China’s state-run Global Times newspaper accused the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong of hosting speeches full of “violence, hostility, and racism” towards Chinese people in a column Wednesday, not mentioning that the vast majority of the population of Hong Kong is Han Chinese.
The newspaper once again blamed the allegedly inferior “education” in Hong Kong – where universities champion free speech and thought – for teaching “problematic” truths about the repressive nature of Chinese communism. Without the Communist Party thoroughly infiltrating Hong Kong academia, the article concludes, protests and “conflict” with continue in the autonomous region.
Protests against the Chinese Communist Party have not abated for nearly two months, beginning with a city-wide commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre in early June. Protesters have organized another march, likely attracting thousands, for Sunday.
The protesters at first began marching against a proposed law that would have allowed China to extradite anyone present on Hong Kong soil if the Communist Party accused them of violating Chinese law, which imposes severe restrictions of civil and political rights. The Hong Kong Legislative Council tabled the bill, which prevents a vote but allows any lawmaker to revive it swiftly, in mid-June. Protesters continued to take the streets, however, demanding a full withdrawal of the bill, in addition to freedom for imprisoned protesters and a declaration that the police’s initial description of the largely peaceful protests as “riots” was incorrect.
On Wednesday, the Global Times blamed “Western media” for legitimizing the Hong Kong protests by accurately noting that they have been largely peaceful and their goal, preserving the capitalist and free society the United Kingdom gifted to China in 1997, has remained coherent.
“Western media is instigating the youth in Hong Kong to confront their motherland and inciting conflict between the special administrative region and the mainland by justifying their violent protests as ‘a movement to preserve Hong Kong’s freedoms,'” the newspaper claimed.
In the Global Times‘ reality, however, “racism” was behind much of the anti-China sentiment, the column continued.
“In a Telegram channel run by the protesters, the Global Times reporters saw information that teaches the protesters how to avoid the police after they engage in unlawful behavior, and reporters also saw speeches discussions of violence, hostility and racism against the mainland,” the article stated. The Global Times did not offer any specific examples of “violence, hostility, and racism” in Telegram texts or identify any of the individuals allegedly spreading such noxious sentiments.
The Global Times also did not define “racism against the mainland.” The “mainland” – the term the Chinese use for the territory that is actually governed through Beijing, as opposed to the independent territories in Taiwan, the South China Sea, Tibet, and elsewhere that the communists illegitimately claim – is of majority Han ethnicity. Hong Kong is 92 percent Han Chinese, a “largely homogenous society” according to Hong Kong’s Hoem Affairs Department. The major difference between the Han of Hong Kong and the Han of Beijing is that the former speak Cantonese, while the latter speak Mandarin.
The Chinese government propaganda outlet went on to claim that “pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmakers” are complaining that it is “difficult to reasonably and effectively communicate with the youth” because of the free nature of academia in Hong Kong. Since the Chinese Communist Party does not control curricula or assign “patriotic” textbooks to high schools and universities, students have the ability to decide their opinions on political matters for themselves, a disturbing development for China.
Citing the head of a pro-communist group called “Hong Kong Youth Enlightenment,” the newspaper urged the Communist Party to “recruit more teachers who are patriotic and knowledgeable rather than letting anti-mainland opposition forces dominate the city’s education.”
The Global Times made a similar call for “patriotic education” last week, lambasting Hong Kong students’ work ethic.
“Some young Hong Kong people who are infatuated with the West have never been to the mainland. They are scared of China’s rising power for no reason,” the newspaper claimed at the time.
The Communist Party has made efforts to paint the Hong Kong protest movement as a “reckless” mob of angry young people. While many of the protesters are indeed young students, thousands are older Hong Kong citizens who simply want to maintain the liberal society they grew up in under British rule. In an attempt to dispel the stereotype that the Chinese government is spreading, a group of 9,000 older protesters joined what the pro-democracy movement called a “silver-hair march” on Wednesday to express solidarity with younger anti-China dissidents.
9000 elderly people have taken part in a so-called "silver-hair march" in support of young anti-extradition protesters. https://t.co/HEgbfhcOXw
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (@joshuawongcf) July 17, 2019
Protesters began organizing against China as early as January of this year, but the scale of the marches demanding independence from Beijing grew significantly since the introduction of the extradition bill and have sustained themselves since early June. They have also spread geographically within Hong Kong. On Sunday, 115,000 people took the streets of Sha Tin, a quiet suburb outside of the main city of Hong Kong, to reiterate the demands of the pro-democracy movement. The protest ended peacefully until attendees entered the local New Town Mall to take public transit home. Police stormed the mall, cornered the people inside, and attacked them with pepper spray. At least 40 people were injured and 22 arrested, many who complained they did not partake in the protest and were simply in the mall at the wrong time. Police complained that, in the ensuing melee, the crowd attacked them; according to authorities, one police officer had his finger bitten off.
Police Commissioner Stephen Lo claimed the protesters “threw bricks and other solid objects” at police. Protesters claimed many officers did not properly identify themselves and cited the lack of reports of vandalism or theft as proof of the peaceful nature of the crowd.
The owners of the New Town Mall have insisted since Sunday that they reported no disturbances to police and did not explicitly allow officers into the mall, prompting nightly crowds to form at the mall’s customer service desk demanding answers.
The Civil Human Rights Front, one of the main dissident groups organizing the protests, has called for another march on Sunday against police brutality.