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    The military operations is happening in the city of Shenzhen, located about 27km from the centre of the territory. It includes soldiers transported by trucks and armoured vehicles and has been deemed “large-scale”.

 by Alejandro Iturbe

This military movement represents a clear threat of the Beijing regime repressing the struggle for democratic demands of the youth, the workers and the whole people of Hong Kong. A struggle that includes massive and militant movements and a recent general strike called by the HKCTU union federation. This process so far was impossible to control with the harsh repression of the local police, commanded by the Chief Executive of the territory, Carrie Lam [1].

To make the threat clearer, the Chinese regime does not even try to hide the movement of troops and weaponry; in fact it has made it public with a video released by the @globaltimesnews agency, belonging to the official newspaper, the People’s Daily [2]. The news and the video itself are circulating news networks across the world, and even the US President Donald Trump has spoken about it in one of his famous tweets.

No media outlet has released the number of soldiers of the Chinese government present in Shenzhen. But they will join the 8.000 that are permanently seated in Hong Kong, who, although taking no part this far in the repression, have also released a video saying they will join the troops from the continent [3].

The military movement has been accompanied by a rise in statements of members of the Chinese regime. In Beijing, the head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said that “the violent crimes must be punished harshly according to law”. Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador in London said his government “will not remain with arms crossed if the situation in Hong Kong worsens, and has enough means and power to repress the riots quickly” [4].

A contradiction which becomes more acute

The situations is getting tenser and tenser, as we have said in previous articles.

            “For its historical tradition and the traits of its society, Hong Kong is a huge contradiction for the Chinese regime. This contradiction is not between capitalism and “Chinese socialism” (which has not existed for decades now). In this aspect, the territory is perfectly complementary and very useful for capitalism, as well as the bourgeoisie and regime of China. The main contradiction is between the Chinese political regime (a dictatorship) and the democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong population (workers, middle sectors and small-bourgeoisie). The power of Beijing needs to “tame” Hong Kong, but it is unable to, and this generates a crisis for the local government and a challenge to the Chinese regime as a whole.” […] For this, we believed that “this struggle is not only against the local authorities of Hong Kong but, essentially, against the dictatorial regime of Beijing, its true pillar”.

            “as the democratic struggles in the territory continue and grow deeper, this situation can act as a “spark” that lights other fires in China, through the many communicating vessels, especially the Southern region closer to the territory  […]. Thus, faced with the impossibility of  ‘taming’ the process, it cannot be discarded that the Beijing dictatorship decides to intervene with the Army to elevate the levels of repression to those of Tiananmen Square in 1989. This is contradictorily more necessary the stronger is the struggle in Hong Kong, and which can reach an ‘intolerable’ limit’ for the Chinese regime if Chief Executive Lam were toppled by the protests and Beijing lost control of the territory”.

            The struggle has continued, the methods of the student youth have become more radical, and the organized working class has joined the struggle since the recent strike. We come close to what we called an “intolerable limit” for the Chinese regime and this is shown by the movement of troops to Shenzhen.

The possible scenarios

            Given all of this, international analysts debate whether this is just an “exercise of intimidation” of a real threat. Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute of London, has said that “there is no doubt that the release of the video was intended to transmit a message to intimidate the people of Hong Kong”, as part of a “psychological war” [5].

This means that the Beijing regime wanted to avoid at all costs this repression, which would have political and even economical costs which could be very high not only for Hong Kong, but for all of China. However, he also adds: “Beijing would prefer that the demonstrators went home. But if it believes that the authority of the Communist Party’s regime is being attacked, they will intervene. It is not an empty threat but a very real one” [6].

In a very interesting article, the British BBC news network posits three possible scenarios [7]. The first is the intimidatory movement of troops ion the border is enough to stop the demonstrations or “tame” them. The article itself considers this hypothesis unlikely since, once once the presence of troops in Shenzhen is known, pickets of demonstrators begun to organize in the airport: “The protesters raised barricades with luggage cars and blockaded the access to the security zones of the airport. Then they formed a human chain to stop passengers from passing with the slogan “Defend Hong Kong! Defend freedoms!’” [8].

