Oct. 1 is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Seven decades of Communist Party rule in the most-populous country on the planet, which now rivals the United States economically.
The world will not be joining in Xi Jinping’s celebration. Headlines about China this year have focused on the jailing of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in retaliation for the Vancouver International Airport arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou; human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where the Uighur Muslims are subject to modern concentration camps; and Hong Kong, where millions of residents have protested against China’s erosion of civil rights. Hong Kongers fear Beijing is reneging on the one country/two systems agreement with Great Britain made before the 1997 handover and that their free economy, free press and rule of law are in jeopardy.
Hong Kong-Canadians held an emotional protest at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, B.C. on Sept. 14, where upwards of 1,000 people sang “Glory to Hong Kong,” the anthem of the pro-democracy movement. One of those who joined the protest was Zhou Fengsuo, a student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in spring 1989.
Zhou survived the Chinese military crackdown on June 4, 1989, but was eventually jailed by the government. He now lives in California and leads Humanitarian China, which promotes rule-of-law, human rights and freedom of expression. Zhou is the special guest on this week’s edition of theBreaker.news Podcast.
Zhou told host Bob Mackin that Hong Kongers have an undeniable passion and love for freedom and they don’t want to lose what they have. They are natural allies of the 1989 movement in Beijing and elsewhere in China. “What is happening today is a reincarnation of the Tiananmen democratic movement in Hong Kong,” Zhou said.
“Hong Kong people had fought courageously for the freedom of themselves against the expansion of [Communist Party] totalitarian control that is threatening the whole world, I don’t think it is appreciated enough by the democratic countries what Hong Kong is doing,” Zhou said. “They have won victory, the Hong Kong government has declared withdrawal of the extradition law. But this is only the surface. The true reason, the true democracy they deserve, denied by the CCP, that is what they are fighting for. That is a value we should all try to defend.”
In Mainland China, however, the surveillance state is “1984 all over again, even beyond your wildest imagination.” The WeChat social media platform has become a powerful tool of the government, to organize and finance CCP-related influence activities outside China. The promise of opening up that came with the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics never materialized and Zhou said Beijing does not deserve the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“Even now here in Vancouver, in Toronto, we are seeing the Chinese people be brainwashed, they are weaponized to such a degree they would threaten peaceful protesters,” Zhou said
Listen to the full interview with Zhou. Plus the latest on the surprise resignation of B.C.’s auditor general, commentaries and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.
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