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BBC: Five Approaches of China in Response to Hong Kong

On August 22, BBC Chinese reported on five methods China has used to respond to the protesters in Hong Kong.

1. Media and Propaganda

In the beginning, the Chinese media’s news was silent about the million people parades. Shortly thereafter, the official propaganda outlets launched campaigns to focus on the “violence” in Hong Kong’s protests, portraying an image of “foreign funded violent protesters.” Outside of China, the official media have been making use of Western social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Chinese diplomats have also published articles or done interviews in the local media to criticize the protesters or support the actions of overseas pro-Beijing Chinese students.

2. Economic Pressure

Hong Kong’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific, was hard hit. China accused Cathay employees of participating in the violent protests. The Civil Aviation Administration of China issued a “significant aviation safety risk warning” to Cathay Pacific. Cathay’s share price plummeted, and the CEO and managing director Rupert Hogg resigned. This gave a clear warning to the Hong Kong business circle. Shortly afterwards, Hong Kong’s real estate developers, banks, and accounting firms placed advertisements in newspapers to condemn the violence and side with Beijing and the SAR government.

3. Threats of Military and Police Involvement

The People’s Liberation Army stationed in Hong Kong and the Chinese police force have also turned up the volume of propaganda with messages that included threats. Hong Kong’s PLA released a video entitled, “Do Not Forget Our Original Aspirations, Defend Hong Kong.” The content shown in-the-street exercises in the containment of protesters — with snipers, machine guns, and loudspeakers. On the other hand, the Chinese armed police conducted a drill in Shenzhen, across the river from Hong Kong. Although China said that this was a routine exercise in preparation for National Day security on August 19th, the mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily published a video of the drill, indicating that suppression by force was still an option for Beijing to use in handling Hong Kong.

4. Pro-China parades

In Hong Kong, multiple gatherings to support the SAR government and the police have been held many times, participants have included many movie stars. On August 17, real estate tycoons in Hong Kong attended a rally organized by the pro-Beijing political party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) to express their opposition to violence.

Outside Hong Kong, after the Chinese students at the University of Queensland in Australia confronted the students who supported Hong Kong protesters, the Chinese Embassy in Australia affirmed the “spontaneous patriotic behavior” of Chinese students. In Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Vancouver, Toronto, and other cities, Chinese students and local Chinese organized demonstrations in support of the Hong Kong government and the police.

5, Legal Means

On August 21, the speech of the spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zang Tiewei, actually ruled out the possibility of restarting Hong Kong’s political reform and achieving universal suffrage for the Hong Kong Chief Executive and the Legislative Council.

Zang said, “Recently, some illegal criminals in Hong Kong have openly attacked the legislature, violently attacked the police, and willfully beat innocent people. These acts are serious crimes in any country under the rule of law and will be punished according to the law.”

On the issue of universal suffrage, Zang said that the “8·31” decision was a legally binding decision adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The handling of Hong Kong affairs must be resolved within the framework of the Constitution, and the Hong Kong Basic Law.

The so-called “8·31” decision refers to the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China on August 31, 2014 regarding the general election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong and the method for the generation of the 2016 Legislative Council.

Source: BBC Chinese, August 22, 2019