By Chen Qingqing and Bai Yunyi
While some secessionists and radical protesters in Hong Kong have been constantly seeking attention of the West, hoping to further pressure on the Chinese mainland, some foreigners who have been living in the city for years have much more clear view on this so-called anti-extradition movement.
Sky Darmos, a German quantum gravity researcher and etymologist, said he was dismissed by Hong Kong Polytechnic University for supporting the extradition bill that sparked controversy in Hong Kong society and is seen as a major trigger of months of street protests.
“I support the extradition bill and I disagree with protection of criminals,”Darmos told the Global Times.
After living in Hong Kong for years, Darmos can speak fluent Cantonese. He has been going to rallies participated in by black-clad protesters in recent weeks, trying to understand what the young protesters are really fighting for.
During the recent protests, radical protesters sometimes attacked people holding different views, he said.
“When I said ‘protecting criminals is a crime!’‘against the protection of murderers’ while I stood close to protesters, some of them were unhappy and even elbowed me aside,” he said.
Darmos was dismissed by the university after some students – who are also protesters – filed a complaint to the university claiming that the German researcher called them “terrorists,” according to media reports.
When asked about the matter, Eunice Cheng, a representative from the communications and public affairs office of the university, said in an email sent to the Global Times that after verification, “we wish to clarify that Mr. Sky Darmos is neither a student nor an employee of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was once an external collaborator for a project under the University’s School of Design.”
“At one meeting, I saw a protester making a speech to teach others how to use fire, saying that fire is their best tool to attack the police,”Darmos said.
That’s why he called them terrorists, he said.
Throwing Molotov cocktails at frontline officers, government buildings, police vehicles and other public facilities has become common among radical protesters to escalate the violence, endangering ordinary people.
Rioters threw in total 80 Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on September 15.
“One time I was fighting with those protesters verbally and they shouted ‘F**k off to China!’ and I said ‘I’m in China!’”Darmos said.
Such a “childish and aimless movement just looks like ridiculous,” he said.
It seemed easier for foreigners on the ground to communicate with the black-clad protesters, as protesters usually seek more attention of the West to support the anti-government movement.
However, when young secessionists like Joshua Wong and Nathan Law actively met US politicians in not only Hong Kong but also in Washington, foreigners, who have been watching the ongoing social unrest closely, understand how and why those secessionists have been used for by Western countries to exploit the divisions within China for their own benefits.
“The majority of Hongkongers care about their own lives and hope for a peaceful city. Many protesters on the streets are paid, our housekeeper is an example. She was paid HK$5000 for several days for protesting. She was just a backline protester, those at the frontline are paid much higher,” a British who has been living in Hong Kong for more than three decades told the Global Times.
“I seriously doubt where are those money come from, whether there are support from the US and the island of Taiwan,” he said.
A CIA-backed US foundation has been colluding with the heads of the Hong Kong riots with financial and strategic support, Japanese monthly magazine Sentaku reported in August.
Hong Kong extremists received significant funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which it called “a CIA soft-power cutout that has played a critical role in innumerable US regime-change operations,” the magazine said.
Darmos said in a previous Facebook post that he heard about people receiving money, but he insisted that corruption should not be tolerated and no matter if the money comes from rich people in Hong Kong, the island of Taiwan, the NED or the CIA.
Some protesters in Hong Kong find the way of fighting against the government in the name of fighting democracy, which reflects how little the young generation of Hong Kong understand the history and the so-called democracy.
“Defending economic freedom and democracy connect you rapidly with a very internationally established network of young leaders around the world,” said Ludovic, a French entrepreneur, who has business in Singapore and travels between the mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Such movements emerged around the world with the Orange revolution in Ukraine, the Arab Spring… all built with the same mechanics by exploiting the extraordinary energy found with young educated students and the real suffering and division within a nation, he said.
The questionable consequence of such revolt is the price people may have to pay in the long run, he said.
After these three foreigners, some bravely spoke out on social media platforms, though they can’t be openly identified for safety reasons. Many attacked them for supporting the police, HKSAR government and the central government, as anti-establishment voices in Hong Kong are deliberately promoted by Western media.
“We need to speak out now, as things are changing, as more and more peace-loving people and those support China are fighting back, and we need to bravely express our view to crackdown those false propaganda on Hong Kong at global stage,” the British man said.