US intelligence agencies are actively involved in causing dissent in the city of Hong Kong. The 2019 Hong Kong protests started off as a movement opposing the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill proposed by Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong’s government, in response to the murder of a Taiwanese women by a Hong Kong citizen . The proposed bill would have established extradition agreements between the states of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China, and thus enabled authorities in these regions to detain and extradite criminal fugitives.
Since June, protests in Hong Kong have intensified despite Lam’s withdrawal of the extradition bill. Demands for democracy, not the bill, have now become the aim of many protesters, who hope to court Western support, particularly from the United States, by displaying American flags and singing the US national anthem.
These efforts to enlist Western support reveal a subversive reality. The biases for pro-democracy reporting in the US media is due not simply to the actions of protesters in Hong Kong, but also as a result of one-sided news coverage that has misled the public (both foreign and domestic) to a considerable degree. With the US increasingly oriented to China’s global power, Hong Kong is vital in destabilizing Beijing’s future. Hong Kong is a linchpin for Asian and Chinese markets, a market which Western nationals and especially the US seek to access.
The US has always had interest in influencing the other nations’ politics to ensure US security, often at the expense of those nations’ stability. Through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Washington wields power (under the auspices of the CIA) as a regime-maker in numerous countries, a reality that often fosters domestic resentment and, sometimes, coups in those countries.
For Hong Kong, this is no difference. Protest leaders—including Joshua Wong, the protest’s unofficial face, and Jimmy Lai. a media tycoon, are propped up through funding and support from NED and the CIA. Wong and Lai, among other leaders of Hong Kong’s protests, are closely associated with US officials. Lai’s influence is especially significant, since he has the political clout to form his own national party. Partly due to Lai’s influence, Western media misrepresented the terms of the extradition treaty that launched the protest movement.
Since the late 1990s the proportion of In 1997 Hong Kong’s GDP constituted 27% of the PRC’s GDP – today that proportion shrunk to a mere 3%.
Coverage by establishment media in the US has been lukewarm when it comes to providing objective coverage, typically portraying pro-democracy protestors in a positive light. Articles by Reuters in July 2019 and the Huffington Post in September 2019 exemplify coverage designed to be critical of China. Neither makes mention of the reasoning for the extradition bill or that such treaties are commonplace among nations. Nor do the articles address meetings between US officials and protest leaders in Hong Kong other than as support for democracy, or that the US has provided funding to some of these individuals US prior to the protests.
Source: Peter Koenig, “Hong Kong and the Audacity of the United States,” Countercurrents, August 27, 2019, https://countercurrents.org/2019/08/hong-kong-and-the-audacity-of-the-united-states; originally published by New Eastern Outlook, August 25, 2019, https://journal-neo.org/2019/08/25/hong-kong-and-the-audacity-of-the-united-states/.
Student Researchers: Bryan Louie (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Chingling Wo (Sonoma State University)