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mr-absentia

Hong Kong Is Winning the Global Public-Opinion War With Beijing - The Atlantic

«The relative success of Hong Kong’s protest movement is all the more significant because it’s occurring alongside Beijing expanding its propaganda efforts globally, as state-owned outlets trumpet China’s vision of the world in multiple languages. This global campaign is the biggest challenge to China’s rulers by the territory since 1989, when, still a British colony, its residents took part in demonstrations in solidarity with protesters in Tiananmen Square, while also providing financial and material support.

From Oslo to Osaka, Congress to the United Nations, Taiwan to Twitter, Hong Kongers have taken their DIY approach to protest to a global audience. Celebrity supporters testify in high-profile settings; highly targeted, crowdfunded media campaigns aim to keep the issue in the spotlight; and viral videos, catchy slogans, and even a movement anthem and flag help magnify the message on social media.»

«…the tendency of Chinese nationalism to backfire on the foreign stage has hampered the Communist cause. Among these incidents are violent Chinese-student reactions to pro–Hong Kong demonstrations at Australian universities, with the Chinese embassy expressing support for the students’ actions on social media afterward. Debate in Australia regarding the ability of China to control public speech there has since intensified. Elsewhere, Montreal’s Pride parade excluded Hong Kong participants after receiving threats from “pro-Communists.” At the parade, many onlookers were aghast when, during the moment of silence for those who have died from HIV/AIDS, Chinese participants sang their national anthem.

“The most basic weakness of the external communications of the Chinese party-state is the fact that foreign audiences, and their values and interests, are never truly considered,” David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, told me. “Sure, the messages are directed at foreigners, but the language is still the internal and insular language of the party-state.”

In this sense, Bandurski said, these propaganda efforts are not really external at all.

“Try as it might to raise the volume on China's singular, restrained voice, the party-state is still talking to itself, or shouting at its own wall,” Bandurski said. “The louder that voice becomes, the more uncompromising and aggressive it sounds.”»

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