Hong Kong protests unjustified, sinister

Special Correspondent
VIOLENT Western-backed protests which have rocked the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) — a semi-autonomous Chinese territory — since June, have disrupted social order, led to the destruction of property while undermining the “One Country, Two Systems” principle under which China operates.

HKSAR, formerly under British control, became part of China again in 1997 following negotiations between the Asian nation and Britain, culminating in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 which paved way for the reunion.

As highlighted in President Xi Jinping’s book, “The Governance of China, Hong Kong and Macao”, are governed under the “One Country, Two Systems” concept forwarded by Communist Party of China and the Chinese government.

“The framework of the concept is: Under the premise of national reunification, the mainland keeps practising socialism, while Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao retain their original capitalist system and ways of life for a very long time while enjoying a huge degree of autonomy,” notes the book.

Xi highlights in his book that Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland are closely linked by destiny and have a shared future.

“To realise the Chinese Dream — the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation —Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland must pool and share our strength, and seek common development.

“Moreover, the people of Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland must help each other to make progress,” Xi said.

Why are there protests and are they justified?

The protests are totally unjustified and sinister as seen by their origins and the fact that protest leaders, who include known anarchists, opposition legislators and students keep shifting and changing their demands, often making unreasonable demands, among them calling for foreign interference.

To show how unjustified the protests are, it is important to go back to protests’ origins.

The protests were sparked by the Hong Kong government’s proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance because of an ordinary criminal case.

This was after a Hong Kong resident, Chen Tongjia, allegedly murdered his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan in February 2018.

He then fled to Hong Kong, which has no jurisdiction over the case.

In order for justice to be done and to facilitate the transfer of Chen Tongjia to Taiwan for trial, the HKSAR government proposed the amendments to the above-mentioned ordinances.

As things stand, Hong Kong has not signed any deals with China’s mainland, Macao or Taiwan on the transfer of fugitives and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

By proposing the amendment of the ordinances, the HKSAR government was hoping to cooperate with China’s mainland, Macao and Taiwan in transferring criminal suspects and fugitives through special arrangements, which would help to deal with individual cases and plug the loopholes in the legal system.

The amendments were also designed to enable Hong Kong to work better with other parts of China in jointly combating crime and upholding the rule of law and justice.

It is also important to highlight that when Hong Kong returned to the mainland, it had signed agreements with 20 countries on the transfer of fugitives and treaties with 32 countries on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

It was, therefore, only logical that the ordinances be amended to enable Hong Kong to cooperate with other parts of China.

It is also important to note the arrangement did not affect Hong Kong’s judicial independence, but was meant to eliminate safe havens for criminals.

Some anarchists, however, took advantage of the proposals to spread falsehoods that China would interfere in the Hong Kong judiciary.

Massive protests were organised, prompting the Hong Kong government to suspend on June 15 and later stop proceedings as it sought to solicit broader public opinion and to restore calm.

The relevant legislative process was also halted with support from mainland China, in the interest of peace and stability.

But to show that the protests were never just about the amendments, the protests have not only continued, but have gathered pace amid interference and encouragement from Western countries, particularly the United States, which has a history of meddling in the internal affairs of several countries, including Zimbabwe.

Seeing that the initial reason for the protests no longer existed, protesters changed goal posts, and are now calling for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to step down, much like the regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.

They are also demanding an inquiry into alleged police brutality, the release of those arrested for violence and greater democratic freedoms.

The protesters, who have rode on foreign support and sympathy, are also campaigning for the United States’ interference in domestic affairs as seen by their march to the US consulate.

The protesters planned to present to consulate officials, a letter calling for the passing of the proposed “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019” by the US Congress.

While Western governments and the Press are labelling the protests “peaceful demonstrations” and labelling the demonstrators “pro-democracy protesters”, the protests have been violent in nature.

The demonstrations have been characterised by numerous attacks on police officers and police stations, including the Hong Kong police headquarters, ransacking of buildings, including the Legislative Council building.

Extremist protesters have also blocked the Hong Kong government offices, High Court, Revenue Tower and the Immigration Tower.

They have also blocked roads and disrupted train services and stormed the airport, affecting travel in the process.

Protesters have used dangerous weapons, including bricks, home-made spears, petrol bombs and corrosive chemicals in their attacks.

Many police officers, seeking to maintain law and order, have been injured after clashing with the protesters.

In addition, the protesters extensively damaged the council chamber, defaced HKSAR regional emblem, tore up the Basic Law, waved a colonial-era flag and even called for an establishment of a so-called “interim government”.

Members of the public have not been spared by the violence as seen by clashes between protesters and residents on July 6 in Tuen Mun District.

On July 7, protesters organised another demonstration in Kowloon, leading to a 50-percent plunge in passengers through West Kowloon high-speed train station, compared with an average weekend.

