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Communist China's Unbearable Propaganda

I think the People's Republic of China (PRC, I consider it a mistake to equate the Communist state with China, so I will just use its official name) deserves to be understood and judged fairly. I have met Chinese who are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); many of them are nice, rational, reasonable individuals whom I consider good friends. The CCP has its own logic, and it is fair to try and understand it, to listen to the arguments, opinions and points of view of the Chinese political elite.

However, oftentimes the CCP makes it very hard for us to do so. Manipulations and shameless propaganda cannot but anger and embitter even those who would like to have a dialogue with the citizens of the PRC. The CCP does not allow free speech, it cuts off the country from the rest of the world by blocking social networks where intercultural dialogue could and should take place. And, most importantly, its state media engage in a style of propaganda that is nauseating, based on false assumptions and flawed arguments. The latest editorial published on the Global Times, a government newspaper, about the Occupy Central movement is one such example:      

The Occupy Central movement has lasted for more than one month and its goals are clear-cut. As well as having the change of the Hong Kong government on its agenda, it also attempts to cause chaos in the whole of Chinese society, deteriorating China's political environment.

Now you can see how Communist propaganda operates. It simply advances some insinuations without providing any proof or evidence. In fact, while the first point, - the change of the Hong Kong government -, is correct, the second assumption is entirely flawed. For instance, on October 11 the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, two pro-democracy student associations, explained very clearly in an open letter to PRC President Xi Jinping that the students do not want a revolution in China and that they respect the 'one country, two systems' model:

The occupy movement today at Hong Kong is definitely not a colour revolution or its alike, but rather a movement for democracy. The class boycott initiated by students and occupy movements across the city are our response to [the current Chief Executive]’s aversion towards public opinions. We demonstrated peacefully, but were confronted by violence; we howled, but were made silent by pepper spray and full-geared police. Yet the choking gas lingered in Central could not scare the citizens, but only triggered more to stand against this unscrupulous government and affirm justice. 
A genuine universal suffrage should never be drawn equivalent as subversion. It rather serves to exhibit the high degree of autonomy embodied in Basic Law. National defence and diplomatic matters have always been adminsitered by the Central Government. If the Central Government is confident of her governance, she need not be fearful of a Chief Executive elected by Hong Kong citizens. Genuine universal suffrage will only reaffirm such autonomy and be another exemplar of yours. Our respect towards the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” is the precise reason to put forward that Hong Kong shall resolve Hong Kong’s problems and citizens’ opinion must be given heavy weight.
The Global Times, however. not content to slander the Occupy Movement with baseless accusations, plays the 'foreign forces' card:

International forces that are hostile to China keep beating the drum for the protesters, offering them covert financial assistance and other aid with the purpose of moving the Occupy Central into violence and extremism. If we cannot curb this trend, bloodshed deliberately instigated by external forces will be unavoidable

(photo courtesy: Clemson: Chinese Propaganda Posters, uploaded on flickr)

The Global Times here probably refers (though it provides no sources) to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US governmental agency, as well as to the support expressed by the United States' government for universal suffrage and human rights in Hong Kong. I would like to state my opinion clearly: the United States' government should not interfere in other states' business and should stop making remarks on democracy. It is not the job of the US or any other government to supervise other sovereign states. From this point of view, I not only agree with PRC politicians but I also think that over the last few decades the assertive stance of the US has actually damaged democracy. Having said that, Western media and common citizens are free to say and write whatever they want, as they do not act in an official capacity. 

But - comments made by the US do not constitute evidence that the Occupy Central movement is masterminded or controlled by Washington. This is as ridiculous as to suggest that the people in Scotland who voted against independence from the UK were controlled by the Chinese government (back in July Li Keqiang, the Premier of the PRC, hinted that he wished the UK wouldn't split). It is also as ridiculous as to suggest that Obama came to office with the help of foreign governments, since some foreign governments at the time were hostile to the Republicans George W. Bush had led over the previous 8 years.

Second, the NED's funding is not 'covert'. You can find it on the agency's website. The NED provides $145,000 for "Protecting Human Rights and Encouraging Democratic Representation in Hong Kong" and $150,031 for "Expanding Worker Rights and Democracy." 

If the Hong Kong government considers these funds contrary to national security, it can just pass legislation to prohibit them. However, there is absolutely no evidence that thousands of Hongkongers have been "bought" by these 300,000 dollars or that they are puppets in the hands of foreigners. There is, moreover, no evidence whatsoever - recorded either in spoken or written form - that the pro-democracy movement has been incited to become violent or extremist. All evidence suggests the contrary. 

The view that Occupy Central is violent and extremist is based on the CCP's unwillingness to listen to the protesters' arguments and take them seriously. But the CCP should focus on rational arguments, not on insinuations and baseless suspicions.

25 years after the Tiananmen incident of 1989, the tone of the PRC's state media has not changed much and is reminiscent of the infamous People's Daily editorial of 26 April 1989:

Flaunting the banner of democracy, [the protesters] undermined democracy and the legal system. Their purpose was to sow dissension among the people, plunge the whole country into chaos and sabotage the political situation of stability and unity. This is a planned conspiracy and a disturbance. Its essence is to, once and for all, negate the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system. This is a serious political struggle confronting the whole party and the people of all nationalities throughout the country.

At last, the Global Times editorial has revealed the true face of the CCP hardliners. Many people think that a Tiananmen-like crackdown won't happen in Hong Kong. But how can they say so when we all know that the CCP hardliners have not changed a bit? When they arrest mainland Chinese for supporting Occupy Central and write editorials that are nearly identical to those they wrote in 1989? Wang Dan, a veteran student leader of the 1989 democracy movement, has warned the students to brace themselves for a defeat. He should have said: brace yourself for another tragedy in Chinese history. 

But if this should happen, let us not forget it all too easily, as we did after June 4 1989. This time we cannot compromise. No government and no people who disapprove of this crackdown should seek business in the PRC or friendly relations with it. This is not a way to punish the PRC and it is not a threat. This will just protect our souls from the filthiness and disgrace of a bloodshed. If our kids make friends with a rogue, won't we say: 'avoid bad company'? Some naive people believe that by getting closer to the PRC its government will steadily change. This is an illusion, and it is about time we faced it. Let us not seek world supremacy; but let us preserve our own integrity and keep a clear conscience - two things that we have lost long ago.  


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