As the rhetoric describing Hong Kong protesters out of Beijing as well as the HK government gets more aggressive and assertive, are the mainland’s gloves about to come off? A senior Hong Kong official has claimed “elements of terror” are embedded among anti-Beijing pro-democracy protesters after a particularly violent weekend of unrest, and as demonstrators once again attempt to shut down the city’s busy international airport.
John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security made the comments Monday, which is the first time a top Hong Kong official has invoked “terrorism” in relation to the months-long unrest.
“The extent of violence, danger and destruction have reached very serious conditions,” Mr. Lee said. “Radical people have escalated their violent and illegal acts, showing elements of terror.” — The New York Times
The police have emphasized that rioters hurled as many as 100 firebombs at security personnel over the weekend, for which ample video evidence exists.
Mainland China’s narrative over the past month has been to emphasize foreign subversion driving the protests as well, and went so far as to accuse the United States of fueling the unrest.
As NPR noted previously, “Official state media pin the blame for protests on the ‘black hand’ of foreign interference, namely from the United States, and what they have called criminal Hong Kong thugs.”
Meanwhile bloody encounters and direct violence between HK police and anti-Beijing protesters continue to escalate.
I am trying to imagine this happening in US, but can’t because US cops would’ve shot and killed. Hong Kong police need to be commented for their restraint for not shooting Hong Kong protesters 👇🏼pic.twitter.com/P6nsQGRSIU
— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) September 2, 2019
Lee’s “terrorism” comments Monday are unprecedented in terms of the Hong Kong government’s up until now more moderated rhetoric compared to that of Beijing, as Axios explains:
…the comments by John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, mark the first time a territory official has used rhetoric akin to China’s propaganda machine — which has compared the protesters to terrorists on several occasions.
Certainly we’re in for another violent week, as a widespread public workers strike went into effect Monday, further bolstered by Hong Kong high school students who pledged to join the strike on their first day back to school.