Category Archives: China

China Just Launched the Most Frightening Game Ever — and Soon It Will Be Mandatory

(ANTIMEDIA) Oceania, China — As if further proof were needed Orwell’s dystopia is now upon us, China has now gamified obedience to the State. Though that is every bit as creepily terrifying as it sounds, citizens may still choose whether or not they wish to opt-in — that is, until the program becomes compulsory in 2020. “Going under the innocuous name of ‘Sesame Credit,’ China has created a score for how good a citizen you are,” explains Extra Credits’ video about the program. “The owners of China’s largest social networks have partnered with the government to create something akin to the U.S. credit score — but, instead of measuring how regularly you pay your bills, it measures how obediently you follow the party line.

In the works for years, China’s ‘social credit system’ aims to create a docile, compliant citizenry who are fiscally and morally responsible by employing a game-like format to create self-imposed, group social control. In other words, China gamified peer pressure to control its citizenry; and, though the scheme hasn’t been fully implemented yet, it’s already working — insidiously well.

Zheping Huang, a reporter for Quartz, chronicled his own experience with the social control tool in October, saying that “in the past few weeks I began to notice a mysterious new trend. Numbers were popping up on my social media feeds as my friends and strangers on Weibo [the Chinese equivalent to Twitter] and WeChat began to share their ‘Sesame Credit scores.’ The score is created by Ant Financial, an Alibaba-affiliated company that also runs Alipay, China’s popular third-party payment app with over 350 million users. Ant Financial claims that it evaluates one’s purchasing and spending habits in order to derive a figure that shows how creditworthy someone is.”

However, according to a translation of the “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System,” posted online by Oxford University’s China expert, Rogier Creemers, it’s nightmarishly clear the program is far more than just a credit-tracking method. As he described it, “The government wants to build a platform that leverages things like big data, mobile internet, and cloud computing to measure and evaluate different levels of people’s lives in order to create a gamified nudging for people to behave better.”

While Sesame Credit’s roll-out in January has been downplayed by many, the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, urges caution, saying:

“The system is run by two companies, Alibaba and Tencent, which run all the social networks in China and therefore have access to a vast amount of data about people’s social ties and activities and what they say. In addition to measuring your ability to pay, as in the United States, the scores serve as a measure of political compliance. Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like, such as about the Tiananmen Square massacre that the government carried out to hold on to power, or the Shanghai stock market collapse. It will hurt your score not only if you do these things, but if any of your friends do them.” And, in what appears likely the goal of the entire program, added, “Imagine the social pressure against disobedience or dissent that this will create.”

Social pressure, of course, can be highly effective given the right circumstances. China seems to have found exactly that in the intricate linking of people’s scores to their contacts, which can be seen publicly by anyone — and then upping the ante through score-based incentives and rewards. Rick Falkvinge pointed out a startling comparison:

The KGB and the Stasi’s method of preventing dissent from taking hold was to plant so-called agents provocateurs in the general population, people who tried to make people agree with dissent, but who actually were arresting them as soon as they agreed with such dissent. As a result, nobody would dare agree that the government did anything bad, and this was very effective in preventing any large-scale resistance from taking hold. The Chinese way here is much more subtle, but probably more effective still.”

As Creemers described to Dutch news outlet, de Volkskrant, “With the help of the latest internet technologies, the government wants to exercise individual surveillance. The Chinese aim […] is clearly an attempt to create a new citizen.”

Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Johan Lagerkvist, said the system is“very ambitious in scope, including scrutinizing individual behavior and what books people read. It’s Amazon’s consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist.”

James Corbett has been tracking the implementation of Sesame Credit for some time. Introducing the ubiquitous tracking system for a recent episode of the Corbett Report, he mused:

“Coming soon to a New World Order near you: social credit! Earn points by behaving like the government wants you to behave! Get penalized if you don’t act like a doubleplusgood citizen! What could be more fun?”

