Beijing blames Hong Kong protests on American ‘black hands’

Domestic News

In the People’s Republic, the people are always happy. So when there is unrest, for example in 1989, it must be the fault of a small group of “black hands” (黑手 hēishǒu) and hostile foreign forces working behind the scenes. So to explain why Hongkongers are on the streets, we get this absurd conspiracy theory, per the New York Times:

China’s ruling Communist Party identified a novel reason for the unrest: the secret machinations of an American woman working as a diplomat in the United States Consulate in Hong Kong.

The woman, Julie Eadeh, a political counselor, has become a central figure in a growing Chinese narrative that Hong Kong’s protests are the work of traitors who are being directed by foreign, particularly American, “black hands” bent on fomenting an uprising in the former British colony.

CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, described Ms. Eadeh on Thursday as “the behind-the-scenes black hand creating chaos in Hong Kong.”

Ta Kung Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper controlled by the Communist Party…described Ms. Eadeh, a graduate in Arab studies from Georgetown University, as “a mysterious and low-profile expert on subversion.”

Yesterday, the top Chinese envoy in Hong Kong demanded “that the US consulate ‘make a clean break from anti-China forces’ following media reports of a meeting between an official and local independence activists, including Joshua Wong [黃之鋒 Huáng Zhīfēng],” reports the South China Morning Post.

“No negotiation and no compromise” is what the SCMP says protesters vowed, “a day after Beijing’s top official overseeing Hong Kong affairs said one of their demands — an inquiry into the recent political saga — could happen only when the chaos has ended.”

Thousands of lawyers and legal sector professionals “staged their second ‘black clothes’ march in two months urging for an end to political prosecutions, for the Department of Justice to retain its independence and for the government to form an independent commission of inquiry to investigate events that occurred during two months of anti-extradition bill protests,” according to Hong Kong Free Press.

Hundreds of Catholics held a candlelight march on the evening of August 8 “to call for peace amid Hong Kong’s political unrest.” The SCMP has video.

Meanwhile, for the fifth day in a row yesterday, the People’s Daily — mouthpiece of the Party — has featured a strongly worded op-ed about Hong Kong on its front page. It is very rare for the People’s Daily to print editorials on the same issue on consecutive days. This gives you an idea of the high level of anxiety in Beijing about Hong Kong. (All links in Chinese.)

A Hong Kong police officer who faced a storm of criticism after he was caught on camera pointing a shotgun at protesters has been hailed as a hero ‘who moved all of China’ by state media in mainland China,” according to the South China Morning Post. Way to win hearts and minds in Hong Kong.

Corporations are also being dragged into this dispute. Cathay Pacific is being attacked by state media and social media users for what the nationalist rag Global Times calls “tacitly encouraging anti-government strikes, taking part in protests and leaking confidential customer information.”

Wharf Real Estate Investment Company, which “owns several major shopping centers in Hong Kong, has asked police not to enter its malls unless a crime has taken place, after anti-government protesters threatened to disrupt businesses at one location,” per the South China Morning Post.

And Taiwan’s Yifang Fruit Tea franchise chain is the target of a boycott campaign by mainland Chinese internet users. “The online furore began when closed one of its Hong Kong shops for a day and put up a sign that said in Chinese: ‘Stand together with Hong Kongers,’” reports the Guardian.