mainland Chinese citizen ID cards and passports along with handwritten messages. Taipei residents took to public spaces to show their support for Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement. …“Support ‘no extradition to China’. Support Hong Kong people’s just fight,” one said. “For [Hong Kong], your perseverance is so touching. All your efforts will become sunshine in your future,” another said.
And another surveillance innovation by the state: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/02/pentagon-balloons-surveillance-midwest
China, Hong Kong: mass strike by civil servants defying loyalty order “Thousands of civil servants in Hong Kong have protested against the government in a rare display of defiance as the city braces for four consecutive days of mass demonstrations. The public servants, who are normally politically neutral, defied a government order to remain “totally loyal” to Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, and crowded into a public park near government offices. An hour after the event had started, people were still streaming into the park, many dressed in black and some in masks to conceal their identity….On Friday Xie Feng, the commissioner for the foreign ministry in Hong Kong, called on foreign forces to “withdraw their black hands” and stop interfering with “China’s internal affairs”. Donald Trump has abstained from commenting directly on the demonstrations, referring to them as “riots”, using language also employed by Beijing to describe the mass protests, many of which have been peaceful. “Somebody said that at some point they’re going to want to stop that,” the US president told reporters, referring to China’s potential response to the crisis. “But that’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China.” – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/02/hong-kong-police-arrest-pro-independence-figure-amid-further-protests
The civil service bureaucracy, an artifact of British colonial rule, would seem, as with bureaucracies everywhere else, a bedrock of conservatism, yet it’s defying the state in this extreme instance. Clearly very great forces within the immediate environment are exerting a massive influence. The solidarity of HK civil society across many usually unbridgable divisions, is manifest, and exhilarating, especially in contrast to the incoherence of other entities that style themselves as opposed to lawless authoritarianism (e.g. the US Democratic Party). And the adoption by Trump of the language of the Chinese state, crudely mischaracterising the demonstrations of protestors defending themselves after being attacked by the cops (and triads) as “riots”, the weasle-words of “Somebody said at some point that they’re going to want to stop that….that’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China” indicating an eliptical approval of whatever bloodbath the CCP hopes to inflict on Hong Kong, should its people unilaterally declare its autonomy or influence proletarians on the mainland to begin to challenge class power there, in deed if not in word, is unambiguously ominous. George Bush Sr., sent a slimy little note to Deng Xiaoping, offering a resumption of relations shortly after the Tiananmen Massacre; Trump has already sent his words of endorsement before the human cost has even been filled-in.
On Artificial Intelligence as the “perfect” method of rule and the obsolescence of individuals (China version): http://chinamediaproject.org/2019/07/27/ai-for-stability-in-the-new-era/?
“… “AI governance”… encompasses many of the new approaches we have seen in China to social and political control using surveillance technology and big data. The innovator and originator of this neologism is none other than Chen Yixin (陈一新), director of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party, which oversees law enforcement authorities nationwide….”
Head of military in HK warns that protests will not be tolerated -maybe implying the threat – but I suspect only the threat – of another Tiananmen Square: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/01/hong-kong-protests-china-military-breaks-silence-to-warn-unrest-will-not-be-tolerated
On HK cop weaponry: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/07/31/explainer-police-crowd-control-gear-used-hong-kongs-latest-protest-clashes/? This mentions the use of CIt was extensively used in the Catholic areas of Northern Ireland in 1969 and after, and some ingenious person managed to chuck 2 cannisters into the UK’s House of Commons back in 1970 – https://www.nytimes.com/1970/07/24/archives/gas-bombs-plunge-commons-into-an-uproar.html. So far it has only been used on the mainland in Toxteth (Liverpool), during the summer of a thousand julys in 1981 – https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/written-answers/1981/oct/19/toxteth-use-of-cs-gas (for more on the riots in 1981 UK see this: http://www.revoltagainstplenty.com/index.php/recent/34-archivelocal/37-like-a-summer-with-a-thousand-julys )
China, Hong Kong: further clashes outside cop shop, with protesters demanding release of those charged with riot (video) Note the use of laser beams against the cops. 5 people hospitalised by black car (amost certainly cops) firing fireworks point blank at them. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=mI8pz4-m1eA
More on China’s Big Brother society: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2170834/chinas-sharp-eyes-surveillance-system-puts-security-focus-public When a resident of Anxi village in China’s southwest Sichuan province set fire to a pile of rubbish two years ago, a loudspeaker barked his name and ordered him to put the blaze out. He extinguished the flames and scuttled away. He had been caught on a surveillance camera, monitored around the clock on one of 16 screens in the village security control room. The surveillance video in Anxi is also broadcast to cellphones and some televisions – placing busybodies on the front line of local security. People know they are always being watched. Fear of shaming is the essence of Sharp Eyes – or Xue Liang – a project being tested in 50 towns as part of what will become a nationwide system.”
China, Hong Kong: state fears losing its monopoly of violence, demanding brutal ruling class vilence cracks down on anti-hierarchical violence “No civilised society or rule of law society will tolerate rampant violence,” said Yang Guang, a spokesman for the office. Yang said the violence, which he blamed on a “few radicals”, had seriously undermined Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.” – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/29/china-calls-for-hong-kong-swiftly-punish-violent-protesters
China, Hong Kong: fighting for our future, fighting for our freedom (video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=2IMPYYVXlfg Despite the pro-democratic ideology (and stupid journalese), this is a fight for the future & freedom of all the dispossessed globally. All or nothing. More videos & reports here: https://berthoalain.com/2019/07/29/manifestation-anti-beijing-affrontements-a-hong-kong-28-juillet-2019/
On umbrellas: The word “umbrella” evolved from the Latin umbella (an umbel is a flat-topped rounded flower) or umbra, meaning shaded or shadow, which is also the origin of the word “umbrage”. The first umbrellas originated in ancient China, the country famous in that epoch for its “oriental despotism”, a despotism which has continued up until today in various forms, though often challenged by massive expressions of “umbrage” such as the ones developing today.
