Hong Kong: an anatomy of the revolt

[The Hong Kong revolt is a reform movement, not a revolution, and it has been sustained by its unmistakeable mass character.  Those who claim, disingenuously, that it is triggered by foreign forces a la "Orange Revolution" or even some kind of revanchist reassertion of British colonialism are inventing a false picture while denying the class character of the revolt, the class character of Chinese capitalist-imperialism, and the class character of Hong Kong.  The people have legitimate grievances, which are currently shaped and constrained by reformist leaders and by the lack of revolutionary leadership. This revolt will not be the trigger, today, for China-wide revolts against the capitalist regime in Beijing, though those revolts, especially by displaced peasants and massively exploited workers, are widespread and continuously growing against the counter-revolutionary post-Mao capitalist rule.  The people of Hong Kong should be supported by internationalists, anti-imperialists, revolutionary proletarians, and democratic activists.  The following detailed and lengthy reformist-focused article by Lawrence Wong examines the HK revolt and the conditions which gave rise to it -- and its chances for "successful reform".  What the article does not address are the ways the struggles of today will congeal into revolutionary forces and strategies in the future.  --  Frontlines ed.]

October 6, 2014

by Lawrence Wong | Counterfire | Opinion

Protestor

A protester (centre) raises his umbrellas in front of tear gas which was fired by riot police to disperse protesters blocking the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, on Sept 28, 2014. — PHOTO: REUTERS

Lawrence Wong looks at the background, and prospects, for Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

The scale, the size, and the vitality of the ‘umbrella’ revolution took every person, including the Hong Kong people themselves, by surprise. However, this does not mean that the protests and campaigns of civil disobedience were without precedent in the territory of Hong Kong.

The previous Chief Executive Tung Chee Wah was deposed through a mass campaign in 2003.There have been strikes, a notable docker’s strike, a threat to strike by Cathay Pacific cabin crew, a successful campaign against the change in the secondary school curriculum, and the recent mock plebiscite where 800,00 Hong Kong people voted for genuine democracy.

Every year, Hong Kong people come out, sometimes in tens of thousands and sometimes in hundreds of thousands, around June 4th to commemorate and to remember the fallen when Chinese people last stormed the gates of heaven twenty five years ago. Most of these protests have been successful, and have taken place in the ‘consultative’ period, prior to decisions being made. The mobilisations of Occupy Central, the mock plebiscite, the magnificent 500,000 demonstration on June 1 which was the closest Sunday to June 4th, took place within this by and large successful experience of struggle by Hong Kong people since 1997. Continue reading

US moving to block China’s challenge to World Bank

[Chinese imperialism is moving rapidly, knitting new alliances of trade, investment, security, intel-surveillance, and other challenges to the "traditional" US domination of these world relations.  Finance is one of the most active arenas of this inter-imperialist contention, as this fidgety New York Times article describes, from US perspective.  Significantly, the article, while focusing on the challenge to the US-dominated World Bank, does not go into the parallel challenge (to the US dollar standard) that China is making on the monetary systems of trade, investment, and credit -- raising the yuan/renminbi as the significant "alternate" currency/monetary system.  The Wall Street Journal reported, "The U.K. government moved a step closer on Thursday to becoming the first country other than China to issue bonds in China’s yuan." Revolutionary people everywhere are beginning to note that the contradictions within and between imperialists are sharpening, and becoming more muscular. It won't do to focus on the US as the only imperialist to oppose.  --  Frontlines ed.]

U.S. Opposing China’s Answer to World Bank

OCT. 9, 2014

BEIJING — For almost a year, China has been pitching an idea to its neighbors in Asia: a big, internationally funded bank that would offer quick financing for badly needed transportation, telecommunications and energy projects in underdeveloped countries across the region.

With the public backing of President Xi Jinping and a pledge from Beijing to contribute much of the $50 billion in initial capital, the plan could be seen as an answer to critics who have long argued that China should take on greater responsibilities as a world power. But the United States, perhaps the most vocal of such critics, especially on issues such as climate change and arms proliferation, has not embraced the Chinese proposal.
Instead, in quiet conversations with China’s potential partners, American officials have lobbied against the development bank with unexpected determination and engaged in a vigorous campaign to persuade important allies to shun the project, according to senior United States officials and representatives of other governments involved.

Continue reading

Here’s How Russia and China Are Teaming Up to Shape Our Future

“It’s likely that the US will be on the outside looking in”
—By Pepe Escobar | Mother Jones magazine | Monday Oct. 6, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Shanghai in May. Pang Xinglei/Xinhua

 

A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB.

Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi, and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway or at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, the star of the show today and tomorrow is the new Osama bin Laden: Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive, self-appointed beheading prophet of a new mini-state and movement that has provided an acronym feast—ISIS/ISIL/IS—for hysterics in Washington and elsewhere.

No matter how often Washington remixes its Global War on Terror, however, the tectonic plates of Eurasian geopolitics continue to shift, and they’re not going to stop just because American elites refuse to accept that their historically brief “unipolar moment” is on the wane. For them, the closing of the era of “full spectrum dominance,” as the Pentagon likes to call it, is inconceivable. After all, the necessity for the indispensable nation to control all space—military, economic, cultural, cyber, and outer—is little short of a religious doctrine. Exceptionalist missionaries don’t do equality. At best, they do “coalitions of the willing” like the one crammed with “over 40 countries” assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL/IS and either applauding (and plotting) from the sidelines or sending the odd plane or two toward Iraq or Syria. 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.

Continue reading

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