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Posts published in “Hong Kong Free Press”

Violence Escalates in Hong Kong; Police Draw Guns

This is a very bad development.

Hong Kong protesters and police clashed violently yesterday, with protesters attacking police with sticks and other weapons, and police drawing their guns. One warning shot was fired into the air.

The scene looks very dangerous.

Other video shows the protesters attacking the police with sticks, clubs, and other weapons, including Molotov cocktails.

It is very difficult to understand what the protesters are thinking by these actions. In our view, they are playing directly into the CCP’s narrative, and they will turn public opinion against the protests. They obviously cannot win a direct confrontation with the police, especially if Beijing responds by deploying the armed police force that is just across the border in or near Shenzhen.

All people everywhere desire freedom, the right to self-determination, the right to directly elect their own leaders, freedom of speech and assembly, and so on. So the question in Hong Kong is how to achieve those goals. We were encouraged by the peaceful protests that occurred last week. These confrontations with the police are counterproductive and are likely to lead to a violent, deadly clash with Beijing’s armed police. That would be a disaster for everyone – and indeed a disaster for the entire world.

We implore the Hong Kong people to abandon the tactics of violent confrontation with the police. Non-violent protests are the only viable path forward.

The Hong Kong Way – Human Chains Across Hong Kong

Today, residents of Hong Kong formed human chains throughout Hong Kong in continued peaceful protests, reiterating their demands to the HK government.

According to Joshua Wong, one of the leading Hong Kong activists, the human chains of the “Hong Kong Way” were organized according to the principles of the Baltic Way human chain that was formed by approximately 2 million people across Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania 30 years ago today (August 23rd, 1989) to protest the Soviet Union’s oppression of those countries (former republics under the control of the Soviet Union).

The bravery of the Hong Kong protesters cannot be overstated. Beijing has made numerous overt military threats against the protesters, has labeled them as terrorists, and orchestrated a pervasive disinformation campaign to turn world opinion against them.

So, these non-violent protests, using proven tactics that are visually and emotionally appealing, take away one of the CCP’s propagandists greatest weapons against the protesters. A violent crackdown by Beijing against peaceful protesters linked arm-in-arm in solidarity to demand their rights would be a PR disaster for China. The protesters aren’t giving up.

UPDATE: Please read this excellent Hong Kong Free Press article that covers the Hong Kong Way human chain, with many pictures and quotes from the participants. It’s well worth your time.

White Terror Continues at Cathay Pacific

The Hong Kong Free Press reports that the head of the flight attendant’s union at Cathay Pacific, Rebecca Sy, has been fired.

We posted an article about the “white terror” at Cathay Pacific on August 21st (Nice Little Airline You’ve Got Here. Be a Shame if Anything Happened to It.). It’s clear that the CCP is keeping up it’s pressure on Cathay Pacific, as the purported reason that Sy’s was fired were some Facebook posts she made in support of the HK protesters.

In case anyone was under the impression that the CCP was some kind of “benevolent dictatorship” – no, it is not. They will not allow any criticism, especially from someone in an influential position.

Even as the HK police confront protesters in the streets of Hong Kong, the CCP continually applies pressure to Hong Kong’s business and government institutions to conform to Beijing’s will. It is a multi-front battle for the future of Hong Kong and its people. Later posts on chinadailynews.com will elaborate on this.

UPDATE: China Digital Times has a long but excellent article on this same topic that goes into more depth on the pressure that Hong Kong’s businesses and prominent people face.

UPDATE 2: Watch this video from the South China Morning Post’s tweet of Rebecca Sy’s news conference. “My colleagues are terrified,” she says:

The CCP’s Disinformation

We’ve written and posted numerous articles on the Hong Kong protests since ChinaDailyNews opened August 10, 2019 – undoubtedly more than on any other topic. It is our sincere hope that in the future, Hong Kong will achieve true freedom, and we won’t be writing about protests in Hong Kong, but rather, about the freedom, success, and prosperity of Hong Kong and its citizens.

Until then, we will – must – continue writing about Hong Kong and its troubled relationship with the Beijing government.

