All posts by Andre Vltchek

US and China “Trade” War?

It is very popular these days to talk and write about the “trade war” between the United States and China. But is there really one raging? Or is what we are witnessing simply a clash of political and ideological systems: one being extremely successful and optimistic, the other depressing, full of dark cynicism and nihilism?

In the past, the West used to produce almost everything. While colonizing the entire planet (one should just look at the map of the globe between the two world wars), Europe and later the United States, Canada and Australia kept plundering all the continents of natural resources, holding hundreds of millions of human beings in what could be easily described as ‘forced labor’, often bordering on slavery.

Under such conditions, it was very easy to be ‘number one’, to reign without competition, and to toss around huge amounts of cash for the sole purpose of indoctrinating local and overseas ‘subjects’ on topics such as the ‘glory’ of capitalism, colonialism (open and hidden), and Western-style ‘democracy’.

It is essential to point out that in the recent past, the global Western dictatorship (and that included the ‘economic system) used to have absolutely no competition. Systems that were created to challenge it were smashed with the most brutal, sadistic methods. One only needs to recall invasions from the West to the young Soviet Union with the consequent genocide and famines. Or other genocides in Indochina, which was fighting its wars for independence, first against France, later against the United States.

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Times changed. But Western tactics haven’t.

There are now many new systems in numerous corners of the world. These systems, some Communist, others socialist or even populist, are ready to defend their citizens and to use natural resources to feed the people, and to educate, house and cure them.

No matter how popular these systems are at home, the West finds ways to demonize them, using its well-established propaganda machinery. First, to smear them and then, if they resist, to directly liquidate them.

As before, during the colonial era, no competition has been permitted. Disobedience is punishable by death.

Naturally, the Western system has not been built on excellence, hard work and creativity, only. It was constructed on fear, oppression and brutal force. For centuries, it has clearly been a monopoly.

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Only the toughest countries, like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or Cuba, have managed to survive, defending their own cultures and advancing their philosophies.

To the West, China has proven to be an extremely tough adversary.

With its political, economic, and social systems, it has managed to construct a forward-looking, optimistic and extraordinarily productive society. Its scientific research is now second to none. Its culture is thriving. Together with its closest ally, Russia, China excels in many essential fields.

That is precisely what irks, even horrifies, the West.

For decades and centuries, Europe and the United States have not been ready to tolerate any major country which would set up its own set of rules and goals.

China refuses to accept the diktat from abroad. It now appears to be self-sufficient, ideologically, politically, economically and intellectually. Where it is not fully self-sufficient, it can rely on its friends and allies. Those allies are increasingly located outside the Western sphere.

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Is China really competing with the West? Yes and no. And often not consciously.

It is a giant; still the most populous nation on earth. It is building, determinedly, its socialist motherland (applying “socialism with the Chinese characteristics” model). It is trying to construct a global system which has roots in the thousands of years of its history (BRI – Belt and Road Initiative, often nicknamed the “New Silk Road”).

Its highly talented and hardworking, as well as increasingly educated population, is producing at a higher pace and often at higher quality than the countries in Europe or the United States. As it produces, it also naturally trades.

This is where the ‘problem’ arises. The West, particularly the United States, is not used to a country that creates things for the sake and benefit of its people. For centuries, Asian, African and Latin American people were ordered what and how to produce, where and for how much to sell the produce. Or else!

Of course, the West has never consulted anyone. It has been producing what it (and its corporations) desired. It was forcing countries all over the world to buy its products. If they refused, they got invaded, or their fragile governments (often semi-colonies, anyway) overthrown.

The most ‘terrible’ thing that China is doing is: it is producing what is good for China, and for its citizens.

That is, in the eyes of the West, unforgiveable!

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In the process, China ‘competes’ but fairly.  It produces a lot, cheaply, and increasingly well. The same can be said about Russia.

These two countries are not competing maliciously. If they were to decide to, they could sink the US economy, or perhaps the economy of the entire West, within a week.

But they don’t even think about it.

However, as said above, to just work hard, invent new and better products, advance scientific research, and use the gains to improve the lives of ordinary people (there will be no extreme poverty in China by the end of 2020) is seen as the arch-crime in London and Washington.

Why? Because the Chinese and Russian systems appear to be much better, or at least simply better, than those which are reigning in the West and its colonies. And because they are working for the people not for corporations or for the colonial powers.

And the demagogues in the West – in its mass media outlets and academia – are horrified that perhaps soon the world will wake up and see the reality which is actually already happening slowly but surely.

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To portray China as an evil country is essential for the hegemony of the West. There is nothing so terrifying to London and Washington as the combination of these words: “Socialism/ Communism, Asian, success”. The West invents new and newer ‘opposition movements’, it then supports them and finances them, just in order to then point fingers and bark: “China is fighting back, and it is violating human rights”, when it defends itself and its citizens. This tactic is clear right now in both the northwest of the country and in Hong Kong.

Not everything that China builds is excellent. Europe is still producing better cars, shoes and fragrances, and the United States, better airplanes. But the progress that China has registered during the last two decades is remarkable. Were it to be football, it is China 2: West 1.

Most likely, unless there is real war, in ten years China will catch up in many fields; catch up, and surpass the West. Side by side with Russia.

It could have been excellent news for the entire world. China is sharing its achievements, even with the poorest of the poor countries in Africa or with Laos in Asia.

The only problem is the West feels that it has to rule. It is unrepentant, observing the world from a clearly fundamentalist view. It cannot help it: it is absolutely, religiously convinced that it has to give orders to every man and woman, in every corner of the globe.

It is a tick, fanatical. Lately, anyone who travels to Europe or the United States will testify: what is taking place there is not good, even for the ordinary citizens. Western governments and corporations are now robbing even their own citizens. The standard of living is nose-diving.

China, with just a fraction of the wealth, is building a much more egalitarian society, although you would never guess so if you exclusively relied on Western statistics.

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So, “trade war” slogans are an attempt to convince the local and global public that “China is unfair”, that it is “taking advantage” of the West. President Trump is “defending” the United States against the Chinese ‘Commies’. But the more he “defends them”, the poorer they get. Strange, isn’t it?

While the Chinese people, Russian people, even Laotian people, are, ‘miraculously’, getting richer and richer. They are getting more and more optimistic.

For decades, the West used to preach ‘free trade’, and competition. That is, when it was in charge, or let’s say, ‘the only kid on the block’.

In the name of competition and free trade, dozens of governments got overthrown, and millions of people killed.

And now?

What is China supposed to do? Frankly, what?

Should it curb its production or perhaps close scientific labs? Should it consult the US President or perhaps British Prime Minister before it makes any essential economic decision? Should it control the exchange rate of RMB in accordance with the wishes of the economic tsars in Washington? That would be thoroughly ridiculous considering that (socialist/Communist) China will soon become the biggest economy in the world, or maybe it already is.

There is all that abstract talk, but nothing concrete suggested. Or is it like that on purpose?

Could it be that the West does not want to improve relations with Beijing?

On September 7, 2019, AP reported:

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow compared trade talks with China on Friday to the U.S. standoff with Russia during the Cold War…

“The stakes are so high, we have to get it right, and if that takes a decade, so be it,” he said.  Kudlow emphasized that it took the United States decades to get the results it wanted with Russia. He noted that he worked in the Reagan administration: “I remember President Reagan waging a similar fight against the Soviet Union.”

Precisely! The war against the Soviet Union was hardly a war for economic survival of the United States. It was an ideological battle which the United States unfortunately won, because it utilized both propaganda and economic terror (the arms race and other means).

Now, China is next on the list, and the White House is not even trying to hide it.

But China is savvy. It is beginning to understand the game. And it is ready, by all means, to defend the system which has pulled almost all its citizens out of misery, and which could, one day soon, do the same for the rest of the world.

*  First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook – a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Saudi Arabia is Opening its Doors

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is opening up to the world. It used to be absolutely impossible to get a visa to enter, unless you were a religious pilgrim (therefore officially a Muslim), NATO military personnel, or a businessman or woman, invited by a local company or by the Saudi government. Even if you secured approval, visas were outrageously expensive, costing several hundreds of dollars. The only loophole was a “transit visa” for those who were going to drive from Oman or Bahrain to Jordan.

Tourism was not recognized as a reason to visit the KSA. There were simply no tourist visas issued. Full stop.

Then, suddenly, everything changed at the very end of September 2019. The Saudi government introduced e-visas, for 49 nation nationalities, including the USA, Canada, all nationals of the European Union, as well as the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau).

Not as oppressed as before

Everything has been streamlined. The formerly brutal international airports of Riyadh (the capital), Jeddah and Dammam, received incredible facelifts. Now, friendly ladies (still in hijab), speaking perfect English, are processing first-time visitors, taking their fingerprints, photographing them, then welcoming them to Saudi Arabia. There are rating buttons on the walls of the immigration booths: “How are we serving you?” From excellent, to terrible. Riyadh Airport is now clean, well illuminated, and pleasant.

All over the capital city, foreign women are now walking with fully exposed hair: at the airport, in all major hotels of Riyadh, office buildings, even inside the luxury malls.

The Royal Family is sending a clear message to the world: things are rapidly changing: Saudi Arabia is not what it used to be a few years ago. Women can now drive, foreigners (some, at least from the rich countries) can enter the country, and the dress-code for women is getting more and more relaxed.

Iconic shopping bag tower

Words like “the arts” and “culture” have been reintroduced into the local lexicon, after being nearly extinct for decades.

Saudi Arabia has a wide range of problems. They include corruption, the increasing dissatisfaction of the middle classes, the great desperation of the poor, vulnerability of oil prices, cross-border retaliatory attacks by the Houthis in Yemen, the imminent defeat of the Saudi extremist allies in Syria, the prolonged conflict with Qatar, as well as a still undiversified economy based on the export of oil.

After cutting the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi into pieces, precisely one year ago, the KSA suddenly drew strong criticism from all corners of the world.

The continuous killing of tens of thousands of innocent Yemeni civilians has evoked wrath in progressive circles worldwide.

New National Museum

The rulers in Riyadh had to re-think many issues. They calculated, and came to the conclusion that the best way to act would be to open up the country, and basically demonstrate to the would that the Kingdom is “not as bad” as many would like to believe.

The risk is great. Could this strategy really work? Or would it backfire?

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Politics aside, Saudi Arabia is a “specific place”, and definitely not to everyone’s liking.

