Chinese State Media Calls Hong Kong Protesters ‘Basket of Deplorables’

A protestor holds a portrait of Xi Jinping - General Secretary of the Communist Party of China as they demonstrate in front of China embassy in Warsaw in support of pro democracy protests in Hong Kong, September 29, 2019. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read WOJTEK …
WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images

In the course of condemning Hong Kong protesters for ruining their city and urging them to be more like their cousins in semi-autonomous Macau, China’s state-run Global Times on Tuesday borrowed a famous line from former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to denounce the Hong Kong democracy movement as a “basket of deplorables.” 

Clinton infamously used the same phrase to refer to the half of the American electorate that supported the candidate who defeated her, current U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Global Times praised Macau for following a more constructive path after it was handed over to China by Portugal 20 years ago, touting improvements in Macau’s infrastructure and significant “diversification beyond the usual gambling economy.”

This was followed by truculent criticism of what Beijing sees as a horde of ungrateful young punks filling the streets of Hong Kong:

Indeed, imploring Chinese youths of this region to understand their ancient and glorious past is something that regional economic and cultural cooperation is being fostered to do from Macao — much more so than the basket of deplorable, social media driven fantasies of certain fanatical teeny-boppers in Hong Kong. In fact, many silent majority in Greater China view these teeny-boppers as monstrous vandals.

Communist China has been attempting to portray the Hong Kong uprising as an American plot to destabilize China, so the Clinton phrase was probably borrowed intentionally.

Having failed to frighten Hong Kong into line by threatening to develop the nearby Chinese city of Shenzhen into its replacement, the Chinese Communist Party used the Global Times to warn that Macau might just become the new Hong Kong if the original continues to misbehave:

Overall, in these days when Hong Kong is becoming sick, Macao is becoming a beacon of great health with good medicine, from the first medical school to embracing its brothers and sisters with medicine and education across Guangdong, to its Portuguese-speaking cousins across the world.

When Macao celebrates the 20th anniversary of the handover in December, it will be clear to many that Macao has a new role in this region – and will for sure be aiming for new heights of history.

Macau is actually in a bit of a slump right now. China’s National Day holiday, commemorating the founding of the People’s Republic, kicks off the annual “Golden Week” in Macau, essentially a big publicity stunt to attract tourism. Golden Week 2019 is currently running far below projections, in part due to the general economic slowdown in China.

This could be exacerbated by the unrest in Hong Kong disrupting tourism across the area, although bullish Macau analysts expected Hong Kong’s woes to boost their tourism as travelers sought alternative destinations.

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