Squirmishes of an untimely manipulation: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190723-the-ethics-of-using-nazi-science or: Untimely medications
In this context, this song is relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voRB4JenjqA
China, Hong Kong: protesters trash office of legislator who collaborated with triad thugs to beat up protesters and others on underground “Pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho, who was filmed shaking hands with men in white shirts on Sunday night for unknown reasons, defended the mobsters on Monday saying they were “defending their home and people”. While detaching himself from the rampage, he said, “We can’t pardon the sin, but we can pardon the sinners.” On Monday, protesters trashed Ho’s office, smashing glass walls, spraying-painting profanities, and leaving notes alleging triad connections” – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/hong-kong-masked-mob-190722183213248.html
China, Hong Kong: only 1 bottle thrown at cops. – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/21/hong-kong-mass-china-extradition-bill-demonstrations-protestors Video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=BRstidxjcO8. Beijing’s HK office vandalised – https://www.scmp.com/video/scmp-originals/3019518/protesters-vandalise-beijings-office-hong-kong-after-hundreds………thugs almost certainly sent by ruling class beat up people on subway – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/hong-kong-masked-mob-190722183213248.html More here – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/24/hong-kong-protests-china-blames-black-hands-of-us-for-unrest
V says: July 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm :
In France too, the government bets on facial recognition (fr) : https://www.laquadrature.net/2019/07/17/la-quadrature-du-net-attaque-lapplication-alicem-contre-la-generalisation-de-la-reconnaissance-faciale/
Maybe the real root of the problem is we go more and more technologized. Ten years ago having an internet access was a mere commodity, now you go in troubles if you don’t have one to pay your tribute to the state. The next step will be meant to have a smartphone. Fighting the technology from the inside is a dead end.
Facial recognition. I had seen examples of avoiding facial recognition a few years back on some culture vulture site. I think it was basically face paint. It all seemed a little distasteful to me though. Presented as stylised, fashionable, impractical and edgy rather than effecting the root of the problem. I’m guessing these examples are posted with tongue fimly in cheek. Which leads onto the proposal of a facial recognition scanner for determining someone’s age when buying an Old Speckled Hen from Tesco. This can only offer a myriad of problems in the face of typical British tom foolery and unforseen errors. It seems inevitable that such technology would emerge in british supermarkets, if it does go ahead, which are increasingly cultured like airports.
As facial recognition cameras become increasingly ubiquitous in the (bourgeois) democracies – eg this: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/10/17/facial-recognition-used-british-supermarkets-first-time/
…it may be useful to find some methods of avoiding being recognised by them:
Cops discovered the largest ever cache of high-powered explosives uncovered in the city. Cops carried out a controlled explosion on Saturday morning (today, 20th July) and performed more throughout the day (see this) . “Police uncovered 2 kilograms of high explosives, 10 petrol bombs, corrosive liquids, weapons and metal poles at the property.The preparation of TATP can easily result in accidental detonation if mistakes are made. Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah, of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said the man arrested was wearing a shirt with the logo of the banned pro-independence group Hong Kong National Front. Rallies are taking place across Hong Kong on Saturday and Sunday, with both pro-government and anti-extradition bill marches scheduled. Li said police were still investigating a possible motive and intended uses for the explosives. He did not say if extra police would be arranged for protests this weekend as a result of the raid.”
On Thursday, the 18th of July, this report was published: “Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force…They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony…The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability…Mainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable…. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.”
Today, Saturday 20th July, a largish pro-cop demo took place in Hong Kong. Will these people who marched in support of the bourgeoisie-cum-bureaucracy in HK and mainland China be pushed by the state into clashing with the movement tomorrow?
Are all these things mere coincidence?
The report above says “A powerful high explosive, TATP was used in the November 2015 Paris attacks, the March 2016 Brussels bombings, the 2017 May Manchester bombing and a failed bomb attempt by an Islamist extremist at the Gare Centrale in Brussels in 2017.” Is this an attempt to make out the movement in HK is moving towards terrorism? Is this part of China’s “urgent plan”? Is this a way of luring “the snake from its hole”?
The Falklands war of 1982 was a direct result of the 1981 riots in the UK, in Italy the kidnapping of Moro was a direct result of the revolutionary events in Bologna and elsewhere of spring ’77. “Terrorism” or war are always methods for the state to distract & divert from (and divide) proletarian subversion. This is not to automatically exclude the possibility that this convenient well-timed discovery, on the eve of the next mass demo against the HK elite, is indicative of a genuine attempt to subvert the plans of Hong Kong and China’s elite, even if turns out to have been a plan of a member of the pseudo-opposition. But it’s so well-timed that it would be the height of naivety to dismiss what I’m saying here as “conspiracy theory”. (all this following 19/7/19 is taken from here).
How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State:
X writes: Corporate complicity, complicity of major US politicians – the human rights show is definitively over, except for increasingly marginalized NGOs etc.