Indeed, because mandatory enrollment in Sesame Credit is still a few years away, its true effectiveness won’t be measurable for some time. But even a reporter’s usual wariness appears knocked off-kilter, as Zheping Huang summarized his personal experience: “Even if my crappy credit score doesn’t mean much now, it’s in my best interest I suppose to make sure it doesn’t go too low.”

And that, of course, is precisely why gamifying State obedience is so terrifying.

Claire Bernish


 

This article (China Just Launched the Most Frightening Game Ever — and Soon It Will Be Mandatory) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

 

Source : The Anti Media

China Has Announced Plans For A ‘World Currency’

China Has Announced Plans For A ‘World Currency’

The Chinese do not plan to live in a world dominated by the U.S. dollar for much longer.  Chinese leaders have been calling for the U.S. dollar to be replaced as the primary global reserve currency for a long time, but up until now they have never been very specific about what they would put in place of it.  Many have assumed that the Chinese simply wanted some new international currency to be created.  But what if that is not what the Chinese had in mind?  What if they have always wanted their own currency to become the single most dominant currency on the entire planet?  What you are about to see is rather startling, but it shouldn’t be a surprise.  When it comes to economics and finance, the Chinese have always been playing chess while the western world has been playing checkers.  Sadly, we have gotten to the point where checkmate is on the horizon.

On Wednesday, I came across an excellent article by Simon Black.  What he had to say in that article just about floored me…

When I arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport I saw a huge billboard—and it floored me.

The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: “RMB: New Choice; The World Currency”

Given that the Bank of China is more than 70% owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, I find this very significant.

It means that China is literally advertising its currency overseas, and it’s making sure that everyone landing at one of the world’s busiest airports sees it. They know that the future belongs to them and they’re flaunting it.

This is the photograph of that billboard that he posted with his article…

Chinese World Currency

Everyone knows that China is rising.

And most everyone has assumed that Chinese currency would soon play a larger role in international trade.

But things have moved so rapidly in recent years that now a very large chunk of the financial world actually expects the renminbi to replace the dollar as the primary reserve currency of the planet someday.  The following comes from CNBC

The tightly controlled Chinese yuan will eventually supersede the dollar as the top international reserve currency, according to a new poll of institutional investors.

The survey of 200 institutional investors – 100 headquartered in mainland China and 100 outside of it – published by State Street and the Economist Intelligence Unit on Thursday found 53 percent of investors think the renminbi will surpass the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency.

Optimism was higher within China, where 62 percent said they saw a redback world on the horizon, compared with 43 percent outside China.

And without a doubt we are starting to see the beginnings of a significant shift.

Just consider this excerpt from a recent Reuters report

China’s yuan broke into the top five as a world payment currency in November, overtaking the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Wednesday.

The U.S. dollar won’t be replaced overnight, but things are changing.

Of course the truth is that the Chinese have been preparing for this for a very long time.  The Chinese refuse to tell the rest of the world exactly how much gold they have, but everyone knows that they have been accumulating enormous amounts of it.  And even if they don’t explicitly back the renminbi with gold, the massive gold reserves that China is accumulating will still give the rest of the planet a great deal of confidence in Chinese currency.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Consider what Alan Greenspan has had to say on the matter…

Alan Greenspan, who served at the helm of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, recently penned an op-ed for the Council on Foreign Relations discussing gold and its possible role in China, the world’s second-largest economy. He notes that if China converted only a “relatively modest part of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves into gold, the country’s currency could take on unexpected strength in today’s international financial system.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese have also been accumulating a tremendous amount of U.S. debt.  At this point, the Chinese own approximately 1.3 trillion dollars worth of our debt, and that gives them a lot of power over our currency and over our financial system.

Someday if the Chinese wanted to undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar and in the U.S. financial system, they have a lot of ammunition at their disposal.

