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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 4 - Hong Kong’s opposition aligned with same far-right US politicians repressing Black Lives Matter

There are some within Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement who have issued statements expressing support for the protests taking place in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement, arguing that both movements are engaged in a shared struggle against oppression and police brutality. 

Joshua Wong, a poster-boy for the Hong Kong protests, along with Nathan Law and other leading members of his political party, Demosistō, have stated that they stand with Black Lives Matter. “Many of you have asked me about the ongoing U.S. protests” wrote Wong in a June 2 tweet. “As a human-rights activist, I stand firmly on the side of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and oppose police brutality, wherever it may be.

Although he had never mentioned Black Lives Matter prior to this tweet, Wong has now claimed that both he and Hong Kong’s protesters have long stood in solidarity with the movement. “Time and again, we see how people fighting oppression in Hong Kong continue to stand with people fighting oppression in the United States. #BlackLivesMatter,” Wong wrote in a June 4 tweet, sharing an image of a Hong Kong protester holding a sign which read “I CAN’T BREATHE.

In calling for solidarity between the two movements, Lausan argued that they “both stem from the same system of state violence and oppression” and are connected by “similarly being victims of police brutality.” 

However, what Joshua Wong and other Hong Kong “pro-democracy” leaders, along with “left-wing” supporters like Lausan, omit from their pronouncements of “solidarity” with Black Lives Matter is that their movement’s principal ally is the very US state which is brutally repressing American protesters fighting for racial justice.

Leaders of Hong Kong’s opposition like Wong have spent years cultivating close relationships some of the most hawkish figures in Washington. Their most vociferous allies include far-right Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott, and Tom Cotton, who recently called for a US military crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests.

Their expressly stated goal, as spelled out by a US-based lobbying firm, is to advance their movement against the Chinese government and “preserve the US’s own political and economic interests in Hong Kong.

Given their open alliance with the very politicians who have demonized US protesters as “looters” and “antifa terrorists”, doxxed protesters, claimed that the Venezuelan government is behind the demonstrations, and made fascistic calls for the military to impose martial law, the expressions of support for Black Lives Matter by leaders of Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement ring hollow.

It is no coincidence that the statements by Wong and his comrades do not mention, let alone criticize, their far-right sponsors in Washington. In fact, just days prior to his pronouncement of solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Wong sent birthday wishes to Senator Rubio.

These alliances highlight the superficiality of the “solidarity” of Hong Kong’s opposition with Black Lives Matter and reflect the fundamental political differences between the two movements. 

In stark contrast to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has called into question the racial oppression that undergirds the American political system, the Hong Kong protesters have proudly affirmed an exceptionalist, whitewashed notion of the US as a beacon of “freedom and democracy,” adorning themselves in the stars and stripes and belting out the Star-Spangled Banner while beseeching the US to police the Asian Pacific region.

Whereas Black Lives Matter has inspired a global reckoning with US and European legacies of slavery and colonialism, Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement is inspired by the city’s former British colonial masters.

In recent days, the Black Lives Matter movement has been terrorized by white vigilante groups. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” protests have served as a magnet for the US and European far-right supporters.

The ultra-right pilgrimages to Hong Kong have included numerous American white nationalists and Ukrainian neo-Nazis who previously fought in the fascist paramilitary group, Azov Battalion
.

The interest has been mutual, with Hong Kong’s “democrats” drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s pro-Western Euromaidan “revolution” that has empowered far-right, fascistic forces.

Hong Kong protesters have even embraced the slogan “Glory to Hong Kong”, adapted from “Slava Ukrayini” or “Glory to Ukraine”, a slogan invented by Ukrainian fascists and used by Nazi collaborators during WWII that was re-popularized by the Euromaidan movement.

No matter the differences between Ukraine and Hong Kong, our fights for freedom and democracy are the same,” Joshua Wong told The Kyiv Post in 2019. “[W]e have to learn from Ukrainians… and show solidarity. Ukraine confronted the force of Russia — we are facing the force of Beijing.

Despite attempts to equate their experiences, both movements have faced radically different police responses. US police have killed at least three protesters in the past several days and imposed harsh curfews, while the Trump administration has threatened to send in the military to quash the uprising. 

Yet after a year of protests in Hong Kong — during which time protesters have harassed and taken journalists hostage, ganged up on and beaten countless defenseless individuals, burned people alive, and murdered an elderly street cleaner by throwing a brick at his head — police have yet to kill a single protester or impose any curfew in the city.

This is in spite of the fact that Hong Kong’s protesters have explicitly aimed to use aggressive provocations to “get the police to hit [them]” to win international sympathy, including hurling bricks, gasoline bombs, and flaming arrows at officers.

In fact, the Chinese army has never been deployed to protests, except when soldiers left their barracks on one occasion, unarmed and dressed in shorts and t-shirts, to clean debris left on the streets.

It is clear that Hong Kong’s “pro-democracy” movement and Black Lives Matter are separate movements with radically different political ideologies and aims.

With the US establishment united in its new Cold War strategy against China, Joshua Wong and Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing opposition are well aware that bipartisan support for their movement is secure. If their statements of “solidarity” with protests taking place in the US represent anything, it is a desperate desire to avoid being tarnished any further by the close alliances they have forged with pro-police hardliners in Washington.

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