Imperialism is striving its utmost to stir up trouble for the Chinese government in Hong Kong, where there is a small comprador element only too happy to try to mobilise against the government using the well-worn but entirely fraudulent ‘democracy’ slogan.
This comprador element has succeeded in attracting students to the ‘pro-democracy’ cause, and these make up the backbone of the large protests, organised chiefly by an outfit calling itself Occupy Central, that are currently taking place, eagerly photographed by the imperialist media. Less publicised, of course, are the facts that a petition against Occupy attracted 1.4m signatures, and that a large anti-Occupy march took place on 17 August.
What the imperialist powers hope is that this movement will, through its internet warriors, spread to mainland China and lead to the overthrow of the communist government.
The protests in fact began as China sought to extend democratic rights in Hong Kong by allowing its residents to vote directly for their governor rather than having one appointed for them by a 2,000-strong committee of prominent Hong Kong citizens, as has been the case up to now.
However, as is well known, US imperialism in particular routinely channels hundreds of millions of dollars into securing election results in foreign countries that bring to power those prepared to sell their country to US interests. This has been the basis of the various so-called ‘colour’ revolutions that have taken place in eastern Europe and central Asia, for example.
The Chinese government obviously cannot allow the democratic process to be hijacked in this way in Hong Kong. It therefore proposed an arrangement to Hong Kong’s 70-person legislative council whereby the number of candidates for governor be restricted to two or three, all of whom should be supported by a majority of a nominating committee modelled on the committee that appointed the present governor.
The electoral commission must agree by a two-thirds majority to approve this change in the law, otherwise the old system of appointing a governor rather than electing one will remain in place. Pro-‘democracy’ people control just over a third of the votes on the electoral commission, and may well veto the change, even though this will deprive Hong Kong of a 2017 gubernatorial election altogether.
Despite the apparently massive demonstrations, only a minority of Hong Kong residents (34 percent according to opinion polls) support the ‘Occupy’ civil-disobedience movement, even if 54 percent would welcome greater formal democracy. Analysis of survey results show, according to the Huffington Post, that those who support the Occupy movement are overwhelming wealthy and/or young.
“In Hong Kong, the fractures largely occur along class and age lines. In a poll conducted at the end of 2013, more than 70 percent of respondents with a family income of less than $10,000 opposed the Occupy movement, as did more than 80 percent of respondents over 70 years old. Support for the movement was strongest among students and those making more than $100,000. Overall, that poll showed a majority of respondents opposing Occupy Central and fearing that it would lead to violence and economic loss.” (‘Democracy protests divide Hong Kong, China’ by Matt Sheehan, 4 September 2014)
In any event, as Chinese official Hi Fei correctly pointed out, the democracy that the people of Hong Kong enjoy today is far in advance of anything they ever had during the 150 years of racist, brutal and barbaric British colonial rule.