Hong Kong protests: Why imperialists support ‘democracy’ movement [Workers World]

By Sara Flounders on October 7, 2014

Demonstrations in Hong Kong, China, raising demands on the procedures to be followed in city elections in 2017, have become an international issue and a source of political confusion.

The protests, called Occupy Central, have received enormous and very favorable U.S. media coverage. Every news report describes with great enthusiasm the occupation of central business parts of Hong Kong as “pro-democracy” protests. The demonstrations, which began on Sept. 22, gained momentum after Hong Kong police used tear gas to open roads and government buildings.

In evaluating an emerging movement it is important to look at what political forces are supporting the movement. What are the demands raised by the movement, who are they appealing to, and what is the social composition of those in motion?

The U.S. and British governments have issued statements of support for the demonstrations. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to heed the demands of the protesters. Wang responded by calling for respect for China’s sovereignty. Britain, which stole Hong Kong from China in 1842 and held it as a colony for 155 years under a government appointed by London, is supporting the call for “democracy” in Hong Kong. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg summoned the Chinese ambassador in order to convey the British government’s alarm.

At the present time these imperialists may not expect to overturn the central role of the Chinese Communist Party in governing China. But Occupy Central in Hong Kong is a battering ram, aimed at weakening the role of the state in the Chinese economy.

The imperialists hope to embolden the bourgeois elements and encourage the increasingly strong capitalist class within China to become more aggressive and demand the overturn of socialist norms established after the 1949 socialist revolution, including the leading role of the Communist Party in a strong sovereign state.

= Police repression: Mexico, Italy, Philippines =

In Mexico, tens of thousands of students have been protesting curriculum changes and new fees. More than 50,000 demonstrated in Mexico City for the third time. In western Mexico, 57 students from a teaching college went missing after gunslingers fired on a demonstration they were attending, killing three students and wounding three others. A Guerrero official says witnesses identified the shooters as local police officers. Mass graves have now been uncovered in an area terrorized by police and gangs.

On Oct. 2, in Naples, Italy, national police attacked demonstrators protesting against austerity and a meeting of the European Central Bank. Cops fired tear gas and water canons at thousands of protesters.

Thousands of courageous demonstrators in Manila opposed the signing of an agreement with the U.S. for an escalating rotation of U.S. troops, ships and planes into the Philippines during President Obama’s visit last April. They faced water cannons, tear gas and mass arrests.

Did any White House officials meet with Mexican officials to express concern for the killed or missing students? Did any British officials summon Italian officials to convey alarm at the tear gas and water cannons? Was there world media attention to the attacks on Philippine youth? Where was the media frenzy?

Why is it so dramatically different regarding Occupy Central in Hong Kong?

The use of tear gas by Hong Kong police is denounced by the same officials who have been silent as militarized police in U.S. cities routinely use not only tear gas but tanks, armored personnel carriers, live ammunition, electric tasers, rubber bullets, stun guns, dogs and drones in routine police sweeps.

To hear U.S. officials denouncing restrictions on candidates in Hong Kong is especially offensive to anyone familiar with the election procedures in the U.S. today. Millions of dollars are required to run a campaign here. Candidates go through multiple layers of vetting by corporate powers and by the two pro-imperialist political party apparatuses. Restrictive ballot measures are in place in every state and city election.

= ‘Color revolutions’ =

Officials and publications in China characterize the actions of Occupy Central as a U.S.-funded “color revolution” and compare it to the upheavals that swept Ukraine and former Soviet republics.

Several commentaries have described in some detail the extensive role of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the Democratic National Institute, along with corporate foundations’ funding of leaders and the protest movement in Hong Kong.

Thousands of nongovernmental organizations with large staffs are based in Hong Kong. Their stated goal is to build democracy. Their real purpose is to undermine the central role of the Chinese Communist Party in the organization of Chinese society. Hong Kong, unlike the rest of China, has allowed these U.S.-funded NGOs and political associations almost unlimited access for decades…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10/07/hong-kong-protests-imperialists-support-democracy-movement/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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