Public Eye: gullible Hongkongers are all too easily taken in
They’ll stand up to Beijing’s ‘brainwashing’ but then brand the US an evil empire and blame all the city’s troubles on asylum seekers
Hongkongers circle the wagons whenever they suspect that a policy promoted either by the government or Beijing is a disguised Trojan Horse intended to brainwash them. Tens of thousands protested in 2012 against national education, forcing the government to back down. Even last year’s inauguration of a uniformed youth group similar to the Boy Scouts to promote pride in being Chinese drew fierce fire from critics who said it was intended to brainwash our young.
But a recent dinner with friends provided good anecdotal evidence that Hongkongers are actually easily brainwashed. Two locals, one middle-aged and the other in his late twenties, raised two topical issues. The older one, from a wealthy family, lives in Hong Kong. The younger one runs a business in Guangdong. Living across the border means he has to rely on the mainland’s censored media.
He lambasted the US as an evil empire behind everything that’s wrong with the world – from the mainland’s economic woes and Brexit to Hong Kong’s independence movement and Southeast Asia’s angst over China’s claim to virtually all of the South China Sea.
When I noted President Barack Obama had publicly opposed Brexit, he said it was a ploy, claiming Brexit would benefit the US. When I suggested that Beijing’s tough position on greater democracy could have more to do with the independence movement, he countered that the CIA was the real culprit. I wanted to say he had been brainwashed by a heavily censored media but saw the futility in that.
The older friend living in Hong Kong has access to the world’s uncensored media but chooses to rely on and believe in only a tiny section of the local media. He blamed all of Hong Kong’s problems on South Asian asylum seekers.
I am not normally lost for words but fleetingly was when he said police in riot gear fight nightly battles with South Asian asylum seekers in Wan Chai. I said the media would cover it if that was true. He countered he had seen it with his own eyes.
Politicians such as the Liberal Party’s Legislative Council candidate Dominic Lee Tsz-king have been vilifying asylum seekers as responsible for virtually all of Hong Kong’s rapes, murders and other crimes when police figures show they are actually responsible for less than 1 per cent. Again, I saw the futility in pointing this out. Maybe Hongkongers should worry about brainwashing. They are so gullible.