On June 21, 2020, Lausan members and friends organized an action at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles. Read their statement in English and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) in solidarity with the global struggle for Black liberation, and with people experiencing escalating repression under Beijing’s new national security laws in Hong Kong and China.
Today, state repression knows no borders. Black folks have been murdered and surveilled by police in the US since the very formation of the police. With an unaccountable system to the people, the right to vote has done nothing to stop this violence. The last few weeks of global uprising show Hongkongers that we are not alone in fighting police and state repression on the streets. Some of the same people produce the same tear gas that poisoned Hong Kong and Minneapolis for a year, and the Communist Party has adopted American surveillance tactics to oppress us from Hong Kong to Xinjiang. We need new systems, from the US to China, to guarantee us freedom and democracy. Resistance must come from solidarity between mass movements, not unaccountable politicians from CCP bureaucrats to US elites.
Just yesterday, Beijing released details of the new national security laws for Hong Kong. Chinese police and security agencies will be set up in Hong Kong, directly staffed by Beijing officials. Chief Executive Carrie Lam will be able to appoint her own judges to oversee national security cases, and Beijing will have direct say over what counts as a threat to security.
“One Country, Two Systems” is effectively over. China has built upon the repressive, colonial heritage left behind by the British. Whether it was under the UK or China, the Hong Kong police force has always been used to uphold colonial order, and to suppress the people’s fight for self-determination.
We stand with uprisings everywhere today: Black Lives Matter in the U.S., Lebanese protestors, the mass struggle against Duterte’s dictatorship in the Philippines. Yes, this is the moment to amplify, to learn from, to skill-share with the Black liberation struggle, and build a movement from the bottom up. Solidarity is not about collapsing these struggles into the same thing, but building alliances to fight for justice even if our histories and realities are different.
Trump and Xi Jinping are cut from the same cloth. America has never been great. The American Dream has always been tied up with colonialism and expansionism. The US system is powerless to safeguard its own democracy, let alone others. The US has decimated every region it has intervened in, from Korea to Vietnam to Central and South America and the Middle East—and China is more than willing to follow in these footsteps, from assisting with genocide in East Pakistan in the past to its approaches to Xinjiang, Indigenous people in Southeast Asia, African countries, and Hong Kong today.
Black folks have been fighting to abolish the police for decades. They know very well that this seemingly sudden recognition of radical demands will not be won through voting or bipartisanship lobbying only. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about mass movements, community organizations, unions, student groups, new activists, and unorganized people, banding together to demand change in the most impossible situation: in Trump’s anti-democratic, authoritarian government.
In many ways, Hongkongers are doing the same, and our response here today as overseas, diasporic Hongkongers and Chinese, should remind us that Beijing’s greatest fear is Hong Kong’s struggle spreading like wildfire and igniting struggles across Mainland China. Beijing wants Hong Kong to be isolated, and we will not give them that. Our best allies are not US politicians, but the hundreds of thousands of people in the Mainland, fighting side by side with us in the belly of the beast. The Black Lives Matter protests have reignited and finally swept across all 50 states and around the world, forcing the most reactionary government to give in to the most radical demands. That is Beijing’s biggest fear, and that is what we must give them.
Make no mistake, the new national security laws are bleak. The future seems hopeless. But we have fought hard for a year precisely because we were hopeless. Because we have zero hope in the current administration. Zero hope in Carrie Lam, in every bit of this rotten, authoritarian machine. The hopelessness of these new security laws means we can only tear everything down and begin again. Tearing down the police. Tearing down bureaucrats and capitalists who have been forcing the city into an unlivable place.
Hong Kong, just like the US, is one of the most inequitable places in the world. Hongkongers not only lack freedom of speech. We can’t collectively bargain as workers, so we lack the freedom to speak up about our working conditions. There are fewer and fewer houses that we can afford to live in. We have no mechanism to fight for the power to determine all this, and as the US shows us, we need more than universal suffrage to fix this.
We want to end with a quote from a young protester who spoke at a rally organized by Hong Kong moms last July. He said, “No matter where the movement ends up, at least we are alive to bear witness to these decaying times.” We must continue fighting, and keep bearing witness to the democracy we have seen on the streets in the last year, and hold that preciously. For that future is still possible, but Beijing’s decision this month leaves us with less hope than ever before in this system. And so Beijing only forces the revolution of our times to dream even bigger, and the protests here remind us that there are millions of people right now still fighting for a world beyond the police and all state violence.