A small group of communists denounced the United States outside of its consulate in Hong Kong Tuesday, burning an effigy of President Donald Trump in a devil costume and trampling the American flag.
The Chinese Communist Party organizes mobs around the world to fanatically promote the Party’s agenda; in some cases, the mobs violently attack supporters of democracy in ostensibly free states. In Hong Kong, where millions of residents have taken the street to demand the Communist Party abide by the national policy that bans it from establishing law in the capitalist city, Beijing has fabricated small rallies in an attempt to claim that public sentiment there supports the Party.
Protesters have also accused Beijing of organizing armed mobs that have not protested but, rather, attacked groups of protesters, beating them with metal poles, often also attacking unrelated bystanders. Hong Kong police have done little to curb the mobs and have on some occasions added to the violence, targeting protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. On multiple occasions, police have fired live rounds at protesters, claiming their lives were in jeopardy.
The mob organized on Tuesday protested the signing into law of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act last week. President Trump signed it into law after it passed the Senate unanimously and nearly so in the House, a rare moment of unity in Congress. The act defends Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters by ensuring that participating in protests does not jeopardize applications for U.S. visas and it requires the State Department to review the state of human rights in the country annually. If found lacking, Washington could revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status, significantly damaging the city’s economy.
Tuesday’s mob appeared to be an attempt to counter the thousands who took to the streets last week in a “Thanksgiving” rally to celebrate the United States and President Trump, waving American flags in gratitude.
In from of the consulate, the mob instead placed an American flag on the floor and formed and orderly line to take turns stepping on it. They also brandished a paper cut-out of President Trump wearing a devil outfit and, later, burned the paper Trump.
Footage from the broadcaster RTHK shows a ringleader of sorts, a man in a suit and ponytail, shouting “devil, crazy man!” referring to Trump and leading chants of “condemn the U.S. invasion of Hong Kong” and “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
“Bring down Donald Trump!” others shouted.
“As one woman beat a poster of Trump’s face with her mobile phone, another pretended to pummel a cardboard printout of the president’s head attached to a devil’s body. By the end of the demonstration, Trump’s oversized head had been set on fire,” RTHK reported.
RTHK estimated the mob at “several dozen people” and noted that the crowd handed a petition to an official at the U.S. consulate. The mob shouted for President Trump to resign from the presidency, presumably the demand contained in the petition.
Several dozen pro-Beijing activists just marched to the US Consulate to protest against d Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act. They stepped on a US flag to show their anger at Washington. One of them called the US legislation “a useless piece of paper” #hongkongprotests pic.twitter.com/NGcsBBVc9y
— Joanne Wong (@JOceanW) December 3, 2019
Meanwhile, also at Tuesday lunchtime, a group of pro-Beijing protesters marched from Chater Garden to the US Consulate to voice their anger at the #HongKong Human Rights and Democracy Act, burning an effigy of Donald Trump.
Photo: RTHK screenshot. pic.twitter.com/LxZcd7XdT5
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) December 3, 2019
The Asian outlet Coconuts noted that, in contrast to the U.S. flag, “Treating the Chinese flag similarly in Hong Kong carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.”
The small number of people and angry nature of the mob contrasted significantly to the positive atmosphere at last week’s Thanksgiving rallies organized by pro-democratic activists. In those, attendees waved American flags and shouted “thank you,” holding posted of President Trump as the iconic fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, which Trump had posted on Twitter without context earlier that week.
The Hong Kong protest movement has repeatedly expressed sympathies for America and the greater West, including former colonial power Britain. Protesters insist they do not want their free society to fall into the hands of communist China, which severely represses speech, religious worship, and nearly every other individual activity.
Protests began in June against a proposed law that would have allowed China to extradite anyone present in Hong Kong, regardless of Chinese citizenship, if Beijing accused them of violating Chinese laws, which do not apply on Hong Kong soil.
The protesters demanded a withdrawal of the bill, which the government granted in September, and four other demands: the end of calling the protests “riots,” freedom for imprisoned protesters, an investigation into police brutality, and the right to directly elect their lawmakers. With chants of “five key demands, not one less,” protesters have insisted they will not go home if the Hong Kong government fails to address their concerns, noting that the government’s brutal crackdown on their assemblies has necessitated the other demands.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has repeatedly refused to address the four remaining demands. On Tuesday, she held a press conference where she asserted that her government would follow any sanctions imposed on Washington by Beijing and denouncing the Hong Kong Act as “completely unnecessary and unjustifiable.”
“Hong Kong’s human rights and freedom are protected by the Basic Law,” she said, referring to the constitution of the city. “In fact, I want to ask which aspect of Hong Kong residents’ freedom was eroded? We have press freedom, we have freedom to participate in rallies and marches. We have religious freedom. We have a high degree of freedom in many aspects.”