To give it credit where it is due, it counts on some stunning vistas, on endless deserts, dunes and oases producing dates and delicious fruits. It is dotted with castles and forts, and, of course, as the cradle of Islam, it has some of the most incredible historic sites.

A few years ago, the National Museum in Beijing, China, exhibited thousands of historic objects and images from the KSA. To those of us who visited, it was a tremendous discovery.

Unfortunately, what can be shown in China, could not always be allowed in Riyadh, Jeddah, Macca and Medina.

For decades, the Saudi extremist Wahhabism has been fighting against everything that is not perceived as holy: music, films, non-religious books, even the images of animals.

This religious extremism has been exported to all corners of the world. Paradoxically and bizarrely, it has been intertwined with Western, particularly North American, “culture”. Extreme capitalism has been thriving all over the Kingdom. More oil, more kitsch.

Tremendous Muslim monuments had been dwarfed by lavish malls, badly designed and overpriced hotels, car culture and cheap US eateries such as Big M, Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Hut.

There is hardly any city planning, or connectivity in the major cities like Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, even when compared with the neighboring Dubai, Doha or Muscat.

According to The Independent:

The destruction of sites associated with early Islam is an ongoing phenomenon that has occurred mainly in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, particularly around the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The demolition has focused on mosques, burial sites, homes and historical locations associated with the Islamic prophet Muhammad and many of the founding personalities of early Islamic history.

Vulgar luxury malls and 5-star hotels for the super-rich pilgrims are now literally encircling the holiest site in Macca.

But it is not only religious sites that are being ruined.

Old Quarter

During this recent visit, I drove to the At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah, some 20 kilometers from Riyadh, once a stunning World Heritage site designated by UNESCO. This location of the first Saudi Dynasty was “undergoing renovation”. Read: entire areas of traditional houses and ancient streets, squares and courtyards have been “rearranged”; destroyed. A modern mall has been erected. I was told that soon, more areas will give way to the fake buildings. Al-Turaif District has already been nicknamed the “Beverly Hills of Saudi Arabia.”

What’s next, nobody knows. But one thing is certain: if the rulers of Saudi Arabia want to attract visitors from the West, Russia, China or Japan, in order to diversify its economy, they’d have to offer a bit more than clogged roads, shopping malls, broken sidewalks and kitschy hotels and restaurants.

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Saudi Arabia is extremely rich (although not as rich as Qatar), at least on paper. But it is full of absolute misery, from slums to beggars whose arms were amputated at a young age, so they could evoke the pity of motorists, and generate higher incomes for the mafias that are pimping them.

In many luxury malls, there are sexy, almost pornographic lingerie stores for the upper class wives, while outside, millions of manual workers, mainly from the sub-Continent, Africa and the Philippines, are living in destitution, not unlike that which they left behind in their native lands.

Politically, Saudi Arabia is, together with Israel, the closest ally of the United States.

And it shows. In those proverbial 5-star hotels that cost in Riyadh double what they do even in Qatar, stereotypical Western ‘development-types’ are lecturing locals, openly, arrogantly and without any shame.

Visa restrictions have been eased, but mass tourism in the KSA is still hard to imagine. The country is not ready for culture-oriented types, for history connoisseurs, or for people on average budgets.

There is no way of walking here. There is no public transportation to speak of yet. Even getting a taxi can be an ordeal as everything is designed for private cars.

The prices are outrageous and the quality of services very, very low. Crime rates are high.

It will take some time to convince foreigners to come.

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But an attempt to bring the world into KSA is there. Changes are in the air.

The National Museum in Riyadh opened its doors. The building is magnificent, although exhibitions are, to put it mildly, very poor. The new National Library is stunning, although the selection of books is very limited. Research centers mainly highlight the activities of the Royal Family. A new mass rapid system is being constructed, but no one knows exactly when it will become operational.

I am interested in this complex country. I want to come back, and understand more; for years I am writing about Wahhabism and the deadly alliance with the UK, and then the US. And, honestly, I have always been fascinated with the deserts and with the people who inhabit them.

Considering my strong criticism of the KSA foreign policy, including my frequent appearances on the Iranian Press TV, I was a bit worried about this visit, but I was holding an “official”, not “e” visa, and in the end, nothing bad happened. The people that I met were kind and open with me. Now, I am writing this short essay on board Sri Lankan Airlines, bound for Colombo, alive and well.

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Diversification could prove to be extremely positive for the people of Saudi Arabia. Both Russia and China are now making important inroads, and soon there will be substantial investment from both countries in the Saudi oil industry, as well as tourism and other sectors. Chinese and Russian people are curious and daring. They will come. Many will. Saudis know it.

At the National Museum in Riyadh, a receptionist asked where I was from, in English. I answered, “I am Russian”. He hesitated for just a few seconds, then smiled and uttered: “Privet! Kak dela?” (“Greetings, how are you doing?”) Perhaps he had to learn those few words of greeting in all world languages. Or perhaps not. Maybe he was studying Russian.

The rulers of the KSA are very secretive people. No one really knows which direction the country is going to evolve in the next few years. Could the KSA one day become “neutral”? I don’t know.

But one thing is certain: something is moving, brewing and evolving. KSA is not the same country as it was five years ago. In the future, perhaps five years from now, it may become unrecognizable.

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

• First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook – a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Why I stand by 70 years old Communist China

Happy Birthday, People’s Republic of China! Heartfelt Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, and thank you for being here, for standing, for not bending down and never surrendering.

The capitalist world is in decay. The West is rotting. Anger and nihilism are pouring from the imperialist empire whose citizens are frustrated; not at peace with themselves.

Imperialist North America and Europe are furious at the countries like Venezuela and Cuba because their thinkers and leaders are exposing the terrible deterioration of values which is streaming from the neo-colonialist and historically imperialist countries.

But it is China and Russia who are at the forefront of spite of the Western nation and their propagandists. It is all grotesque now. Russia, which saved the world from Nazism, and which helped to decolonize dozens of nations, is now “least liked country” in Europe. Germany, which murdered millions of Jews, Roma, Slavs, and others, is the most liked. In the West, nobody seems to care that Germany is still plundering such nations like Venezuela while using its industrial and banking might to strip defenseless nations of their riches.

China, a mighty Communist country, (or call it a “socialist country with Chinese characteristics”), is being mocked and humiliated by Western propaganda. Arrogance of the European and North American indoctrinators and most of their servile pseudo-intellectuals, from the so-called center to the right, has no boundaries. Most of them are suffering from incurable superiority complexes. They feel that they have the right to judge China; to decide for it, whether it is “truly” Communist or not, and whether it is on the correct track.

China is a calm, some could even say timid, nation. No matter how mighty it has become, it tries to resolve all conflicts with its self-proclaimed adversaries harmoniously. It does not attack, and it does not provoke. Historically, it cares for the well-being of its peripheries, and even for the welfare of faraway nations. For millennia, the wisdom went like this: “if the neighbors are doing well, so will do well China itself”.

Chinese leaders and Chinese people are convinced that if the entire world would become prosperous, China would benefit as a result. That is the essence of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), which is often defined as the “New Silk Road”.

Of course, it is not as simple as this but, in essence, it is. New Silk Road is the flagship of the Chinese internationalism. I saw China “in action”, in such places as Africa and Oceania, and I have been greatly impressed. I am an anti-imperialist, and an internationalist, therefore I decisively support China!

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Increasingly, I consider myself a Communist and an internationalist, not a “Marxist”. Karl Marx was a historical, European figure, a good analyst and critic of the old, early capitalist regime. He was preoccupied with the mainly European system, without using much energy to attack colonialism and imperialism. In the last hundreds of years, the most horrid problem has been the plunder of the planet by the West. Marx did not pay much attention to it.

Countries like the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China, which have been defending those who are defenseless, are consistently and very professionally demonized by London, Paris, Berlin, and Washington, insanely smeared as “equal to the fascists”, while it is clear that the only honest equation could be made between the Nazism/fascism and the European and North American colonialism, or more precisely, neo-colonialist and imperialism.

While perfecting its own socialist system, China learned a lot about the mistakes made by the Soviet Union. It is not going to repeat them. Those of us who are close to the Academy of Social Sciences, or to the Chinese leading universities and media outlets, are doing our best to explain the errors committed in both Soviet Union and the so-called Eastern Block. Based on the analyses of its own past, and of other socialist countries, China is both fighting for the survival of the world, and for the improvement of the standards of living of its own people.

Author Andre Vltchek

I like her approach; I am proud to be part of the “process”. And I support China with my entire heart because I know that if China falls, if it gets destroyed by the imperialist West, it would be the end of all hopes for our humanity. The West already demonstrated what it would do to the planet, if it would be allowed to continue ruling, unopposed, over the billions of lives of human beings.

United, allied, China and Russia are creating a powerful block of independent nations. Directly and indirectly, they are defending those good countries which are antagonized, brutalized, even terrorized by the West. Both nations are benefiting from working together. Now, dozens of countries on all continents are benefiting, too.

I like what I see. Hope is in the air. It is beautiful. It is full of optimism. And that is why I support; that is why I am celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!

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It goes without saying that China is being intimidated and provoked by almost all Western countries, as well as their client states.

Actually, attacking China is turning into the most lucrative career for both the mediocre journalist working for the mass media outlets and for the funding-starved individuals all over the world.

Reasons for these attacks are only too easy to identify: The People’s Republic of China is clearly winning in all fields and areas, over both the imperialism and savage capitalism: ideologically, intellectually and socially.

With only a fraction of the GDP per capita (compared to the West), China is eliminating extreme poverty. Its infrastructure is now better than that in the West. Its progress in the field of ecology cannot be matched by any other part of the world. Its creativity, in the area of culture and science, is colossal. The life of the Chinese people is improving, dramatically. And, it is very hard not to notice, the lives of the people in the countries that are working with China, are getting much better as well.

More obvious all this is becoming to the people worldwide, more horrified are getting the traditionally colonialist and imperialist countries. They cannot offer anything to the world, as their economies and cultures have been based on looting, already for many long centuries. They are unable to stop, to reform, to work for saving the world. And so all they can do in order to ensure that the status quo prevails is to smear China and Russia, two determined sisters that are working relentlessly for a much better planet.

For decades, China tried to compromise, to appease the West. It has been doing everything possible and impossible to avoid direct or indirect conflict. Only recently, it realized that the only outcome the West would accept would be if China would kneel, surrender, and give up its “Socialism with the Chinese characteristics” system.

And this is unacceptable to both the government in Beijing and to the people of China.