Meanwhile, ideologists of ‘democracy’ claim that “The United States is leading by example, including the recent decision to sell military equipment worth more than $2bn to Taipei.” – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/16/hong-kong-china-democracy-europe-taiwan-beijing-eu
Jason says ( July 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm ):
I’m unfortunately in a chinese uni now (again. Mostly to assist my partner with her own dreams). Anyway, these topics have filtered into my own daily life this week. I was asked by a chinese co-teacher minion to provide a photograph. When i asked her why she responded that it was for facial recognition to enter and exit the gates. ‘For easy identification’. Well, i don’t think there are many blonde, blue eyed white guys circulating the city, let alone the campus. I asked my fellow foreign comrades and they had also been requested and had provided photos previously. I thought of sending a picture of the drummer from Supertramp since i have been told i look a bit like him, but in the end i ignored the minion and nothing has been asked of since. Two weeks prior to this i had been made to write my (second) apology letter to the Dean for apparently turning up late multiple times. They had been surveying me not with cameras but with various people; one of whom apparently have reported that i had been seen running to class (a sure sign of aiming to be ‘on time’ surely!). Of course i denied all this. But whilst universities are typically by-products of state and market ideologies i just wanted to add that such people surveillance points out that surveillance culture as social control is nothing new in China; from eyes to the camera lense. In addition, first hand experience would highlight the very obvious fact that any surveillance can easily be omitted when it potentially threatens the authoritarians. (i won’t go into the story but let it be said my apartment was broken into by a person working for the police yet no security footage was made available to me when i requested it). Anyway, it is a general consensus among those i ask that freedom of speech and human rights are irrelevent when the word ‘terrorism’ comes up in china. As one woman put it “we dont want terrorism like in the west. We are a developing country, we need stability and balance, not everyone is educated to know better”. This woman was the only one among 20 that knew more about the Hong Kong protests because she uses VPN. As for social credit, it’s similar too. The vast majority have sold out for middle class comfortability. Any one black listed is just someone who ‘isnt well educated’. The rest either have no opinion or are hoping to get the fuck out. Can such extremities occur in the decaying western country that i come from? I doubt it. We are less abruptly honest in our forms of control. But whilst the argument holds true that this is a major concern for the wider world, a bigger concern comes back to how even well educated people with VPN’s can lay down willingly to this. Perhaps its not so much social control as social political darwinism of the authoritarian kind.
July 15, 2019:
Some further examples of developing totalitarianism – this time in a ‘democracy’:
The Mysterious Israeli Startup That Boasts Its Technology Can Predict Behavior:
““A revolutionary, empathetic artificial intelligence driven by sophisticated, intimate psychology and supercharged with powerful predictive algorithms, creating the artificial ideal version of you…Infi understands and predicts your behavior, processing external traits as well as inner feelings, needs and psychological triggers to know what really matters and what every individual really needs right now. Infi will be an integral part of every aspect of our lives − from health to happiness, finance to fashion, education to entertainment, and beyond….the company says that it “uses technological capabilities to ‘cure’ the shortcomings of technology itself. That ranges from bureaucratic tasks it performs instead of the user, such as paying bills, making calls with insurance agents, to advice on making decisions, interpersonal relationships and overcoming the blindness — technological, physical and emotional — that each of us has.” …The idea is that in the distant future, in another 20 years, based on the information shared in the network, the company will be able to develop virtual personalities (avatars) using AI that act just like you. For example, your children, who may have never met their grandmother, will be able to talk to her Avatar in a natural way” . “
Though this company may well be a con, it also may just be secretive for other reasons. As with all these technological developments it would be easy to fall into an impotent paranoid attitude towards their potential or “go with the flow” and positively embrace all the crap. But if one can avoid the frying pan of an overwhelming pessimism and the fire of false celebratory optimism, and take a critical distance, it’s possible to imagine how the ruling world will use these to reinforce the tendency towards a fictive relation to reality (eg through these virtual personalities… that act just like you…in a natural way”) at the same time as finding ways to subvert their insidious plans.
Israel’s memory hole: Burying the Nakba: How Israel Systematically Hides Evidence of 1948 Expulsion of Arabs
Since early last decade, Defense Ministry teams have scoured local archives and removed troves of historic documents to conceal proof of the Nakba:
*** Scary developments 3: Israel’s Cyber-spy Industry Helps World Dictators Hunt Dissidents and Gays
Haaretz investigation spanning 100 sources in 15 countries reveals Israel has become a leading exporter of tools for spying on civilians. Dictators around the world – even in countries with no formal ties to Israel – use them eavesdrop on human rights activists, monitor emails, hack into apps and record conversations:
China, Hong Kong (Sha Tin): more clashes (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/14/police-and-protesters-clash-in-second-hong-kong-town)“Some protesters placed traffic cones on the street, dismantled roadside metal barriers and set up makeshift barricades to separate themselves from police, who formed into a line. Protesters then became locked in a standoff with police officers in riot gear. Those standing near the police line put on goggles, face masks and helmets and armed themselves with umbrellas in case police used pepper spray.”
China, Hong Kong: more clashes this time in Sheung Shui and with mainland traders (https://www.trtworld.com/asia/clashes-break-out-at-hong-kong-border-town-protest-28211) “…the focus again turned away from downtown Hong Kong to Sheung Shui, a town close to the border where so-called “parallel traders” from the mainland buy bulk quantities of duty free goods which they then carry into China to sell. The small-time mainland traders have long been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town’s identity and caused a spike in property prices.” Of course dodging taxes and diluting a town’s identity are typical hypocritical petty petit-bourgeois concerns (at least when it’s others who are doing the tax dodging and identity-diluting), whereas fuelling inflation and causing a spike in property prices are not just petit-bourgeois issues. This article also refers to a protest a week ago ” against middle-aged mainland women …accused of brashly singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, which many locals considered a nuisance”, whereas another article I’ve seen refers only to the very noisy level of these diva performances, a fair enough target in my opinion, though I imagine there’s an HK nationalist element to this, as I’ve not heard of protests against other ear-deafening concerts. The HK movement, like many movements throughout history, seems to have unleashed a pent-up anger which hits out in any direction, sometimes pretty petty. More here about protests spreading. “Such frequent protests are rare in Hong Kong, where people are known for their stoical work ethic in a city that has some of the highest property prices in the world and little social welfare provision. Many interviewed by the Observer in the Sheung Shui protest on Saturday said the millions-strong anti-extradition protests last month had become a lightning rod for them. Many have been accumulating pent-up anger against the government for policies they felt they had endured long enough….“The anti-extradition protests have heightened our awareness over community issues. Instead of waiting for the government to do something, we may as well take it into our own hands,” said Vincent Yeung, a man in his 20s.”
