“China has no intention to change the US, nor to replace the US”, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday, during a briefing at the National People’s Congress. “It is also wishful thinking for the US to change China”, he cautioned.
His remarks were the usual mix of caustic realism and propaganda. Remember, propaganda is a dish best served with side dishes of truth. Commingling facts with misinformation is an extremely effective way to legitimize the overall narrative.
“Some US political forces are taking China-US relations hostage, attempting to push the ties to the brink of a so-called ‘new Cold War’,” Wang went on to charge. “This is dangerous and will endanger global peace”.
Wang also accused some US politicians of “making up lies” and promoting “conspiracy theories”, and said anyone who expects Beijing to pay “reparations” for the virus is “daydreaming”.
Most of that is true. But, the Party is clearly not blameless – in anything. It is unabashedly undemocratic and irrespective of the violent tactics employed by some protesters in Hong Kong, the fact remains that Beijing is fearful of democracy and writing mainland national security protocols into the city’s laws is an overt effort to roll back democratic freedoms. To assess the situation any differently is to be deliberately obtuse.
As expected, protests flared anew in Hong Kong on Sunday. Demonstrators expressed extreme displeasure with Xi’s power grab in the city and protesters were met with tear gas and a water cannon. More than 100 were ultimately arrested.
“We must stand up and fight, and let Beijing know that we will never surrender”, Joshua Wong, a prominent protest leader declared. “We would describe [the national security law] as the beginning of the end”.
In a preview of things to come, they were deemed “rioters” by police, who claimed authorities felt threatened by umbrellas, water bottles and “other objects” tossed about in the melee.
Demonstrators chanted “Hong Kong independence, the only way out”.
“I am worried that after the implementation of the national security law, they will go after those being charged before and the police will be further out of control”, a 16-year-old named Twinnie told Reuters. “I am afraid of being arrested but I still need to come out and protest for the future of Hong Kong”.
Later this week, Hong Kong is set to debate a law that punishes disrespect for the national anthem. Donald Trump would be proud.
China’s Wang said the new legislation and subsequent changes to Hong Kong’s laws will make the city a safer place.
That much is probably true, depending on what kind of “safety” you’re talking about.
He went on to contend that the new national security protocols will only target a “narrow” set of actions, won’t impact the city’s freedoms or rights, and won’t endanger the interests of foreign firms.
Nobody believes that. Wang included.