TAIPEI—Months of protests in Hong Kong have pitted residents of all ages and backgrounds against their police force, local government, and the Chinese Communist Party, and there is no question of who is less powerful.
Yet in a parallel battle over international public opinion, it is Beijing and its minions that are outgunned. This weekend that mismatch was once again highlighted by the thousands of people in cities across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America coming out in support of Hong Kong, but also in a much broader sense, against the CCP. Here in Taipei alone, thousands of Taiwanese and Hong Kongers marched through the streets on a rainy Sunday, told by Denise Ho, one of the most visible faces among Hong Kong’s unofficial diplomatic corps, that her home and theirs shared the same fight against Beijing.
These latest worldwide, pro–Hong Kong rallies are the most recent iteration of what supporters of repressed groups in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as those who back Taiwan’s sovereignty, have all struggled to do: Mobilize large communities internationally to denounce the Chinese Communist Party.
The relative success of Hong Kong’s protest movement is all the more significant because it’s occurring alongside Beijing expanding its propaganda efforts globally, as state-owned outlets trumpet China’s vision of the world in multiple languages. This global campaign is the biggest challenge to China’s rulers by the territory since 1989, when, still a British colony, its residents took part in demonstrations in solidarity with protesters in Tiananmen Square, while also providing financial and material support.