And it isn’t just all of that debt that gives China leverage.  In recent years, the Chinese have been buying up real estate, businesses and energy assets all over the United States at a staggering pace.  For a small taste of what has been taking place, check out the YouTube video posted below…

For much, much more on this trend, please see the following articles…

-“The Chinese Are Acquiring Large Chunks Of Land In Communities All Over America

-“Meet Your New Boss: Buying Large Employers Will Enable China To Dominate 1000s Of U.S. Communities

-“Not Just The Largest Economy – Here Are 26 Other Ways China Has Surpassed America

-“The Chinese Want To Spend Billions Constructing A 600 Acre ‘China City’ In New York State

-“45 Signs That China Is Colonizing America

-“Will Detroit Be The First Major Chinese City In The United States?

On a purchasing power basis, the size of the Chinese economy has already surpassed the size of the U.S. economy.

And there are lots of signs of trouble ahead for the U.S. economy at this point.  I like how Brandon Smith put it in one recent article…

We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come.

In addition, things continue to look quite bleak for Europe.  Once upon a time, many expected the euro to overtake the U.S. dollar as the primary global reserve currency, but that didn’t happen.  And in recent months the euro has been absolutely crashing.  On Wednesday, it hit the lowest point that we have seen against the dollar in more than a decade

The euro last stood at $1.1072, off 0.90 percent for the day and below a key support level, Sutton said. It fell to as little as $1.1066, which was the lowest level for the euro against the dollar since September 2003, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The euro also declined to one-month lows against the Japanese yen, which was flat against the dollar at 119.72 yen to the dollar.

As the U.S. and Europe continue to struggle, China is going to want a significantly larger role on the global stage.

And as the billboard in Thailand suggests, they are more than willing to step up to the plate.

So will the road to the future be paved with Chinese currency?  Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

 

Source : Infowars

How the U.S. Is Being Set Up to Lose World War III | Dave Hodges – The Common Sense Show

If World War III were to break out today, the U.S. would lose to its enemies, both foreign and domestic, that have conspired to change the balance of power on the planet.

There is no doubt that the Russians are being antagonistic and provocative with regard to their military activities. America and her NATO allies should and do feel threatened by an ongoing series of Russian military provocations accompanied by a record setting Russian military buildup.

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China launches new World Bank rival

China and India are backing a 21 country $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Memorandum of understanding were signed with 21 Asian countries in Beijing Friday. Australia, Indonesia and South Korea were absent following hidden pressure from Washington.

The development bank was proposed a year ago by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and is to offer financing for infrastructure projects in underdeveloped Asian countries.

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Turmoil in Hong Kong, Terrorism in Xinjiang: America’s Covert War on China

China is facing increasing pressure along two fronts. In its western province of Xinjiang, terrorists have been stepping up destabilization and separatist activities.

In China’s southeast Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, protests have disrupted normality in the dense urban streets, with protest leaders seeking to directly confront Beijing while dividing and destabilizing both Hong Kong society and attempting to “infect” the mainland.

What is more troubling is the greater geopolitical agenda driving both of these seemingly “internal” conflicts – and that they both lead back to a single source beyond China’s borders. With the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) now implicated in receiving, training, and employing terrorists from China’s Xinjiang province, and considering the fact that ISIS is the result of an intentional, engineered proxy war the US and its allies are waging in the Middle East, along with the fact that the unrest in Hong Kong is also traced back to Washington and London, presents a narrative of an ongoing confrontation between East and West being fought on the battlefield of fourth generation warfare.

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FBI blames China for string of cyber attacks against U.S. business chains

 

he U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned U.S. businesses on Wednesday that hackers it believes to be backed by the Chinese government have recently launched attacks on U.S. companies.

The “flash” warning described tools and techniques used by the hackers and asked companies to contact federal authorities if they believe they are the victims of such attacks.

The document said that the agency recently obtained information regarding “a group of Chinese Government affiliated cyber actors who routinely steal high-value information from U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage.”

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Hong Kong: Now The Hard Part, Kick US Out, Build Consensus | PopularResistance.Org

Hong Kong proteest by AFP-Getty.


When protests in Hong Kong exploded, knowledgeable people looked for US involvement. It was not hard to find. The overt intrusion of the US is available in budgets, documents and websites; the covert involvement has not yet been uncovered but is no doubt there.  What does US involvement mean for the credibility of the protest movement and the future of Hong Kong? How should Hong Kong activists respond?

