Over the past few months, both mainstream and alternative news outlets have been covering massive protests in Hong Kong where tens of thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations that have since devolved into violence both with police, counter-protesters, and others. These protests have seen injuries on both sides and have now caught the eye of the world.
But the question is more nuanced than simply whether or not one supports the protests. After all, we have seen plenty of protests in the past that, at first glance, seemed legitimate, but unfortunately turned out to be merely tools of Western governments. So the first question is “Are the protests legitimate or are they a color revolution?” In 2019, it is no longer safe to assume that protesters are organic. However, it is also not safe to assume that every action of civil unrest is because the United States has organized a coup.
The Back Story
Before we look into whether or not the protests are legitimate, it is important to understand the trigger for the demonstrations that are currently taking place. The first protests in Hong Kong began in response to a proposed extradition bill that would have seen individuals who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition agreement to be detained. Many of the opponents of the bill felt that it would have placed both Hong Kongers and visitors to the territory essentially under the jurisdiction of mainland China, thus making the “one country, two systems” setup obsolete. Others, however, argued that the extradition bill made sense. After all, since it would be difficult to negotiate an extradition agreement with Taiwan or China, it would be useful to at least provide some sort of avenue for justice for individuals who committed crimes and subsequently crossed the border to evade jail time or other punishment.
It is worth noting that the bill was submitted by the Hong Kong government. It is also worth pointing out the complexities of the “One country, two systems” agreement whereby the British, after decades of imperialist rule over Hong Kong, ceded it back to China in 1997. The British forced Beijing to accept a number of conditions such as the agreement that Hong Kong would draft a mini-Constitution and retain its capitalist system, own currency, legal and legislative system as well as individual rights and freedoms. However, this agreement was only to last for fifty years, when the agreement is set to expire and Hong Kong is to be fully returned to China in 2047.
The first protests began in late March and early April and gradually increased in June when hundreds of thousands of protesters entered the streets. June 12 saw an increase of violence with clashes between protesters and police, who brought out the tear gas and rubber bullets. An even larger march began on June 16. On July 1, hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the annual July marches and a number of these protesters split away from the main demonstration to break into the Legislative Council Complex where they vandalized a number of government symbols and briefly occupied the building.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the bill on June 15, declaring it “dead” on July 9 though she did not clearly state that the bill would be withdrawn or not revisited. Executive Council members Regina Ip and Bernard Charnwut Chan then stated publicly that the government would be making no more concessions.
Protests have continued throughout the summer and have resulted in increasingly violent confrontations between police and activists. In addition, pro-China “triad” members (organized crime) clashed with the protesters. A portion of the local residents also began to counter-protest the original protesters and clashes then broke out between the two.
For instance, on July 21, a mob of men dressed in white shirts attacked protesters, travelers, and journalists at a Hong Kong train station, injuring 45 people and leaving the train station floor stained with blood.
Demands being made by the protesters have gradually increased in number. They have called for the following:
- An independent inquiry on police brutality
- Release of arrested protesters
- Retraction of the official characterization of the protests as “riots”
- Direct elections for the positions of Legislative Council members and the Chief Executive
- Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process
- Resignation of Carrie Lam
Who Is Behind The Protests?
As soon as protesters took to the streets, Chinese government officials were accusing the United States and its NGO networks of being behind the movement as an effort to weaken China and cause chaos in the process of eventual reunification. Many in the alternative media immediately began reporting on the color revolution taking place in Hong Kong while the mainstream Western press began praising the protesters for their courage and criticizing the Hong Kong police for their brutality.
So is there any evidence that the Hong Kong protests are controlled or being directed by the United States or its NGO community that has created so many color revolutions across the world? The short answer is yes.
For instance, one of the recognized leaders of the protest movement is Joshua Wong, who is a leader and secretary-general of the “Demosisto” party. Wong has consistently denied any links to the United States and its NGO apparatus. However, Wong actually traveled to Washington DC in 2015, after the conclusion of the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution to receive an award given to him from Freedom House, a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy. Demosisto has been linked with the National Endowment for Democracy as well.
