Hong Kong response ‘won’t repeat’ Tiananmen: China media

Trucks and armored personnel carriers are parked at the Shenzhen Bay stadium in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong in China’s southern Guangdong province. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2019

Hong Kong response ‘won’t repeat’ Tiananmen: China media

  • It is a rare reference to the 1989 bloody incident — which is usually taboo in mainland China
  • Weeks of student-led protests in the Beijing square were ended when the military rolled in with tanks

BEIJING: Chinese state media vowed Friday there “won’t be a repeat” of the Tiananmen Square crackdown if Beijing moves to quash Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
In a rare reference to the bloody incident — which is usually taboo in mainland China — the Global Times newspaper insisted the country had more sophisticated methods than those it employed 30 years ago to crush protests in the capital.
“The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” it wrote in an editorial.
“China is much stronger and more mature, and its ability to manage complex situations has been greatly enhanced.”
Hong Kong has endured 10 weeks of civil unrest, which have morphed from opposition to a hated extradition bill into a wider, and sometimes violent, call for democratic rights.
An intensifying drumbeat of propaganda and strident warnings have sparked fears that Beijing might look to intervene — possibly militarily — in the semi-autonomous city.
Images of flag-waving military personnel and armored vehicles in the border city of Shenzhen this week added to those fears, with international commentators invoking specter of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Weeks of student-led protests in the Beijing square were ended when the military rolled in with tanks. Images of the operation were beamed around the world.
Estimates on the death toll range from hundreds to thousands, although there is no official figure.
The brutal assault resulted in two years of economic near-stagnation as the country became an international pariah.
Discussion of what is euphemistically referred to as the “June 4th incident” is heavily censored in China, and few Chinese are familiar with the photos that are so well known around the world.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned China Thursday against creating a “new” Tiananmen Square in its response to the protests in Hong Kong.
Beijing has repeatedly blamed “foreign forces” for stirring up trouble in the city, which was handed back from Britain in 1997, and the Global Times said Friday that the US would “not be able to intimidate China by using the turmoil 30 years ago.”


UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

Updated 15 September 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson likens himself to The Incredible Hulk

  • Johnson said he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what
  • “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the Mail

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to The Incredible Hulk in a newspaper interview emphasizing his determination to take Britain out of the European Union next month.
Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles but told the Mail on Sunday he will meet the Oct. 31 deadline no matter what.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable but destructive strength.
Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.
Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.
He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.
The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.
“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?“
Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.
“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
The Oct. 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.
The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.
Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.
The party gained an important member Saturday with the defection of Sam Gyimah, a former Conservative minister. He is the sixth legislator to switch allegiance and join the Liberal Democrats this year.
Johnson also continues to take flak from former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the 2016 referendum on Brexit.
Cameron said in an interview published Sunday that Johnson didn’t really believe in Brexit when he broke ranks and led the campaign to take Britain out of the EU. Cameron had been expecting Johnson’s help during the hard-fought campaign.
Cameron says of Johnson: “The conclusion I am left with is that he risked an outcome he didn’t believe in because it would help his political career.”
Cameron is giving interviews to gain publicity for his upcoming memoirs.