The issues raised by the protests, lack of democracy and an unfair economy, are very real. But so are the concerns of Beijing for economic growth and continuing to lift people out of poverty, something China has done remarkably well. Those who seek to transform governance and create a more equal economy now have a more challenging task than protests, they must build national consensus on their issues in Hong Kong and in China’s leadership. The Chinese People’s Daily quoted a Chinese-American author who wrote the Occupy Central leadership, Yin Haoliu, said: “Democracy is a step-by-step process that cannot be approached in haste, otherwise it will bring about troubles.” How quickly those steps advance depends, in part, on how well the democracy movement organizes.

Now that the US has been exposed, it needs to be removed. US goals are very different than the people in Hong Kong. The US is in the process of encircling China militarily and economically. It sees China as a competitor, a nation that can undermine the US as the single world superpower.  Conflict between Hong Kong and Beijing would serve US interests but undermine the Hong Kong economy which is tied to China. The protest movement has already begun to separate itself from people too close to the US. Hong Kong’s people and government need to go further and expel US influence, remembering the historic imperialism of the US in China and noting the current strategic goals of the United States.

A protester raises a placard that reads "Occupy Central" between riot policemen and protesters outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Riot police in Hong Kong on Saturday arrested scores of students who stormed the government headquarters compound during a night of scuffles to protest China's refusal to allow genuine democratic reforms in the semiautonomous region. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The Occupy Central Movement Gets the Attention of the World

The Occupy Central movement, or Umbrella Revolution, has gotten the attention of the world and challenged Beijing. The protests are at a turning point. The next few days will determine their immediate impact. The movement has awakened hundreds of thousands and put important issues on the political agenda.  If political leadership in Beijing and Hong Kong does not respond to the issues raised, more insurrections will follow.

Hong Kong protester provides umbrella to police by Associated Press.

The protesters have gained sympathy because of their consistently nonviolent behavior which is emphasized in their Manual for Disobedience. They have been labeled the polite protest as they even divide their trash for recycling. They have used excellent symbolism and rhetoric and broadened participation in the protests so it not only includes students – a powerful force in their own right – but the elderly, families and workers. The protesters strategically escalated their actions and increased pressure on the government.

October 2 and 3 were turning points as the chief executive of Hong Kong gave a Mubarak-like speech and refused to resign but agreed to negotiations with the protesters; reversing his refusal to negotiate. Thursday, Occupy Central protesters held a sophisticated debate about whether to block a key road, with some arguing that it would undermine their primary goal of garnering broad public support. Few protest movements are sophisticated enough to see the goal of protesting the government is directed more at the people, for their support, to build a mass movement.

On Friday, anti-occupy protesters, some wearing masks came into protest areas and violently attacked occupy protesters demanding they stop. Police report half of those arrested were members of the triad, organized crime. Some accuse the government of encouraging triad violence, the government denies it; this could just as easily be the covert work of the CIA (we don’t know and should not assume). Occupy Central announced that due to lack of action by the police to stop the attacks, they would not be negotiating with the government. By the next morning the occupiers had rebuilt the destroyed tents and other infrastructure. On October 5,  the students agreed to return to negotiations but required an investigation into whether or not the government indulged the attacks.

Monday protest will need to show signs of continued strength in the streets in order for their impact to build. Monday is turning into a pivot point as the government insists on re-opening schools and businesses; but so far, protesters are ignoring threats and remaining.  If they succeed in sustaining the protest and keeping public support, more compromises, even the replacement of the chief executive are possible. If not, then the negotiations with the government need to be pursued transparently by the protest movement so if they fail – and it is hard to imagine the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing compromising sufficiently without more protest – the democracy can re-energize and take the streets again to show their displeasure.

While the Federation of Students has made it said their movement is “absolutely not a revolution,” even if Leung Chun-ying resigns, the issues raised will not be resolved. The major changes being sought will require ongoing work, building on the awakening of recent days and convincing the population and leadership that the changes are necessary and beneficial. This will take deep organizing, persistence and refusal to compromise.