That is why the parade on Tiananmen Square on the October 1st, 2019. That is why the clear message to the West: Chinese system is not for sale. China is not going to bend. That is why the new weapons, designed to repel anyone who would dare to attack the PRC, have been introduced.

In Russia, they say: Those who come with the sword, from the sword will die.

China clearly understood the wisdom of this truism.

Of course, China welcomes friends with open arms. It is helping those in need. It is trying to build a better world.

But it will never again tolerate attacks, intimidations, and bare racism. In the past, it got occupied, brutalized and humiliated. Now, after 70 years of tremendous leap forward, under the leadership of the Communist Party, China is confident, strong and proud.

I love this confidence. I admire what China is doing both at home and abroad.

That is why I am celebrating with the Chinese people the 70th anniversary of their socialist motherland. That is why I am working, day and night, to show to the world all those great achievements of the most populous nation on earth.

I also believe that the union of China and Russia represents the last hope for our humanity. I witnessed the suffering of people on all continents; victims of Western imperialism. I do not buy, even for a second, the propaganda that “all nations are the same and would they be strong enough, they would plunder the world with the same brutality as Europe and North America have been doing for all those centuries”.

I am not too interested in reading and listening to the endless analyses of the Westerners regarding China. I am interested in what the Chinese people have to say about their country!

Now, 70 years after the Victory, the Chinese nation stands as united as ever. And the nations that have been robbed of everything by the West are now daring to hope for the first time in many generations.

That is why I am saluting the nation which is changing the world and which, at 70, looks and feels so young, generous, kind and full of optimism!

• First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook, a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences – under the title “Why Russia and China Stand Together

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

Some in Hong Kong feel frustrated as their city is losing to Mainland China

Hong Kong is losing to Mainland China. Its poverty rates are high, it suffers from corruption and savage capitalism. It is now the most expensive city on earth. People are frustrated, but paradoxically, they are blaming socialist Beijing for their problems, instead of the legacy of British colonialism. ‘Across the line’, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Xiang and other cities are leaving Hong Kong behind in almost all fields.

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When my dear friend and a great concert pianist from Beijing, Yuan Sheng, used to live in New York, recording, giving concerts and teaching at prestigious Manhattan School of Music, he told me that he used to cry at night: “In the United States, they smear China. I felt hurt, defenseless”.

He returned to Beijing, gave back his Green Card and began teaching at Beijing Conservatory. He never regretted his decision. “Beijing is much more exciting than New York, these days”, he told me.

It is obvious that Beijing is booming: intellectually, artistically; in fact, in all fields of life.

Yuan’s friend, who returned from London and became a curator at the iconic “Big Egg” (the biggest opera house on earth), shared her thoughts with me:

I used to sit in London, frustrated, dreaming about all those great musicians, all over the world. Now, they come to me. All of them want to perform in Beijing. This city can make you or break you. Without being hyperbolic, this is now one of the most important places on earth. Just under one roof, in one single night, we can have a Russian opera company performing in our big halls, in another one there is a Chinese opera, and a Bolivian folklore ensemble in a recital hall. And this is only one of Beijing’s theatres.

When the Chinese artists and thinkers are fighting for the prime with their Western counterparts, it is usually Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, ‘against’ London, Paris and New York. Hong Kong is ‘somewhere there’, behind, suddenly a backwater.

While Hong Kong University and the City University of Hong Kong used to be the best in China, many Mainland institutions of higher learning, including Peking University and Tsinghua, are now producing many more cutting-edge creative thinkers. I spoke at all of these schools, and can confirm that the young people in Beijing and Shanghai are extremely hardworking, endlessly curious, while in Hong Kong, there is always that mildly arrogant air of exceptionalism, and lack of discipline.

It used to be that the so-called “Sea Turtles” (students who went abroad and to Hong Kong, and then returned to Mainland China), were treated like celebrities, but now, it is much easier to get a job with the Mainland China’s diplomas.

Recently, while filming the riots in Hong Kong, I was told by a receptionist at one of the major shopping plazas:

We do not treat visitors from Mainland China well. And, they lost interest in Hong Kong. Before, they used to come here, to admire out wealth. Now, most of them are avoiding this place. What we have, they have, too, and often better. If they travel, they rather go to Bangkok or Paris.

These days, the contrast between Xiang, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong is shocking. Mainland infrastructure is incomparably better. Public areas are vast, and cultural life much more advanced than that in a former British colony.

While the Mainland Chinese cities have almost no extreme poverty, (and by the end of 2020 will have zero), in Hong Kong, at least 20% are poor, and many simply cannot afford to live in their own city. Hong Kong is the most expensive place on earth. Just to park a car could easily cost over US$700 per month, for just working hours. Tiny apartments cost over a million US dollars. Salaries in Hong Kong, however, are not higher than those in London, Paris or Tokyo.

The city is run by an extreme capitalist system, ‘planned’ by corrupt tycoons/developers. The obsolete British legal system here is clearly geared to protect the rich, not the majority. That was essentially why the “Extradition Bill” was proposed: to protect Hong Kong inhabitants from the unbridled, untouchable, as well as unelected de facto rulers.

But there is this ‘deal’, negotiated before Hong Kong was returned where it belongs, which is – to China. “One country, two systems”. It is an excellent contract for the turbo-capitalist magnates, and for the pro-Western “activists”. And it is an extremely bad one for the average people of Hong Kong. Therefore, after months of riots sponsored by the West, the Hong Kong administration scrambled the bill.

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Young hooligans know very little about their city. I talked to them, extensively, during their first anti-Beijing riots in 2014 (so-called “Umbrella Revolution”).

Correctly, then and now they have been frustrated about the declining standards of living, about the difficulties to get well-paid jobs and find affordable housing. They told me that ‘there is no future for them’, and that ‘their lives are going nowhere’.

But quickly, their logic would collapse. While realizing what tremendous progress, optimism and zeal could be observed in the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Communist Party, they would still be demanding more capitalism, which is actually ruining their territory. In 2014, and now, they are readily smearing the Communist Party.

Being raised on the shallow values of selfishness and egotism, they now betray their own country, and began treasonous campaigns, urging foreign powers, including US and UK, to “liberate them”. All for just fleeting moment of fame, for a “selfie uprising”.

To liberate from whom? China does not, (unfortunately for Hong Kong), interfere in Hong Kong’s economic and social affairs. If anything, it builds new infrastructure, like an enormous bridge now connecting Hong Kong with Macau (a former Portuguese colony) and a high-speed train system, linking Hong Kong with several cities in Mainland China.

More restrain Beijing shows, more it gets condemned by the rioters and Western media, for ‘brutality’. More subway stations and public property get destroyed by rioters, more sympatry flows for them from the German, US and British right-wing politicians.

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For decades, the British colonialists were humiliating people of Hong Kong, while simultaneously turning their city into a brutal, and by the Asian standards, ruthless and fully business oriented megapolis. Now people are confused and frustrated. Many are asking, who they really are?

For Hong Kong, this is a difficult moment of soul-searching.

Even those who want to “go back to UK”, can hardly speak English. When asked “why do they riot”, they mumble something about ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ in the West, plus ‘evilness of Beijing’. Brochures of some obscure, extremist Japanese religious cults get distributed. It is one big intellectual chaos. Rioters know nothing about Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, countries which are being ruined by the West.

Leaders like Joshua Wong are proudly colluding with the Western embassies. To praise Chinese socialism publicly is now dangerous – people get beaten by the “pro-democracy” rioters, for such “crimes”.

Highly educated and overly-polite Singapore is literally sucking out hundreds of foreign companies from Hong Kong. Its people speak both English and Mandarin. In Hong Kong, great majority speaks only Cantonese. Many foreigners are also relocating to Shanghai. Not only big businesses: Shanghai is now full of European waiters.

Even tourism is down in Hong Kong, by 40%, according to the recent data.

Absurdly: the rioters want precisely what the Communist Party of China is providing: they want real struggle against corruption, as well as determined attempt to solve housing crises, create new jobs, and provide more public services. They want better education, and generally better life. They want “Shanghai or Beijing”, but they say that they want to be a colony of the UK, or a dependency of the USA.

They loosely define communist goals, and then they shout that they are against Communism.

*****

China is now ready to celebrate its 70th Anniversary of the Founding of The People’s Republic of China.

Clearly, the West is using Hong Kong to spoil this great moment.

After leaving Hong Kong, in Shanghai I visited a brilliant, socialist realism exhibition at the iconic, monumental China Art Museum. The country under the leadership of President Xi is once again confident, revolutionary and increasingly socialist; to horror of declining West. It is a proud nation with great, elegant cities constructed by the people, for the people, and with progressively ecological countryside. Its scientific, intellectual and social achievements speak louder than words.

Contrast between Hong Kong and Shanghai is tremendous, and growing.

But do not get me wrong: I like Hong Kong. I have more than 20 years of history with that old, neurotic and spoiled lady. I can feel her pulse. I love old trams and ferries, and out-of-the-way islands.

But Hong Kong’s charm lies in its decay.

Mainland China’s beauty is fresh. China is one of the oldest cultures on earth, one of the deepest. But it feels crisp, full of hope and positive energy. Together with its closest ally, Russia, it is now working and fighting for the entire world; it is not selfish.

Hong Kong is fighting only for its vaguely defined uniqueness. Actually, it is not Hong Kong that is fighting, as most people there want to be where they truly belong – in their beloved nation – China. It is a gang of kids with their face-masks that is fighting. In brief: a relatively big group of pro-Western extremists, whose leaders are putting their fame above the interests of the people.

*****

Hong Kong has no “Big Egg”; no famous theatre where the greatest musicians are stunning the world. Its only art museum is closed for reconstruction, for years, and will re-open only at the end of 2019. Its cultural life is shallow, even laughable, for the place which is branding itself as the “Asia’s World City”. There are no great discoveries made here. It is all business. Big, big business. And creeping decay.

Beijing could ‘liberate’ Hong Kong, easily; to give it purpose, pride and future.

But young hooligans want to be liberated by Washington, instead. They want to be re-colonized by London. And they do not consult their fellow citizens. That clearly reflects their idea about ‘democracy’. Not the “rule of the people”, but the “rule of the West”.

Not only do they feel spite for their country, but they also scorn and intimidate their fellow citizens who just want to have their meaningful life, based on the Chinese values.

First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook (A journal of Russian Academy of Sciences)

Juan Guaido, Joshua Wong:  New Generation of Pro-Western “Saints”

The new generation of “pro-Western heroes” and “saints” is clearly failing to impress the world. Juan Guaido and Joshua Wong are definitely as right-wing as Mother Teresa was, but not as “credible”.