July 11, 2019:
” President Donald Trump told Xi Jinping that the US would mute its support for the anti-China protest movement in Hong Kong in exchange for re-opening US-China trade talks, according to a report by the Financial Times (FT). “ – http://www.businessinsider.fr/us/trump-xi-jinping-soften-hong-kong-criticism-trade-talks-report-2019-7 In case you were naive, or just moronic, not to have anticipated this possibility already – Trump shows whose side he’s on – the side of capital whatever its colour: the side that tries to seduce people into taking sides rather than making sides, that tries to entice you into participating in the complicity-rivalry games that turn you into a victim whatever form of submission to an externally-defined side you succumb to.
9/7/19: Hong Kong: city inundated with post-it notes – https://qz.com/1660649/post-it-notes-spread-protest-message-on-hong-kongs-lennon-walls/?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=7005d0f670-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_04_11_54_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-7005d0f670-259226909 “All across the city’s districts—from its financial hub to the suburbs neighboring mainland China and outlying islands—walls big and small covered with colorful pieces of paper with the thoughts and wishes of Hong Kong people are sprouting up. Their inscriptions range from inspiring quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. to expletive-laden calls for death to police. It’s the latest in a strategy protesters are calling “flowers blossoming everywhere,” a Chinese saying appropriated to signify that the recent protest movement in Hong Kong has now spread far from its downtown epicenter to neighborhoods everywhere…”
Hong Kong: movement uses AirDrop app to breach China’s Great Firewall – https://qz.com/1660460/hong-kong-protesters-use-airdrop-to-breach-chinas-firewall/?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=40cc82ea7c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_04_11_54_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-40cc82ea7c-259226909 “Hong Kong’s protesters are using AirDrop, a file-sharing feature that allows Apple devices to send photos and videos over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, to breach China’s Great Firewall in order to spread information to mainland Chinese visitors in the city. Leaving AirDrop settings open allows anyone in the vicinity to send files to your device. A protest held yesterday (July 7) in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist districts, had a clear aim: to tell people from mainland China about the city’s opposition to a hated extradition bill…news of the protest has been heavily censored in mainland China, with any mention of the mass movement wiped off the Chinese internet. Even songs alluding to the city have been scrubbed. As such, many Chinese tourists were visibly confused by the large march, which organizers say drew an estimated 230,000 people. Hong Kong’s protesters have therefore turned to Apple’s AirDrop feature to get their message across to their mainland Chinese compatriots. That the messages are written in simplified Chinese—Hong Kongers use traditional Chinese—confirm that the intended audience is Chinese tourists…“…protesters make connection with Wuhan anti-incinerator protests – https://www.wsj.com/articles/latest-hong-kong-protest-plays-to-a-different-crowd-mainland-chinese-11562491308 – “The Chinese police are beating protesters and blocking information” in Wuhan, said Gladis Au, a 28-year-old executive who attended the Hong Kong march. “I think we need to come out today, otherwise we will become Wuhan someday.” And here – https://twitter.com/suelinwong?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1147781569169334273&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fchinadigitaltimes.net%2F2019%2F07%2Fhk-protests-show-shifting-focus-sustained-momentum%2F – – “Hong Kong protesters focused on spreading the word to mainland Chinese today. Just got off the subway in Kowloon & within 1 min was airdropped 3 times abt the extradition law, recent protests in Wuhan & detentions of human rights lawyers/Marxist students/Uighur activists in China”… More here – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/07/free-hong-kong-protesters-demands-widen-as-rallies-continue – “Late into the evening, protesters continued to march down Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in Kowloon, occupying half a street. They chanted slogans as they marched northwards, passing Yau Ma Tei and heading towards Mong Kok. After reaching Mongkok, police in riot gear formed into a line to stop protesters from advancing and demanded that they left. “Cruel police! Cruel police!” chanted protesters, wearing goggles, masks and holding up umbrellas to shield themselves in case police shot tear gas. ” This is the first demo in Kowloon, the city’s most densely populated area, since the protests began a month ago. For a breakdown of the miserable cost of “living” there see this – https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/kowloon – for prices, and this – http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=1114&loctype=3 – for income. Example: 50% of the population earn HK$34,622 or less per month, of whom 25% earn HK$17647 or less per month, whilst the minimum wage is HK$4594; monthly rent in a “normal” area averages at HK$14,376 for 45M2.
Documents revealing more about Bush senior’s complicity with the mass murderers of Tiananmen Square: http://www.chinafile.com/conversation/other-tiananmen-papers?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=7005d0f670-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_04_11_54_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-7005d0f670-259226909
July 6, 2019 :
More on the use of modern technology to manipulate people’s consumption habits, hyped up as also conducive to making a cleaner safer environment in lots of different ways: China’s Big Brother buildings are watching how people shop and live
“Dalian Wanda Group upgraded its property management platforms at two Wanda Plazas by installing cameras that use behaviour-recognition technology to track shoppers’ movements inside the mall, such as how long a person lingers in a store and whether they walk out with a bag in their hand. The technology, from Wanda’s Huiyun management system, allows the group to capture and analyse a person’s age, gender and shopping patterns, letting the landlord better optimise merchant layouts. Shoppers don’t know it, but they’re also assigned a computerised ID so they’re recognised upon their next visit. Sensitive information, including people’s facial images, isn’t stored to prevent the risk of personal privacy infringement issues and potential legal disputes, the company says….the system has trimmed labour costs on facilities maintenance by as much as 62 per cent….What does Longfor do with the employees its technology has put out of work? The company uses them to provide next-level service for residents. An executive who travels a lot can ask these newly trained butlers to feed her fish while she’s away, or elderly people can be walked outside in their wheelchairs every morning. Residents can even rate these stewards, as Longfor calls them, using an app….First-time visitors can enter their mobile number at a fourth-floor screen to link to their WeChat account, giving Shui On access to their buying habits on Tencent Holdings, WeChat’s parent company. Immediately, discount coupons are sent direct to a person’s WeChat Pay wallet, making a cup of coffee cheaper or car parking free. The screen also offers brand suggestions based on previous shopping habits. The whole process is pared with facial recognition technology, so second-time visitors need only to stand still in front of the screen….video surveillance cameras capture footage three times a minute, gathering real-time pictures ranging from what guards are doing to whether non-residents are intruding upon private property….”