For those that may be unaware, the NED is an arm of the US State Department designed to sow discord in target countries resulting in the overthrow, replacement, or extraction of concessions from governments of target countries.
Indeed, Jonathan Mowat adds to the recent historical understanding of the controlled-coup and color revolutions in his article, “The New Gladio In Action: ‘Swarming Adolescents,’” also focusing on the players and the methods of deployment. Mowat writes,
Much of the coup apparatus is the same that was used in the overthrow of President Fernando Marcos of the Philippines in 1986, the Tiananmen Square destabilization in 1989, and Vaclav Havel’s “Velvet revolution” in Czechoslovakia in 1989. As in these early operations, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its primary arms, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), played a central role. The NED was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein. The Cold War propaganda and operations center, Freedom House, now chaired by former CIA director James Woolsey, has also been involved, as were billionaire George Soros’ foundations, whose donations always dovetail those of the NED.
Nathan Law, another leader of the Hong Kong protests and rock star of the Umbrella Revolution, is also closely connected to the National Endowment for Democracy. On the NED website, “World Movement for Democracy,” in a post entitled “Democracy Courage Tribute Award Presentation,” where the organization mentions an award it presented to Law. In the article, it states,
The Umbrella Movement’s bold call in the fall of 2014 for a free and fair election process to select the city’s leaders brought thousands into the streets to demonstrate peacefully. The images from these protests have motivated Chinese democracy activists on the mainland and resulted in solidarity between longtime champions of democracy in Hong Kong and a new generation of Hong Kong youth seeking to improve their city. The Hong Kong democracy movement will face further obstacles in the years to come, and their idealism and bravery will need to be supported as they work for democratic representation in Hong Kong.
Interestingly enough, Joshua Wong has shown up to express “solidarity” with other protest movements engineered by the United States and its NGO apparatus, particularly in Thailand where Western NGOs and the US State Department are controlling both the protest movement and the former government.
For a short overview of how such operations work, watch the video below, a BBC report on the Oslo Freedom Forum which shows some of the leaders of today’s Hong Kong protests as well as leaders of the Umbrella Revolution and other global “protest movements” being trained by the US State Department/NGO apparatus in 2013.
Also see my previous articles on the topic linked below:
- Color Revolutions 101: The Making Of A Controlled Revolution
- The History And Science Of Color Revolutions Part 2
- The History And Science Of Color Revolutions Part 3
- The History And Science Of Color Revolutions Part 4
Notably, these protests are receiving heavy media coverage as well as the ever-present logo (umbrellas), both hallmarks of color revolutions and social media giants Twitter and Facebook have accused China of spreading disinformation via their accounts and have been removing or blocking pro-China accountsindicating that someone in the halls of power in the West would like to see the protests continue.
So Why Does The US Support The Protests?
The United States State Department and its subsidiary color revolution apparatus does not support protest movements because it supports right and freedom for people in other countries. After all, the US government as a whole does not support rights and freedom for its own people. So, in full knowledge that the US government does support the Hong Kong protesters, the question then arises, “Why?”
There are at least three reasons why the US is supporting the Hong Kong protest movement, none of which involve the rights of Hong Kongers. First, with China set to fully acquire Hong Kong in 2047 and growing integration between Hong Kong and China over the next three decades, the United States does not want to see China grow any stronger as an economic, military, or diplomatic powerhouse. The full return of Hong Kong to China would further Chinese growth in all three of these areas.
Second, the United States benefits from a weaker Chinese government and one that is not able to fully impose control on every citizen within its borders. This is why the US has funded destabilization movements all across China, many with real concerns, as well as terrorist attacks in areas where China is planning to develop in the third world.
Lastly, Hong Kong currently acts as a tax haven for Western corporations and as a dumping ground for wealth that needs to avoid taxation. Chinese control may very well threaten that wealth, particularly in light of the fact that the Trump administration is moving forward on an apparent plan to put the United States on a more fair footing with China in terms of international trade through tariffs and increased worker protections.
In short, by maintaining Hong Kong as-is, the United States would maintain an outpost alongside China’s borders. However, China not only views Hong Kong as physical territory and financial wealth, it understands that, in a trade or real war with the United States, Hong Kong can be used to not only physically position military forces but it can also be used to economically loot the mainland.
