Throughout the recent dramas in Hong Kong, Britain’s “socialist daily” the Morning Star, said precisely… nothing. No coverage at all until after the Hong Kong government had backed down. Then that after-the-event coverage was (as we shall see) even more revealing than the previous noncoverage.
Perhaps the people who run the paper (i.e. the Communist Party of Britain – the CPB) thought their readers wouldn’t be interested — but then, the paper recently carried a lengthy and highly diplomatic report of a CPB delegation to China.
Since 9 June, up to two million people in Hong Kong — more than one in seven city residents — have taken to the streets to protest against legislation that would allow local officials to arrest and extradite to the mainland any person accused of one of 37 types of crime. Political offences are, in theory, excluded from the list, but nobody is fooled: contriving criminal charges against political opponents is child’s play for Beijing, which controls the mainland’s courts and has well-documented form in concocting legal cases for political purposes.
The extradition bill is just the latest breach of China’s commitment to maintain Hong Kong’s way of life for 50 years after its handover from Britain in 1997 In 2015, mainland authorities abducted five Hong Kong booksellers known for selling politically sensitive titles and held them in solitary confinement for months until they pleaded guilty to various offences
On Wednesday 12 June, demonstrations spiralled into the worst political violence since the handover from British rule, with police firing teargas and rubber bullets and attacking protesters. Later, there were arrests of activists, including in hospital. With another march already scheduled for Sunday 16 June, and public anger heightened by police brutality and detentions, China’s puppet Lam was forced into a dramatic reversal, suspending the extradition bill, after meeting top Chinese officials. Then on Monday 17 June the Morning Star carried a brief report on page 7.
“Thousands” (not the one or two million reported elsewhere and shown in aerial film) protested against “a proposed law that would allow the extradition of suspects to the rest of China on a case-by-case basis.” The report note that the protesters “say the law would allow mainland authorities to target political opponents” but dismissed those fears.
“China Daily journalist Ian Goodrum argues that ‘there’s [currently] no legal way to prevent criminals in other parts of China from escaping charges by fleeing to Hong Kong. It would be like Louisiana – which you’ll remember, has a unique judicial system – refusing to send fugitives to Texas or California for crimes committed in those states.”
The Morning Star had little to say against the law, but it had a fair bit to say against the protests.
“A key protest organiser is the Civil Human Rights Front, which lists the US National Endowment for Democracy-funded Hong Kong Human Rights movement among its constituent organisations”.
So let’s get this straight: according to the Morning Star, one of the key protest organisations includes another organisation that (are you following this?) has accepted funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to the NED’s online Democracy Projects Database, it has given funding to that Hong Kong group for programmes relating to China’s Xinjiang province and its Uyghur people. The NED states that it will “maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children; conduct a civic education seminar for Uyghur women; and conduct advocacy on behalf of the human rights of Uyghurs in China.”
Bound to be sinister, then. For the Morning Star, it proved that the “Yankees” (the Morning Star has recently revived that term) were behind the protests!