Hong Kong’s “Localists” Made in Washington
Western media rejoiced over the meagre gains made in recent polls by what they described as “anti-China activists” of the “localist” movement, political groups in Hong Kong who advocate “independence” from China.
In the UK, former colonial administrator of Hong Kong, the BBC would report in their article, “Hong Kong election: Anti-China activists set to take LegCo seats,” that:
A new generation of anti-China activists have won seats on Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), preliminary results indicate.
Among them is Nathan Law, one of the young leaders of the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014, who is now on course to win a constituency seat.
It is the first taste of real political power for the young protest leaders.
But pro-Beijing politicians will retain a majority of seats, partly because of the electoral system.
What the BBC conveniently omits is that while pro-Beijing politicians will retain a majority of seats “partly because of the electoral system,” anti-Beijing politicians made their gains almost entirely because of US-funding and support. This includes Nathan Law himself, poised to take a constituency seat, showered with awards by the US State Department for his role in US-backed protests in 2014.
Ironically, in an attempt to add further gravity to these minor electoral gains, the BBC hailed what they called a “record voter turnout” of 58%, while BBC reporters just last month claimed a 60% turnout for Thailand’s charter referendum “undermined the legitimacy of the result.” The only difference being that gains made in Hong Kong favoured Western interests, while gains made in Thailand favoured the Thai people at the expense of Western interests.
The BBC’s politically-motivated bias is easily explained as the layers or rhetoric are stripped away and the foreign networks that created and are currently supporting Hong Kong’s supposed “independence” movement are exposed.
The BBC and other Western media organisations portray the recent polls as a continuation of the so-called “Umbrella Revolution.” In this respect, they are partially right.
What they are omitting is that the 2014 protests were organised and carried out by US-funded opposition groups, representing a slim minority of Hong Kong’s population and were eventually moved off the streets when Hong Kong residents themselves lost patience over the protest’s disruptive behaviour.
Months preceding the 2014 protests, two of the movement’s leaders were quite literally in Washington D.C. lobbying the US State Department for support ahead of the planned protests. The US State Department’s own National Endowment for Democracy (NED) would admit in a statement titled, “The National Endowment for Democracy and support for democracy in Hong Kong,” that:
(Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Martin Lee stand to Freedom House president Mark Lagon in Washington D.C. during a ceremony celebrating their role in the 2014 Hong Kong protests.)
After the protests ended, NED’s subsidiary Freedom House would even invite Martin Lee to an event titled, “Three Hong Kong Heroes,” which also included protest leaders Joshua Wong and Benny Tai. Lee would shuffle onto stage with an umbrella prop in hand, a virtual admission to his leadership role in the protests and confirmation that the NED’s previous statement was intentionally false.
NED would also deny providing funding to the movement, despite the fact that each member of the movement’s senior leadership were documented grantees of the NED and its various subsidiaries including Freedom house and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Toward the end of the 2014 protests, Western media organisations began making partial admissions that indeed the US was funding various segments of the movement’s leadership. Dan Steinbock in an October 2014 article in the South China Morning Post would enumerate the various confirmed accusations and concluded, “perhaps efforts at foreign interference are not entirely unfounded.”
Considering this, claims that Hong Kong’s “anti-China activists” represent “democracy” or “localism” when they represent foreign interest, not those of the Hong Kong’s residents, nor source their support “locally,” are at face value contradictory.
It is also particularly ironic that this strain of political opposition predicates itself on establishing “independence” when in reality it seeks to return Hong Kong back under the influence of Anglo-American hegemony. This is particularly obvious considering the repetitious calls from such groups for “One Country, Two Systems,” the parting demands the British colonialists themselves tabled as a condition to returning the seized territory back to the Chinese.
Nathan Law —America’s, Not Hong Kong’s Candidate
The BBC made particular mention of Nathan Law, chairman of “Demosisto,” a political party that sprung forth from the US-funded “Umbrella Revolution.” According to the BBC, he was expected to win a constituency seat, but what the BBC fails to mention is his ties to the US State Department and the alarming conflicts of interest this poses considering his potential role in Hong Kong’s governance.
(Nathan Law, left, embraced by US State Department NED chairman Carl Gershman.)
The US State Department’s NED “World Movement for Democracy” website in a post titled, “Democracy Courage Tribute Award Presentation,” would write in regards to the award presented to Nathan Lee:
The Umbrella Movement’s bold call in the fall of 2014 for a free and fair election process to select the city’s leaders brought thousands into the streets to demonstrate peacefully. The images from these protests have motivated Chinese democracy activists on the mainland and resulted in solidarity between longtime champions of democracy in Hong Kong and a new generation of Hong Kong youth seeking to improve their city. The Hong Kong democracy movement will face further obstacles in the years to come, and their idealism and bravery will need to be supported as they work for democratic representation in Hong Kong.
Nathan Lee would even pose for pictures with NED chairman Carl Gershman, apparently unconcerned of the immense conflicts of interest invited by such compromising associations.
The BBC’s coverage of Hong Kong’s recent legislative elections attempts to spin inroads made by foreign interests as “localism” and “democracy” taking root in the former British colonial holding. While the BBC alludes to Beijing’s influence preventing further gains by the opposition, its intentional omission of which foreign interests are propping up the opposition reveals systemic and intentional bias in the BBC’s reporting. Such bias is echoed across Reuters, CNN, AP and AFP as well.
Democracy, in theory, is supposed to be the expression of the people. Hong Kong is part of China, thus those participating in its political process should represent Chinese interests. An opposition party that spends its time in Washington D.C. and maintains its growing networks through foreign cash do not represent China or the Chinese in a wider sense, and certainly not Hong Kong and its residents in a more local sense.
Foreign interests working through collaborators resembles a dictatorship from abroad more than anything resembling a “democracy” of the people, even if such a dictatorship drapes itself in public polls, elections and street mobs. That before, during and after the “Umbrella Revolution” each and every leader is tied to foreign interests, completely undermines the narrative that they represent “democracy” rather than the foreign interests transparently directing (then rewarding) them every step of the way.
Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas.
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