Two recent events on the mainland which could well be indicative of how, despite the Chinese Communist bureaucracy’s censorship of what’s been going on, news is leaking out that’s encouraging revolt (it’s also indicative of how essential it is for the protesters in HK to drop their sad HK patriotism and see how vital it is to connect to struggles on the mainland):
China, Shanghai: brave young woman sprays ink on poster of Xi Jinping The woman, surnamed Dong, stood in front of a Shanghai building on the morning of July 4, local time, to protest against Xi’s “autocratic rule and tyranny.” She then splashed ink on the president’s “Chinese Dream” poster which was installed on the opposite side of the HNA Building in Lujiazui. “I oppose Xi Jinping’s autocratic rule and tyranny!” Shanghaiist quoted Dong, who livestreamed the act”. This reminds me of the attack on Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square, 30 years ago, an action that was betrayed by the official student movement, who handed those who did it over to the state, one of whom spent 20 years inside.
China, Wuhan: about 10,000 protest waste incinerator “Authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have detained around 20 people in a crackdown this week on a mass street protest at plans to build a new waste incineration plant…Amid chants of “Give us back our clean environment!”, an estimated 10,000 residents from apartments near the Yangluo industrial development area in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district turned out against the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday…The local government dispatched around 1,000 riot police to disperse the crowd, with large numbers of injuries reported…Many of the arrests were of social media users for posting or forwarding information about the protests via the closely controlled platform WeChat. A Xinzhou resident surnamed Xu said the protest was a spontaneous action by local people, who are angry that local officials are ignoring their health concerns. “The site was originally a landfill,” Xu said. “The air quality is already very poor in Yangluo and the groundwater has been polluted for more than a decade.” “Now they say they have to build a waste incineration power plant, which is a threat to our lives,” he said. The waste incinerator plan comes after the Chenjiachong landfill site in Xinzhou exceeded its capacity just five years after its opening in 2007. Local residents… first learned of the renewed incinerator plan in mid-June, and immediately organized a petition against it. The government responded by having around 20 of the petitioners detained. This week, the authorities blocked the mobile phone signal, as well as sending in police to beat up and detain protesters. According to Xu, the government feared the Wuhan protesters would communicate with anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong. A local resident surnamed Zhang said the Xinzhou district government had responded to the protests by saying that it would consult more widely with local people, and that the project won’t go ahead without the consent of the local community. But Zhang said many local residents simply don’t believe this. “They tried to start a project like this here before, and the people kicked up a huge fuss, and it was shelved,” Zhang said. “But less than six months later, the old district governor was transferred away, and the new one reapplied for the project as soon as he took up his post.” A resident who declined to be named said it was unacceptable to build a waste incinerator in a densely populated residential area. “There are many ways in which this will have an impact on people’s lives: the air pollution, the harm to health, all of that,” the resident said. “But what government really speaks up for the people? None of them do. If they did, then no garbage incinerators would be built in residential areas,” he said. Last month, tens of thousands of residents of Yunfu city in the southern province of Guangdong also took to the streets to protest against plans for a waste incinerator in Mintang village. Three days later, the government announced the project would be canceled at the selected site. And on June 26, authorities in Xiantao city in the central province of Hubei announced they would initially shelve, and then cancel altogether, a similar project following mass protests by local residents. Decades of breakneck economic growth have left China with a seriously degraded environment, with regular environmental protests emerging among the country’s middle class. Previous attempts to build similar plants elsewhere across China have drawn widespread criticism over local government access to the huge potential profits linked to waste disposal projects.” [SF note: emphases in bold are mine]
July 5, 2019:
According to a correspondent, “… the writings of Herbert Spencer were very influential among the Chinese elite? Also in the 1950s and 1960s whereas Khrushchev’s USSR had the US as its reference country, China had Britain. ” Which is ironic, considering the draping of the old British colonial flag in Legco by the rioting youth of Hong Kong.
“It has to be made clear that the development of totalitarian technology is also already pervasive in areas of life considered to be ‘free’. As a compensation for being robbed of the freedom to change your world and your life, you are granted the freedom to change compensations.” – here
V says, re. above quote:
All the problem is here, I think. A compensation can be perceived as such only if you wished something else first. Most people don’t see the market as a threat, because they are still free to accept or refuse everything it will propose to them. And they know it is industry, which considers them only as a mass, not really caring about their very intimacy, what would actually make each of them unique. Therefore this “Nothing to hide, no need to hide” wide-spreaded mentality, where each one feels secure as a little insignificant pilchard, just waving its own way in the big moving shoal, which is the only target of the prospective big data thing. See this apathy as a compensation effect would suppose at least to be able to strike people’s imagination with something else. But it seems the best one can do is to show how much the capitalism development is a no-go, and to which extent the world will go worse. This eventually just leads to more “Right, all is lost, let’s wait and see if science will however succeed in selling to us its promised new green-augmented world” apathy. I don’t know how to spark a desire of something else, nowadays “Revolution”, when it means a way to wreck once for all the capitalist machine, seems to sound as exciting as “Socialism”, looking as seducing as a concrete. As long as one can’t take the words out of the theorical/intellectual sphere — nevermind how accurate they are —, it will be like promoting to replace boringness you can easily dig under the infinite bunch of stimulations the capitalist devices provide, with… boringness — maybe plain, authentic, but still. The merchandise rule is set on a tangible lie (always refreshed), that’s why it’s so powerful. As much as its statistical scale allows it to be very gross while its negation has per se to be very careful (as J.-L. Godard once said. “Mr. Spielberg’s movies talk to 5% of the person everybody has, my films talk to 95% of the person”).
