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Westerners alerted to 'hybrid warfare'

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-18 09:27

Tourists take a sightseeing boat at the Victoria Bay in Hong Kong, south China, June 12, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Peace activists in the US are taking steps to counter the "hybrid warfare" that their country is waging against China with its interference in Hong Kong.

They are calling on Westerners, particularly ordinary people in the United States, to beware of misinformation so that they won't be misled into supporting a movement that is at odds with their values.

Washington's "hybrid warfare" includes not just the military dimension but also legal sanctions, diplomatic warfare and information warfare, said Madison Tang, coordinator of the "China Is Not Our Enemy" campaign at Code Pink, an anti-war organization.

Tang particularly highlighted the information warfare waged by the US.

"There's so much distortion and false information that it is crucial to clarify for Westerners so that they don't unintentionally support a movement that does not align with their values," she said.

Tang's organization is hosting a webinar series, "China Is Not Our Enemy", that discusses misconceptions about US relations with China.

"A lot of the stuff that they (Americans) read, and they hear about Hong Kong from the mainstream media is not true," Julie Tang, co-founder of Pivot to Peace, an organization dedicated to promoting peace between the US and China, told a recent Code Pink webinar.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Tang, a retired judge of the San Francisco Superior Court, shared her own experience with the webinar audience in the hope of "dispelling some of this information so that we can get to the facts and the real history".

She went to the US in 1967 at the height of the anti-British riots in Hong Kong. Tang recalled that life in the British colony was not easy and comfortable. "My father often complained of the injustice experienced by the Chinese at the hands of the British rulers," the retired judge said.

Though she had a pretty good childhood, she said she could never forget "what my parents felt as strong, negative sentiments about being colonized in your own country".

No right to work or live

"The Chinese were conditioned to see the British as superior, more cultured, sophisticated, and powerful," Julie Tang said. "As colonized people, we were a people without a country, just masters. The British passport is only a travel document. It gives us no right to work or live in England."

The 1967 riots are often compared with the 2019 protests. Tang said the differences between the two lie in the treatment of the rioters.

"The British Royal Hong Kong Police Force was brutal without mercy. The current local Hong Kong police force was restrained. They did not kill any person," she said.

"The 1967 riot was an economic outcry against the British government but turned political and deadly; the support for the 2019 riots came from foreign governments to destabilize China in the name of freedom and democracy," she said.

For instance, the grant program of the US National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, has funded research projects that recruited Hong Kong University students to be experimental subjects in demonstrations, said Tang. "These experimental studies were decried by academics as highly unethical experimental studies," she added.

Madison Tang said such information as that contained in the NED's grants database is "all at our fingertips", and she encouraged people to search for it themselves.

"You can also search for other regions, including Taiwan, Xinjiang and other areas, just to see what the US Pentagon and government considers promoting 'spreading democracy'. And really a lot of times, that means fomenting unrest to maintain US domination of geopolitical areas of interest," she said.

Based on data of the NED grants, it's estimated that at least $29 million has been funneled into the riots in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland since the "2014 umbrella protests" in Hong Kong, according to Madison Tang.

She also asked the public to pay attention to legislation called the Eagle Act, which provides for almost $700 million in military training for the Asia Pacific.

"What's important for US citizens is that we pay attention and don't allow the Pentagon and the Biden administration to let this happen covertly because these are our tax dollars," the activist said. "These could be going to services in the US, like healthcare and pandemic containment."

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