Beijing blames protests on Hong Kong ‘Gang of Four’

Domestic News

Move over, Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen. There’s a new Gang of Four in town.

The South China Morning Post reports:

China’s state media has launched scathing personal attacks on leading pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong, labelling them the “new Gang of Four” that “colludes” with Western forces to instigate unrest and destroy the city.

In an escalation of rhetoric, the articles published over the weekend lashed out at media tycoon Jimmy Lai [黎智英 Lǐ Zhìyīng], Democratic Party founder Martin Lee [李柱銘 Lǐ Zhùmíng], former chief secretary Anson Chan [陳方安生 Chén Fāng Ānshēng] and former lawmaker Albert Ho [何俊仁 Hé Jùnrén], calling them the “Gang of Four who bring ruin to Hong Kong”.

Here is one of the Xinhua attack pieces (in Chinese) which features the above image (presented side-by-side with an anti-Gang of Four poster from 1976).

As the Li Yuan of the New York Times argues: “Beijing wants greater sway over global public opinion. Instead, its propaganda outlets make Chinese leaders look like bullies.”

Other news from Hong Kong: 

“China Citic Bank International, a Hong Kong-based unit of the nation’s largest state-run conglomerate, sent a message to staff on Wednesday, saying that ‘no employee shall travel by flights operated by Cathay Pacific Group’ for business purposes with immediate effect,” according to Bloomberg.

“Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways described a ‘white terror’ of political denunciations, sackings and phone searches by Chinese aviation officials amid anti-government protests gripping the former British colony,” reports Reuters.

Pilot and pro-democracy legislator Jeremy Tam [譚文豪 Tán Wénháo] resigned from Cathay Pacific Airways “saying the move could put an end to the ‘political storm’ that has enveloped the company,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Former Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg is being praised “for taking a principled stand and protecting his employees at the expense of his own position,” says Taiwan News: “According to local Hong Kong media reports, Beijing authorities asked Hogg to hand over a list of Cathay Pacific employees who had taken part in the recent anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong. Instead of betraying his employees and endangering their safety, he only provided a list of one name — his own.”

The Hong Kong “government will start work immediately on building a platform for dialogue among all walks of life,” according to remarks attributed by Xinhua News Agency to Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é). This is unlikely to satisfy Hong Kong’s marching youths, but a “platform for dialogue” is perhaps better than blaming the protests on secret plots by foreign countries or the “Gang of Four.”