*****

A long time ago I visited a place in Calcutta, India, where Mother Teresa used to operate. According to the Catholic Church and Western propaganda apparatus, she was helping the poor.

When I asked those who knew her personally, they described her as a spiteful, vindictive person, with a short temper. Off the record, of course, as to criticizing her openly would be met with great outrage all over the world.

One of the greatest critics of Mother Teresa was an English-American author, Christopher Eric Hitchens, who wrote about her, frankly and openly:

This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. [Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.

An anti-Communist and staunch Serb-hater, Mother Teresa allegedly asked Bill Clinton to bomb Belgrade, although this information miraculously disappeared from records.

*****

The Western apparatus constantly produces “villains”: Soviet and Chinese Communists, Latin American anti-imperialists, African and the Middle Eastern patriots, as well as Asian independence-minded leaders.

Simultaneously, it manufactures “heroes”: religious demi-saints, ‘freedom-loving opposition leaders’, ‘benevolent monarchs treasured by their people’, as well as pro-Western (and therefore “democratic”) presidents.

Almost miraculously, all these glorious individuals are doing and saying precisely what is expected from them in London, Paris and Washington. They never fail to impress the Western mass media and public; they hardly ever make any serious blunders. As if some invisible hand was writing the script.

There are hundreds of them, but the most prominent are known to the entire world. To name just a few: the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Vaclav Havel, Pope John-Paul the Second, the Thai King Bhumibol… But the list goes on and on.

Virtually all the major “saints” manufactured by the Western regime, were Cold-War warriors. All were closely tied to Western imperialism and neo-colonialism. All would be easy to expose and to discredit, but ‘miraculously’ again; almost no one has ever dared to do so, because it would mean a direct clash with the chief propagandists in the West, as well as with their local lackeys.

*****

Now, new icons are entering the stage.

They are not as successfully crafted as their predecessors. The “saints” from the bygone days were masterpieces of the propagandists. They were ideologically almost ‘bullet-proofed’.

The new ones are often cheap see-through replicas.

Two of the latest products are Joshua Wong of Hong Kong, and Juan Guaido of Venezuela. Both are young, egocentric, aggressive and absolutely unabashed. Both are trained by the Empire in the art of what is lately defined as ‘regime change’.

One is described in the West as a ‘pro-democracy leader’, the other one is a self-proclaimed president.

Both individuals are credible only if the public wants them to be. If it doesn’t, it is easy to find errors in their “logic” and agendas. It is actually easy to laugh at their programs and ‘programmers’.

Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong ‘pro-democracy leader’, is clearly a ‘selfie-generation’ Western implant, without any understanding of global politics, and without any profound philosophical agenda. An evangelical fanatic, educated in a private Christian school in Kowloon, he “developed organizational and speaking skills through involvement in church groups”. During his first ‘protest activities’ in 2014 (the Umbrella Movement), he was only 17 years old. But this young, confused kid was picked up quickly by the radar of the U.S. anti-Chinese warriors, and in 2018 nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, for “peaceful efforts to bring political reform and protect the autonomy and the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong in the Sino-British joint declaration”.

Since then, he has been flying from one Western capital to another, smearing the People’s Republic of China, harvesting unconditional support, while promoting bizarre political concepts which, if implemented, would further damage the people of Hong Kong – a city which is already falling far behind Mainland China, under the leadership of the corrupt turbo-capitalist elites (who cannot be fought successfully, precisely because of the old British legislation, which is still applicable under the ‘One Country Two Systems’ arrangement).

Mr. Wong, a “Color Revolutionary” (although his old symbol was actually an umbrella), has been photographed together with the discredited “White Helmets” in September 2019, in the German capital of Berlin. The White Helmets gang, another Western implant (this one in Syria), has been implicated as being a bunch of mercenaries closely cooperating with Western-sponsored jihadi cadres operating in the Middle East. It is good to mention that the White Helmets were, at one point, also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

On top of it, Joshua Wong has been photographed with officials of the US consulate in Hong Kong. That, just few weeks before the ‘protesters’ went on a rampage, after marching on the US diplomatic mission, demanding that the US “liberates” their city from China. Needless to say that by this action they, de facto committed treason.

No matter how much the Western mass media supports, even glorifies Joshua Wong and his black-mask-wearing hooligans-followers, the majority of the people of Hong Kong are clearly supporting Beijing, and are actually horrified by the rioters, who have been destroying public property, and are indiscriminately beating anyone who dares to show respect for the Mainland China and its flag.

Brainwashed and heavily conditioned, Mr. Wong, drunk on self-righteousness and near religious zeal, declared in Berlin:

If we are in a new Cold War, Hong Kong is a new Berlin.

Still in Germany, he then went on and insulted the Chinese President Xi Jinping, describing him as “not a president, but an emperor”, urging the “‘free world’ to stand with us to resist the Chinese autocratic regime”. All that, while China has been showing great restraint in dealing with the destructive and treasonous protesters; much greater restraint than France, or the West’s client state, Indonesia.

Hong Kong protesters led by Wong, destroy public property, beat up Chinese patriots, then get occasionally sprayed by pure potable Hong Kong water, and treated by Western media as martyr-saints!

*****

Juan Guaido of Venezuela became known to his fellow-citizens, only after he declared himself to be their president. He was not elected by anyone; he has no support of any substantial group of people, except an unidentified minority of the right-wing elites.

But he became the new “saint” of the West, at least among the high-level U.S. and European politicians who are determined to kick the socialist president Nicolas Maduro out, hoping to put on the throne some regressive, pro-business and treasonous dictator.

No matter how ridiculous, even idiotic, Guaido appears to the majority of Venezuelan people, no matter how monstrous and against all international laws the situation has become, the West (and the pro-Western elites in many Latin American countries) is pushing Guaido down the throats of the world. His boyish submissive laughter is haunting both Caracas and the provinces.

Who cares that he had been posing and taking photos with the leaders of Colombian drug cartels. Narcotic mafias in Latin America have always been used by the West, when the war against left-wing governments had been raging. Just remember Nicaragua and the Contras.

Who cares that Guaido just received a fresh 52 million dollars for the regime change, in addition to hundreds of millions of already approved funds. The latest funding came proudly from USAID, under the cover of “development assistance”.

As long as he hates socialism and internationalism, he is a Western hero and saint!

*****

In the era of the internet, things are not easy, but far from impossible to track down.

“Saints” manufactured by the West can now be scrutinized with much greater precision and success than in the old days. If they are not, it is only because the Western public (and the public in the client states) does not want to get involved.

Those in Berlin, Paris or New York, who are supporting Joshua Wong or Juan Guaido, are not doing it out of ignorance. Maybe some do, but most of them definitely don’t. They do it out of racism against China, and out of spite towards the patriotic Latin American socialism. Full stop. Arguments will not convince them to change their mind.  They block what does not suit them. They do not want to know. They want the status quo.

They do not care about how China is progressing, how much it has been improving the lives of its citizens. They do not care that “democracy” means the rule of the people, and not some Western multi-party-political charade. They have no respect for different cultures.

Socialism Venezuelan-style, winning all over the continent, would not be in their interests.

Decaying Hong Kong, rescued by Beijing, is their worst ideological nightmare.

And so, in a way and paradoxically, Joshua Wong is correct: Hong Kong is becoming the new cold-war Berlin. But not because of Beijing or Moscow, but because of treasonous cadres like himself.

“Saints” produced by the West, in all corners of the world, have been extremely damaging to their nations and humanity.

They still are, to this day.

But we will expose them, wherever they are.

Mr. Wong, you want your country to be attacked, and bombed by the United States. You want your own city to be ruled again by the United Kingdom. You take dictates from the foreign and hostile powers. You are pushing China and the West towards a conflict. You have blood on your hands and you should be stopped. I just saw your people in action! I documented your destructive deeds, visually and in writing.

Juan Guaido, you are selling your beautiful nation to the powers that have been colonizing and plundering it for decades and centuries. It is not just that you don’t have any shame left – you are betraying both your people and the South American continent!

I always found something dubious about sainthood.

But the new, fake saints, manufactured on order, are exceptionally appalling!

• First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook, a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Hong Kong is Scared of the Rioters

It was once a British police station, as well as the Victoria Prison Compound. Hong Kong inhabitants used to tremble just from hearing its name mentioned. This is where people were detained, interrogated, humiliated, tortured and disappeared.

Now, after Hong Kong ‘returned to China’, it was converted into the Tai Kwun Center – one of the biggest and the most vibrant art institutions in Asia.

This transformation was symbolic, the same as the conversion of the former British-era slums into public parks has been symbolic.

But now, as the pro-Western and anti-Chinese treasonous hooligans are dividing and ruining this former U.K. colony, the old-colonialist flags of “British Hong Kong” are being waved alongside the flags of the United States, while Chinese flags are being humiliated, and thrown into the bay.

Latest HK-UK flag

Rioters seem to remember nothing about those ‘good old times’ (according to them), when signs shamelessly declared: “No Dogs and Chinese”. As they seem to close both eyes and ignore the neo-colonialism and massacres, that both North America and Europe are constantly committing in all corners of the world.

Now, the citizens of Hong Kong are scared. Not of the “government”, not of the police, or Beijing: they are frightened of the so-called protesters, of ninja-like looking young people with covered faces and metal bars in their hands.

Mr. Edmond, who works for the Tai Kwun Center, speaks bitterly about the events in his city:

What is truly scary now, is that families here in HK are deeply divided. Father does not talk to his son. Silence reigns inside the families. Colleagues do not touch the subject of riots. The situation is thoroughly ruining our city, our society, our families.

If someone publicly disagrees with the protesters, they get beaten. They managed to silence people.

People come here, to this wonderful art center, and if they are from Beijing, they are now hiding their identity. It is because they are scared.

Mr. Edmond keeps repeating that “disagreements should be like disputes inside the family”. He means, disagreements between the Hong Kong inhabitants, and Beijing. According to him, the outsiders should not be involved.

This is what the majority of the people feels in Hong Kong now. This is what they felt in 2014, when I wrote about another prolonged and destructive event which was sponsored by the West – the so-called “Umbrella” uprising.

They feel this, but most of them would not dare to express it. The rioters are young, in good physical shape, and armed with sticks and bars. They have no identity, as their faces are covered by scarves. They are drunk on fanatical self-righteousness; stoned on a primitive sense of purpose. Their behavior is not rational – it is religious.