The protesters have also vandalised public places by among other things, digging up pavements, destroying street signs and lamp posts, setting fires on roads and defacing buildings.

August was particularly a violent month as the mobsters escalated their disruptive activities using guerrilla tactics to stage strikes, block public transport, prevent residents from going to work, damage public facilities, siege police stations and attack police officers across Hong Kong, pushing the city to the brink.

On August 5, flash mobs stirred up trouble across Hong Kong. They destroyed public facilities, including roadside railings, side walk bricks, traffic bollards and lights. A total of 36 roads and the Cross-Harbour Tunnel were blocked, 96 buses suspended or rerouted while more than 200 flights were cancelled.

Police officers have been a particular target of the protesters, who have constantly raided police stations. In many cases, they have thrown petrol and fire bombs at police stations and officers, shot vision-harming lasers, damaged police cars or written graffiti insulting the police.

The violence has continued to today, although it is scaling up and becoming more coordinated amid evidence of foreign assistance. The radical protesters have also become better-equipped, enabling them to scale up violence.

Although the police have exercised restraint in the face of massive provocation, they have come under attack from US politicians whenever they intervene to restore law and order.

Ironically, the US and other Western countries do not hesitate to maintain law and order whenever it is threatened.

While US politicians are slamming Hong Kong police for maintaining law and order, US President Donald Trump last month threatened to label Antifa, an anti-fascist leftist groups, a terrorist organisation ahead of planned demonstrations in Portland, Oregon.

“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANISATION OF TERROR,’” Trump tweeted. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the mayor will be able to properly do his job!”

In July, government spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Washington of “deliberately misinterpreting the work of Hong Kong police as violent repression when the police were only enforcing the law, fighting crimes and upholding social order.”

This is the same reaction that we see, from the US and other Western countries in Zimbabwe, whenever police restore law and order during protests.

Foreign Interference just like in Zimbabwe
There is overwhelming evidence that there has been a foreign hand assisting protesters in the planning and execution of the protests.

The United States in particular has been at the forefront of promoting the demonstrations which have negatively affected social order and business.

A report in Hong Kong major newspaper Ta kung Pao in August revealed there had been a meeting between several radical opposition figures, including the “Hong Kong independence” activist Joshua Wong and Julie Eadeh, political unit chief of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao.

Joshua Wong then confirmed the meeting after being quizzed by the media. He, however, maintained “there is nothing special” about the conversation he had with the diplomat, but it was quite revealing that separatists threatened to wage student strikes this month through social media and websites after the meeting.

These are the same tactics we see in Zimbabwe, where US diplomats met MDC vice chair Job Sikhala ahead of MDC planned demonstrations on August 16, which angered the government.

The meeting between the US diplomat and protesters also angered China, which expressed dissatisfaction and opposition while demanding clarification from the US.

US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus responded by seaming Chinese media for revealing information about their diplomat, while insisting there was nothing wrong with the meeting.

The response angered China.

“Official Chinese media reports on our diplomat in Hong Kong have gone from irresponsible to dangerous. This must stop. Chinese authorities know fully well, our accredited consular personnel are just doing their jobs, just like diplomats from every other country,” Ortagus said.

China demanded that US diplomats based in Hong Kong “stop interfering” in the city’s affairs.

In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry urged the US diplomatic office in Hong Kong to “immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters” and “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs immediately.”

In a separate statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US State Department spokesperson should first reflect on her own words and deeds and should not use media reports to attack or blame other countries’ governments.

She also urged the US to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations.

In fact, from the beginning of amendments, and as far back as February before the protests erupted, Kurt W Tong, US consul general in Hong Kong and Macao, criticised the HKSAR government for amendments to the fugitive bill and China’s “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

In March, US Department of State issued the “2019 Hong Kong Policy Act Report”, which accused Chinese central government of implementing or instigating a number of actions that were inconsistent with the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.

The department claimed that the HKSAR government’s crackdown on “Hong Kong independence” activists, the introduction of National Anthem Law and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link were all the proof of erosion of Hong Kong democracy and freedom.

Also in June, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi publicly stated that Hong Kong demonstrations were “a beautiful sight to behold”, some congressmen raked up the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act”.

Jimmy Lai, who parades himself as a democracy advocate, also held high-level meetings with US officials.

Lai met with Vice-president Mike Pence, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as well as senators Ted Cruz, Corey Gardener and Rick Scott.

“By repeatedly interfering in Hong Kong affairs, the US has sent seriously wrong signals to the world,” Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a July 9 briefing.

“We deplore and firmly oppose that.”

It is also widely known that the US has financially backed Hong Kong protesting groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which defines itself as a private, non-profit organisation committed to strengthening democratic institutions worldwide.

It was founded by former US President Ronald Reagan as a more discreet and less controversial instrument to “export democracy” in 1983, but is known to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

China is on record saying it will resist any foreign interference.

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