Occupy Central Vice President Joe Biden meets Anson Chan and Martin Lee at the White House in 2014. Source South China Morning Press.

What has been US involvement?

Complicating the protest, and undermining it, was reports documenting US involvement in the democracy movement. Those of us who follow US actions around the world are not surprised by this revelation; indeed we’d be surprised if the US were not involved.  The US consistently uses legitimate concerns of people to build its Empire and challenge perceived enemies. China is at the top of the list for the US with the Asian Pivot of military forces to the region, building military relationships with Asian allies and negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership that excludes China – all isolating and threatening China economically and militarily. It is not surprising that the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong are being used by the US.

US involvement undermines the credibility and goals of the protests because the US agenda is not the people’s agenda. If the revolt were to succeed, what kind of influence would the US have over the selection of the next leader? Would Hong Kong end up with a leader like Ukraine, where the US spent $5 billion to foment revolt and now has President Petro Poroshenko who according to Wikileaks documents has been known in the US government as “Our Ukraine Insider,” an informant for the US since 2006? Will the next government protect neoliberal capitalism that expands the wealth divide and allows US investors entry into China for their benefit, not the benefit of the people?

The iconic Hong Kong Umbrella Man walks through tear gas.

Already there are signs that the Occupy Central and Democratic Party leadership, which has US ties, is not trusted. One participant on the ground reports “the dynamic the movement has taken on” its own energy and is now “the actions of ordinary people in their struggle for democracy.” “The movement can now be considered largely leaderless.” The author points to the protest beginning two days before Occupy Central leaders wanted and the refusal to follow their order to leave after police attacks last Sunday, instead thousands stayed. Revolution News reported how a group of students climbed over the fence of the Central Government Office Complex, remaining there and facing arrest the entire time, without the support of Occupy Central elders for the next 2 days. Thankfully students came to their rescue.

Mint Press News exposed US support for democracy movements in Hong Kong. The article described what it called “a deep and insidious network of foreign financial, political, and media support. Prominent among them is the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as NED’s subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).” The article reports on NDI activities in Hong Kong back to 1997. NDI writes that it has been training young leaders in Hong Kong since 2005 on “political communication skills.”

The US has been funding various civic organizations in Hong Kong including a think tank at the University of Hong Kong, the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, from which Occupy Central “self-proclaimed” leader Benny Tai served on the board. Another notable Occupy Central activist, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, works closely with Tai and speaks at numerous US funded forums.

Hong Kong Transition Project report cover, an in-depth examination of the views of youth

Other Hong Kong democracy movement figures in bed with NED include, according to Mint Press, Martin Lee (here’s his bio on NED website and the award the NED gave him), founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democrat Party. He came to Washington, DC in 2014 and met with Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  Lee took part in an NED talk hosted specifically for him. Anson Chan, another prominent figure currently supporting the ongoing unrest was also in DC and met with Biden and Pelosi.

Revolution News went further into the US ties to the Occupy Central movement examining the budgets of US ‘democracy’ institutions.  They report that one of Occupy Central’s key tactics this summer, a “referendum” on democracy signed by 780,000 Hong Kong residents, more than 1/5th of Hong Kong voters, was funded by the US State Department. (A similar tactic was used in the Egyptian protest against Morsi that led to the Sisi dictatorship.)

Revolution News follows the money and reports that: USAID Hong Kong budget for 2012 was $754,552; in 2010 it was $1,591,547. A key organization funded by the US is the Hong Kong Transition Project which has polled the people of Hong Kong since 1991 regarding democracy. In an HKTP report from January 2014, they write that the purpose of the polling is to determine how people view “the fairness of the current consultation process and initial reactions to a possible confrontation with Beijing.”

The Transition Project has been doing in-depth public opinion research every three months not only looking broadly at public opinion but zeroing in-depth on key groups like youth. They also did an in-depth study of who is likely to support Occupy Central and under what circumstances in January 2014. The polls find overwhelming support for self-government, especially among youth.  An April 2014 report examined public opinion that described a looming confrontation and high support for democracy. This type of public opinion research is never available to grassroots movements but is invaluable in deciding when to act, how to act, who to focus on, rhetoric and tactics.