I have been talking to them. In 2014, and now. Most of them know nothing about the foreign policy of the West. They have no clue about the brutality of the British Empire. They do not want to hear about the humiliation and pain of the Chinese people, when their country was invaded, broken into pieces and occupied.

They are selfish; grandstanders, and extremely arrogant.

They wave flags; foreign flags. They spit on their own banners. They do what they are told to do: by the hostile, foreign powers. And they do, what they are paid to do. It is as depressing, as it is embarrassing, to watch.

“President Trump, please liberate us!” “Please Save us, President Trump!” That is what they shout. That is what their posters say.

It is very hard to talk to them. I tried. Most of them do not want to uncover their faces, and to speak. They seem to feel secure only when in packs, in multitudes. When challenged, they reveal that they know very little, even about China; or even about Hong Kong itself.

But they are ready to preach; to lecture.

When faced with logical arguments, which they cannot refute, they become brutal.

Just a few days ago, they attacked a local teacher who was singing the national anthem of China. They beat him up. A child witnessing the event was horrified. He cried. The teacher kept singing.

They are beating those who try to make them stop destroying the city. They are beating those who are shaming them.

Whenever I manage to have longer exchanges with them, it somehow feels the same as when I am confronting religious fanatics in the Middle East. Perhaps, it should not even be surprising, as both are products of the Western propagandists and their allies.

People refusing to accept their leaflets at the airport –get beaten. If visitors to shopping centers challenge the rioters – a public beating takes place.

This covering of faces with black scarves would be illegal in many parts of the West, were the black scarves to be worn by, let’s say, Muslim women, or local rioters. But the Western media, outrageously selective in its coverage, is glorifying it here, simply because it is against the interests of the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese people, with thousands of years of culture, mostly tolerant, are not used to all this. These events of the last three months are something extremely foreign to them. Therefore, many are scared. Very scared. Desperate.

Ninjas of this nature are usually jumping and hitting in all directions, but from the screens of television sets, not right in the middle of the streets.

*****

As I am filming in Hong Kong, as I am reporting for television stations, the picture is becoming clearer and clearer.

There are U.S. flags being carried, the U.S. anthem is sung, then immediately, hundreds of Western media crews start filming.

But when public property is being damaged, subway stations vandalized, pedestrians and motorists attacked, Western cameras are nowhere in sight.

If rioters were to trash Heathrow Airport in London, the army would be called, immediately. Here, the rioters are cheered on by foreigners.

It is obvious that Western mass media outlets and the rioters are working hand-in-hand. They have the same goals.

*****

Fear is mixed with shame. No one in Hong Kong is speaking openly, on the record. Even on such seemingly ‘innocent’ topics like the collapse of tourism.

Those who are destroying the city, are obviously not willing to take responsibility for the hardship they are causing to its citizens.

Those who are with Beijing, those who believe in “one China”, which is the silent majority of the citizens, feel shame, because there are so many traitors living among them, in one overcrowded urban area.

Therefore, silence!

Scary, scary gang

Everyone here in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, understands how dangerous the situation really is. Leaders of the riots, like Joshua Wong, are groomed by Washington, London and Berlin. They are morally and financially supported, not unlike people like Guaido in Venezuela. Mr. Wong is known to associate himself with organizations such as the “White Helmets”, which is working on behalf of the West for “regime change” in Syria.

To damage, to break China into pieces, is now the main goal of Western foreign policy. Beijing is being attacked on all fronts: Uyghurs, the Belt and Road Initiative, Taiwan, Tibet, South China Sea, trade. The more successful China gets; the more attacks it has to face.

Hong Kong used to be a city where “streets were paved with gold”, according to the legend. Mainland Chinese used to see it as a semi-paradise. All this has changed, reversed now. Neighboring cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, count with much better infrastructure, a greater cultural life, and lesser levels of poverty.

In one of the international hotels of Hong Kong, I was told by a manager:

Mainland Chinese people do not see Hong Kong as something attractive, anymore. They do not travel here often, anymore. They are not treated well here. They go to Thailand or to Europe instead.

The citizens of Hong Kong feel frustrated and angry. Their “uniqueness” is evaporating. They are being left behind. Poverty rates are high. English language proficiency is declining, and businesses are moving to Singapore. Hong Kong is the most expensive city on earth, and it is unaffordable for most of its citizens.

Extreme capitalism here has brought nothing spectacular to the people. It is increasingly obvious that the Communist (or call it “socialism with the Chinese characteristics”) system has become much more successful than the old British-style neo-liberalism; in terms of social policies, infrastructure, the arts and general quality of life.

The spoiled, egotistical young people of Hong Kong are outraged. What? They are suddenly not on top of the world? The Commies across the line are better at almost everything they touch?

Instead of working harder, they turn against China; against the Mainland.

They want to convince the entire Hong Kong and even the Mainland, that the ‘Hong Kong way’ is the only correct way. And, of course, there is plenty of funding available to support their insane claims. The funding comes from the fellow-collapsing societies – those in the West.

*****

Most of the citizens of Hong Kong are scared that the rioters may succeed.

They have already forced the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill, which could help Hong Kong to fight the endemic corruption and invulnerability of its business elites.

They have already managed to scare the Hong Kong government into compromises.

The rioters are acting like huge, violent gangs, and they are enjoying full propaganda support from the West.

But whether they like it or not, Hong Kong is China. Ask a grocery vendor at North Point, ask coolies, old ladies on a park bench, or an elementary school teacher, and you will understand. These people do not care whether Hong Kong is exceptional or not. They do not need to show-off. They just want to live, to survive, to look forward to a better future.

And a better future is definitely with Beijing, not with Washington or London.

They already had London. They had enough of it.

“More Beijing, not less”, you would hear if people were not scared to talk. In 2014, when things were not as extreme as now, they used to tell me.

Now, it is not easy to fight the hundreds of thousands of face-covering and metal-bar-waving zealots and fanatics. Their religion is simply “The West”. It is abstract. As are their demands. As are their violent outbursts of inferiority complexes.

Both, the local majority, and Beijing, have to think hard as to what strategy to apply, in order to protect, and to defend Hong Kong and China against those brutal, frustrated, morally corrupt hooligans and treasonous cadres.

• Photos by Andre Vltchek

• First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook

Western Media portrays Hong Kong Hooligans as Heroes: but are they?

Whenever Hong Kong protesters are destroying public property, there are no cameras of Western media outlets in sight. But when police decide to intervene, protecting their city, Western media crusaders emerge in full force.

On September 15, 2019, huge US flags were waving in the air. A massive demonstration, consisting of mainly young people, was moving up from the old British-built downtown area of the city towards the US Consulate General, often erroneously called the “embassy.”

The temperature was well over 30 degrees Celsius, but the number of ‘protesters’ kept growing. Many of the main arteries in Hong Kong were entirely blocked.

Western Press in Action

Western media were there in full force, wearing yellow fluorescent vests, their ‘Press’ insignia, helmets and masks. They mingled with the crowd, filming US flags, clearly enjoying the show.

President Trump, Please Liberate Hong Kong,” I read on several posters.

Liberate from whom?” I asked a cluster of protesters, all of them in ninja outfits, metal bars in their hands, black scarves covering their faces.

Several of them replied, mumbling something incomprehensible. One girl shouted defiantly:

From Beijing!

But Hong Kong is China, isn’t it?” I asked. “How could it be liberated from itself?

No! Hong Kong is Hong Kong!” came a ready-made reply.

Oh, Trump, liberate them!

Nearby, I spotted British Union Jack, with old colonial-era Hong Kong coat of arms.

The big demonstration was clearly treasonous. Its members delivered a petition to the US consulate general, demanding that the US Congress pass legislation that would require its government to monitor and decide whether Hong Kong is ‘autonomous enough’ from the PRC, and whether it should then qualify for US trade and economic benefits.

All over the downtown area, hundreds of ‘ninjas’ were shouting pro-Western slogans. Here British-era HK flags were being waved, alongside the US flags.

I approached a young couple among the protesters, who were resting on a bench:

Do your friends realize how brutal, undemocratic and oppressive was British rule? Do they know in what misery many Hong Kong citizens had to live in that era? And about censorship, humiliation…?”

“No!” They shouted at me, outraged. “It is all propaganda!

Whose propaganda?” I wondered.

The propaganda of Beijing!

At least they spoke some English. A bizarre thing about Hong Kong is that, while some people here would like to (or are perhaps paid to say that they’d want to?) have the British colonial administration back, a great majority of the people hardly speak any English now, while also refusing to speak Mandarin. Little wonder that Hong Kong is quickly losing its edge to the pro-Chinese and highly cosmopolitan Singapore!

But the demonstration was not where ‘the action’ really was and I knew it, intuitively.

The flag-waving march was a big staged event for the Western mass media.

There, ‘pro-democracy’ slogans were chanted in an orderly manner. Nothing was burned, vandalized or dismantled wherever Western press cameras were present!

A few blocks away, however, I witnessed monstrous vandalizing, of one of the entrances to the Central subway (MTR) station. Hooligans who call themselves ‘protesters’ were ruining public property, a transportation system used by millions of citizens every day.

Attack on Central Station

While they were at it, they also dismantled public metal railings that separate sidewalks from roadways. Metal bars from this railing were later utilized for further attacks against the city infrastructure, as well as against the police.

Umbrellas in the hands of ‘protesters’ were covering the crime scene. Umbrellas similar to those used in 2014, during the previous, so-called ‘Umbrella Uprising.’

Before burning the store

No foreign reporters were in sight! This was not for the world. This was raw, real, and brutal.

Don’t film!” covered mouths began shouting at me.

I kept filming and photographing. I was not wearing any press jacket or helmet or Press insignia. I never do, anywhere in the world.

They left me alone; too busy destroying the street. As they were dismantling public property, their backpacks, stuffed with portable players, were regurgitating the US national anthem.

Attackers well equipped

My friend from Beijing wrote me a brief message:

They are selling their own nation and people. We have very bad words for them in Chinese.

But it is not only mainland China that is disgusted with what is happening in Hong Kong. Three major Hong Kong-based newspapers, Wen Wei Po, Ta Kung Pao and Hong Kong Commercial Daily, are all pro-Beijing, pro-police and are defining ‘protesters’ as “rioters” or “troublemakers” (in Chinese).

Among the big ones, only Ming Pao and Apple Daily, which are traditionally anti-Beijing, are defining ‘protesters’ as ‘gatherers’, ‘protesters’ and even “liberators.”