BTW, the two non-enthusiastic “Soyez réalistes…” women seem in fact to look at their phones. The one at the right has probably just noticed the photograph, maybe warned by the smiling one.
Re. “let’s wait and see if science will however succeed in selling to us its promised new green-augmented world”, I’ve just seen this article about “a completely new kind of food, a new kind of protein, different to all the food on the market today in how it is produced as it does not need agriculture or aquaculture…described as the world’s most environmentally friendly protein” – a kind of space-food made of microbes, water, air and electricity. So when climate catastrophe partly caused by vastly excessive use of various forms of electricity-run machines (including cars) causes the collapse of agriculture in large areas of the world people will be “saving the planet” by eating food produced by….electricity!
As for your other point, which if I’ve understood correctly, is about people’s passivity in relation to words such as “Revolution” being seen within a marketing perspective – like you’re selling an idea in the same way others might sell washing powder: the point, however, is to combine words and intellect with practice and words that imply a practical demand on those reading or listening. In other words, you can’t shake people out of their apathy – you have to firstly shake yourself out of apathy, and then get angry with others who remain asleep. What they do with this anger is entirely up to them – they may just think you’re ridiculous to get angry (which is the case most of the time) or they may decide to get angry themselves.
July 2, 2019:
Latest relevant information: Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/02/chinese-border-guards-surveillance-app-tourists-phones
June 25, 2019 :
http://chuangcn.org/2019/06/winter-is-coming/ ” It is precisely the mad surveillance with video cameras in public places, in buses, even in classrooms, facial recognition at the subway entrance, voice identification, obligatory real-time monitoring of electric cars, etc., that is making the trade in personal data flourish. You can buy the geographical location or the personal data of a mobile phone number on the Internet for less than one euro. Every year the personal data of several hundred million Chinese people are published on the Internet, often they come from public institutions and official databases. These data breaches fuel many cases of fraud, which only make the headlines when a victim dies.“
China, Hong Kong: new clashes as masked youths barricade 3 main roads … Legislative council stormed and tagged. Sad to see such faith in Brutish democracy in the form of the old colonial flag…live streaming of what’s going on …
China, Hong Kong: miserable development (fortunately only involving “hundreds”).
“Don’t forget our arrested comrades”
China, Hong Kong: anti-extradition protesters block main road“Protestors in Hong Kong have blocked a key road through the city centre and massed outside police headquarters to demand the total withdrawal of a controversial extradition law, the release of detained activists and apologies for police brutality.”
China, Hong Kong: protesters bed in for a night around government HQ as over 25% of the population demonstrate Doubtless some ultra-leftists will point out the obvious – the ideological illusions in bourgeois democracy. However, this is a movement against things getting considerably worse, rather than a clearly positive pro-democracy movement. Apart from the fact that HK is hardly a bourgeois democracy insofar as only half of the deputies are elected, fantasies that the West are in any way on their side other than with their vapid words are not that prominent as far as I can see. Hopefully the masses in Hong Kong will eventually realise that the bourgeois democracies are only too happy to collaborate with China (see this, about George Bush snr. collaborating with China shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre, or this recent report on the Belgian state’s collaboration with the Chinese state’s repression of Muslims). The main danger now is that the release from prison of one of the 2014 Umbrella Movement leaders could well mean he’ll be used to pacify the most radical section of youth, which so far has rejected leadership.
China, Hong Kong: demonstrations persist as extradition bill is delayed…cops use rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, tear gas, pepper spray & batons to stop protesters storming city’s parliament…“Treated like prey” – account of person shot at and badly injured by cops
Video showing cops forced, at one time, to retreat
More here“Riot police turned downtown Hong Kong into a tear-gas covered battlefield as they pushed back against protesters who tried to storm Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. The protesters, angry at an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, hurled bricks, bottles and umbrellas as they clashed with the police, as the demonstrations intensified on Wednesday afternoon.” More here “Protesters were seen wearing helmets, goggles and heavy-duty workman’s gloves, and pulling bricks from the sidewalks…dear my hong kong, you’re particularly beautiful today….a young person on the frontline: “We can’t lose again, because if we do, we lose everything!” And then he charged forwards….When protesters stormed the barricades outside the LegCo building, police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, leading to at least 72 hospitalizations….Tear gas grenades extinguished almost immediately with water….Angry auntie shout at the police…Cops tried to pacify her with some snacks but she refused to take it…she’s asking if the police want to send her back to china, and when he tried to offer her a snack cos she’s “tired” she said “i don’t take things from running dogs”
Bus driver risking his job (and maybe worse) to barricade road
For greater details about what’s happening see:
“Why Hong Kong is protesting” “At the Hong Kong literary festival in November, a friend accompanied me at all times, for fear I’d be secretly kidnapped and smuggled to China. If the extradition law passes, any critic of Xi’s regime could be legally, openly abducted….It’s not only “Hong Kong people” whose fate is at stake here. Anyone passing through Hong Kong airport could be detained and sent to China (compare the Huawei Vancouver extradition case). Even people who have been extradited by a third jurisdiction to Hong Kong could be subject to re-extradition to China…Some alleged offenders are never brought to trial in China. Think former Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, detained without any legal process for the last 16 years of his life!!…The feeling in #HongKong is that the police have “gone crazy”, are “out of control”….In Hong Kong’s hybrid political system — a result of British colonial tradition as much as Communist control — only half the seats in the legislature are filled by popular elections. Most of the other half of the seats are filled by industry and business groups, and China’s booming economy means Beijing enjoys greater leverage over the Hong Kong economy now than it did even a decade ago, especially in finance.“ Young, leaderless demonstrators learn lessons from the past “…unlike five years ago, the protesters – a majority of whom seem to be in their early 20s – were noticeably more leery of cameras, either of police officers or journalists. They repeatedly reminded each other to put on face masks “to protect themselves”, reluctant to have their pictures taken, even less their identity revealed while being interviewed. Over the past week in the lead-up to the protests, tens of thousands of Hongkongers exchanged tactics on how to block lawmakersfrom scrutinising the embattled extradition bill on Wednesday through several encrypted channels on Telegram….a 31-year-old freelancer…said the lack of a clear leader or organiser this time actually allowed people from a broader swathe of society to make common cause again….”Unlike the Occupy days when there was a lot of finger-pointing, we have now come to respect each other more.”” More here “…people were reluctant to reveal their identity to reporters, refusing to be photographed and mostly declining to give their names and ages. When a Guardian reporter was interviewing a teenager in an underground station on Wednesday, his friends swiftly pulled him away…. knowing that the government often ignored peaceful expressions, the youngsters increasingly believed they had no choice but to resort to radical actions.”
