I am back in Hong Kong, but night after night, I am being haunted by nightmares that I have brought with me from several distant parts of the world.
Tear gas and explosions, blood on the faces of young protesters. I recall how people are being beaten, dragged away somewhere, in front of my eyes, even in front of my camera lenses.
Once again, I have come to Hong Kong to work, to report what is happening here. I have come here to try to place the territory on the global map; to figure out how it fits into the complex mosaic of occurrences, rebellions and riots that have recently been burning all over the world.
Hong Kong and Santiago de Chile, La Paz, Bogota, Beirut, Barcelona, Paris and Quito. I work in all these places. The Western mass media outlets are busy throwing all of them “into one bag”. Either that, or not covering them at all, if they are “too close to home”, like France.
Last night, the images rushed back to me, in the middle of the night: a young Chilean man, clenched fist, standing next to burning barricades, police charging. One of his eyes is covered with a bandage. He either lost his eye, or it was terribly damaged. By now, more than 350 Chilean people have lost their sight or suffered serious eye injuries — the result of police and military brutality, unleashed against the protesters by the pro-US, neo-liberal Chilean regime.
UN human rights investigators reported: “Chilean police and military forces committed serious human rights violations, including killings, torture and sexual violence during anti-government protests that have gripped the country for nearly two months”.
Protesters are losing their eyes in France, too. Terrible injuries are common there, but are rarely reported by the Western mainstream media.
From my personal firsthand experience, China has adopted the mildest imaginable response anywhere in the world to the riots. And these are hostile, destructive riots, triggered by the West, in order to harm China. In Chile, Colombia and Bolivia, people are fighting against Washington-imposed regimes. In France, people are fighting against savage capitalism. In Hong Kong, many have betrayed, and are now fighting against, their own country!
How much of this is known in Hong Kong, by “pro-democracy activists”? Are Paris and Santiago really more “democratic” than Beijing?
Before leaving South America for Hong Kong, I worked in Bolivia, where the United States literally overthrew the democratic, indigenous and extremely successful government of Evo Morales. Dozens were murdered by the fascist “interim” regime, at street level and from helicopters. Indigenous people were forced to kneel in front of their racist tormentors, hands tied behind their backs, in order to “show them again where they belong”. As mourners were carrying the coffins to the cemetery, pro-Washington “security forces” attacked processions with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Is this the “democracy” desired by those pro-Western hooligans in Hong Kong?
On Dec 20, I visited a gathering of rioters in front of the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre. Behind the prison walls, there were some individuals who refused to be released on bail.
I could hear loud, hysterical-sounding speeches. Several people clearly appeared to be drunk, or stoned, or both. They were waving banners and cell phone flashlights. The atmosphere was bizarre, neurotic and unhealthy. It felt more like the interior of some British club than a protest site. It was not about “ideas”; I was facing various propaganda slogans, so similar to those used by the West during its “regime change campaigns” and so-called “color revolutions”. It felt like being in Cairo a few years ago, during the “Arab Spring”. I know; I made a documentary film there.
Several police officers were positioned right across the street, keeping an eye on the event, but doing absolutely nothing to stop it.
I exchanged greetings with the police. I took their photos, point blank. Something like that would have been absolutely unimaginable in South America, Lebanon, or in even in Barcelona. The same as two months earlier, Hong Kong police officers appeared to be polite, professional and extremely restrained.
Even on Sept 8, earlier this year, Hong Kong police did virtually nothing while thousands of treasonous cadres were waving the flags of foreign countries (the US and UK), literally begging US President Donald Trump to “liberate Hong Kong” from China, meaning from itself! I have been working in approximately 150 countries all over the world, but I have never seen anything as absurd as this: a huge crowd of people playing the national anthem of a foreign country, inviting its troops to come and occupy their homeland.
And China did not react. The Hong Kong police force did nothing. I was actually greatly impressed by the restraint of the men and women in uniform. Compared to all the other places where I have worked during 2019, they are the most professional and polite force.
Just see the numbers; compare. In Chile, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country in the highest “human development bracket” (according to the United Nations Development Programme), 26 people have lost their lives so far; several were killed by the police and army. And the protests only began in October. At least 4,900 have been injured, according to official numbers, but the casualties are presumed to be several times higher. Some 28,000 have been detained since mid-October.
The West considers Chile a tremendous success story, as well as a democracy worth supporting.
Police brutality in “democratic” France is also well-known.
In Hong Kong, the riots have been raging for more than six months. So far, in related actions, the police have not killed one single person; 2,000 have been injured since June, many of them police.
I am in Hong Kong, but what I have experienced in Europe and in South America does not allow me to sleep.
From my personal first hand experience, China has adopted the mildest imaginable response anywhere in the world to the riots. And these are hostile, destructive riots, triggered by the West, in order to harm China. In Chile, Colombia and Bolivia, people are fighting against Washington-imposed regimes. In France, people are fighting against savage capitalism. In Hong Kong, many have betrayed, and are now fighting against, their own country!
Unlike Washington, London and Paris, Beijing is doing absolutely nothing to retaliate — it is not overthrowing governments all over the world; it’s not bathing entire countries in blood.
But in Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of confused, mainly uninformed young people are set on admiring and promoting the most brutal and undemocratic forms of global power —those of the West.
How did it happen? Who triggered this madness?
The softer Beijing and its approach is, the more it is accused of violence. The more violent the Hong Kong riots are, the more they are promoted in the West as a “pro-democracy” movement.
The Hong Kong police, protecting its city and country, is spat at by those who want British colonialism back, together with US imperialism—systems that have already ruined dozens of countries worldwide.
I just came here from one — Bolivia.
Do these young ninja-clad men and women who are trashing Hong Kong know anything about what is happening in La Paz? Do they realize that they are being financed and supported from the same sources that are triggering coups, murdering hope and raping true democracy?
I will ask precisely these questions, in my next essay for this newspaper.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Five of his latest books are China’s Belt and Road Initiative; China and Ecological Civilization with John B. Cobb Jr.; Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism; a revolutionary novel, Aurora; and a bestselling work of political nonfiction: Exposing Lies of the Empire.