In addition to public opinion research, funding key organizations and activities, the NDI monitors the movement. For example, the impressive young, iconic leader Joshua Wong, the founder of Scholarism, has been monitored by NDI since he was 15. (No documents indicate that he has been co-opted.)

Revolution News reports on numerous State Department cables published by Wikileaks that show the close involvement in monitoring the democracy movement in Hong Kong, turnout at protests, rhetoric of leaders and how to improve future organizing and mobilizing.

We do not report US involvement because we oppose the movement for democracy and a fair economy in Hong Kong, quite the contrary. We agree with Revolution News which introduces its article making the following points:

“We Fully Support A People’s Movement In Hong Kong. As we explain further details about ‘Occupy Central’, it is the intention of this article to help the students and Hong Kongese people who are fighting for the future of Hong Kong make informed decisions on who they join in coalitions with and choose for Chief Executive when they achieve True Universal Suffrage.”

We also agree with Hong Kong-born writer Ming Chun Tang who writes “prospects are only diminished by the involvement of the United States, with its own neoliberal and far-less-than-democratic agenda.” Tang continues:  “I am not surprised at this, nor do I welcome it, given the United States’ questionable record (to put it nicely) at bringing ‘democracy’ to countries where it has intervened in the past. It is most likely in Hong Kongers’ best interests that the US withdraw its monetary support for Occupy Central, as unlikely as this is to happen.”

Despite US involvement, the people of Hong Kong have very real grievances not only regarding self-governance but also regarding the economy. It is important to emphasize: the protesters are people not acting for the United States, indeed the vast majority have nothing to do with the US or organizations it has funded, but acting on their own accord. We hope exposing US involvement diminishes those who work closely with the US and encourages the movement to remain independent of the United States.

Hong Kong police fire tear gas on September 28.

Beyond Democracy: Economic Issues Underlie Protests

While democracy has gotten the headline, economic injustice in Hong Kong is also a driving force of protests.  The fact that the right-wing Heritage Foundation applauds Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy is a signal that it is among the most unfair, i.e. poor worker and environmental protection and lack of regulation preventing corporate abuse. Life in Hong Kong for most people is difficult, Ming Chun Tang writes:

“As City University of Hong Kong professor Toby Carroll points out, one in five Hong Kongers live below the poverty line, while inequality has risen to levels among the highest in the world. Wages haven’t increased in line with inflation – meaning they’ve fallen in real terms. The minimum wage, only introduced in 2010, is set at HK$28 (US$3.60) an hour – less than half of that even in the United States. . . The average workweek is 49 hours – in case you thought 40 was rough. Housing prices are among the highest in the world. Even the neoliberal Economist placed Hong Kong top of its crony capitalism index by some distance.”

Jeff Brown, author of 44 Days Backpacking in China, writes:

The middle class and poor are being decimated by the Princes of Power’s draconian, libertarian capitalist policies of pushing the Territory’s profits to the 1%, at the expense of the 99%. Students are graduating from college and finding it difficult to get good paying jobs or affordable places to live. . . . Standards of living for the 99% are cratering. Like in the US, Hong Kongers are having to work 2-3 jobs and much more than 40 hours a week, just to pay the bills, never mind prosper.

There is a trade union in Hong Kong with 160,000 members and 61 affiliates in various sectors, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, which is represented in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong pushing for greater worker protections and union rights. There is also a pro-Beijing trade union the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions.

The economic challenges in Hong Kong are in part related to its changing role in China. The Guardian reports that when Deng Xiaoping announced economic reforms in 1978 Hong Kong was the entry point into China leading to a ‘golden era.’ Hong Kong attracted major financial institutions and transnational companies that wanted to participate in Chinese economic growth, making Hong Kong a wealthy city. But, China has grown and become more open so Hong Kong is no longer the only entry point or financial center of China. The China Daily bluntly reports:

“Much has changed since 1997. Hong Kong has lost its role as the gateway to the mainland. Previously Hong Kong was China’s unrivalled financial centre, now it is increasingly dwarfed by Shanghai. Until recently, Hong Kong was by far China’s largest port: now it has been surpassed by Shanghai and Shenzhen, and Guangzhou will shortly overtake it.”