Surveillance Fears Shadow Hong Kong Protests “Hong Kong’s protesters had mobilized on Wednesday as if they’d been trained for years. Anyone who needed a helmet, mask, or umbrella would yell to the sky. Those around them would stop, passing the message instantly through the crowds with unified chants and matching hand motions: patting their heads for a helmet, cupping their eyes for goggles, rolling their arms for cling wrap, which they were using to protect exposed skin from tear gas and pepper spray….Many of the protesters are college-aged and digitally savvy. They took pains to keep from being photographed or digitally tracked. To go to and from the protests, many stood in lines to buy single-ride subway tickets instead of using their digital payment cards, which can be tracked. Some confronting the police covered their faces with hats and masks, giving them anonymity as well as some protection from tear gas….On Wednesday, several protesters shouted at bystanders taking photos and selfies, asking those who were not wearing press passes to take pictures only of people wearing masks. Later, a scuffle broke out between protesters and bystanders who were taking photos on a bridge over the main protest area….At some point people called for drones being on the air. Everybody opened their umbrellas. I’m amazed by the level of organisation… Having been in hundreds of protests myself, this is the first time I felt protestors know what they’re doing….“Those who did 2014 know that peaceful methods are not working”
China, Hong Kong: clashes with cops as 100s of thousands demonstrate against extradition law See also entries for 9/6/19 & 7/6/19 here
Massive demo against extradition law “…suspicions that the initiative for the law had come from Beijing were bolstered last month when Politburo member Han Zheng voiced his support for it and revealed that its targets included foreigners who had committed crimes against Chinese national security outside China and who had passed through Hong Kong.”
New repressive developments in Hong Kong “…the city’s legislators are pushing ahead with the controversial extradition law that will give mainland China the right to request the transfer of alleged criminals….”
Report on one of the founders of Hong Kong’s 79-day Occupy movement before he went on trial X writes: “This allows us a somewhat lengthy look into the mind of a Chinese democrat, and a reminder that the Chinese intelligentsia still has a tendency to succumb to Confucian behavioral norms.”
Anti-China art exhibition in Hong Kong closed following threats from Beijing This is certainly not to defend the ideology and practice of “art”, but to illustrate how the bureaucracy’s hierarchical censorship is extending itself to the supposedly more ‘open’ Hong Kong area.
Hong Kong Bans Pro-independence Party More here…and here . X writes: Right after the fuckers opened the high-speed rail line from the mainland so they can run heaps of pigs into the city at a moments notice – the same way they sent (some of the) soldiers into Beijing in 1989. More on the high speed railway line opening ceremony
25/11/14:China, Hong Kong: protesters arrested trying to occupy new areas of town18/10/14:China, Hong Kong: heavy cop tactics used against protestors“…the latest clashes came after activists had issued calls on social media for protesters to expand barricades and take over another intersection in Mong Kok. “This is a worrying trend for authorities, where protesters are almost using a flashmob tactic,” he said. “It is very difficult for them to control.” Pictures from the scene of the scuffles showed some protesters wearing helmets, masks and foam pads.”
China, Hong Kong: as the movement prepares (possbily) for a massive repression, various scum show up valid contradictions in the movement“Charles Powell, who served as private secretary to then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when Britain agreed to return Hong Kong to China, said … “The position about elections has been clear since the law was published in 1991 and I don’t believe for one moment that Chinese are going to change that basic position …Hong Kong has always been part of China…We rented for a while and we didn’t introduce democracy,” …Singapore’s Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam said …They have intentionally ignored a fact that Hong Kong had never implemented a democratic system under the British rule for some 150 years, he said, adding that Beijing’s plan has granted Hong Kong much more democratic space than what Hong Kongers got in the times of British-ruled Hong Kong….Jeff Bader, who ran Obama’s first term White House East Asia policy, told the Washington Post that for Beijing, there is no room for compromise on issues such as Chinese stability and the leadership of the Communist Party of China. He also mentioned that millions of Hong Kongers will not support or tolerate the protest that grinds the city to halt for days.The negative impact of Occupy Central includes a bit of a brain drain, Bader predicted.” All of which is another way of saying that unless movements to change things make links with other proletarians and develop an expliciltly global anti-capitalist class war perspective, they will be defeated anyway and will have hardly learn much from such a defeat. Undoubtedly movements that do make links with other proletarians and develop an expliciltly global anti-capitalist class war perspective will also be crushed, but they will find out a lot more, and develop a great deal more possibilities of global solidarity, both of which could help future movements. Sadly, over the next 5 or 10 years people are going to have to learn from the strengths and weakenesses of previous social movements to change the world spanning 200 years, and to develop the networks of solidarity increasingly repressed by the post WWll development of the spectacle, merely to arrive at banality. Playing the good citizen, as in the censorship of basic proletarian slogans shown below, will hardly endear these protesters to their potential allies.
