Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has issued a new report, The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, revealing the extent of the regime's campaign of repression against the right to information. The report especially examines the deterioration of press freedom in Hong Kong, which was once a world model but has now seen an increasing number of journalists arrested in the name of "national security."
In Episode 102 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg interviews Joanna Chiu, author of China Unbound: A New World Disorder, on the precipitous rise of the People's Republic as a world power, and the dilemmas this poses for human rights and democracy around the planet. How can we reconcile the imperatives to resist the globalization of China's police state and to oppose the ugly Sinophobia which is rising in the West, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Some Chinese dissidents living in exile in the US have even been co-opted by Trumpism. Chiu argues that stigmatization and misinterpretation of Chinese, whether in the People's Republic or the diaspora, plays into the hands of Beijing's propaganda. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
In Episode 100 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses recent uprisings in two disparate parts of the world—the South Pacific archipelago nation of the Solomon Islands and two of the states that have emerged from the former Yugoslavia. In both cases, people who were pissed off for damn good reason took to the streets to oppose foreign capital, and corrupt authoritarian leaders who do its bidding. But in the Solomon Islands, popular rage was deflected into campism and ethnic scapegoating, while in Serbia and Kosova the people on the ground actually overcame entrenched and bitter ethnic divisions to make common cause against common oppressors. The contrast holds lessons for global protest movements from Hong Kong to New York City. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Human Rights Watch on Nov. 12 accused the corporate sponsors of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics of ignoring China's crimes against humanity in its far western region of Xinjiang, thus "squandering the opportunity" to pressure China to address its "appalling human rights record." Coca-Cola, Intel, Toyota and Airbnb are among the 13 Olympic Partners who were accused by name of overlooking China's mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups, as well as the repression of free speech in Hong Kong.
A Hong Kong district court on Oct. 25 found delivery worker-turned-activist Ma Chun-man guilty of incitement to secession for his actions at over 20 protests and in several interviews last year. Famously dubbed "Captain America 2.0" by local news media for dressing like the comic-book character at demonstrations, Ma is the second person to be convicted under China's Law on Protection of National Security of Hong Kong. He was charged under articles 20 and 21 for advocating "separating Hong Kong from China, unlawfully changing its legal status or surrendering it to foreign rule."
Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire
by Tim Harper
Harvard University Press, 2021
This dauntingly detailed book on the roots of Asia's anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes.
The first "patriots only" vote under Hong Kong's new political system was held Sept. 19, to choose members for a 1,500-member Election Committee—although only some 360 of the seats were actually contested. Voting was restricted to some 5,000 individuals representing different professions and industries, chosen under a principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong." Members were vetted by the newly formed Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, appointed from Beijing. The Election Committee is tasked with electing 40 members of the enlarged 90-seat Legislative Council in December as well as choosing the city's new chief executive next March. The new and more controlled electoral system was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote at the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing this March. (HKFP, China Daily, China.org.cn, Xinhua, Kyodo, RFA)
Four key members of the group behind Hong Kong's annual Tiananmen Massacre vigil were arrested Sept. 8. The arrests came the morning after the activists publicly refused a police demand for information as part of a "national security" probe into the 32-year-old group. The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said its vice-chair Chow Hang-tung and committee members Simon Leung, Tang Ngok-kwan and Chan To-wai were arrested in the early-morning raid on the June 4 Memorial Museum. Police confirmed the arrests, saying the four, aged between 36 and 57, are being held for failing to comply with Article 43 of the National Security Law, which compels cooperation with investigations. The police had requested information from the group in a letter late August under provisions of Article 43. The force also alleged that the group had been working with foreign agents, a potential violation of the Beijing-imposed legislation. (HKFP, The Guardian)