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Another Chinese Propaganda Video Ties Mainland Rights Defense Activism, Protests in Hong Kong, and the Syrian War Into One Anti-U.S. Narrative
December 18, 2016
A verified account belonging to the Ministry of Public Security issued this video on December 15 with the hashtag #警惕颜色革命 (“Beware of color revolutions”) and #是谁最想扳倒中国 (“Who wants to take China down the most”). Two similar videos issued in August can be seen here and here. – The Editors
[Syrian swimmer] Yusra Mardini, fleeing war-ravaged Syria. The boat had a problem, she and her sister pushed it to rescue the refugees packed in it.
[Mardini’s voice]: “It’s hard to believe, but as an Olympic swimmer, I almost died in the water.”
In Rio, she was a member of the Refugee Olympic Team made up of athletes who have lost their homes because of “color revolutions.” Her presence at the Olympics was an indictment of the brutality of war.
Several years ago, she and her compatriots celebrated passionately the beautiful new world brought by the “Arab Spring.”
But behind the flowers and colorful flags are nothing but ruins, turmoil, terror, and despair.
The homes that once were are gone forever.
“Color revolutions” have successfully turned many countries to war zones and strife, and the sharp claws of the Devil have also reached China!
In 1953, former U.S. Secretary of State John Dulles said that a strategy of peaceful evolution must bet on the young people.
In 2000, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emphasized that, with the internet, America has ways of dealing with China.
In 2011, a former U.S. ambassador to China argued during a presidential debate for the famous “Take-China-Down Theory”:
“We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They’re called the young people, they’re called the ‘internet generation.’ There are 500 million internet users in China. And 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down.”
By sending carriers to South China Seas, and by deploying THAAD in South Korea, the U.S. is using multiple approaches to try to contain China.
[Clip of Hong Kong police and protesters.]
[Photo: citizens protesting the shooting of Xu Chunhe (徐纯合) in Heilongjiang in May 2015]
[Photo: Lawyer Wang Yu in court defending Falun Gong practitioners in April, 2015.]
[Photo: Lawyer Wang Quanzhang’s wife Li Wenzu outside a courthouse in Tianjin.]
[Clip: Hong Kong protest scene]
[Photo: citizens protesting in Weifang, Shandong, during Xu Yonghe trial in June 2015.]
Joshua Wong, Secretary General of Demosisto in Hong Kong, “Now I’m asking all of you to come with us and we are going to charge into the Civic Square.”
Are these real expression of the people, or the instigation of foreign forces? The facts and the truth are alarming!
[CCTV announcer:] Tianjin Municipal Second People’s Intermediary Court held a trial of Zhou Shifeng for “subverting state power.” Zhou Shifeng was convicted of the crime of subverting state power, and sentenced to seven years in prison and deprivation of political rights for five years.
August, 2016. Zhou Shifeng, director of Beijing Fengrui Law Firm: “[I] plead guilty. I repent. I accept punishment, and will never appeal.”
[CCTV host] Strengthening the so-called labor movement and publicizing sensitive cases are the hallmarks of the “topple the wall movement” that Zhou Shifeng and Hu Shigen have been implementing.
Hype up mass incidents and use social conflicts as breakthroughs, as the fuse for launching a “color revolution.”
Zhai Yanmin, trouble-making organizer of “petitioners”: “None of the sensitive cases I participated in publicizing has anything to do with me. It’s publicity for the sake of publicity.”
Criminal suspect Gou Hongguo: “Wherever there was a high profile incident, they’d certainly organize people to protest on site.”
Utilize foreign NGOs to train “proxies” to lay the social foundation for a “color revolution”
Illegal religious activist Hu Shigen: “[They recruit young people with potential in the mainland, and train them to be future leaders.”
Fengrui Law Firm’s Wang Yu resolutely refused the first “International Human Rights Award” by the U.S.
[Wang Yu’s voice:] The content of their training includes smears against the Chinese government. My attitude toward this award is to not acknowledge it, not recognize it, and not accept it. To me, this award is their attempt to use me to attack the Chinese government. I’m a Chinese, and I only accept the leadership of the Chinese government.”
Embassies in China are frontline directors that integrate forces to implement “street politics.”
In 2011, U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman “accidentally showed up at the Jasmine Revolution gathering site
Netizen: This is the U.S. ambassador.
Netizen: Do you know that these people are here for the Jasmine Revolution?
Netizen: You are pretending you don’t know, aren’t you?
In February 2016, foreign diplomats again appeared outside Tianjin Municipal Second People’s Intermediary Court.
And Director of Feirui Law Firm Zhou Shifeng has been “good friends” with them.
