A new report alleges that the Chinese government has set its formidable propaganda machine in motion against Hong Kong protesters, issuing false reports riddled with ideology in an attempt to deflect attention from the reasons behind the demonstrations.
Saturday’s report, which comes from AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, said that mainland China has sent undercover police and secret service agents posing as tourists to infiltrate protesters.
Protests began in earnest in June as concerns grew that under a proposed law both Hong Kong citizens and foreign nationals could be extradited to mainland China for prosecution, undermining Hong Kong’s rule of law.
Chinese authorities have dubbed Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protests as “riots” and have tried to suggest that terrorist elements may be at work in the demonstrations. As the clashes between demonstrators and police increase, police have grown increasingly brutal in their tactics and the presence of Chinese troops in Shenzhen — just a few miles from Hong Kong — has raised fears of a military intervention.
Beijing has prohibited mail services from shipping helmets, umbrellas, masks, and gloves to Hong Kong, since these constitute the gear used by demonstrators to protect themselves from tear gas and police bullets.
Reports in official Chinese media focus on the violence of the protests, while ignoring the reasons and causes behind them, AsiaNews notes. Adducing no evidence, authorities have suggested that “foreign hands” have been at play inciting revolts.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has stated that “the law is dead,” but she has not formally withdrawn the bill. Anxiety meanwhile has grown, and protests have become fiercer. Beijing has used its official media channels to underscore the violence of the protests and their contempt for national symbols, while downplaying the excessive force employed by police with its arsenal of weapons and tear gas.
On August 12, protesters occupied Hong Kong airport and many flights were canceled. Fu Guohao, a reporter for the pro-Beijing Global Times, dressed in black to match the demonstrators and took close-up photos of the faces of young protesters. He was blocked by demonstrators and later converted into something of a hero by Chinese media.
Fu was found to be carrying multiple ID cards revealing a double identity, leading many to suspect that Fu is an agent of the Chinese secret police, AsiaNews reported.
Another person blocked by protesters at the airport, Xu Jinyang, turned out to be a member of the Chinese police from Shenzhen. The official Chinese media claimed that Xu was a tourist, while a search for “Xu Jinyang” on Baidu, the most important Chinese Internet search engine, yields no results.
While state-controlled media continue to censor reports on protesters, they are spreading the story that Hong Kong citizens are crying out for military intervention against demonstrators.