It should be noted that China has never given up on the re-absorbing Taiwan and Hong Kong, even threatening to do so with military force if necessary.
Do The Protesters Have Legitimate Concerns?
While the United States may be funding and directing many of the protest leaders in Hong Kong, the fact remains that the protesters themselves as well as the many people who support them have legitimate reasons to be protesting. Indeed, in the case of Hong Kong, it appears that the nefarious American desire to weaken China and protect its corporate tax haven have intersected with the very real need of Hong Kongers to preserve what’s left of the liberty they have.
In order to understand this, it is necessary to understand that there is a plethora of opinions on the Hong Kong issue within Hong Kong itself. First, it seems the dividing line of opinions often centers around age, heritage, and geopolitics. From reading mainstream reports and watching a number of videos, it is apparent that the majority of protesters are young, even university-educated people who have lived their lives in Hong Kong while the counter protesters seem to be older, with a stronger heritage link to China. This older generation should not be conflated with oldest, however, as it appears that many are from the “baby boomer” era more-so than the elderly generation before it. That being said, age is not a clear cut line of difference, however, with a number of younger and older people choosing to support opposite sides. Like any protest movement, the majority of the people of Hong Kong can be found going about their everyday business, teetering on the edges of any engagement whatsoever.
One such reason that the oldest and the youngest protesters seem to intersect, however, is, in the case of the oldest, a memory of what life was like in neighboring China before the Cultural Revolution and the ability to watch that way of life change for the worst and eventually horrific. The youngest members of the “anti-China” crowd may be viewing the issue similarly for the completely opposite reason, precisely the fact that they grew up in a time knowing nothing but freedoms their neighbors could scarcely dream of.
It is also important to point out the cultural difference in Hong Kong, which is essentially Chinese culture at heart, but one that has embraced capitalism and has experienced rights that mainland Chinese people can only dream of. Based on Common Law, this includes the right to freedom of speech. As the Financial Times wrote in 2018,
For more than two decades, citizens and residents in the former British colony of Hong Kong have enjoyed a wide range of freedoms and legal protections unthinkable in any other part of the People’s Republic of China. These protections, guaranteed by the territory’s tradition of judicial independence, are the bedrock of the city’s extraordinary success as a regional entrepôt. It is precisely because of these legal safeguards that many international companies, including most global media organisations, have chosen to base their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.
As mentioned earlier, one reason the “lease” of Hong Kong was pushed back for so long a time (to be fully realized in 2047) is because it would erase an entire generation of people who remembered what such little freedom was like compared to the zero freedom afforded by China. However, what was perhaps unintended was a birth of an entire generation of people who only knew that freedom and are not as keen to give it away as others may have been. This is one reason you can see young people in the streets with signs supporting freedom of speech and even calling for the right to own and bear arms. In other words. you are able to see so many people who have been denied rights Americans take for granted or are under threat of losing even more of their rights desperately trying to gain or retain them, all while many Americans march in the streets to have those same rights taken away. Clearly, it is true that freedom is treasured the most when it is lost.
This threat of Chinese takeover is very real. With its brutal authoritarian methods of control, social credit systems, slave labor economy, and polluted food supply, many young Hong Kongers are rightfully terrified of what “one country, one system” will mean for them. China is a communist nightmare, no matter how much Western leftists would like to portray otherwise.
Nowhere is there more clear an example of “Western” arrogance than a widely-circulated video where an angry Australian lectures young Hong Kong protesters on how much “better everything is gonna be” when China takes over both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Coming from a country with virtually no rights and doing business in another, it may be par for the course for him. But there is something incredibly irritating to watch his denial of these protesters’ legitimate concerns and his lecturing on the part of the authoritarian regime that will soon be in power.
This (the threat of quickly descending into the clutches of Chinese authoritarians) is the very real concern the Western NGOs have seized upon in order to foster social unrest in Hong Kong.
Violence – Violent Counter Protests
There have been numerous videos depicting violence coming from both sides of the isle. On one hand, violence on the Hong Kong side has been blamed on anarchists, often a typical method of specific types of anarchists as well as police false flagging in order to justify a crackdown. Other videos have surfaced showing protesters beating “journalists” and those who disagree with them. The justification given by the protesters were that the individuals were “Chinese agents,” a claim that may or may not be true.
Likewise, we have seen numerous videos of counter-protesters also engaging in violence against the Hong Kong protesters, many of whom being members of Hong Kong/Chinese organized crime as mentioned earlier. The videos depicting police attacks against protesters have also been widely circulated in the media.
Scale Of Protests VS Counter Protests
The Hong Kong protests have spread from Hong Kong itself to all across the world with the immigrant community engaging in demonstrations in their adopted countries. Likewise, counter-protests have expanded globally.
There is very little doubt that the protests against greater Chinese involvement in Hong Kong have been much larger than those supporting it. One need only look at the numbers of the protests that took place on August 17 where 1.7 million people showed up to march.
What A Good Outcome Would Look Like
To claim that the protesters have a legitimate cause while, at the same time, pointing out that the US is directing the leaders of their movement may seem contradictory but, unfortunately, it is not. It should be possible to any unbiased observer to understand that the protesters are justified in their fear of being taken over by a country that just finished slaughtering 80 million people and that is currently oppressing each and every one of their citizens. It should also be possible to understand that the Western NGOs have seized upon this fear and desire for freedom for its own nefarious purposes. Only those who wish to promote an ideology would refuse to mention both aspects of the protests, something both the mainstream and alternative media outlets have unfortunately been guilty of.
So with all this in mind, what would a positive outcome be?
1.) First, the United States must cease using its NGO community or intelligence agencies to direct and manipulate an uprising or unrest in Hong Kong. The future of Hong Kong is for Hong Kongers to decide, not under the manipulation of Western NGOs. The US must immediately cease fostering dissent in other nations. If the US wants to counter Chinese empire, it must do so by offering economic and other incentives and not by threats, social unrest, or violence.
2.) None of the protesters’ demands thus far are unreasonable. There should be an independent inquiry as to the techniques being used by police, police brutality, and the connections these tactics have to the growing Chinese influence in Hong Kong. Protesters who have been arrested for their political views (not those arrested for offensive violence, rioting, or peddlers of foreign influence) should be released. While official categorizations are no issue to fixate upon, the protests should be reclassified as what they are, protests. Elections should be instituted and the people of Hong Kong should elect their Legislative Council and Chief Executive directly. Withdraw the extradition bill completely from consideration until a reasonable proposal can be drafted, discussed, and agreed upon. Carrie Lam is widely known as a tool of Beijing and, for this reason, a gradual, orderly, and democratic transition of power should take place.
In addition, while not official protest demands, the solidification of the rights to free speech, expression, possession of weapons, and privacy should take place.
3.) Just as the United States should stop inserting itself into the domestic life of Hong Kong, so should China immediately cease any and all attempts to control public opinion, social discourse, and political life in Hong Kong. Because of China’s lack of human rights within its own borders, there is a legitimate reason for Hong Kong to desire complete separation from the mainland. Thus, if China is not interested in becoming a free society, the “One country, two systems” policy must be extended abandoned and Hong Kong should remain independent.
By now, it should be relatively clear that many of the leaders of the Hong Kong protests are controlled and directed via the network of United States intelligence agencies and NGO apparatus for the purpose of protecting its corporate tax haven, keeping a friendly outpost on the Chinese border, and sowing seeds of discord within China itself.
However, the protesters are absolutely right in their concern for what will happen if they become part of China – i.e., another human tragedy that is the result of Communist authoritarianism exhibited by the Chinese government.
Thus, both the official and the mentioned unofficial demands are entirely reasonable. The people of Hong Kong must not be forced to live oppressed under authoritarian Chinese rule. Because the US has its own interests that do not involve freedom or human rights, it would be wise of the Hong Kong protests to abandon their Western-backed opposition leaders and find real organic leaders that are not taking orders from the West.
They should, however, continue to press for the rights they have and the rights they deserve.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.