[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with Swedish ambassador Lars Fredén.]
[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with a member of the Geneva Bar Association*]
[Photo: Zhou Shifeng with an Associated Press journalist.]
Utilizing Internet and other media to negate Chinese history and culture and lay the ideological foundation for a “color revolution”
Comprehensively slandering Chinese history [screenshot of a Taiwanese website questioning the existence of the Yuan Dynasty]
Destroying role models [photo of article questioning the truth of communist martyr Lei Feng]
Defiling the image of leaders [photo of the Causeway Bay bookstore]
Questioning the trustworthiness of the government [screenshot of a 2013 article pointing out failures of the government housing information database]
Doomsaying China [screenshot of BBC article about likelihood of a Chinese economic crisis]
Using Hong Kong as a base for a “color revolution”
In 2011, Jimmy Lai was exposed to be the biggest donor to the opposition. The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption launched an investigation into $40 million in dark political money.
[Voice of Alex Tsui,** former deputy director of operations of ICAC] “It’s obvious that Jimmy Lai plays a very important role in the ‘black money whirlpool.’
[Voice of Benny Tai] “Occupy Central now begins”
It turns out that Occupy Central did not start from the “Trio” and the students, but from Jimmy Lai who, as early as 2012, already secretly sought advice from Shih Ming-teh [Taiwan early opposition leader].
[Recording, voice of Jimmy Lai] “As long as we are willing to go to jail.”
[Voice of Shih Ming-teh] “Right, you will succeed the moment you are jailed.”
[Voice of Jimmy Lai] “Together we go to prison.”
[Voice of Shih] “This flower, when it blossoms, will be Hong Kong’s flower of freedom, and it could very well also be China’s flower of freedom.”
Jimmy Lai’s “friendship circle” was exposed by the media, and the behind-the-scenes black hand is the U.S.
His “assistant” Mark Simon is the chairman of the Hong Kong branch of the Republican Party. He used to be an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, and his father was a senior agent in the CIA.
[Photo of Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of American Institute in Taiwan, at the Occupy Central site]
[Multiple photos Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy Secretary of Defense]
Towards the end of Occupy Central, the localists gained support, and once peaceful Hong Kong is no more.
Man wearing a black T-shirt with text on his back: “Hong Kong has always been a base for subversion.”
[Clips of Hong Konger clashing with police] “I’m a Hong Konger!” “I’m not a Chinese!”
[Voice of Hong Kong resident Mr. Lee:] “We want to live in peace. We want to have peaceful and happy life. When you don’t have food and have no job, you’ll know, because we have experienced that.”
We once experienced the chaos of war and the torment of poverty
The happiness of today is due to the ceaseless efforts and sacrifices of generations
A stable society with good public safety
A sense of security is like water and the air — we’ve long been accustomed to it
Indeed, happiness is not inevitable, because the shadow of war has never been far away
Social progress is never a smooth road
Peace and stability are the most important guarantees to fulfilling our dream of revitalization
Thoroughly expelling from China all “color revolutions” will be a long and arduous battle
It requires the vigilance and resistance of every one of us
Don’t believe lies. Don’t be gullible. Understand history, be resolute in your belief.
The new Great Wall will be forged through the thoughts and actions of all of us
‘If there’s a war, the veterans will answer the call and re-enlist’ is not merely the promise of every veteran soldier
It is the pledge made to the fatherland by every Chinese person
If there’s a war, the veterans will answer the call and re-enlist
In resisting “color revolutions,” everyone must do their part
*A delegation of Geneva Bar Association visits Beijing Bar Association in November, 2014. It’s striking how such a photo can be used against a Chinese lawyer.
**Alex Tsui was sacked in 1994 for questionable associations with a man under ICAC investigation.
After Four Detainees of the ‘709 Incident’ Are Indicted, Chinese State Media Name Foreign News Organizations, a US Congressman, & Three Embassies in Beijing as ‘Foreign Anti-China Forces’, China Change, July 15, 2016.
By Wang Mo, published: November 22, 2015
On October 3, 2014, Chinese activists Xie Wenfei (谢文飞, a.k.a. Xie Fengxia 谢丰夏), and Wang Mo (王默, real name Zhang Shengyu 张圣雨) held banners in the streets of Guangzhou, expressing support for the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. They were arrested the same evening and indicted on May 12, 2015, for “inciting subversion of state power.” On Nov. 19, Wang Mo was tried in a Guangzhou court (Zhang had been tried separately a week earlier.) Verdicts in both trials are pending. Following is an abbreviated translation of Wang Mo’s defense. The translation remains unauthorized because permission could not be secured from the writer. – The Editors
Decades ago Chinese Communist Party, crying slogans about opposing corruption, opposing dictatorship, and pursuing liberty and democracy, subverted the Nationalist regime of the Republic of China and drove the Nationalist government to Taiwan. The Republic of China was then split into two countries: the Mainland and Taiwan, and the Republic of China [as it was known] was no more.
I was charged with the crime of “inciting subversion of state power” and found myself a defendant in the court simply because I held a banner in support of Occupy Central in Hong Kong. I have no idea what logical or causal connection there is between a simple banner and inciting the subversion of state power.
Common sense tells me that as long as the state exists, a state regime will exist. Only if a country is invaded, defeated, annexed, or split apart by foreign invaders could its regime really be said to have been subverted. Hong Kong is part of China, and all that Hong Kong people want through their protests is universal suffrage, based on one-person one-vote, for the election of the city’s chief executive, and greater freedom. All these are stipulated in the constitution as the rights of citizens, and protected by the law. From afar in Guangzhou I held a banner to express my support for the Hong Kongers, and you are telling me that’s inciting subversion of state power? If this act of mine counts as inciting subversion of state power, then what crime are the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers guilty of?
I’d like to hereby solemnly declare that all along it has been my private wish to topple the rule of the Chinese Communist Party’s autocracy—a dictatorial regime—but not to subvert the state regime. A country should belong to its people; it’s not the property of this party or that party. A ruling party being toppled from power isn’t the same as the state being subverted, because as long as the country exists then the state regime will exist. Of course, if the court believes that the country is the Party and the Party is the country, and that China is indeed the Communist Party’s country, then trying to subvert the ruling party would be equivalent to subverting the state regime. So, would the court please explicitly state that China belongs to the Chinese Communist Party, and that China’s governing paradigm is that of the model of a Party-State? Failing that, the attempt to charge me with inciting subversion of state power has no ground.
A century ago the Xinhai Revolution succeeded, signalling the end of 2,000 years of feudal imperialism. Since 1949, the Chinese communists have imprisoned countless political opponents—people who pursued liberty and democracy, and to that end sought to get rid of the communist dictatorship—on charges of subversion. But it was the Chinese communists who seized power with slogans claiming they were pursuing liberty and democracy. Please tell me: in China today, where is the liberty? Where is the democracy?
The Chinese constitution expressly stipulates: All state power belongs to the people, citizens have the freedom express themselves, assemble, organize, march, demonstrate, and to elect and be elected. That’s to say that only the people have the right to decide to whom state power belongs, and have the right to remove from power any ruling party. Voting is a mechanism for entrusting power to, or remove power from, a ruling party. The people may also express their support or opposition to the ruling party or government through such actions as speech, assembly, the formation of organizations, protests, etc.
Let me explain why I personally wish to remove the Chinese communist dictatorship from power. Since they seized power in 1949, the communists have instigated political campaigns, including land reform, collectivization, the Three-Anti and Five-Anti campaigns, and countless others—including the madness of the Cultural Revolution—which have directly or indirectly led to the unnatural deaths of around 20 million Chinese people. In the three years from 1958-1960, it’s believed that around 50 million Chinese starved to death as a result of the communists’ disastrous agricultural policies and plunder of grain from the rural population. As someone from the countryside, I cannot forget these 50 million lives. Further, in the 1980s the Communist Party began forcibly implementing birth control policies that continue to this day, which include induced abortions at late term pregnancy, forced injection of drugs to cause miscarriage, forced abortions and other methods, all of which have directly or indirectly led to the unnatural killing of around 30 million babies and fetuses. Taken together, the Chinese Communist Party has eliminated the lives of 100 million Chinese people.
Starting in the 1980s, even though the Party, in order to ensure its own survival, abandoned mass political mobilization and persecution and began focusing on economic construction, it has never ceased its slaughter of the Chinese people. In June 1989 on the streets of Beijing, hundreds and thousands of young students and people from all walks of life came out to oppose corruption, and countless died during the Party’s bloody crackdown. Over all these years too, others have died at the hands of the police or other security enforcers, from such varied causes as: Being sent to black jails, being incarcerated in mental hospitals, being beaten to death, dying during forced demolition of their homes or as their land is expropriated, dying from beatings by the chengguan, dying from ethnic repression, religious suppression, or in prison under the guise of playing “hide and seek,” drinking hot water, or dying from torture as the police attempt to extract a forced confession. The Chinese communists have never ceased relying on violence and persecution to maintain their dictatorship.
In the face of such an inhuman, bloody, sinister, and dark regime, that has in the space of just 66 short years severed the lives of 100 million people, it is my constitutional right to wish to topple and subvert it, and such a wish is also in accord with natural law. Getting rid of the outlaws and allowing the people to live in peace, and using violence to end violence have always been the innate rights of those living under oppression. There’s no crime in my wanting to subvert that regime—the real criminals are those whose hands are dripping with the blood of the Chinese people, the power-holders who uphold their dictatorship, and the running dogs, accomplices, and hired thugs who work on behalf of that regime.
The charge of “inciting subversion of state power” is naked political persecution, the Chinese Communist Party’s tool for shutting down and repressing political opposition. In this context, the public prosecutor and the judge on the case are merely fulfilling a “political task” by staging a trial with the sole purpose of sending political opponents to jail. There’s no possibility of fairness or justice in this; conscience and human nature are absent from the prosecutor and judge. I hope that after the conclusion of today’s trial, the names of the prosecutors and the judges will be remembered by many, and I also believe that one day, for your role in this case, aiding in the political persecution of myself and Xie Wenfei, you’ll pay a price.
I would like to thank my defense counsel Chen Keyun (陈科云) and Tan Chenshou (覃臣寿) , as well as Chen Jinxue (陈进学) for his prior involvement. Thanks are also due to the two lawyers defending Xie Wenfei. I also thank the friends who have given me financial aid from the day I was arrested, as well as the supporters who came to the court today but were blocked from entering and made to stand outside. I also thank the friends, netizens, brothers, and kindred spirits who have shown so much support, concern, and attention since I was taken into custody. It was the support from all of you that kept up my spirits in prison, allowed me to rid myself of fear and loneliness, made life a little easier, and led me to not give up. It’s your support that has made me realize that the journey towards liberty and democracy in this land of ours is never a solitary one. Countless members of previous generations came before us, among us we have a great many sympathisers, and after we’re gone there will be innumerable to follow. It’s your support that has given me warmth and strength.
Democracy movement for China has no path of retreat. Nor is there any possibility of a third way, or a middle way, by which we can negotiate with the CCP. Resistance is the only way: continual, endless resistance, and every possible form and manner of resistance. Only through resistance will we gain freedom, only through resistance will we gain dignity, and it is only resistance that will bring about change.
September 19, 2015
For Freedom, Justice and Love — My Closing Statement to the Court, Xu Zhiyong, January 22, 2014.
The Sovereignty of the People: My Conviction and My Dream, Guo Feixiong’s Court Statement, November 28, 2014.
The Southern Street Movement, China Change, October 19, 2013.
By Alex Chow and YANG Jianli, published: August 31, 2015
Today marks the first anniversary of the August 31 decision of China’s National People’s Congress prohibiting popular selection of candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive by the people in Hong Kong. This so-called “Beijing 8.19 Hong Kong political reform” package, violated China’s prior written agreements promising full universal suffrage, when it acquired sovereignty over Hong Kong from Great Britain. This betrayal so outraged the people of Hong Kong that it triggered the 79 day “Umbrella Protest Movement,” or “Occupy Central Movement.”
Thanks to the momentum generated by the Movement, on June 18th of this year, the Pan-Democrats coalition there successfully blocked the pseudo-democratic package offered by Beijing’s puppets in the Hong Kong Legislative Council by a landslide vote of 28:8. This dramatic incident was portrayed by some as the beginning of foreseeable political deadlock for Hong Kong, and the end of democratization, leaving nobody as a winner. On the contrary, we deem it a great victory of the people of Hong Kong. Certainly, things would not have been better if the package had been passed. It would have made no real progress towards Hong Kong citizens’ electing their own leaders, and would only have encouraged Beijing to further encroach on their freedoms. It also would have strengthened dominance of vested interests in Hong Kong, namely the tycoons, and further accelerate the invasion of “Red” capital from mainland China.
The issue of universal suffrage in Hong Kong is as much about the dignity of the people of Hong Kong as it is a political or legal issue. Beijing’s promise of autonomy has been just empty talk. The Hong Kong people’s basic living space is increasingly squeezed by the political and economic interventions and influx from the mainlanders, who have a “different lifestyle.” Over the years, and especially last year, Hong Kong people have expressed their demands through, among other ways, free referendums and the Umbrella Movement. However, the “central government” in Beijing has arrogantly dismissed their demands and denied their dignity. The June 18th veto again reflected the Hong Kong people fighting for that dignity. It manifested both their bottom line demand for their dignity and their determination to preserve it. That ultimately is more significant than any direct political result.
The June 18 rejection of the so-called “reform package” is a great loss of face for the Chinese Communist rulers. Such loss of face is what we call the great devaluation of the authoritarian power. We should not dismiss it lightly. This is kind of loss is what the they most fear and are most uneasy about. It would not be an overstatement to label this veto as a historic setback of the CCP’s rulers.
For now, the city might have returned to normal. Traffic is flowing again, business as usual. However, if the government thought that all it took to return everything to normal was a clearing of the streets, history will prove them wrong. But we are no longer satisfied with just a march. The changed situation in Hong Kong is now requiring more creative, flexible, and deeper approaches. We once again remind readers of four important facts concerning the Umbrella Movement and its future. First. the movement, although relatively youthful, is all inclusive, participated in by people from all ages and walks of life and not only students from local campuses. Thus it has great potential to expand. We need to make efforts to reach out to regional civil societies and bring people together by building a consensus, through a deep-rooted democracy movement, about what is fundamentally needed to make Hong Kong a better city for its inhabitants regardless of social strata. A number of new civic and professional organizations have sprung up since the Umbrella Movement, focusing on civic education and community development. They even have the potential to get the established Hong Kong interests to realize that democratic reform is necessary and does not need to threaten their vital interests. There will be reelections of district and city legislative councils. The June 18 Legislative Council’s veto of Beijing’s imposed fake “political reform” proposal shows that the power for real political reform will ultimately be in the hands of the voters. So helping democracy-minded candidates with their campaigns will pose other important battles.
Second. Many observers of the Umbrella Movement have attributed the movement to widespread discontent among young people over a lack of upward mobility. What had gong wrong, they said, was not the political system, but the economy. They are wrong. Rising housing prices and a growing wealth gap have indeed exacerbated discontent among many Hong Kongers. But a survey conducted during the movement last October revealed that 96 % of respondents ranked fighting for “genuine universal suffrage” as their number one motivation. In other words, the priority of the movement is for democracy. “If there is no genuine democracy, the government will basically ignore us,” said one respondent. “Consultation is just a waste of time. There is no way ordinary citizens can influence the government.” To achieve democracy in Hong Kong, in addition to social movements or local and city legislative elections, people need to rethink what fulfilling the Basic Law should include; How it can reflect their will; and how they should engage in policy making to protect their civil rights. What should be the true nature of Hong Kong as a city with genuine autonomy and self-determination. Otherwise, the praised concept of “One Country Two System” is dead.The way to save Hong Kong is not simply about changing the electoral system but also the mentality of people about the role of their city and their identity.
Third. Like it or not, the democratization in Hong Kong and that in mainland China are mutually supportive. Despite Beijing’s desperate efforts to curtail it, the valiant pursuit of civil liberty and democratic values in Hong Kong is well known by Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, peaceful dissidents and human rights defenders in China, as well as in Taiwan and Macau. It encourages them and gives them hope. At the same time, Hong Kong draws inspiration from the courageous determination and resilience of their brothers and sisters on the mainland. Each of these crusades must unreservedly support, encourage and assist the other. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King: “Injustice and repression anywhere in China, is injustice everywhere in China.”
Fourth. We note the role of the international community, especially the United States, Great Britain, and the U.N. Great Britain turned the citizens of Hong Kong over to the “tender mercies” of the dictators in Beijing on the explicit conditions of the “One Country Two Systems” principles laid out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the “Basic Law,” Hong Kong’s constitution. It’s silence now in the face of China’s reneging on those solemn commitments and guarantees of autonomy and justice dishonors the country that gave birth to the Common Law and the Magna Carta. Since China sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council, China’s repression of Hong Kong citizens, like its repression of mainland Chinese, is a gross embarrassment that U.N. leaders should publicly address. The Obama Administration’s officials first said the struggle in Hong Kong was an internal matter that they simply hoped could be peacefully settled. But a worldwide outcry over China’s heavy-handed repression, and a huge public petition to the White House, caused the Administration to at least mildly take sides with Hong Kong’s thirst for democracy. The White House claims that President Obama will strongly raise human rights issues with President Xi at their impending Washington summit. Obama should add this latest outrage to the long list of glaring human rights abuses — detailed in the State Department’s own report on those practices — that he must raised with Xi, if America’s claimed fidelity to human rights is to retain credibility. He can ask Xi whether Xi’s latest effort at a “show trial” that would make Putin proud is really Xi’s idea of his “rule of law” reform.
Alex Chow (周永康), former Secretary General of Hong Kong Federation of Student, Major Student Leader of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement, being indicted by the HONG Kong government for his role in the movement.
YANG Jianli (楊建利), president of Initiatives for China, Tiananmen Veteran, and Former Political Prisoner.
By Chang Ping, published: January 18, 2015
Three months after friend and assistant Zhang Miao (張淼) was arrested, Angela Köckritz, Beijing correspondent for the German paper DIE ZEIT, wrote a detailed account to publicize the case and her own experience in the event. I admire Ms. Köckritz’s action. In similar cases, the Chinese government has used methods to impose silence on insiders, and in Zhang Miao’s case too, “her family asks that only a little be made public.” The authorities claim, explicitly or otherwise, that publicizing these cases would harm the detainees, and in a way, they are acknowledging that the Chinese judiciary can be swerved this way or that way at will depending on the public’s opinions. When families and insiders are forced to cooperate, the authorities are in fact likely commit more abuses in the absence of media and public attention.
Köckritz’s article is rife with information, including dark humor. For example, “From the beginning, it has said that Occupy Central is a ‘color revolution’ backed by foreign powers. Its argument would be more credible if it could produce a suspected spy. Maybe me?” But as a Chinese I find it hard to laugh, especially when officer Zhang, after learning that Zhang Miao didn’t have German passport and is still a Chinese citizen, said to Köckritz that “in any case Zhang Miao is a completely normal Chinese citizen. And we will treat her like we deal with Chinese citizens.” During a routine briefing of the Foreign Ministry last October, the spokesman Hong Lei, answering a question about Zhang Miao, also emphasized that “the person you mentioned is a Chinese citizen.”
If you understand why so many Chinese would do anything to secure a foreign passport for themselves and their families after they have made money or gained power, you would understand what it is like to be “treated as Chinese citizens.” Köckritz is lucky that she could still walk out of the police station after being accused of separatism and of organizing the Occupy Central protests – she cannot “enjoy” treatment reserved only for Chinese citizens.
If you are a Chinese citizen, you can be disappeared without even a plausible charge. In the aforementioned briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman said Zhang Miao was detained for “allegedly provoking disturbances,” but Köckritz said in her article that she was at first told that Zhang Miao was “involved in a village squabble,” and then, she was told that Zhang Miao’s case is “about the security of the state, about its territorial integrity,” and “about inciting unrest.” The judiciary procedure prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Law of PRC is supposed to regulate how police go about making charges. But the police told her that “the Criminal Procedure Law doesn’t apply.”
Ten years ago, Chinese news assistant Zhao Yan (赵岩) working for the Beijing Bureau of the New York Times was arrested on charges of leaking state secrets. Seven months later, the charges morphed into fraud. Then, shortly before Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States, the prosecutors dropped all charges against Zhao Yan. Two months later, the same prosecutorate indicted Zhao Yan again on fraud charges, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. Currently, both lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and scholar Guo Yushan were detained on one charge and then officially arrested on another. One may conclude that it is the Chinese government that is really committing fraud.
In my twenty years as a journalist in China, I have known many Chinese news assistants working for foreign media. Most of them were in fact journalists but since the Chinese government prohibits foreign media organizations to hire Chinese citizens as journalists, they could only work as assistants or researchers. Almost all of them have been interrogated by Chinese security police in the name of “chatting.” Some are forced to work for the security apparatus as informants, collecting intelligence and making routine reports. But most of them loathed it and were terrified. These circumstances are not only unfair to these Chinese media professionals, they are also a threat to freedom of press worldwide.
In China, over 200 people have been arrested for voicing support for the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and Zhang Miao is one of them. This itself is absurd persecution against expressions. The police’s interrogation of Köckritz shows that, working for Die Zeit can be another charge against Zhang Miao in addition to supporting the Umbrella Movement. She can be investigated for, or charged with, colluding with foreign forces to separate the country, and divulging state secrets. German media and government have the responsibility to call for her freedom, and doing so is also fighting for its own press freedom.
This is the reality we must face: on the one hand, international opinion and governmental negotiation are still the forces, even the only forces, to constrain Chinese government’s wanton behaviors; on the other hand, the Chinese government cares less and less about these forces, and they even turn around to leverage against them. More foreigners are receiving the “treatment of Chinese citizens,” and in 2013, for example, Chinese-American Charles Xue was humiliated on the national TV after being detained for visiting a prostitute.
More and more foreign journalists in China have to learn to self-censor when reporting political topics, or they could be forced out of China just like Ms. Köckritz was. Reading her reports, I can see that she is a journalist who has in-depth understanding of Chinese politics and society. Forcing out such a foreign journalist, Chinese security police have once again scored big points.
Chang Ping (长平) is a veteran Chinese journalist and commentator of current affairs. He lives in Germany now.
(Translated by China Change)
By Leung Man-tao, published: October 26, 2014
While riding a minibus in Taipo to the MTR station the other day, I overheard a man sitting in front of me talking loudly about the current events in Hong Kong. It seems he had already seen through the situation as he confidently declared: “These are all the conspiracies of the pan-democratic camp and their intentions are too sinister. . . ” Because his traveling companion gave him a dubious look, the man more stridently and forcefully emphasized: “What, you haven’t heard yet? Actually, there is a good deal of evidence pointing to the fact that behind the scenes the Americans are supporting Occupy Central. Even the students are incited by the Americans and the British.”
After I got off the minibus, I walked into the MTR station lobby where I was met by girls wearing black who were passing out leaflets. By their looks, I guessed they were college students. I took a leaflet and, moving to the side, read it carefully. At the top of the leaflet were printed the reasons that the students were striking and their appeals for support from the city’s inhabitants. After I read it, I walked over to the girl who had handed me the leaflet and addressed her saying “Miss,” but by so doing I startled her. I then remembered that this generation of college students are more accustomed to being addressed as “fellow student.” I then spoke to her in a reassuring tone telling her that, even though the contents of the leaflet were clear and powerful, the leaflet did not have the names of the printers and publishers, and that it seemed inappropriate to leave the origins of the leaflet unclear. This small, skinny “fellow student” laughed embarrassingly and, gentle and polite to a fault, replied: “You are quite right. I’m so sorry. I will report this to my classmates. Thank you, Sir.”
After I walked away, I couldn’t resist turning around for another look. I saw her and two other girls with their heads buried in the leaflet, the stuffed animal doll ‘Soft Bear’ on her backpack swaying left and right. Just then, the emotions that I had been holding in for several days burst forth, and the usually imperturbable me wound up weeping at that most ordinary moment. So these are students instigated and mobilized by the “hidden American and British forces”?
How have we come to this today? Society is so polarized that we can find no way to sit together and discuss matters. When did this start? We have lost the capacity to discuss the facts and reason for right and wrong. Everything is seen as “intentions,” “ulterior motives,” and “forces behind the scenes.” In this hot weather, we have so many juveniles wearing black and marching in the streets doing all they can to fulfill the dream that people have had for more than thirty years. Is this not my fault, my generation’s dereliction of duty? In order to account for things I should have done but did not do, and in order to understand the ins and outs of the current situation, I must put in order my observations and thinking over the more than two years past, and say a few things that are perhaps inopportune (and are being said too late).
I don’t have a crystal ball, and at the very moment that I am writing this, I have no way of knowing how this massive Occupation Movement will end. As with so many historical events of great significance, however, it is easier to infer the movement’s long term effects than its specific short term direction. Let’s discuss the destructive aspects of Occupy Central. A great many commentators, when they discuss Occupy Central, only pay attention to the movement’s ability to inconvenience daily life. They fear the movement will disrupt traffic, and strike a blow to the economy. If, however, we compare it with the forces it will gradually exert after the movement ends, then the effects that the movement produces at its inception are really insignificant.
Based on the original estimates of the three initiators of Occupy Central, there would only be about 5,000 people participating in the whole operation, and if 10,000 participated, that would exceed expectations. These 10,000 were expected to sit obediently on the ground, not charging at anything, and not destroying anything, just sitting there waiting for the police to take them away one at a time when the police came to clear the area. Based on how well Hong Kong police cleared demonstrators in previous protests, it wouldn’t take too long to clear away the “occupiers” – at most two or three weeks. The real problems would start after these 5,000 to 10,000 demonstrators were brought back to the police stations.
Authorities Wanted to Stop Occupy Central from Happening as Planned
On the surface, the operations of the Hong Kong police on the evening of September 28 were incredibly stupid. We should not, however, when explaining these events, think that the police were so stupid. Just using “mental deficiency” and other such explanations to muddle by when in fact they do not clarify the rational for the operations. On the contrary, we should, as much as possible, think of the situation from the ‘rationale’ of the decision makers. There were rumors that the protest site had to be cleared before the 1 October National Day; there is the so-called “hawks syndrome” that I will elaborate later. But the explanation I can think of for the police’s action was that the authorities did not want to see Occupy Central start at all. Strictly speaking, they did not want Occupy Central to unfold according to the movement’s original plans. Including the decision makers in the security agencies and the attorney general’s office, all the authorities certainly knew the plans of Occupy Central’s chief promoter, Mr. Benny Tai (because he had written in detail about them), so they were willing to use tear gas and brute force to drive out quickly the majority of the people, or as Mr. Chow Yung (Robert Chow) has said, even let those among the people who oppose Occupy Central to take it upon themselves to clear the area. (Did Mr. Chow mean the violence perpetrated by thugs over the past two days?) As much as possible, the authorities did not want to allow the movement to continue too long and, as much as possible, they wanted to avoid arresting too many people.
Why? First of all, the police force does not have the capability to fight a protracted war of attrition. More than 10,000 police officers worked overtime every day, and leave was cancelled for several months. This was not just a simple matter of diverting normal distribution of the police force, but rather real problems of police morale and resources. We should not forget that canceling leave and adding overtime means expending a large amount of money, and perhaps the Pan-Democratic City Council members might want in the future to grab a copy of the government’s budget that shows security expenditures and cry foul. A rational decision maker would not overlook that possibility.
Secondly, while the occupation of Central is formidable, an even bigger problem is the scene after those several thousands of defendants enter judicial prosecution procedures. According to the analysis of legal scholar Mr. Max Wong (王慧麟), based on Hong Kong law, the ten thousand cannot be interrogated via collective representation, but rather, they must be interrogated in batches based on the specific crimes or they even have to make individual appearances in court. Just imagine, a single defendant, when giving an oral statement for the record to the police, can play all kinds of tricks (just as many lawyers have said, a college student of history, when recounting the way he remembers the events, could talk about the books he was reading at the time and relate historical events from the Goddess Nu Wa patching the sky to the establishment of the Communist government in 1949, and the police officer must wearily record every word without error). Afterwards, the Department of Justice must review every single case before it goes to trial in the court. With ten thousands of defendants, for the entire judicial process to be completed (not counting the time required for appeals), several years probably are not time enough. When that time comes, it will not be traffic on the Hong Kong inland that will be paralyzed but Hong Kong’s entire judicial system. (Unless of course the Chief Executive decrees a state of emergency and allows a simpler procedure to take effect, but that would raise even bigger issues).
Anyone with some knowledge of the history of civil disobedience knows that its main stage is not the [protest] site but the court, especially where there is an independent judiciary system. Each and every trial of the 10,000 people will be an opportunity for making eloquent speeches and appealing to the public. How many times will these trials rouse feelings and inspire? For example, when a certain 70-year-old “Uncle Fung” is on trial today, wouldn’t supporters flock outside the court to “support Uncle Fung,” thus mobilizing a small-scale occupation? The authorities can’t detain thousands of people for a long time without releasing them on bail; while waiting for trial, they will go back into the fray like many activists do now as a contingent of combatants, repeatedly committing civil disobedience and repeatedly being charged. The entire process, under close attention of the media and popular opinion, could ferment larger civil disobedience movements as a result of moral inspiration. Take tax resistance for another example. It is also an unlawful act that will be tried, but because the judicial system is slowed down by the sheer number of cases, throngs of defendants will be on streets, not in prison, and they will surely turn it into another low-cost but highly attractive act of conscience. When various acts of civil disobedience, such as tax resistance, erupt one after another, it will be an endless cycle with a possible ripple effect. By comparison, a few weeks of traffic inconvenience and stock market fluctuation that we are currently experiencing is nothing. When last month Mr. Benny Tai proposed not to launch Occupy Central on a workday so as not to affect the financial market, many people criticized him for being diffident, but these folks, for the moment at least, probably forgot what Occupy Central is all about.
A Moral Movement Regardless of Costs
It is true that the occupation movement has already exceeded everyone’s expectations. It’s unlikely that thousands sitting on the streets will be cleared out. But unless all occupiers disperse peacefully and of their own accord (we all know this is unlikely either), there will be a clear-out operation sooner or later. Can the police simply drag protesters away without arresting and charging them? Even if this absurd development would turn out to be the case, or if the police only detain a few hundred, how can they stop those determined protesters from surrendering themselves? How can they stop small civil disobedience actions from “blossoming everywhere”? (Don’t forget that, if over 100,000 or even 200,000 Hong Kongers who are taking part in the occupation movement suffer no consequences, then it would encourage more civil disobedience acts in the future.) Therefore, the aforementioned scenario will arrive eventually. The police’s actions on September 28th perhaps were meant to prevent such a scenario but, instead, they ended up bringing it about sooner and to wider international attention. (International attention should have been in the script of the Occupy Central anyway, but it might not have come so soon and so overwhelmingly.)
Over the last few days, friends who are supporters of the occupation movement have been discussing how the whole thing will end, especially what its short-term goals and appeals are, and what to do if none of these goals and appeals materialize. The answer is very simple: do nothing; just sit. As Mr. Benny Tai said before, this movement was heading to a “defeat” even before the NPCSC decision was issued, given that its purpose is to force the Central Government to make concessions and allow universal suffrage in the election of chief executive without constraining the nomination process. Since that point, it has become a moral movement regardless of costs. But on the other hand, it is also creating a crisis for the government in Hong Kong and Beijing that will not be resolved for years to come.
(Translated by Ai Ru and Yaxue Cao)