Hong Kong’s Leader: “Poor People Would Ruin Elections”

[The ongoing protests in Hong Kong continue in waves of intensity, as the protest struggles for greater organized strength and programmatic unity, and as supporters of the Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y.Leung (a wealthy capitalist closely supported by the restored-capitalist/imperialist Beijing regime) continue to denounce the protests as a US/British plot.  How it will develop, what changes it may bring, is yet to be seen.  But in the meantime, C.Y. Leung who opposes the protester's demand for more inclusive electoral reform, has let an underlying and unspoken issue come to the surface:  the question of class, of bourgeois rule, and the role of the poor.  While elections cannot solve the problem of capitalist ownership of the state, classes and class struggle cannot be hidden from any major political dispute between state powers and the resistance of the masses.. --  Frontlines ed.]

As protests continue in the crowded city of Hong Kong, thousands of immigrants and low-income families live in tiny subdivided units, unable to afford sky-high rents. Meanwhile, leader Leung Chun-ying lives a lavish lifestyle in an upscale community.

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Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, as police march past

Leung proved today that he is not a “man of the people”. Instead, he came off as an elitist out of touch with the realities of living in Hong Kong.

He said that open elections shouldn’t happen because “many poor” might end up dominating politics.

Leung gave the interview to the Financial Times, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and reiterated his position that free elections were impossible:

“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”

Leung made millions in real estate and has the nickname “emperor of the working class.” Already he has been hung in effigy, depicted as Dracula, and openly told to go to hell during the protests in Hong Kong. Continue reading

Zimbabwe: Working for the Chinese in Zimbabwe

Over 300,000 teenage school leavers in Zimbabwe are currently working for Chinese shop-owners. One of them, Meagan Ngwenya, claims to be heavily exploited.

Meagan Ngwenya (18) is an orphan who has already worked for a variety of Chinese employers. She accuses them of unfair labour practices.

Ngwenya spoke to RNW at her current Chinese-run shop which sells clothing and vehicle-parts. “Since 2012, a year after I dropped out of school, I have been working for one Chinese boss after the other; often for little or no payment, which renders life hard for me.”

She claims to have been exposed to cruel treatment and extremely long working hours. “There are limited formal jobs here and I have found it hard to secure one, and as a result I continue to toil in shops owned by Chinese. This is my sixth job working for Chinese shop owners.”

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Anger Grows Against Hong Kong crony capitalists and China’s capitalists alike

Economic Inequality Underlies Hong Kong Protests

Over the past week, the protesters in Hong Kong have focused on well-defined political demands, with full democratic elections and the resignation of Chief Executive C.Y. Leung at the top of the list. But protesters have also been driven to the streets by a variety of longstanding grievances, many of which stem from the economic inequality which has built up in Hong Kong society, putting the city at the top of The Economist’s “crony-capitalism index,” or list of “countries where politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper.” The gini coefficient, which measures the gap between rich and poor, is at the highest levels ever for Hong Kong, according to a 2013 report from Bloomberg:

Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, rose to 0.537 in 2011 from 0.525 in 2001, the government said last June. The score, a high for the city since records began in 1971, is above the 0.4 level used by analysts as a gauge of the potential for social unrest. 

Hong Kong’s close business ties to mainland China, especially since the handover in 1997, have exacerbated these inequalities. But as the recent protests show, economic issues are quickly becoming political for residents of Hong Kong who are missing out on the boom. Neil Gough reports for the New York Times:

China is grappling with a political problem in part because Hong Kong is dealing with an economic one. Underlying the current unrest in Hong Kong, an affluent city of 7.2 million that was a British colony for 155 years before it was returned to China in 1997, is a widening wealth gap. Continue reading

Has the Left Libeled a Democracy Movement in Hong Kong?

[Since the rise of capitalism, it has been common for capitalist powers and allied-capitalist partners to blame internal protests, rebellions, and class struggles on external forces, always seeking to turn attention away from the miserable conditions created in those societies.  And in more recent times, imperialists (and "anti-imperialists" who only oppose one side of competing imperialists) blame the instability in opposing camps on external meddling by the opposite number, whereas the meddlers usually come from all sides in proxy wars today, trying to exploit the ever-emerging resistance of oppressed and exploited people.

Today, the popular opposition in Hong Kong, which has never experienced "self-determination" (since their emergence from British colonial rule was at a time when only the arms of restored and exploitive Chinese capitalism were waiting to greet, and restrain,  them--in a kind of formally-internal but neo-colonial comprador-relation) has brought unprecedented numbers into the streets.