One aspect of that troubled relationship is the disinformation – lies – promulgated by Chinese state-controlled media sources about any number of topics, including Hong Kong and the protesters. The disinformation serves several purposes: 1) to cover up misdeeds by the Chinese government, the CCP, and its agents; 2) to attempt to discredit opposition and blunt criticism of China and the CCP; 3) to steer public opinion, both domestically and internationally, in favor of China, the CCP, and their policies; 4) failing that, to confuse people and muddy the waters, so that people don’t know what the truth of an issue is; 5) and many other purposes, no doubt.

In raising this, we want to make a clear – very clear – distinction between the Chinese government/Chinese Communist Party and the people of China. In no way are we saying that the people of China – the laobaixing as they are known in Mandarin Chinese – are involved in any way with the CCP’s disinformation.

Nevertheless, that disinformation is pervasive and rampant across many media sources and taking many forms. Let’s take a look at some from just today.

British consulate staff member (and Hong Kong citizen), Simon Cheng, has been detained in China for several days. The consulate had heard nothing about him until today, when the Global Times Editor-in-Chief said he was detained for visiting a prostitute.

Could that be true? Certainly, but his family says that is isn’t.

Who to believe? Well, given the Chinese media’s track record, and the additional detail provided in the Hong Kong Free Press article, it is a whole lot easier to believe Simon Cheng’s family than the editor of the Global Times. Even if Cheng was with a woman, it could very well be an instance of the honeypot trap.

In 2009, the British MI5 distributed a 14-page document to hundreds of British banks, businesses, and financial institutions, titled “The Threat from Chinese Espionage”. It described a wide-ranging Chinese effort to blackmail Western business people over sexual relationships. The document explicitly warns that Chinese intelligence services are trying to cultivate “long-term relationships” and have been known to “exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships … to pressurise individuals to co-operate with them.”[2]

Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_trapping

Until Simon Cheng is released, we don’t know his side of the story, and even then, there might be more going on in this story than it appears. Little that Chinese state-controlled media says about anything controversial can be taken at face value.

More evidence of that fact appeared today, when Google announced that 210 YouTube accounts connected to China’s disinformation campaign aimed at the Hong Kong protests had been removed.

Earlier this week, as part of our ongoing efforts to combat coordinated influence operations, we disabled 210 channels on YouTube when we discovered channels in this network behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.

Google blog post on YouTube account removal

We had posted previously on Twitter and Facebook removing phony accounts; now Google says that YouTube accounts were also a part of the CCP’s disinformation campaign. It isn’t surprising at all. Take everything said on any controversial topic by Chinese state-run media not just with a grain of salt, take it with a whole pound of salt.

Hong Kong Protests Continue Today

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.

Hong Kong Free Press: 1.7 Million Join Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protest

The Hong Kong Free Press is reporting that 1.7 million Hong Kong residents joined in a peaceful pro-democracy protest against police use of force on August 18th.

Organisers say at least 1.7 million people attended a mass pro-democracy rally against the police use of force in Hong Kong on Sunday. Protesters marched peacefully from Causeway Bay to Central, as the city entered its 11th consecutive week of demonstrations.

Hong Kong Free Press August 18, 2019
Hong Kong Free Press image

According to worldometers,info at the time of this writing, the population of Hong Kong is 7,499,100. If the estimate of the number of participants in the march is correct, over 22% of the entire population of Hong Kong took part in the rally and march.

Fortunately, this march, even though it was not authorized by the HK government, was peaceful; although, the HK government claimed that protesters used slingshots and aimed lasers at the HK police.

The protesters reiterated their five demands:

The Civil Human Rights Front reiterated the five demands of the anti-extradition law movement. They called for a full withdrawal of the controversial bill and a retraction of characterisation of protests as “riots.” They urged for the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into all events since June, and demanded universal suffrage.

Hong Kong Free Press

The protesters do not appear to be deterred by the HK government’s requirements that marches be authorized ahead of time, and the number of protesters does not appear to be less than before. However, the protesters appear to be adopting a non-confrontational tactic, which is good news.

Before the march, users of the Reddit-like LIHKG forum stated that the goal was to make Sunday a completely peaceful protest in order to garner international support. They urged a halt to frontline physical clashes during the weekend.

Hong Kong Free Press

Non-violent protests will lessen the physical danger that the protesters (and the HK police face), reduce the ability of CCP propagandists to turn world opinion against the protesters, and take away any reason that the CCP might have for a violent crackdown. It’s a smart move for the protest movement to take. Hopefully, they will continue with this tactic and not let the police provoke them.

Read the whole article; it is well worth the time.

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