China: Hong Kong Protesters Seek ‘Democracy with U.S. Characteristics’

Protesters hold signs as they gather in Mong Kok during a general strike in Hong Kong on August 5, 2019, as simultaneous rallies were held across seven districts. - Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters are close to creating a "very dangerous situation", the city's leader warned on August 5 as train …
ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty

China’s state-run Global Times attempted to insult the Hong Kong protest movement Wednesday by accusing activists of seeking “democracy with U.S. characteristics” and hoping the city becomes a “U.S. colony.”

The Times column follows a formal complaint from the Communist Party of China to American officials in Hong Kong over confirmed reports that consulate members met with protest leader Joshua Wong, who did not deny the meeting and insisted there was nothing untoward or surprising about it.

China’s communist regime has repeatedly accused America of somehow coordinating the two-month-old peaceful protests in the former British colony, urging President Donald Trump to get his “dirty hands” out of China. Hong Kong protesters have appealed to Americans, and the rest of the world, for solidarity in their quest to establish a full democracy in their city.

Hong Kong is governed under a policy called “One Country, Two Systems,” which allows China to claim sovereignty over Hong Kong in exchange for not imposing communist laws there. Currently, Hong Kong voters only get a say in electing half of the Legislative Council (LegCo), which recently considered a law allowing the extradition of anyone in Hong Kong to China for violating Communist Party law. Protesters are demanding full direct election of lawmakers and a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, which violates the “One Country, Two Systems” policy.

The Global Times made the claim Wednesday that the protesters are seeking “secession,” which is not one of the five stated demands of the movement. In addition to the two mentioned above, the protesters are demanding freedom for political prisoners, an independent inquiry on police brutality against protesters, and a formal government statement rescinding its description of the peaceful June 12 march as a “riot.”

“From the anti-extradition bill protests to the movement of ‘Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution of our time,’ the protests have deviated from their original pursuit, and are now directed at Hong Kong secession,” the Times alleged, citing what has become the protest movement’s unofficial slogan.

“So what does ‘reclaiming’ mean? Reclaim Hong Kong from China? So that Hong Kong can once again become a British colony, or maybe a US colony this time? Does democracy mean to make Hong Kong dependent on the US or the UK?” the Communist Party propaganda arm asked.

The Times, like the Chinese regime itself, reiterated its claim that the protesters have attacked police. It also accused them of “verbal abuse” against communists, a claim the protesters are unlikely to dispute. In reality, police have been filmed using disproportionate amounts of tear gas and firing rubber bullets at peaceful crowds and standing idly by as unknown masked thugs surrounded and violently assaulted protesters attempting to get home after a successful protest.

“The protesters have demanded democracy by violently attacking the police who are trying to maintain order, and spreading verbal and physical abuses against Chinese mainland students and tourists,” according to the Times. “No wonder they hold US flags with passion. This is exactly the kind of democracy with US characteristics. Remember how the US has provoked wars all over the world in the glorious name of democracy.”

American flags have indeed become a fixture of the protests, as have signs asking President Trump to “liberate” the city. Protesters say they are using the flag to call attention to and support the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bipartisan bill meant to support the protesters by preventing participation in pro-democracy efforts from hurting U.S. visa applications and issuing travel alerts to Americans should the extradition bill pass.

Though sponsored by Republican Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) enthusiastically called for the bill’s passing in a statement Tuesday.

“The people of Hong Kong deserve the true autonomy that was promised, with the full rights guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law and international agreements,” Pelosi said. “The Legislative Council must finally take long-overdue measures to meet the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people – starting with completely and immediately withdrawing the widely-repudiated extradition bill.”

“Nancy Pelosi and some other U.S. politicians have been calling white black time and again, bolstering violent radical criminals and even justifying and whitewashing their behaviors,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded. “They’ve also wantonly smeared and vilified the just move of the SAR [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] government and police to uphold the rule of law and order.”

The Chinese communist regime has previously referred to Rep. Pelosi as “trashy” for her support for democracy in Hong Kong.

While the Global Times went on the attack, the Chinese government summoned American diplomats Thursday to voice their outrage over their interactions with Wong, the leader of the anti-China Demosisto Party and a major figure in the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” protests. After surreptitiously taken images of Wong with an American diplomat appeared online, Wong admitted to the meeting and expressed confusion as to why he would hide such an interaction, given that he has visited Washington previously and engaged the American government.

“Officials from Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong have demanded the consulate general clarify the contact while expressing strong discontent and resolute opposition to the interference by the diplomat,” the Global Times reported. “The commissioner’s office also urged officials from the US consulate general to draw a clear line with Hong Kong secessionist forces, stop sending wrong signals to the radical protesters indulged in violence and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs.”
Increased Chinese aggression towards the United States over the grassroots Hong Kong protests led the State Department to issue a travel advisory for Hong Kong this week, telling Americans to “exercise increased caution” given violence by pro-China mobs.

“The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighborhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies. These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue,” the advisory noted.

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