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Posts tagged as “hong kong free press”

The Crackdown in Hong Kong Begins?

Hong Kong police have arrested prominent activists, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, reports Hong Kong Free Press. Also, leader of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, Andy Chan, was arrested on the evening of August 29th while boarding a flight to Japan.

It is not the first time that Joshua Wong has been arrested for protesting for democracy in Hong Kong. Some that don’t follow Chinese politics may not know about the “Occupy Movement” or “Umbrella Movement,” a series of protests that took place in fall and winter of 2014. Wong was arrested and sentenced to six to eight months imprisonment for his activities during those protests. This long Wikipedia article has an extensive discussion of the events of the Occupy Movement (we know that Wikipedia is not always reliable, but the article goes into a lot of detail on what happened, so it is valuable, regardless).

So, protests for democracy in Hong Kong are not new, and the Chinese media’s feigned surprise at the current protests is disingenuous and ridiculous.

Yesterday, we posted an article on the rotation of the PLA contingent in Hong Kong, wondering if Beijing was rotating in forces prepared to deal harshly with the protesters – and hoping it was not. These arrests may be another precursor to that. Beijing would like to deprive the protest movement of leaders (they likely cannot comprehend that such a movement could be essentially leaderless), and then scatter the remaining protesters, thinking that without the leadership, the protest movement will dissolve – especially if it is under pressure by Hong Kong police and PLA elements using tough (read, violent) tactics.

Today, Beijing also “reminded” the Hong Kong people that the People’s Armed Police force is still just across the border:

And CCTV posted another article on the rotation of the PLA contingent in Hong Kong.

This post is more concerning than the one yesterday. It is much more militaristic, and the phrase in the tweet “perform its defense duty in Hong Kong in accordance with the law” is threatening.

The Hong Kong Free Press additionally reported that a planned peaceful march and rally to be held Saturday was banned by the Hong Kong police. It seems almost certain that there will be protests, marches, and rallies, despite the ban – which will then be (technically correctly) deemed illegal by the Hong Kong authorities.

This weekend the U.S. is celebrating its Labor Day holiday, the traditional end of summer, and preparing for kids to start the new school year. A major hurricane is aimed for Florida. News coverage of international events is likely to be less than usual. (see this comment at Small Dead Animals blog).

Is Beijing trying to engineer a violent confrontation with the protesters, using “illegal” protests as a pretext over this Labor Day weekend, when the U.S. is distracted? It would not surprise us at all. If news is blacked out and internet access to Hong Kong is shut down or restricted, be very, very concerned.

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.

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: Chinese Media Says No Repeat of Tiananmen Massacre

The Hong Kong Free Press reports that Chinese media (Global Times) says that any crackdown against protesters in Hong Hong will not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Massacre in June, 1989.

China is much stronger and more mature, and its ability to manage complex situations has been greatly enhanced.

Global Times as reported by the Hong Kong Free Press

The Chinese media is not free and not trustworthy, so make of this announcement what you will. Let’s hope what they are saying is true.

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