Local citizens are mainly (as they’d been during the 2014 riots) hostile to the ‘protests’ but are scared to confront the mainly young, covered and armed (with metal bars and clubs) gangs. Some tried to, even in a luxury mall in the center of the city, and were brutally beaten.

‘Protesters’ seem to be on adrenalin, and in a highly militant mood. They gather and move in hordes. Most of them refuse to speak.

Democracy, really?

What is important to understand is that, while the rioters are trying to spread the message that they are ‘fighting for democracy,’ they are actually highly intolerant to all those who disagree with their goals. In fact, they are violently attacking those with different opinions.

Furthermore, and this I have to spell out, after covering protests in literally hundreds of cities worldwide, from Beirut to Lima, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Paris, Cairo, Bangkok and Jakarta: what is happening in Hong Kong is extremely mild when it comes to police responses! Hong Kong police run well and fast. It created human chains, flashed a lot of light and sporadically used tear gas. It defends itself when attacked. But violence?

If you compare police actions here to those in Paris, it is all politeness and softness. Hardly any rubber bullets. Tear gas is ‘honest’ and not mixed with deadly chemicals, like it is in many other places, and administered in small doses. No water cannon spitting liquid full of urine and excrement, as in many other cities of the world. Trust me: I am an expert in tear gas. In Istanbul, during the Gezi Park uprising, protesters had to use gas masks, so did I. Otherwise you’d faint or end up in a hospital. People are also fainting in Paris. No one is fainting here; this is mild stuff.

Ready to go

As for the ‘other side,’ the level of violence from the protesters is extreme. They are paralyzing the city, ruining millions of lives. The number of foreign arrivals in Hong Kong is down 40 percent. Reception at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which is right next to Sunday’s battles, told me that most of the rooms are now empty, and during the ‘events’, the hotel is cut off from the world.

And what about their traitorous demands? Would this be accepted anywhere in the world? Flying flags of a foreign country (in this case, of the USA) and demanding intervention?

Hong Kong “pro-democracy activist leaders” like Joshua Wong are clearly colluding with Western interests and governments. He and others are spreading, constantly, what anywhere else would be described as fake news. For instance, “My town is the new Cold War’s Berlin,” he recently declared. Yes, perhaps, but not because of the HK government, but because of his own actions and the actions of people like himself.

Coverage of events by Western mass media is clearly selective and that is putting it mildly. Actually, many media outlets from Europe and North America are ‘adding fuel to the fire.’ They are encouraging rioters while exaggerating the actions of local police. I am monitoring and filming their work and what I see is outrageous!

I am writing this report in Tai Kwun Center. Now world-famous art complex (of  the “new, Chinese Hong Kong”), this used to be the Central Police Station under the British occupation, as well as so-called Victoria Prison Compound.

Mr. Edmond, who works for the center, explains:

If there was a referendum now, the so-called protesters would not win. They would lose. This is an internal issue of China, and it should be treated as such. A continuation of the 2014 events. What changed this time is that the protesters are opting for extreme violence now. People of Hong Kong are scared; scared of them, not of the authorities.

Here, prisoners were confined and executed, during British rule. Not far away from here, monstrous slums were housing deprived subjects of the queen. After the Brits left, those slums were converted to public parks.

Life in Hong Kong improved. Not as fast as in neighboring Shenzhen or Guangzhou, but it improved. The reason Hong Kong is being ‘left behind’ is because of its antiquated British-era laws, rules and regulations, its extreme capitalist system; because of “too little of Beijing”, not “because of too much of it.”

These hooligans are going against the interests of their own people, and their own people are now cursing them. Not loudly, yet, as rioters have clubs and metal bars, but cursing.

Western media chooses not to hear these curses. But China knows. It hears. I hear Hong Kong people, too.

Chinese curses are terrifying, powerful. And they do not dissolve in thin air.

• All photos by Andre Vltchek

• First published by RT – Russia Today

Both Israel and Hezbollah Imagined a Horrid Black Hole and Stopped

There are rare moments in history, when even the most determined enemies can suddenly recognize the futility of battle. Sometimes, just for a moment or two. Sometimes, for longer. Such moments of sanity may save thousands, even millions human lives. And, such moments are not expressions of weakness or cowardice; on the contrary; they are embodiments of courage.

I want to believe that what happened at the Lebanese – Israeli border in August 2019, was precisely one of those such rare moments of sanity.

It changes nothing in terms of the big, geopolitical picture: Israel is a Western outpost in the Middle East. It is tormenting the Palestinian people, illegally occupying the Golan Heights, bombing Syria, and antagonizing Iran.

But an important point was established: there are limits! Israel will not go ‘all the way’, risking self-annihilation, and the annihilation of the entire region. This fact alone gives a fragile but at least some hope for a better future of this long-suffering territory.

*****

What prompts me to write the above?

At the end of August, it appeared that Israel had lost its mind. It attacked, without warning, four countries simultaneously, within just 24 hours: Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. It used drones full of explosives, as well as fighter jets.

Palestine and Syria have been attacked, regularly, for years and decades. Iraq, still de facto under US occupation, was quite a different story. There, a group of outraged lawmakers, ‘exploded’, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the US, and calling the Israeli attack a ‘declaration of war’.

Lebanon, too, did not remain silent. Israeli drones damaged the media center of Hezbollah in Beirut. They also attacked a communist Palestinian faction in the Beqaa Valley. For years, the Israeli air force has been violating Lebanese airspace, during the bombing raids of Syria. But this time it was different. This was an attack against a neighboring, sovereign state.

Even the Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri, an enemy of Hezbollah, and a man who holds double citizenship (Saudi and Lebanese), protested, asking the United States and France for protection. The President of Lebanon called it out rightly, a declaration of war.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, went live on television, and in a chilling statement promised a ‘measured response’.

At that point, it became clear that the entire region could soon be consumed by flames.

During coverage of the event, on both Press TV and RT, I warned against the enormous danger: Israel was attacking every armed Shi’a group in the region, and was only stopping short of attacking Iran itself. A few more assaults like these, and the entire region could explode, dragging into the conflict countries like Saudi Arabia, on the side of Israel, and Iran, on the side of Syria, Palestine and Hezbollah. Realistically, that could lead to the annihilation of entire areas and nations.

*****

In that period of time, I drove to, and managed to enter the border region. I first arrived at the city of Naqoura on the Mediterranean coast, and then drove all the way to the Lebanese border with the occupied Golan Heights, following the so-called Blue Line, controlled by UNIFIL.

At several places on my right, the huge Israeli border wall was now clearly visible. UNIFIL patrols consisted of armored vehicles, manned mainly by indifferent looking Indonesian soldiers. Some were taking selfies, with Israel behind them. For the United Nations, there seemed to be no urgency in the region. In fact, right after the Israeli attacks, the UN began discussing the possibility of cutting the number of UNIFIL soldiers, as well as the UNIFIL budget.

As always when visiting this border, what appeared striking to me was the proximity of Israeli and Lebanese villages; tens of meters only, in some areas.

*****

What followed, was a chilling, tense silence.

Then, about one week after the Israeli attacks, Hezbollah retaliated.

I was called by a TV station, asked to analyze events. As I spoke, journalists were getting the latest news from the border.

Hezbollah fired anti-tank rockets at an Israeli vehicle patrolling near the Blue Line. It hit an Israeli tank (other reports said ‘armored vehicle’). According to Hezbollah, all Israeli soldiers inside the vehicle either died or were injured. Allegedly, among the casualties, was an Israeli top-ranking commander – described as ‘a General’.

Those who are familiar with Israeli tactics for Palestine and the Golan Heights know that Israeli ‘retaliations’ in such scenarios, include the bombing of civilian targets, and the destruction of houses or entire blocks of houses.

Entire Lebanon held its breath.

This time it became clear that Hezbollah was not going to back down. And Lebanon in general obviously has reached the point when it was ready to confront Israel, if that was what it would take to maintain its dignity.

I spoke to many Lebanese people. They were frightened, concerned, particularly if they had family and children. But they were also surprisingly calm. “If this is what fate brings, then so be it!”

Then, quickly, events became bizarre and confusing:

Israeli newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post, began quoting the Israeli Defense Forces, who were claiming that ‘Yes, an attack against Israel took place, but there were no Israeli casualties.’

Almost simultaneously, Israeli-leaked videos began appearing on YouTube and elsewhere, showing Israeli soldiers carrying injured buddies to helicopters. Later, these very clips were blocked by YouTube itself, for “violating terms and conditions”.

A few days later, the entire discussion generally stopped, at both ends.

Israel ‘retaliated’ promptly. In the most peculiar way, too: it fired around one hundred rockets into Lebanon. But all the rockets landed in fields. No target was hit. Meaning: it was decided not to aim at any targets, considering the Israeli capacity to hit with great precision. More exactly: it was decided to make sure that no target would be hit. In the end, nobody was killed, and no one injured.

As I wrote above, villages, several towns and settlements are constructed right near the border line. Both Israel and Hezbollah have enormous firepower. If they wanted to, they could inflict tremendous damage and losses of lives on each other.

For some reason, they decided not to.

*****

I think this is what happened:

By attacking four countries simultaneously, Israel miscalculated. Iraq and Lebanon were not ready to accept the humiliation and barefaced attacks against their territories.

There were clear signals sent in Tel Aviv’s direction. And Netanyahu understood.

For days after the Israeli attacks, Hezbollah and Israel faced each other, in chilling defiance, separated only by a concrete wall, and by the inept UNIFIL troops. Both sides were aiming at each other great arsenals of missiles and other weaponry.

One wrong move, and the entire region could go up in flames. One tiny, erroneous move, and who knows how many lives of innocent people would be lost.

I believe, or perhaps I want to believe, that both sides suddenly imagined a huge ‘black hole’ – what this part of the world could become. They envisioned smoke, destruction and death; inevitable if they would not decide to immediately back down.

At the last moment, they did. They backed down. I don’t know how, who made the decision first. Were they communicating, even coordinating the de-escalation?

It was what, in Asia, we call ‘saving face’.

Shots were fired. Most likely, no one died. Halas!

Was an Israeli ‘general’ killed? I don’t know. Actually, I do not want to know. I am absolutely fine with the outcome: no full war in the Middle East. For now, this is the best we can get.

Of course, this should be just the beginning. The insanity has to end. I am not convinced that it will. But what happened at the end of August 2019 clearly indicates that it could.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world when only strength guarantees survival. If
Hezbollah was not as strong as it is now, Israel would most likely not have thought twice; it would have overrun the entire Lebanon, in order to destroy its Shi’a adversary inside it.