The second scenario is that the Chinese army crosses over to repress and stop the movements and, essentially, to selectively repress the activists (with prisons and extraditions to the continent included). This happened in the past with Gui Minhai, owner of a book store which sold books criticizing the Chinese government: he was imprisoned in China in 2015, was sentenced to 2 years of prison and released in 2017. Shortly after he was again detained and “disappeared”.

The article construes that so far the activists in this struggle have shown no fear of being arrested in Hong Kong, but extradition to China changes the rules of these arrests and also aggregates reprisals against their families in the territory and in continental China itself. Despite this, the Hong Kong journalist Adam Ni believes that the “the political risk (both internal and external) for the government of China on a military intervention is too great and could even worsen the crisis. Any military response, unless with overwhelming force, would generate more resistance” [9].

And this is the third possible scenario: massive, bloody repression, like in Tiananmen Square in 1989, but now over an entire city. This sort of scenario presents deep contradictions, both political, of international isolation and economical (a decrease in imperialist investments) for the Chinese regime. However, given the extremely repressive traits of the Beijing regime and what it did in the past, this is always a possibility to be considered.

Some considerations

We have said that the situation is getting more and more tense and that the entry of troops of the Chinese army to repress the people of Hong Kong is more and more real possibility. Given this perspective, in our past article, we said: “It is an illusion to think that imperialist countries and their governments will be allies in this struggle. They have already begun to criticize the ‘violence’ of the protesters and, as we see, are only worried with their business. The reality is that, despite their ‘democratic’ speeches, they have been and remain allies of the Chinese dictatorship”.

Now they reiterate this position: “Donald Trump, the UN and the European Union have called for a calming down, before the situation turns into a bloodbath.” [10]. In other words, they ask the Chinese dictatorship “please don’t do it” and the people of Hong Kong to stop fighting for their democratic freedoms. They will not move a finger to stop the Chinese troops from entering the city, and if this happens, with the repression it would mean, they will only shed a single tear… and life will follow its course.

As part of their struggle and to defend it from this threat, the young, the working class and the entire people of Hong Kong have two imprescindible tasks. The first, as we have already mention in our previous article: “What we mean is that the extension of their struggle to the entirety of China and to the workers of the continent is now a task of utmost importance in the development of the heroic battle that the people of Hong Kong are fighting.” The unifying task is the toppling of Beijing’s dictatorial regime.

The second is to call for the solidarity of workers and peoples of the world. May all union federations, social and popular organizations, and human rights organizations repudiate this threat from the Beijing regime and, if it comes to pass, organize real action against this regime and demand that their governments do the same. One example of this solidarity is the resolution approved by Brazil’s CSP-Conlutas [11].

On our part, the IWL-FI reiterates its support for the struggle of the youth, the working class and the people of Hong Kong, we repudiate the military threats from the Beijing regime, and we call for a great international campaign of solidarity for this battle.

Notes:

[1] To know the entire process of Hong Kong, see the following articles already published in this site: https://litci.org/en/hong-kong-an-undeterred-struggle-for-democratic-rights/, https://litci.org/en/the-struggle-in-hong-kong-gets-tougher/ and https://litci.org/en/hong-kong-the-working-class-takes-the-stage/

[2] http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1161155.shtml

[3] https://www.france24.com/es/20190815-tropas-china-frontera-hong-kong/

[4] https://www.lapagina.com.sv/internacionales/china-amenaza-con-reprimir-rapidamente-los-disturbios-en-hong-kong/

[5] See the article in note 3.

[6] Idem.

[7] https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-internacional-49334814

[8] Idem.

[9] Idem.

[10] https://www.elpais.com.uy/mundo/crece-tension-hong-kong-china-amenaza-intervenir.html

[11] https://litci.org/es/menu/mundo/asia/hong-kong/csp-conlutas-aprueba-apoyo-los-trabajadores-jovenes-hong-kong-lucha-democracia/

Translated by Miki Sayoko