Pepe Escobar weighs in on Hong Kong civil disobedience
I’ll only focus on the Pepe’s Hong Kong portion, as I’ll bring other viewpoints as well. A recent reader asked me to say that my (limited thoughts and content) are in violet, hyperlinks turn blue at c99%; all else is in black. This is longish, but given the current anti-China realpolitik afoot, this is a very big deal in my estimation. Feel free to weigh in, even with contrasting sources and opinions. Dagnabbit, I’d forgotten to see if Joe Biden’s blaming the protests on the Russians on Twitter.
‘Hong Kong, Kashmir: a Tale of Two Occupations’ Pepe Escobar, August 7, 2019, strategic-culture.com (CC w/ attribution):
“Readers from myriad latitudes have been asking me about Hong Kong. They know it’s one of my previous homes. I developed a complex, multi-faceted relationship with Hong Kong ever since the 1997 handover, which I covered extensively. Right now, if you allow me, I’d rather cut to the chase.
Much to the distress of neocons and humanitarian imperialists, there won’t be a bloody mainland China crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong – a Tiananmen 2.0. Why? Because it’s not worth it.
Beijing has clearly identified the color revolution provocation inbuilt in the protests – with the NED excelling as CIA soft, facilitating the sprawl of fifth columnists even in the civil service.
There are other components, of course. The fact that Hong Kongers are right to be angry about what is a de facto Tycoon Club oligarchy controlling every nook and cranny of the economy. The local backlash against “the invasion of the mainlanders”. And the relentless cultural war of Cantonese vs. Beijing, north vs. south, province vs. political center.
What these protests have accelerated is Beijing’s conviction that Hong Kong is not worth its trust as a key node in China’s massive integration/development project. Beijing invested no less than $18.8 billion to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, as part of the Greater Bay Area, to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland, not to snub it.
Now a bunch of useful idiots at least has graphically proven they don’t deserve any sort of preferential treatment anymore.
The big story in Hong Kong is not even the savage, counter-productive protests (imagine if this was in France, where Macron’s army is actually maiming and even killing Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests). The big story is the rot consuming HSBC – which has all the makings of the new Deutsche Bank scandal.
HSBC holds $2.6 trillion in assets and an intergalactic horde of cockroaches in their basement – asking serious questions about money laundering and dodgy deals operated by global turbo-capitalist elites.
In the end, Hong Kong will be left to its own internally corroding devices – slowly degrading to its final tawdry status as a Chinese Disneyland with a Western veneer. Shanghai is already in the process of being boosted as China’s top financial center. And Shenzhen already is the top high-tech hub. Hong Kong will be just an afterthought.”
‘Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong or US Color Revolution Attempt?’, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, August 13, 2019
“As the saying goes, if it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, chances are it is one.
What’s been going on for months in Hong Kong has all the earmarks of a US orchestrated color revolution, aimed at destabilizing China by targeting its soft Hong Kong underbelly.
In calling for reunification of China in the early 1980s, then-leader Deng Xiaoping said Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic, financial and governmental systems, Taiwan as well under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
The above would be something like what the US 10th Amendment stipulates, stating:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Each of the 50 US states has its own electoral system, governing procedures, and laws that may differ from federal ones.
China’s soft underbelly in Western-oriented Hong Kong left it vulnerable to what’s going on. US dirty hands likely orchestrated and manipulated pro-Western 5th column elements behind months of anti-Beijing protests.
Dubbed Occupy Central, China’s leadership is well aware of what’s going on and the high stakes. Beijing is faced with a dilemma.
Cracking down forcefully to end disruptive Hong Kong protests could discourage foreign investments. Letting them continue endlessly can destabilize the nation.
US war on China by other means aims to marginalize, weaken, contain, and isolate the country — because of its sovereign independence, unwillingness to bend to US interests, and its growing political, economic, financial, and military development.
China’s emergence as a world power threatens Washington’s aim to control other countries, their resources and populations worldwide.
Its successful economic model, producing sustained growth, embarrasses the US-led unfair, exploitative Western “free market” system.
The US eliminated the Japanese economic threat in the 1980s, a similar one from the Asian Tiger economies in the 1990s, and now it’s China’s turn to be taken down.
Its leadership understands what’s going on and is countering it in its own way. China is a more formidable and resourceful US adversary than earlier ones.
Its strategy includes taking a longterm approach toward achieving its objectives with plenty of economic and financial ability to counter US tactics.
It may become the first post-WW II nation to defeat Washington’s imperial game, making the new millennium China’s century in the decades ahead.
US strategies to control other nations include preemptive wars of aggression, old-fashioned coups, and color revolutions — what appears to be going on in Hong Kong.
This form of covert war first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000. What appeared to be a spontaneous political uprising was developed by RAND Corporation strategist in the 1990s — the concept of swarming.
It replicates “communication patterns and movement of” bees and other insects used against nations to destabilize and topple their governments.
The CIA, (anti-democratic) National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National (undemocratic) Democratic Institute, and USAID are involved.
Their mission is disruptively subverting democracy and instigating regime change through labor strikes, mass street protests, major media agitprop, and whatever else it takes short of military conflict.
Belgrade in 2000 was the prototype test drive for this strategy. When subsequently used, it experienced successes and failures, the former notably in Ukraine twice — in late 2004/early 2005, again in late 2013/early 2014.
US color revolution attempts have a common thread, aiming to achieve what the Pentagon calls “full spectrum dominance” — notably by neutralizing and controlling Russia and China, Washington’s main rival powers, adversaries because of their sovereign independence.
Controlling resource-rich Eurasia, that includes the Middle East, along with Venezuelan world’s largest oil reserves, is a key US imperial aim.”
‘Hong Kong protests met with denunciations and threats’, Peter Symonds, 14 August 2019, wsws.org
“Yesterday, amid an occupation numbering in the thousands, the airport authority was compelled to halt all check-in services for flights after 4.30 p.m., resulting in the cancellation of some 300 departures. Clashes erupted between riot police in the evening after protesters seized a mainland Chinese man who they accused of being an undercover police officer.
According to the South China Morning Post, the riot police used pepper spray in the airport to drive out protesters. It reported that as of this morning only a small group of some 30 protesters remained.
The airport occupation has dramatically raised the stakes in the political confrontation that is now in its 10th week. The huge protests in June over planned legislation to allow extradition from Hong Kong to China have morphed into a protest movement making wider democratic demands, including action against police violence and free elections based on universal suffrage.
The city’s administration, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam and backed by Beijing, has adamantly refused to make any concessions to the protesters, other than to suspend the legislation. At a press conference yesterday, Lam denounced the “illegal activities” of the protesters, defended the violent actions of the police and warned that “riot activities [have] pushed Hong Kong to the brink of no return.”
Lam’s remarks echoed those of Hong Kong business leaders amid falling share prices and fears of an economic downturn, especially in the property sector. Swire Pacific, a wealthy family-owned business empire that owns the Cathay Pacific airline and an extensive property portfolio, issued a statement condemning “illegal activities and violent behaviour” and gave Lam and the police full support “in their efforts to restore law and order.” Sun Hung Kai Properties, controlled by Asia’s third richest family, also called on Tuesday for the restoration of social order and backed Lam.
Sections of the Hong Kong business elite, concerned at Beijing’s encroachment on their interests, had initially supported the protests against the extradition bill but are now calling for an end to the protest movement. Property tycoon Peter Woo said in a statement on Monday that the protests had already forced the government to shelve the legislation and claimed that some people were using the issue to “purposely stir up trouble.”
The huge social gulf between the handful of billionaires who dominate Hong Kong, economically and politically, and the vast majority of the city’s population looms large. Low wages, economic insecurity, the lack of opportunities for young people, unaffordable housing, and threadbare welfare services are all fuelling discontent and anger.”
‘Violent Protests In Hong Kong Reach Their Last Stage; The riots in Hong Kong are about to end’, August 14, 2019, moonofalabama.org
The protests, as originally started in June, were against a law that would have allowed criminal extraditions to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China. The law was retracted and the large protests have since died down. What is left are a few thousand students who, as advertised in a New York Times op-ed, intentionally seek to provoke the police with “marginal violence”:
Such actions are a way to make noise and gain attention. And if they prompt the police to respond with unnecessary force, as happened on June 12, then the public will feel disapproval and disgust for the authorities. The protesters should thoughtfully escalate nonviolence, maybe even resort to mild force, to push the government to the edge. That was the goal of many people who surrounded and barricaded police headquarters for hours on June 21.
The protesters now use the same violent methods that were used in the Maidan protests in the Ukraine. The U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tianamen scene. That U.S. color revolution attempt failed but was an excellent instrument to demonize China. A repeat in Hong Kong would allow the U.S. to declare a “clash of civilization” and increase ‘western’ hostility against China. But while China is prepared to intervene it is unlikely to do the U.S. that favor. Its government expressed confidence that the local authorities will be able to handle the issue.
There are rumors that some Hong Kong oligarchs were originally behind the protests to prevent their extradition for shady deals they made in China. There may be some truth to that. China’s president Xi Jingpin is waging a fierce campaign against corruption and Hong Kong is a target rich environment for fighting that crime.” [snip]
“Rents and apartment prices in Hong Kong are high. People from the mainland who buy up apartments with probably illegally gained money only increase the scarcity. This is one reason why the Cantonese speaking Hong Kong protesters spray slurs against the Mandarin speaking people from the mainland. The people in Hong Kong also grieve over their declining importance. Hong Kong lost its once important economical position. In 1993 Hong Kong’s share of China’s GDP was 27%. It is now less than a tenths of that and the city is now more or less irrelevant to mainland China.”
‘World is watching’: US reaction points to Hong Kong as a ‘color revolution’, 12 Aug, 2019, RT.com
“One cannot help but recall that the same phrasing was used for Ukraine, during the Maidan protests of 2013 that culminated in a violent coup in February 2014 – and plunged that country into secession of Crimea and civil war in the Donbass, eastern Ukraine.
The impression is only reinforced by the images reminiscent of Kiev coming out of Hong Kong, showing helmeted protesters in black masks firing grenades and throwing firebombs at police – none of which has stopped the chorus of US media from calling the protesters
Hong Kong protesters in Hong Kong proudly sing US National anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” O say can you see ... What so proudly we hailed ...brings tears to my eyes pic.twitter.com/CeM5zrA1Fe
— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) August 10, 2019
“There is even nationalism, albeit of a xeno variety: some protesters have brandished flags of Hong Kong’s former colonial master, the UK. Others have embraced the US flag, telling reporters it stands for “freedom, human rights and democracy.” [snip]
“Even though US President Donald Trump has steered clear of Hong Kong and made sure to describe is as an internal Chinese matter, focusing his diatribes entirely on trade, the Chinese public is becoming increasingly convinced that Washington is instigating turmoil in Hong Kong along the lines of “color revolutions” elsewhere.”
And for a it of comic relief: ‘Hong Kong phooey! Would you like any hypocrisy with that?, George Galloway, August 13, 2019, RT.com
“Like a homing pigeon in reverse the entire UK media has flown like a bat out of hell away from France all the way to Hong Kong (as they had earlier flown to Caracas until the big protests turned into the wrong kind of protests).
There is nothing, except the shoe-sizes, of the demonstrators in Hong Kong that I don’t know thanks to the veritable blizzard of in-depth analysis of the protestors there and their each and every demand. Protesters in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can be executed, but we will never be told their names.
And the hypocrisy of the media is just for starters.
If a group of British protesters broke into the British Parliament and hung, for argument’s sake, a Russian flag over the Speaker’s chair it is “highly likely” that a commando force would quickly and violently overwhelm and arrest them accompanied by volleys of accusations about Russian interference.
If a crowd of British protestors occupied Heathrow Airport in such numbers and so disruptively that British Airways had to stop flights in and out of the airport, causing massive financial loss, dislocation, and personal inconvenience, I promise you that their protest would have been cleared out by the above mentioned commandos on the very first day of their protests.
If protesters in London were hoisting Chinese flags and singing the Chinese national anthem then, well, I’m sure you get my point.
The struggle between the government of China and its citizens is no more the business of the British than it is of the Slovakians. It’s true that Hong Kong was a British colony for 150 years but the least said about the shame and disgrace of how that came to be, the better, I promise you.
Suffice to say that to acquire territory by force, followed by unequal treaty at gunboat-point to punish the actual owners of the land for resisting the British opium trade, is, even by British Imperial standards, extraordinary. So shameful is it you’d think the British would want to draw a veil over it. But not so.”
On the other hand, and note sources and today’s date:
‘Chinese military personnel near Hong Kong border’, Ambassador in London says China prepared to intervene ‘if things get worse’; troops 7km from border, Jimmy Yee & AFP, asiatimes.com, August 15, 2019
“Thousands of Chinese military personnel waving red flags paraded at a sports stadium in a city across the border from Hong Kong on Thursday.
Armored vehicles were also seen inside the stadium in Shenzhen, as concerns build that China may intervene to end more than 10 weeks of unrest in Hong Kong.
“Indeed, China’s ambassador in London warned several hours later that Beijing was ready to intervene if the crisis gets worse.
“Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further… the central government will not sit on its hands and watch,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said at a news conference in the UK. “We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly. Their moves are severe and violent offenses, and already shows signs of terrorism.”
China’s state-run media reported this week that the elements of the People’s Armed Police (PAP), which is under the command of the Central Military Commission, were assembling in Shenzhen.
Some of the personnel inside the stadium on Thursday had armed police insignias on their camouflage fatigues, according to an AFP reporter.
The security forces could be seen moving in formation inside the stadium and occasionally running, while others rode around outside on motorbikes.
Outside the stadium – which is around seven kilometers from Hong Kong – there were also dozens of trucks and armored personnel carriers.
The People’s Daily and Global Times, two of the most powerful state-run media outlets, published videos on Monday of what it said was the PAP assembling in Shenzhen.
The Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, said the military presence in Shenzhen was a sign that China was prepared to intervene in Hong Kong.
“If they do not pull back from the cliff and continue to push the situation further beyond the critical point, the power of the state may come to Hong Kong at any time,” Hu wrote.
US President Donald Trump also said Tuesday American intelligence had confirmed Chinese troop movements toward the Hong Kong border.
“I hope it works out for everybody including China. I hope it works out peacefully, nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed,” Trump said.
‘Satellite images show China’s military massing near Hong Kong border; A satellite photo has revealed a worrying threat, right on the border with Hong Kong. It indicates Beijing is losing patience’, news.com.au, August 15, 2019
“Satellite photos show what appear to be Chinese armoured personnel carriers and other military vehicles across the border from Hong Kong.
Parked in a sports complex in the city of Shenzhen, the deployment has been interpreted as a threat from Beijing to use increased force against pro-democracy protesters.
The pictures, collected on Monday by Maxar’s WorldView, show 500 or more vehicles sitting on and around the soccer stadium at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.
The military force is just across the harbour from the Asian financial hub that has been rocked by near-daily street demonstrations.
Hong Kong’s 10-week political crisis, in which millions of people have taken to the streets calling for a halt to sliding freedoms, is the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.” [snip]
“The state-run People’s Daily did not comment on the purpose of the vehicles but noted that the People’s Armed Police was in charge of “handling riots, turmoil, seriously violent, criminal activities, terrorist attacks and other societal security incidents”.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)