But Hezbollah is strong.

And also, we have just learnt that there are at least some ‘boundaries’ which Israel is not willing to cross. In brief: Netanyahu is brutal, but he is not suicidal. For now, Lebanon, Israel and the rest of the Middle East, have survived. For now.

• First published by NEO – a journal of Russian Academy of Sciences

The West Oppressed The Third World For So Long That It Became Third World Itself

Many have already noticed: The U.S. really, really doesn’t feel like the world leader, or even as a ‘first world country’. Of course, I write that sarcastically, as I detest expressions like ‘first world’, and the ‘third world’. But readers know what I mean.

Bridges, subways, inner cities, everything is crumbling, falling apart. When I used to live in New York City, more than two decades ago, returning from Japan was shocking: the US felt like a poor, deprived country, full of problems, misery, of confused and depressed people, homeless individuals; in short – desperados. Now, I feel the same when I land in the US after spending some time in China.

And it gets much worse. What the West used to accuse the Soviet Union of is now actually clearly detectable in the United States and the United Kingdom themselves: surveillance is at every step these days; in New York, London, Sydney, and even in the countryside. Every move a person makes, every purchase, every computer click, is registered somewhere, somehow. And this monitoring is, mostly, not even illegal.

Speech is controlled by political correctness. Someone behind the scenes decides what is acceptable and what is not, what is desirable or not, and even what is permissible. You make one ‘mistake’ and you are out; from the teaching positions at the universities, or from the media outlets.

In such conditions, humor cannot thrive, and satire dies. It is not unlike religious fundamentalism: you get destroyed if you ‘offend’. In such circumstances, writers cannot write ground-breaking novels, because true novels offend by definition, and always push the boundaries. As a result, almost nobody reads novels anymore.

Only toothless, ‘controlled humor’ is permitted. No punches can be administered intuitively. Everything has to be calculated in advance. No ‘outrageous’ political fiction can pass the ‘invisible censorship’ in the West (and so, novels as a form have almost died). Those who read in Russian or Chinese languages know perfectly well that the fiction in Russia and China is much more provocative and avant-garde.

In the West, poetry has died, too. And so has philosophy, which has been reduced to a boring, stale and indigestible academic discipline.

While Hollywood and the mass media keep producing, relentlessly, all sorts of highly insulting and stereotypical racist junk (mainly against the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, Latinos and others), great writers and filmmakers who want to ridicule the Western regime and its structure have already been silenced. You can only humiliate non-Westerners in a way that is approved (again: somewhere, somehow), but God forbid, you dare to criticize the pro-Western elites who are ruining their countries on behalf of London and Washington, in the Gulf, Southeast Asia or Africa – that would be ‘patronizing’ and ‘racist’. A great arrangement for the Empire and its servants, isn’t it?

We all know what has happened to Julian Assange, and to Edward Snowden. In the West, people are disappearing, getting arrested, censored. Millions are losing jobs: in the media, publishing houses, and in the film studios. The Cold War era appears to be relatively ‘tolerant’, compared to what is taking place now.

Social media constantly represses ‘uncomfortable’ individuals, ‘unacceptable’ media outlets, and too ‘unorthodox’ thoughts.

Travel has become a boot camp. This is where they break you. Move through the Western airports and you will encounter the vulgar, insulting ‘securistan’. Now, you are not just expected to pull down your pants if ordered, or take off your shoes, or throw away all your bottles containing liquids: you are expected to smile, to grin brightly, like an idiot. You are supposed to show how eager, how cooperative you are: to answer loudly, looking straight into the eyes of your tormentors. If you get humiliated, still, be polite. If you want to fly, show that you are enjoying this stupid and useless humiliation, administered for one and only reason: to break you, to make you pathetic and submissive. To teach you where you really belong. Or else. Or else! We all know what will happen if you refuse to ‘cooperate’.

*****

Now, ‘they’ will use double-speak to let you know that all this is for your own good. It will not be pronounced, but you would be made to sense it: ‘you are being protected from those horrible Third World monsters, madmen, perverts.’ And, of course, from Putin, from the Chinese Communists, from the butcher Maduro, from Assad, or from the Iranian Shi’a fanatics.

The regime is fighting for you, it cares for you, it is protecting you.

Sure, if you live in the UK or the US, the chances are that you are deep in debt, depressed and with no prospects for the future. Maybe your children are hungry, maybe, in the US, you cannot afford the medical care. Most likely, you cannot afford housing in your own city. Perhaps you are forced to have two or three jobs.

But at least you know that your ‘wise leaders’ in the White House, Congress, Pentagon and security agencies are working day and night, protecting you from countless conspiracies, from vicious attacks from abroad, and from those evil Chinese and Russians, who are busy building progressive and egalitarian societies.

Lucky you!

*****

Except: something does not add up here.

For years and decades you were told how free you were. And how oppressed, unfree, those against whom you are being protected, are.

You were told how rich you are and how miserable “the others” were.

To stop those deprived and deranged hordes, some serious measures had to be applied. A right-wing death-squad in some Central American or Southeast Asian country had to be trained in US military camps; a thoroughly absolutist and corrupt monarch had to be supported and pampered; a military fascist coup had to be arranged. Millions raped, tens of thousands of corpses. Not pretty at all, but you know… necessary. For your own good, North American or European citizens; for your own good…. Even for the good of the country that we designated for our ‘liberation’.

Few dissidents in the West have been protesting, for decades. No one has been paying much attention to them. Most of them became ‘unemployable’, and were silenced through misery and the inability to pay their basic bills.

But suddenly…

What happened, suddenly? Because something really happened…

*****

The Empire got tired of plundering the non-Western parts of the world, exclusively.

Well-conditioned, brainwashed and scared, the Western public began to get treated with the same spite as people in the plundered and miserable parts of the world. Well, not yet, not exactly. There are still some essential differences, but the trend is definitely there.

The Western public cannot do too much to protect itself, really. The regime knows everything about everybody: it spies on every citizen: where he or she walks, what he or she eats, drives, flies, watches, consumes, reads. There are no secrets, anymore.

You are an atheist? No need to ‘confess’. You are confessing every minute, with each and every computer click, by pressing the remote control button, or by shopping on Amazon.

Is Big Brother watching? Oh no; now there is much more detailed surveillance. Big Brother is watching, recording and analyzing.

General Pinochet of Chile used to brag that without his knowledge, no leaf could ever move. The old, fascist scumbag was bragging; exaggerating. On the other hand, Western rulers say nothing, but they clearly know what they are doing. Without their knowledge, nothing moves and nobody moves.

Arriving from China, from Russia or Cuba, the first thing that strikes me is how disciplined, obedient and scared, the Europeans and North Americans really are. They subconsciously know that they are being controlled and cannot do anything about it.

When trains get delayed or cancelled, they sheepishly murmur half-audible curses. Their medical benefits get reduced; they accept, or quietly commit suicide. Their public infrastructure crumbles; they say nothing, remembering the ‘good old days’.

Why is it that I feel hope, I laugh with the people, in Mexico City, Johannesburg or Beijing? Why is there so much warmth in the geographically cold cities of Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka? Why are the people of London, Paris, Long Angeles looking so concerned, so depressed?

Some historically poor countries are on the rise. And the people there show appreciation for every tiny improvement. Nothing is more beautiful than optimism.

The West has fought the so-called “third world” for many, long decades; oppressing it, tormenting it, looting it, violating its people. It prevented them from choosing their own governments. Now it has gone overboard: it is attempting to control and to oppress the entire world, including its own citizens.

As various countries all over the world are getting back onto their feet, resisting pressure from Washington, London, Paris and Berlin, people in the West are increasingly getting treated by their governments with the spite that used to be reserved exclusively for the “under-developed nations” (yes, another disgusting expression).

Clearly, the West has “learnt from itself”.

While countries like Russia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Iran and others are surging forward, many previously rich colonialist and neo-colonialist empires are now beginning to resemble the “Third World”.

These days, it is very sad being a writer in New York City or in London. Just as it is frightening to be poor. Or being different. All over the world, the roles are being reversed.

• First published in New Eastern Outlook (NEO), Magazine of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Several Reasons why West Papua should get its Freedom: Immediately!

More than ten years ago, in Nadi, Fiji, during a UN conference, I was approached by the Minister of Education of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

He was deeply shaken, troubled, his eyes full of tears: “Please help our children,” he kept repeating:

Indonesian army, TNI, is kidnapping our little girls in the villages, raping them, and then… in the most sadistic way cutting off their nipples and clitorises. And if they speak, entire villages get burned down in retribution. Many already have been. Some children managed to escape; to cross the border, from West Papua to PNG. Now they are staying in our refugee camps, but our country is poor; we are hardly coping. Please come to Papua, and we will take you to the border region… please tell the story to the world…

What followed, I described in detail in my book, Oceania. In brief, I managed to scramble some money for my trip from Samoa back to PNG, I found the Minister of Education, but he refused to take me to the camps. I contacted his subordinates as well as local journalists, and was told the same thing:

Nothing has changed; nothing improved; but the Minister was bribed and intimidated by the omnipresent Indonesian embassy.

*****

Now even the mainstream media in Java, including the generally pro-regime English-language daily The Jakarta Post, has had to react to the terrible events which are taking place on the occupied territory of West Papua. On August 19, 2019, Evi Mariani, wrote:

Papuans are said to have endured racial discrimination from the majority Javanese. A political activist from Papua, Filep Karma, wrote in 2014 in his book, Seakan Kitorang Setengah Binatang: Rasialisme Indonesia di Tanah Papua (As If We Are Half Animal: Indonesia’s Racism in Papua Land), that he experienced racism when he studied in a state university in Surakarta, Central Java. He often heard his friends calling Papuans “monkeys”, he said in the book.

The book speaks volumes of the crimes against humanity facing Papuans on their own land.

But what really is happening in West Papua? Of course, foreign journalists are banned from entering and reporting freely from there. Only official Indonesian journalists, basically lackeys of the regime, are regularly flown to the most devastated and oppressed areas. Their lies and twisted ‘reporting’ are the only things that the world is ‘allowed to see’.

Working for years in South Pacific (Oceania), I visited on several occasions, both Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Vanuatu, where the West Papuan resistance has been regrouping. I also have some 25 years of experience, of working in Indonesia itself. And I used to cooperate with a late professor from Sydney University, Peter King, a man who basically dedicated his life to the plight of West Papua. I spoke at Sydney University, side by side with him, recalling my experience from East Timor; from the Indonesian occupation, where 30-40% of the population lost their life, and where I, myself, was savagely tortured in 1996, for trying to expose the systematic gang rapes committed by the Indonesian military, TNI.