Martin Jacques of the Guardian writes that while this has caused “a crisis of identity and a sense of displacement” the reality is Hong Kong’s “future is inextricably bound up with China.” When it comes to Hong Kong’s economic future, he concludes: “China is the future of Hong Kong.”

Occupy Central protest

The Awakening of the Democracy Movement Now Requires Building National Consensus

Hong Kong has had two successful revolts against the government prior to these protests. In 2003, protests of 500,000 people stopped the implementation of a national security law that would have undermined civil liberties. And, in 2012 students were able to stop a new curriculum from being put in place that would have emphasized patriotism for China.  Many of these students are involved in the current protests. Thus, the people of Hong Kong have experienced political success.

The protests today are facing a much more difficult issue, the doctrine of ‘one country, two systems,’ which is at a potential breaking point because the idea of self-governance, real democracy where Beijing does not approve candidates who run for office, challenges Communist Party rule.  The Hong Kong challenge should also be looked at in context of widespread economic and environmental protests in China. Researchers at Nankai University estimated that there were 90,000 protests in China in 2009. But, China has made clear in a front page story in the People’s Daily that any attempt to launch a color revolution, i.e. the Eastern European revolutions of which the US played a covert role in many cases, will not work in China and insisted the rule of law must accompany democracy.

Activists should not feel like they accomplished nothing if these protests do not immediately gain them the democracy they want. The awakening of a national democracy movement is a major advancement and it is common for successful social movements to go through a mass awakening, followed by no immediate change. After the protests, the job of the movement is to persevere and develop national consensus that cannot be ignored. They must convince the people of Hong Kong and the leadership in Beijing that their vision of real democracy and a fair economy are the best path for the nation. They have started down a historic path and must continue to succeed.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese are organizers with Popular Resistance, which provides daily movement news and resources. Sign up for their daily newsletter; and follow them on twitter, @PopResistance.

 

Source : PopularResistance.Org.

Violence Erupts As Hong Kong’s Leader Threatens To Use “All Necessary Measures To Restore Social Order”

Having tried (unsuccessfully) to break up the pro-democracy protesters in the heart of Hong Kong using local triad gangs (as opposed to the optics of actual police), it appears the Chinese government is rolling back from its “wait-and-see” approach and becoming more aggressive once again. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, as DPA reports, demanded protesters end their blockade of major roads by Monday, or the government will take “all necessary measures to restore social order.” Tensions continue to rise, with clashes breaking out sporadically, as the protesters have broken off talks with the government. As fears of another Tiananmen square debacle loom, former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten noted, “I cannot believe it would be so stupid as to do anything like send in the army.”

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China tells US to back off: Hong Kong democracy protests are ‘internal affairs’

The United States and China openly clashed Wednesday over the pro-democracy protests sweeping Hong Kong, with Beijing angrily warning Washington to back off and saying it would not tolerate “illegal acts.”

“The Chinese government has very firmly and clearly stated its position. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was standing next to him, just before they went into talks at the State Department.

“All countries should respect China’s sovereignty and this is a basic principle of governing international relations,” Wang said sternly.

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China Accuses U.S. of Fomenting Hong Kong Unrest

The mass demonstrations in Hong Kong are dramatic, indeed. And given that Hong Kong has long enjoyed a more liberal existence under British rule, protests against a more authoritarian Chinese government (at least it used to be more authoritarian) are not entirely surprising.

But Chinese officials accuse the U.S. of egging on the protests.  As the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time blog reports:

On Thursday, Wen Wei Po published an “expose” into what it described as the U.S. connections of Joshua Wong, the 17 year-old leader of student group Scholarism.

The story asserts that “U.S. forces” identified Mr. Wong’s potential three years ago, and have worked since then to cultivate him as a “political superstar.”

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