In our analysis earlier this week of Chinese news coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, we noted that one of the most readily used frames was that of foreign conspiracy. Much coverage inside China, in other words, has dismissed the protests as being engendered and supported by the imagined geopolitical goblins Chinese leaders term the “hostile forces,” or didui shili (敌对势力) — those who wish to throw China’s domestic affairs into chaos.
“Hostile forces” is a time-honored term in the Chinese Communist Party lexicon. According to research by CMP director Qian Gang (钱钢), the term has its origins in the Soviet Union under Stalin. In China, it first appeared prominently in the People’s Daily in 1948, the same year the newspaper became the official propaganda organ of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
The term “hostile forces,” generally regarded as an indicator of the ideologically hardline — at odds with the spirit of the rule of law — has been on the rise in recent months. We’ll have more to say on that in due course, but for now those interested in reading more in Chinese can turn to Qian Gang’s analysis at Storm Media.
So, how is the term “hostile forces” employed in China’s official media? On October 8, a piece by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences professor Mo Jihong (莫纪宏) appeared on China.com.cn, a state-run internet portal site. The piece is an excellent example of conspiracy writing over what in fact is an extremely complicated story.
It is interesting, though not at all surprising, to note that although Mo is the deputy director of the Legal Research Center at CASS, he uses bile-ridden ideological terms like “hostile forces” and “black hands” without a modicum of introspection about their fundamentally extralegal implications.
Upon reading the piece, I suspect many readers will agree that despite Professor Mo’s talk of “rationality,” his language is very much in the vein of what S.I. Hayakawa would call “growl words,” epithets that cannot yield rational discussion.
But let us not assume what our readers will think. . . A full translation of Mo’s piece follows:
“We Must Resolutely Chop Off the Black Hands Behind ‘Occupy Central'”
Mo Jihong (莫纪宏)
Deputy Director and Researcher of the Legal Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
These past days, things in Hong Kong have been in a state of relative chaos. It goes without saying that this calamity was brought on by the initiators of “Occupy Central.” The vast majority of Hong Kong people view this chaotic scene with their eyes, but feel it anxiously in their hearts. They see plainly that Hong Kong’s favorable social order has been destroyed by the barbarism of the “Occupy Central” people — particularly as it remains unclear when these diehards will bring it to an end.
Naturally, the “chaotic scenes” the organizers of “Occupy Central” have created are exactly what they hoped for. Their goal is to stir up chaos in Hong Kong. They want to “profit in the midst of chaos” (乱中夺权). They want the Central Government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to bow before them. This distorted “populist” mentality is spreading blindly of late, and it might result in huge losses for Hong Kong over a period of time.
Any person of conscience will wonder: What exactly is it that makes these organizers of “Occupy Central” so determined to tear off the face of the Central Government and the government of the Hong Kong SAR, “fighting to the bitter end”? Are they really fighting for their own interests? These “Occupy Central” organizers, because they are in the grip of hostile forces (敌对势力) both domestic and overseas, want to persist until the very end; their conduct is clearly illegal, but they want to carry on till the very end.
And this is where things now stand. The organizers of “Occupy Central” know very well that the Central Government and the government of the Hong Kong SAR will not accept their unreasonable terms. Because if the Central Government or the Hong Kong government bow their heads at all to them, this will mean that the very legal foundation of the special administrative region, the Basic Law, will be effectively abandoned — and the Basic Law is the product of several generations, struggling over a period of three decades, and the guarantor of the fundamental interests of the Hong Kong people.
Without the Basic Law, there is no tomorrow for Hong Kong society. If the Central Government does not exercise its full right of governance over Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law, well then, the “Occupy Central” organizers are very clear about what this means in terms of a result for Hong Kong. But still they insist on challenging the Basic Law. They regard the Basic Law as so much excrement. This amounts to an open challenge to the vast majority of Hong Kong people as well as to the Central Government and the government of the SAR.
In the vast history of mankind, there has never been such a political force as this one, that dares the condemnation of all under heaven in order to challenge everyone without a modicum of reason. And so, returning to the rational plane to deal with this question, we must maintain a high level of alertness to the black hands operating behind the organizers of “Occupy Central.” If it were not for the detailed plotting of these “black hands” behind the scenes, propping them up, these so-called “democracy fighters” would not conceivably do this stupid thing against the interests of their own people and their own country.
It’s because of the instigation and promises of these “black hands” that the organizers of “Occupy Central” dare to hold the authority of the Basic Law in contempt, acting against the pressure of international public opinion, using their foreign passports to travel freely around the world, even secretly planning award nominations and things like this. Their subversive tactics have proven successful time and again in “color revolutions.” Their ploys have been exposed already, their names forever blighted.
I advise those hostile forces and “black hands” hiding behind “Occupy Central” and scheming to destroy Hong Kong to see the situation clearly. Hong Kong is not Libya. It is not Egypt. Nor is it Iraq. The Hong Kong SAR was build on the foundation of Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, and it has standing behind it a mighty Mother Country.
The organizers of “Occupy Central” face up against a rational and practical Central Government and SAR government, both of which pursue the rule of law — and against 7.2 million majority residents of Hong Kong who sniff at their actions.
Any rational person knows that the Basic Law has preserved the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong ever since the handover, and that only the Basic Law can protect Hong Kong’s continued economic health and social stability. No matter how resolute the organizers of “Occupy Central” are, no matter how long it goes on, the true face of “Occupy Central” will be exposed. Because the “black hands” hiding behind them are not so patient, and as time goes on the residents of Hong Kong will awaken and the ugliness of these “black hands” will be unmasked.
It is a complete miscalculation to use an endless “Occupy Central” to destroy the prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong SAR, with a mind to intensifying conflict and forcing the police or even the military to intervene, with the intention of pushing responsibility for the serious consequences of “Occupy Central” onto the Central Government and the SAR government.
I advise those “black hands” hiding behind the scenes to see the situation clearly, and to desist immediately. The Chinese people have never stirred up trouble, but they fear nothing. We must engage in a rational, segmented and legal struggle against those who insist on their solitary struggle to oppose the Central Government and SAR government to the bitter end, who in their hearts reject the Basic Law and wish to bring about the collapse of Hong Kong.
We will not permit any force or any person to destroy the Basic Law that is the legal foundation of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region. Hong Kong needs the blessing of the Basic Law, for only the Basic Law can give the Hong Kong SAR a shining future.