‘US eyes Occupy Central movement as ability to destabilize China’
RT:What features of the Hong Kong movement can you name and what are the foreigners going to the Hong Kong protests trying to achieve?
SF: Well, what’s important about the demonstrations in Hong Kong is the huge support that came immediately from US officials and media, from Britain and yet the complete silence and the lack of response in the cities throughout the rest of China. We could compare that to what has just taken place in Ferguson, Missouri, and the demonstrations there and on the same day demonstrations in 170 US cities. So you can really see that what happened in Hong Kong is that they were not successful in both broadening that struggle and gaining support from working people in Hong Kong or from it resonating in the rest of China and that is an important part of what Occupy Central and its limitations represent in Hong Kong, because this is a movement that does not challenge the banks of Hong Kong who are the real power in Hong Kong. Occupy Wall Street, that began in New York…its demands were against Wall Street: the banks, the very banks [where] in the bailout of billions of dollars placed by the US government, and yet people’s homes were allowed to go into bankruptcy in the millions. So we see a movement in Hong Kong that is making no demands on the banks even though this is one of the largest financial centers in the world, and instead is making demands strictly on the central government in China. And that shows a lot about what this movement represents and who is behind it.
RT:What would you say about the differences in the US rhetoric over the protests in Hong Kong and how it's handling the Ferguson protests at home?
SF: Well, here you have US officials meeting Chinese officials demanding that they listen to the demands of the demonstrators and China responded “this is interference in our internal affairs; it’s an attack on our sovereignty.” But the very same US officials certainly haven’t lectured or made demands on local and state officials in Ferguson, Missouri, nor have they expressed great sympathy for the demonstrators in Ferguson. Instead what they are telling young people who are all too often, particularly youth of color, African-American, Latino youth, victims of police attacks that they should accept the Grand Jury ruling that made no charges against the policeman who murdered in cold blood, his hands raised, a young black man. So the difference is never more profound than what is happening [with] a movement on the other side of the world. There is great sympathy, expressed in the corporate media here and by US officials. And a movement for justice right here, within the US, which resonates all across the country and millions of people are responding to, there is no expression of sympathy or of support. Instead we see a huge police crackdown and clearing people off the streets and you see the images here of the militarized police force operating with tanks, with helicopters with policemen in full body armor again and again using stun and percussion gas. So there is a huge difference between the two movements and between the ways in which the two movements are treated.
RT:And speaking about funding, what is the difference between Occupy Central movement and protests in Ferguson, Missouri?
SF: The United States has been most generous in the funding through non-governmental organizations (NGOs). [It’s been providing extensive backing and] funding to the Occupy Central movement and its leaders through the National Endowment for Democracy, through the National Democratic Institute, Soros , Rockefeller and Ford foundations and many other foundations... And of course there is no such support for black and Latino youth here in the US. Even for them to have the right to a college education, instead there is mass incarceration and the largest prison population in the world.
RT:Various pop and movie stars also joined the protesters in Hong Kong - why is taking to the streets becoming so popular?
SF: Well, there are number of celebrities here that are based in studios and very linked in to the corporate media, this doesn’t in any way threaten their careers or their future to speak for democracy in Hon Kong. The real challenge would be: do they defend or support democracy right here in the US; are they against racist police terror right here? That’s the acid test and most of these celebrities overwhelmingly would completely fail to call for justice, to call for democracy or to call for an end to the racist police terror right here in the US.
RT:Various international celebrities have travelled to Hong Kong to appear among the protesters - such as Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google and actor James Franco. Is there an element of glamour in these protests, which is drawing foreigners?
SF: Well, they recognize corporate interest and profit. The movement in Hong Kong has the support not only of celebrities in the US and Britain and around the world. From its very first days, I remember a press conference with AD hedge fund managers and bankers in support of Occupy Central in Hong Kong. So they see this movement as a movement that can make demands on the government in China, they are interested in it for its ability - they hope, but I don’t think it will succeed - to destabilize China and to make demands on the Chinese government. And so when you look at why Google would be interested, why celebrities whose career or future is based on what is happening with the conglomeration of banks that control industry and finance. Yes they are only too willing to speak and to be on stage and be in the demonstration. That’s easy and it is not what we should separate from a genuine call for justice and we should ask them why they are not marching in the streets of the cities of the US against the abuse of the police, the militarized and the racist police, right here. That alone should expose just how genuine they are.
RT:And what is the role of the corporate media in these protests?
SF: The media, and this is true for the corporate media, very much responds to this big center of banking and finance and they create the forces that they find would destabilize China in the same way that they would support the color revolutions in Eastern Europe in the former Soviet Republics, in the same way that they embraced fascist groups in Ukraine. It’s not much different, the role that they are willing to play in Hong Kong, and that is to support a movement that receives generous funding from abroad and makes no real demands on the life for poor and working people even within Hong Kong. Hong Kong exists as a special administrative zone, because it was a colony of Britain without ever having a moment of democracy in all the years of British rule. It was only when Hong Kong was returned to China rightfully that suddenly these voices emerged calling for democracy: they had been silent for well over a hundred years, more than 150 years. So suddenly they emerged calling for democracy, the very banks and institutions that provide absolutely no democracy for people anywhere the world.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.