By Arun Srivastava
While China is celebrating its birthday with a massive parade in Beijing, with new weapons unveiled in a show of force and unity, Hong Kong witnessed huge violent protest, both economic and political, challenging the supremacy of China.
Haunted by the dynamics and dimension of the might of the protest movement the Chinese government has pulled out all the stops ahead of October 1 to promote the 70th anniversary and a quiet excitement is detectable in parts of the city.
Since October 1, China’s National Day, marks founding of the People’s Republic of China, the stakes are high for Beijing. Any kind of challenge to its authority would diminish its global power and rating. The six month old war of supremacy between Chinese government and the Hongkongers has already eclipsed Beijing’s authority and China’s economic power. In the wake of the protest movement the rate of growth has gone down to 3 per cent.
Use of large number of security forces to combat the protesters on October was the explicit manifestation of popular support and strength of the movement. At many places police clashed with protesters in Hong Kong. Unrest in Hong Kong kicked off early today. There were reports of protesters being pepper sprayed by police as early as 8 in the morning.
The Beijing government in order to send the message that Hong Kong did not support the protesters has put large number of red flags. There is not a business or a house without the red flag of the People’s Republic of China hanging out the front.
Around Tiananmen Square, from the Great Hall of the People to the southern Qianmen gate. the country’s main landmarks are covered with red flags. The past few days have been marked with violence as pro-democracy protesters clash with riot police. Events like the fireworks show, originally planned for this evening, have been cancelled for safety concerns.
Nature of the threat from the protesters to the authority of Chinese government could be understood from the simple fact that the Chinese Communist Party and its government have launched vicious propaganda against protesters. They are out to completely finish them and it explicit from remarks of the police; “All acts are one step closer to terrorism. We are deeply concerned about public safety”. Beijing leaders allege; “They are influenced by anti-China forces. If you are against the great China, do you think you will end up well? “
Hong Kong in lockdown mode aims to embarrass Beijing on National Day. The protesters also said “October 1 would be a milestone of the anti-government movement because they expected China to use whatever means to suppress opposition voices on National Day to “make society look peaceful”. Describing National Day as a day of mourning, protesters plan to pop black balloons which they said would symbolise the collapse of China.
The nature of the agitation and its strength is understood from the observation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan” have been named by him as a major risk and challenge for the Communist Party, as he warned the Hong Kong party members and leaders that they “must struggle when necessary”.
The designation came in a speech to officials on Tuesday, where Xi listed a number of challenges facing the country. He listed the three places as a single item in his list, placing it ahead of “foreign affairs” despite the global economic and strategic challenges China faces such as the trade war with the United States.
The other risks identified by the Chinese president was economics, politics, culture and the environment. He called upon the officials ; “Cadres must be vigilant to any wind of change.”This statement from Xi made it abundantly clear that the government was determined to fight back the protesters and not to allow them to dictate. He urged the officials to ready themselves so they can “win in any struggle” and face down challenges to the Communist Party’s rule, national sovereignty and Beijing’s goal of national rejuvenation.
Nevertheless the lingering fear of repetition of second Tiananmen has also been haunting the protesters. With both the sides engaged in fierce battle to achieve their mission, it appears to be imminent that situation will simply deteriorate. (IPA Service)