Russia's Putin, aligned with the Chinese capitalist-imperialist regime, is blaming the Hong Kong opposition on US meddling.  Now various confused "left" forces will quote each other and support Putin's view, and will try to make it appear that Chinese capitalist-imperialists are the victims of the US.   And these new anti-US conspiratorial spinners have even claimed that the use of umbrellas in defense from pepper spray, and the use of cellphone social networking, are beyond the skills and imagination of Hong Kong youth, so they must have been instructed by the CIA!  And while the US is undoubtedly encouraging its friends in Hong Kong, there is no evidence that they started this popular rebellion, or are shaping, leading, or controlling it in any way.  See the following article by Dave Lindorff for another view on these rebellions.

Today, it is said that the protests are winding down.  Perhaps, but it may be just getting a second wind, or summing things up in preparation for the next round of struggle.  But the bottom line is, as Mao (whom China's current rulers have worked to censor and turn into an empty icon) has said, "Wherever there is oppression, there follows resistance."  Support the struggles of the people of Hong Kong!  --  Frontlines ed.]

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Has the Left Libeled a Democracy Movement?
What’s Driving the Hong Kong Protests
by DAVE LINDORFF, CounterPunch, OCTOBER 06, 2014

A number of progressive and left-leaning writers in the US have jumped on a report by Wikileaks that the neo-con dominated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and various other US-government linked organizations with a history of subversion and sowing discord abroad are operating in Hong Kong and on that basis are making the leap of “logic” that the democracy protests in Hong Kong must therefore be a creation of US policy-makers.

Riot police use pepper spray as they clash with protesters outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong

Protesters take cover from pepper spray with umbrellas as riot police clash with tens ofthousands of protesters blocking the main street leading to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong September 28, 2014.(Reuters / Bobby Yip)

As a progressive, Chinese-fluent journalist who has spent years working in China and especially Hong Kong, and who has spent decades exposing the secret workings of US agencies and their network of fake NGOs in support of US empire, as well as their anti-democratic activities here in the US, I can understand why people might be suspicious, but I want to explain that Hong Kong is not Ukraine or even Venezuela or Brazil.

 

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As Hong Kong Protests Resist Police, Ferguson Protesters say: “Stay Strong”

[As mentioned earlier, the Hong Kong protests against the Capitalist rulers of China, are focused on the semi-colonial relationship that Hong Kong has with Beijing ever since the HK break in formal colonial relations with Capitalist-Imperialist Britain.  The following news article repeats the misstaken characterization of China as "Communist" even years after it restored capitalism and remained "Communist" in name only. -- Frontlines ed.]

Hong Kong activists hold ‘umbrella protest’

ITV, 29 September 2014
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong held an “umbrella protest” as police sprayed pepper spray at them.
After three days thousands of protesters would not be moved despite the Hong Kong government saying they were withdrawing riot police.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters remain on the streets of Hong Kong after police used tear gas and batons in an attempt to disperse them yesterday.

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China: 27 villagers detained after land-grab protests in Shantou

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At least 1,000 villagers from Liantang village in Guangdong protested outside the city government’s office building on Friday

He Huifeng, South China Morning PostMonday, 29 September, 2014

At least 27 villagers in Shantou, Guangdong were detained by police on Saturday for allegedly inciting a two-day protest over the sale of their land and corruption.

Thousands of villagers from Liantang village clashed with hundreds of police and government officials on Friday and Saturday in front of the Shantou municipal government building.

They said village officials had sold their collective land and never shared the profits with villagers. The demonstrations ended on Saturday night and local public security officers took away 27 people on suspicion of spreading rumours or disturbing public order and causing trouble.
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China, world leader in exporting tools of torture

Tue Sep 23, 2014

The allegation is contained in a report published by Amnesty International. More than 130 Chinese companies produce and sell “intrinsically cruel” instruments in Asia and Africa. These would include spiked batons, electric batons and rigid restraint chairs.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Electric-shock stun batons, metal-spiked truncheons and rigid restraint chairs. These are just some of the products sold by more than 130 Chinese companies in several Asian and African nations, “in intrinsically cruel” tools of torture that represent a good chunk of the exports of the sector. The complaint comes from Amnesty International, in a report published today which charges Beijing with helping the torture trade to prosper worldwide.

Some tools sold by Chinese industries, says the group, “while some of the exports are no doubt used in legitimate law enforcement operations, China has also exported equipment that has inhumane effects, or poses a substantial risk of fuelling human rights violations by foreign law enforcement agencies”. The largest importers are countries such as Senegal, Egypt, Ghana, Cambodia and Nepal; one company that sells restraint chairs and batons has business relations with more than 40 African nations. Continue reading