Advertisements

The Cultural Revolution Spreads to Hong Kong

cultural-rev-hk-wsj

Because that’s how we roll: The Communist Party’s way of doing business is coming to the city

Stephen Vines writes: The dark days of China’s Cultural Revolution are being revisited in Hong Kong.

Thankfully, this time there is no bloodshed or widespread mayhem. But Beijing’s local loyalists are using some of the same rhetorical tactics to isolate and intimidate pro-democracy figures.

“Now in Hong Kong opposition politicians and their supporters are routinely accused of consorting with and being funded by foreign powers; of advocating the violent overthrow of the state; and of perpetrating child abuse—the last charge based on the large numbers of young people who joined Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests.”

Back then the search was on for “traitors” who were named, shamed and then terrorized, often to a fatal degree. Now in Hong Kong opposition politicians and their supporters are routinely accused of Chinese leader Xi Jinpingconsorting with and being funded by foreign powers; of advocating the violent overthrow of the state; and of perpetrating child abuse—the last charge based on the large numbers of young people who joined Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests.

“Less-high-profile individuals have also encountered employment problems. RTHK, the public broadcaster, is under relentless pressure to sack certain people. And in privately owned media, columnists have been removed and other journalists have been told that the time has come to toe the line.”

These sorts of accusations are routinely found on the pages of Hong Kong’s increasingly rabid Communist newspapers. While largely ignored by the bulk of the population, these publications are carefully scrutinized by the leaders of the local government because their content enjoys Beijing’s imprimatur.

“The Communist press has also been in the forefront of a wider campaign to “expose” the democratic movement’s leaders, accusing them of being in the pocket of overseas governments and in receipt of illicit funding.”

One of their current targets is Johannes Chan, former dean of the law school at Hong Kong University and a respected professor. His main “crime” is his association with another legal scholar, Benny Tai. Mr. Tai was one of the founders of the Occupy Central movement that morphed into the Umbrella Movement street protests last year.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The communist press has been busy darkly hinting that Prof. Chan is somehow involved in unlawful funding of the protest movement and that he neglected his academic duties. Following these accusations, his appointment to a pro-Vice Chancellor post was blocked.

Another academic targeted was political scientist Joseph Cheng, who was demoted prior to retirement and threatened with a denial of his pension. The accusations in this instance were even more extreme, ranging from charges of plagiarism to abuse of office.

china-communist-propaganda

The Communist press has also been in the forefront of a wider campaign to “expose” the democratic movement’s leaders, accusing them of being in the pocket of overseas governments and in receipt of illicit funding. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

6 Questions You Might Have About Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Students and pro-democracy citizens being attacked and shouted at by anti-demonstration group in Mongkok. Pro-police rally. Joshua Wong, 17-year-old protest leader. by James Nachtwey

Democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Students and pro-democracy citizens being attacked and shouted at by anti-demonstration group in Mongkok. Pro-police rally. Joshua Wong, 17-year-old protest leader.
by James Nachtwey

TIME

1. Why the umbrellas?

Hong Kong students are currently protesting for more political freedom and have been using umbrellas to protect themselves from police pepper spray. The umbrellas became a symbol of the movement and gave it its nickname, the Umbrella Revolution. Though protest leaders say their campaign is not a revolution but a civil-disobedience movement, the name Umbrella Revolution has stuck.

2. Who are the main players?

The movement was initiated by a group called Occupy Central With Love & Peace, led by Hong Kong University law professor Benny Tai. Tai’s original agenda was to stage a sit-in on Oct. 1 in Central — the city’s financial district — but he decided to begin a few days earlier to capitalize on political momentum after several students were pepper-sprayed and arrested. That heavy-handed police action also spurred parallel sit-ins in Causeway Bay and across the water in Kowloon.

There…

View original post 591 more words


Tres Más Muertos: Three More Killed in Venezuela Protests

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

A firecracker explodes at the scene of protests in Caracas, Venezuela. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

Shootings in Caracas, Valencia and San Cristobal amid clashes between demonstrators, security forces and armed gangs

Three Venezuelans have died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro, witnesses and local media have said, pushing the death toll to 34 from almost two months of demonstrations that have been answered with deadly force from both security forces and armed pro-government gangs.

“…Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen…”

Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition supporters marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

“…Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shootout between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycle…”

Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country’s worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chill: Egypt’s Military-Backed Government Issues Law Criminalizing Street Protests

A demonstration on Sunday marked 100 days since the mass killing at Rabaa al-Adawiya, a square in Cairo where security forces fired on protesters while trying to break up an Islamist sit-in.

A demonstration on Sunday marked 100 days since the mass killing at Rabaa al-Adawiya, a square in Cairo where security forces fired on protesters while trying to break up an Islamist sit-in.

CAIRO — David D. Kirkpatrick writes:  Egypt’s military-backed government has issued a law that all but bans street protests by applying jail time or heavy fines to the public demonstrations that have felled the last two presidents and regularly roiled the capital since the Arab Spring revolt.

The new law, promulgated on Sunday, is the latest evidence of a return to authoritarianism in the aftermath of the military takeover that removed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July. It criminalizes the kind of free assembly and public expression that many Egyptians had embraced as a cherished foundation of their new democracy after the 2011 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. And the relatively muted outcry against the law, mainly from human rights advocates, demonstrated how far public sentiment has swung.

Rights activists said the new law appeared even stricter than those in place under Mr. Mubarak. It effectively replaces a three-month “state of emergency” declared in August, when the government used deadly force to crush street protests by Islamist opponents of the July 3 takeover, killing more than a thousand. The state of emergency — which suspended protections against police abuse — expired last weekend, but the new protest law now grants the police other added powers that they could use to squelch any attempt to mobilize.

Read the rest of this entry »