HK Student Protestors Were Trained By Foreigners: BBC

Here are the most relevant excerpts from the much talked about recent BBC Newsnight report on a major meeting of the Oslo Freedom Forum, which despite its name, is based in New York.  At the meeting, activists disclosed that foreign-backed training of Hong Kong student protestors had been nearly 2 years in the making!

“Hong Kong protests: Activists share secrets at Oslo Freedom Forum”

While Hong Kong’s students continue their protests and stumbling negotiations with the territory’s authorities, democracy activists from around the world, who have helped organise their struggle, gather together.

‘Trained demonstrators’

…However, far from being impromptu demonstrations, it is an open secret at this meeting in Norway that plans were hatched for the demonstrations nearly two years ago.

The ideas was to use non-violent action as a “weapon of mass destruction” to challenge the Chinese government.

Organisers prepared a plan to persuade 10,000 people on to the streets, to occupy roads in central Hong Kong, back in January 2013.

They believed that China’s moves to control the Hong Kong election would provide a flashpoint where civil disobedience could be effective, and planned accordingly.

Their strategies were not just to plan the timing and nature of the demonstrations, but also how they would be run.

BBC Newsnight has been told many of those involved in the demonstrations, perhaps more than 1,000 of them, have been given specific training to help make the campaign as effective as possible.

‘New world race’

Jianili Yang, a Chinese academic, was part of the violent protests in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. He has been advising the Hong Kong demonstrators on an almost hourly basis.

He says that the students are better organised than the Tiananmen protesters ever were, with clearer, more effective structures for their action and clearer goals about what they are trying to achieve.

Jamila Raqib, the executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution in New York, a human rights organisation, says: “Protesters were taught how to behave during a protest.

“How to keep ranks, how to speak to police, how to manage their own movement, how to use marshals in their movement, people who are specially trained.

“It was also how to behave when arrested – practical things like the need for food and water, movement can last longer when people are taken care of, and also how to manage a water cannon being used against you, and other types of police violence.”