protesters erasing graffiti, because they think sex with cops is perverse3/10/14:
China, Hong Kong: as the movement seems, though maybe only temporarily, to be moving backwards into a reliance on negotiations between leaders and would-be leaders…this long interesting text from people who seem to know their stuff appears(though, I admit, I’ve read less than half of it so far)…whilst the state-manipulated attacks on demonstrators has lead to the end of the talks with the government, on the level of ideas and critiques, people seem to be more disarmed than 200 years ago, ideologies of “democracy” colonising their brains
China, Hong Kong: more secondary schools go out on strike as vale of tear gas envelops city…students accuse “occupy central” of hijacking their movementSo nice to see such a neatly and correctly handwritten version of this old slogan from 46 years ago – sadly, only 1 of these women looks enthusiastic about it. No surprise – so far this is no May ’68. The old slogan is pertinent – but not yet pertinent to the current ideologies in Hong Kong. The slogan used there (and, I must emphathise again – so neatly and correctly written!) is clearly contradicted by a boringly possible demand submissive to our masters’ notion of what’s realistic – a demand for something capitalism could grant. A more “democratic” form of bourgeois election than that proposed by the current alliance of the Hong Kong elite with the mainland CP bureaucracy might feasibly be granted if it suited the various interests as well as helped suppress any independent elements developing within the movement there. Sure, this might admittedly also involve a potentially explosive resolution of the conflicts of interest going on within and between the different capitalist camps: some are even talking of potentially changing the situation to what happened in Ukraine, even though the histories and ideologies are relatively very different…Clearly the conflict between pro-US and pro-Communist Party bureaucratic interests involves them assessing the danger of things getting out of control. Insofar as what goes on there is of concern to those wanting some global independent opposition, it’s obviously worth attempting to look behind the spectacular facade of opposing interests and try to work out what’s going on. For instance, check out this contemptuous pro-bureaucracy report here, which nevertheless mentions some pertinent contradictions.
See also here: “Occupy Central and the pan-Democrats have intervened in a bid to ensure that the protests remain limited to the narrow demand for open chief executive elections. They represent layers of the corporate elite and upper middle classes who fear that Hong Kong’s position as a major Asian financial center and their own interests will be undermined by Beijing’s control over the former British colony….As part of its “pivot to Asia”, the Obama administration signaled that it intended to step up the pressure on “human rights” in Hong Kong with the appointment last year of veteran diplomatic Clifford Hart as the new US consul. In his first public statements,…There are undoubtedly close links between the US and sections of the Occupy Movement and the pan-Democrats…. leaked emails between prominent media tycoon Jimmy Lai and his top aide Mark Simon revealed that he had supplied funds to the Occupy Movement and several pan-Democrats. Simon, a former US naval analyst, had been the head of the Hong Kong branch of Republicans Abroad and organized meetings with leading US figures. In May, Lai reportedly met with prominent neo-con and former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz. At the same time, the Occupy Movement and pan-Democrats are concerned that the protests not become the focus for the broader social demands of the working class. The social gulf between rich and poor in Hong Kong is particularly marked. A small wealthy elite of billionaires and multi-millionaires lives in luxury while a fifth of Hong Kong’s population is below the poverty line. Income tax and corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the world. Welfare measures are virtually non-existent…. a tearful Occupy Movement founder Benny Tai had expressed concerns that “the situation was getting out of control.” It is a concern that all sections of Hong Kong’s ruling elite share — both pro-Beijing and “pro-democratic.””
And this, about the Big Four audit accountancy firms is interesting: “The audit firms, who between them had global revenues last year of £66.3bn and employ more than 700,000 people worldwide, joined the fray by placing adverts in three Chinese-language newspapers criticising Occupy Central, which has suggested it will stage a sit-in to block traffic in Hong Kong’s business district as part of its campaign. The advert said: “We hereby announce that we are opposed to this movement, and are concerned that ‘Occupy Central’ would have negative and long-lasting impact on the rule of law, the society and the economy of Hong Kong. We hope that the disagreements could be resolved through negotiation and dialogue instead.””
Whilst thisexpression of business interest implies a fear that the state could provoke excessive opposition by being too heavy-handed: “WHAT is worse for big business in Hong Kong: street protests, or the tear gas fired to disperse the protesters? That is the uncomfortable question now confronting Hong Kong’s button-down business community, which has co-existed relatively peacefully with the city’s Communist Party overlords since the handover to Chinese rule in 1997…. For now, the protests are an inconvenience, but they are surely not enough to force a major Western company – or even a Chinese state-owned company – to seek a new headquarters, especially in an age when most employees can probably operate from home indefinitely. Hong Kong’s political and financial advantages are too great to be overshadowed by barricaded subway stops and college students blocking downtown arteries. But the same cannot be said of a city that responds to peaceful student protests with tear gas….Hong Kong’s handling of the protests…suggests a government that lacks the competence to do what other world cities do regularly: peacefully manage a student protest.If Hong Kong’s business community hopes to preserve what is unique about their city….they need to be just as vocal about the negative consequences of assaulting unarmed students as they have been about threats to shut down the central business district. It’s time for them to reaffirm how a world-class business city should behave under duress.”
But of course, the main thing is to write our slogans neatly and correctly!!! “Be realistic – demand impeccable handwriting!”
China, Hong Kong: “Occupy Central” reschedulesThe implicit aim of this movement, regardless of it’s ideology of “demockracy”, is dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (local and multinational) as against dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party bureaucracy. Whether the momentum goes beyond these false (externally defined) choices is, for the moment, largely futile speculation. But there are signs that things are – at least a bit – getting out of control of the professional activists of “Occupy Central” (e.g. the latest intensification of conflict, with the breaking into the main government compound, and the boycott of secondary school classes, has forced “Occupy Central” to re-schedule their long-planned occupation). Nevertheless, if there’s to be no sell-out or re-organisation of current misery or worse, independent forms of action have to also develop independent content, independent ideas that contest the ideologies that make such movements “respectable”. See also This Riot Is Not In Ferguson, It Is In Hong Kong“The police have used disproportionate force to stop the legitimate actions of the students and that should be condemned,” said Benny Tai, one of the three main organizers of the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement.” – implying that proportionate force would be fine, being the force this guy would probably claim he’d use if developments were to see him in charge of the filth.