Saturday, September 14, 2019

Hong Kong - A People's Protest

There has been appearing on the liberal progressive websites certain articles that malign the Hong Kong protests to be little more that a Western imperialist anti-Chinese plot.

 Such accusations deserve an answer and on the Libcom website there is published an interview of a member of the Hong Kong-based Workers Group that should serve as a useful resource to refute leftist attacks on the pro-democracy campaigners.

Here are some extracts from the interview specifically regards so-called foreign interference but the whole interview is one that is illuminating and interesting.

BKW: Is the movement connected to foreign powers like the U.S.A.?

WG: It is not at all controlled/led/funded by foreign powers in any sense. I would say this movement is not even controlled by any masterminds at all, neither local nor foreign. Yes, the U.S.A. has a long history of funding opposition politicians, media and union in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong opposition politicians often lobby in Washington or Geneva. But I don't see these people playing important roles in mass protests over the past years, from 2003 till now. Actually their influence is declining because the majority of pro-democratic people in Hong Kong no longer trust political leaders, especially those who are 10-35 years old.

If we are going to talk about foreign influence in this particular struggle, I would say there are 3 particularly important issues:
1. The pro-independent people in Taiwan are very concerned about the situation of Hong Kong, using it as a strong argument for independence. On the other hand, the election of parliament and president in Taiwan will take place in 2019 and 2020, and the struggle in Hong Kong boosted the support of the pro-independent party (the current ruling party);
2. Trump and his allies are taking advantage of the chaos in Hong Kong to give extra pressure to China over the tarriff negotiation;
3. Groups of Hong Kong protesters are lobbying overseas (U.S.A., U.K. and U.N.) to urge these governments to sanction Hong Kong government officials, because a majority of them are actually citizens of U.K. or other western countries.

BKW: Whats your opinion on this march in front of the U.S. Consulate calling Washington support? Is it a flag to most of the protesters or a few of them?

WG: Not a huge number, but there are getting more people holding the flag of US now. From a few in July to about a hundred in 8th September. They even sang the national anthem of US! I didn't go to that march because I have something else to do on that day so I don't have first hand information about any counter protest (anyway if I go I will take something related to Assange and Wikileaks as a protest against all sorts of political extradition). I only saw one picture of an American holding a placard showing a message like 'Think about Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and you will know USA is not your friend'.

For me, asking for external support can be reasonable, but idolizing the symbol of another country is simply nonsense. The motivation of going to the US Consulate is to persuade the US Congress to pass the 'Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act'. If passed, key person in HK government who are responsible for repression may be sanctioned by the US government. Many protesters believe it is a good idea as an revenge towards the HK government, align with the spirit of 'if we burn, you burn with us'. Since I was not there I couldn't ask their opinion on such an action. However, I believe a common attitude is that, 'it doesn't matter to try, because we have nothing to lose'.

On the other hand, 200,000 people marching to ask for foreign intervention itself is strange enough, probably the only case in history of the world (please tell me other cases if there is any). It shows that Hong Kong people has no national identity and no one care Chinese government's accusation of cooperating with foreign conspiracy. It is definitely alarming for the CCP.

BKW: And what about Left wing? What is the situation of Hong Kong's Left?

WG: ...The terminology of "Left" has a very confusing use in Hong Kong. The reason is because Left should refer to socialist or radicals but, in the context of Hong Kong, if you talk about the leftist, then it would be the Communist Party – the Chinese Communist Party. Which is nothing radical or leftist at all, but the labelling of these people as Left still exist. So Left is always used to describe people who are related to the Chinese government. So this is the so called "Left Camp", which include the largest union in Hong Kong, which is the HK-FTU (Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions), who actually did quite some quite important work in the early stage of the organizing of the Hong Kong workers (1950-1980). But since the 1990s, when China is going to take over Hong Kong, they simply becomes operators of the regime to support them brings in their political interest in Hong Kong, instead of continuing to become an important force in the labour world...”

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