While living in Oceania, I spent days discussing the occupation with the West Papuan refugees, who resided outside Port Moresby, the capital of PNG.

I managed to enter West Papua only once, illegally, in 1999, as a ‘side-trip’ while covering the horrific sectarian conflict in Ambon.

From the information and testimonies that I amassed so far, I can clearly see that the occupation of West Papua is, together with the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is being plundered by both Rwanda and Uganda on behalf of Western corporations and governments and where approximately 8 million people already lost their lives, perhaps the most horrendous genocide taking place on our planet.

But in the region of the Great Lakes of Africa I managed to make my big documentary film, Rwanda Gambit. While in West Papua, I would never be allowed to film, photograph or even openly talk to people. I would never be allowed to enter those monstrous mines controlled by Freeport and other corporations; mines that are being ‘protected’ by the corrupt and murderous Indonesian military.

Prof. Peter King and Prof. John Wing wrote in the Executive Summary to their report “Genocide in West Papua?” (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney, 2005):

The report details a series of concerns which, if not acted upon, may pose serious threats to the survival of the indigenous people of the Indonesian province of Papua. It covers the threats posed by the Indonesian military to the province’s stability, the recent increase in large scale military campaigns which are decimating highland tribal communities, the HIV/AIDS explosion and persistent Papuan underdevelopment in the face of a rapid and threatening demographic transition in which the Papuans face becoming a minority in their own land.

A “culture of impunity” exists in Indonesia which sees its highest manifestation currently in Papua and Aceh. Military operations have led to thousands of deaths in Papua and continue to costs lives, yet the Republic’s armed forces act as a law unto themselves with no real accountability for crimes against the Papuan population. The report discusses a number of areas of Indonesian security forces involvement, including: illegal logging and corrupt infrastructure and construction work; destabilization and manipulation of local politics, and orchestration of attacks blamed on pro-Papuan independence groups; the introduction of illegal arms and militia training and recruitment; and prostitution and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The report concludes with a number of urgent recommendations to the Indonesian and Australian governments, the United Nations and other involved parties.

Since 2005, not much has improved. Actually, things have deteriorated even further.

Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson reported on August 31, 2017 in their essay “West Papua’s Silent Genocide“:

The occupation of West Papua receives little attention in the UK. This is, in no small part, due to Indonesia’s ban on foreign journalists and its outlawing of West Papuan social movements who try to speak out internationally. However, West Papua has not been forgotten by international corporations, including companies from the UK. For them, Indonesia’s brutal occupation of West Papua provides lucrative opportunities for profit. 

Mining companies exploit the country’s vast wealth of minerals, with security for their operations provided by the Indonesian military. International arms companies profit from selling Indonesia the weapons it needs to maintain the occupation. The UK government, which gives financial support and training to Indonesian police forces, is also complicit in the repression in West Papua.

West Papuans have called on people in the UK to help stop what they describe as the silent genocide in West Papua.

The Free West Papua Campaign states:

Over 500,000 civilians have been killed in a genocide against the indigenous population. Thousands more have been raped, tortured, imprisoned or ‘disappeared’ after being detained. Basic human rights such as freedom of speech are denied and Papuans live in a constant state of fear and intimidation.

In a series of the official reports, fingers were being pointed at Indonesia and its genocidal behavior in the occupied West Papua. From the United Nations to human rights organizations, a gruesome picture has been emerging.

As mentioned by the “Free West Papua Campaign”:

Sexual assault and rape have been repeatedly used as a weapon by the Indonesian military and police.

In a public report to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 1999, the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women concluded that the Indonesian security forces used rape “as an instrument of torture and intimidation” in West Papua, and “torture of women detained by the Indonesian security forces was widespread”.

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Centre for Human Rights prepared a full report on “Rape and Other Human Rights Abuses by the Indonesian Military in Irian Jaya (West Papua), Indonesia”.

Even the otherwise ‘timid’ Amnesty International (timid when it comes to the West’s allies), admits that torture, killings and other grave human rights abuses, are regularly taking place in the Indonesia-controlled territory, in its reports on West Papua.

Information about sexual assaults and rapes highlighted in the above-mentioned U.N. report, is consistent with the behavior of the Indonesian military during and after the 1965-66 military coup, and later, during the occupation and genocide committed in East Timor.

It is important to point out that the Indonesian military and police are enjoying unprecedented impunity. After presiding over the murder of approximately 2 million Communists, intellectuals, teachers and members of the Chinese minority in 1965-66, no culprit has ever been sent to prison. Acts of killing are still being celebrated, publicly. Generals and officers who openly participated in the East Timor genocide, as well as in the on-going genocide in West Papua, have been holding high positions in the Indonesian governments, including the present one.

The monstrous brutality is well documented (even some mainstream media outlets like Al-Jazeera are regularly releasing footage of torture committed by the Indonesian troops), but Indonesia is never dragged through the international courts of justice. It is because Jakarta is a well-tested and greatly reliable ally of Western companies and governments. For instance, it allows many local and Western mining companies to plunder West Papua. The Indonesian President, “Jokowi”, actually flies around the world, asking for “more investment”, promising tax holidays, ‘reforms’ of already pathetic labor laws, and other pro-big-business concessions.

All this is brilliantly exposed in an Australian short (2:39 minute) satire film “Honest Government Ad/Visit West Papua”.

But the world prefers to stay idle. As least for now. No mass-protest movements, like those in support of the Palestinian cause, or even the Kurdish cause.

Why is all this happening?

My close friend, the renown Australian historian, Geoffrey Gunn, Professor Emeritus at Nagasaki University, wrote for this essay:

The crimes committed by the Indonesian military in Papua today appear very similar to East Timor under Indonesian military occupation between 1975-1999 and with some of the same Indonesian officials involved. That would include General Wiranto the butcher of East Timor in 1999 who, far from being brought before an international tribunal Rwanda-style, enjoys cabinet-level appointment in the Jokowi government. But even when Suharto-era crimes could no longer be covered up in East Timor thanks to the courage of crusading journalists and others, so incredulously does the avowedly democratic regime in Jakarta today disallow the entry of humanitarian workers much less foreign media into Papua. If the Western-backed cover up of crimes committed in East Timor was itself a crime of complicity then Western – especially Australian – silence over the agony of the Papuan people over an even longer time frame is a crime of a special order, and with mining company, oil company interests in the fore as if this was the heart of Africa under Leopold II of Belgium.

We saw the same chilling indifference, when 30% to 40% of East Timorese were slaughtered by Indonesia. Again, and again, I was managing to illegally penetrate that then Indonesian colony, which was screaming in pain, shedding thousands and thousands of people every month. And again, and again, my stories were being rejected; no interest whatsoever shown by the mass media outlets.

Then and now. East Timor and West Papua.

And in Indonesia itself, chilling, horrifying defiance. Silence. Almost no activism, and hardly any awareness. The country lives in total denial. Like in the case of 1965-66, like in the case of East Timor; total rejection of the truth. There is near zero chance that the barbarity will stop because of the pressure ‘from within’. Indonesia has proven, again and again, that after being conditioned by decades of extreme fascist ideology, fundamentalist religions, and grotesque individualism, it has no mercy, and no sympathy for its own victims. After mass killings and consistent conditioning, it is now in a serious mental, pathological state.

The government of President Jokowi is nowhere near being deep in thought, considering a referendum on independence for West Papuans. To the contrary: it is ‘investing in infrastructure’ in order to bring even more ‘investment’ from abroad, and to extract even more natural resources.

According to investigation conducted by Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson:

The Indonesian occupation of West Papua is directly related to corporate interests. US company Freeport-McMoRan operates the Grasberg mine in Papua – the largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world. Freeport’s third largest shareholder, Carl Icahn, happens to be a Special Advisor to Donald Trump.

According to the Free West Papua Campaign:

‘Freeport is Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer, making billions of dollars for the Indonesian government every year. Freeport reportedly pays the Indonesian military around US $3 million every year in ‘protection money’, ensuring that local West Papuans are kept out of the area.”

TIME states that “In 2015 alone, Freeport mined some $3.1 billion worth of gold and copper here. In addition, Papua boasts timber resources worth an estimated $78 billion.”

Amos explained the history behind Freeport’s mining in West Papua: “A contract was signed for Freeport to operate in West Papua before we were even part of Indonesia.” With the help of Henry Kissinger, Freeport was awarded the rights to pillage West Papua. Kissinger later became a Freeport board member.

Australian-British corporation Rio Tinto holds an interest in Freeport’s Grasberg mine, which entitles it to 40% of production, over specified levels until 2021, and 40% of all production after 2021. 

Meanwhile, British company BP continues to profit from the occupation through its massive liquified natural gas fields in Tangguh. Kugi told us: “BP’s biggest operation in Southeast Asia is in West Papua, and Papuan communities are also being pushed from their land for palm oil.” According to CorpWatch, an indigenous community in West Papua filed a complaint against Sri Lankan company Goodhope Asia for taking over their land to create a palm plantation.”

In the meantime, the government of Indonesia has been turning the pristine waters of Papuan Raja Ampat into a luxury diving destination, charging horrendous airfares and lodging prices, and making the mainly Western tourist live in a bubble.

And Westerners are now coming, indifferent to the fact that they are actually funding genocide, legitimizing occupation. A boycotting Raja Ampat campaign is unheard of.

Now the Papuan people are rising. Their Morning Star flag, the symbol of resistance, is waving again, all over the island.

The world should support the Papuan people. They have been suffering for decades. Their nation lost hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Torture, rape and humiliation have been widespread ever since the beginning of the occupation. Religion has been brutally forced down the throats of the robbed people, in many areas of West Papua: ‘You either embrace Islam, or you will starve to death, after we have looted you of all that you used to possess’.

Here, Java and its Western handlers have managed to re-define colonialism, bringing it to a monstrous extreme.

It is a “Freedom or Death” situation, now. Either freedom, or, the total destruction of the nation. The Indonesian President Jokowi is on a selling spree. He is flying all over the world, offering what is left of both Indonesia, and its ‘dependencies’, to the multi-national corporations, for an extremely low price and often, tax free. Papua is not his, and he is well aware of the fact that it may soon find a way to break free from the torture chamber and the horror of Indonesian occupation. That is why he is accelerating his business activities: trying to trade as quickly as possible with what is not his to touch.

* First Published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook – a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences