Hong Kong’s ‘pro-democracy’ movement allies with far-right US politicians that seek to crush Black Lives Matter
As a Hong Kong protest leader promotes far-right condemnations of US anti-racism demonstrations and activists shut down a Black Lives Matter rally in the city, Hong Kong organizers forge close ties with hardline Republicans in Washington.
by Ajit Singh
Part 2 - Hong Kong “pro-democracy” leader denounces George Floyd protests
As Dan Cohen reported for The Grayzone, Jimmy Lai is a billionaire media tycoon widely referred to as “the Rupert Murdoch of Asia” who is a major financial and media backer of Hong Kong’s protest movement.
In addition to pouring millions of dollars into Hong Kong’s opposition in recent years, the self-described “head of opposition media” and founder of the anti-government Apple Daily tabloid has provided protesters with “unswervingly favorable coverage,” according to The New York Times.
Lai has received glowing coverage in the US and Western media, with the oligarch often being praised as a “‘troublemaker’ with a clean conscience” who is “standing up to China.”
On June 2, Lai shared a video by Avi Yemini, a far-right YouTube personality and former Israeli army soldier, declaring that it was “bloody disgraceful” to liken the “riots in America” with Hong Kong’s protest movement.
In the video, Yemini rattled off right-wing talking points, referring to the anti-racist protesters as “antifa extremists” who are “destroying everything that is American, in fact, everything that Hong Kongers are fighting to obtain.”
Lai expressed his gratitude to Yemini, writing “thank you for speaking up for us #HKers.”
According to the Australian Jewish Democratic Society, Yemini has formed extensive ties to neo-Nazis such as the Soldiers of Odin and fascist agitators like Milo Yiannopoulis.
A few days earlier, Lai, who has met repeatedly with Trump administration brass, told CNN that “only Trump can save Hong Kong.”
Lai then reiterated his call for President Trump’s support mere hours after the president threatened to have the US military shoot George Floyd protesters.
The sentiment was unsurprising, considering that much of the protest movement in Hong Kong has lionized Washington, upholding the US government and President Trump as their “liberators.”
For years, leaders of Hong Kong’s opposition have met and strategized with US government officials and politicians, most frequently those on the far-right.
Indeed, Lai’s views on the George Floyd protests appear to reflect those of a significant segment of Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement, to the dismay of those who argue that the movement is “progressive.”
The Lausan Collective, a self-described “decolonial left” English-language publication founded by staunch supporters of the Hong Kong protests, lamented that “some Hongkongers have refused to stand with Black Lives Matter” urging their comrades to support protests taking place in the US.
Wilfred Chan, a New York-based contributing writer for The Nation and founding member of Lausan, expressed frustration at the prevalence of such views.
In a June 2 tweet, Chan wrote that “every other hongkonger [sic]” on LIHKG (a popular online platform among Hong Kong’s protest movement that has been called “Hong Kong’s Reddit”), “is suddenly an expert on the american [sic] criminal justice system and also believe the only reason anyone could be critical of trump [sic] is because they’re an agent of the [Communist Party of China]”.
Examples of this have surfaced on Twitter, with vocal supporters of the Hong Kong protests claiming that the Communist Party of China is behind Black Lives Matter, comparing Black protesters to gorillas, and claiming that the “real America” consists of Black people who are looters and white people who clean up after them.
Racist and nativist undercurrents have been present throughout the Hong Kong protests. Although this has primarily been directed towards mainland Chinese, anti-Black racism has also previously erupted during the protests.
Following NBA superstar LeBron James’ refusal to declare support for the movement, intense backlash swept across the city with protesters trampling on and burning the basketball icon’s jerseys.
In one gathering, hundreds of angry protesters appear to have chanted racial slurs directed at James, with the Associated Press reporting that the chant “wasn’t printable.”