The Hong Kong Free Press posted a long Twitter thread today on the continuing Hong Kong protests held today. Protesters held a sit in and then occupied a transit station (Yuen Long MTR) for some time before dispersing. Fortunately, it appears that the protest was peaceful, with both the police and protesters showing restraint; although, some protesters shined laser pointers at the police.
Meanwhile, Chinese state-controlled media (China Daily, in this case) is pushing a narrative that the protesters are violent thugs and terrorists (including a blatant lie about the protesters using an M320 grenade launcher against the police). They continue to ratchet up their rhetoric.
A few days ago, Hong Kong Free Press reported that a China Daily article said there would be no repeat of Tiananmen Massacre in Hong Kong. If that is truly the case, then it would seem that China’s propaganda is aimed at turning international (and Hong Kong residents’) opinion against the protesters, in hope that they will be shamed into stopping their demonstrations. Thus far, that does not appear to be happening. Support for the protesters appears to be strong in the U.S., Taiwan, and other Chinese communities. Pro-Beijing support appears to be narrow, and is likely to have been orchestrated from Beijing, rather than being spontaneous. Of course, there are some “patriotic” Chinese students at universities throughout the world that are demonstrating in favor of China, but our observation is that the pro-Beijing demonstrations seem to be more against criticism of China, and much less in favor of the CCP and its policies.
Despite saying that there would be no repeat of Tiananmen, the rhetoric coming from Chinese state-run media today is worrisome. The continued escalation of their rhetoric, with the China Daily video today openly calling the protesters “terrorists” (after saying that their behavior “approached terrorism” last week), even after massive, but completely peaceful, protests over this past weekend, is not a good sign. Beijing needs to be continually reminded that the world is watching, and any violent crackdown in Hong Kong will have very serious consequences for China on the world stage.