In Britain protests were held in many cities around the anniversary on 1 October of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. London and Nottingham showed very different ways of organising solidarity.
In London, a coalition had been drawn together to organise the protest, including the left wing Labour Movement Solidarity with Hong Kong (LMSWHK) campaign.
When the LMSWHK heard that right wing Tories, including Tory councillor Peter Golds from Tower Hamlets, were invited, they objected. Golds recently tweeted a picture of himself alongside a supporter of Anti-Communist Action, a US based organisation with white supremacist and neo-Nazi involvement.
But the organisers of the London march told the LMSWHK that the invitation for Golds to speak remained open. LMSWHK had to withdraw from building the London march, which ended up smaller than previous ones.
Opposition to repression in Hong Kong and East Turkestan has long been misused by well-funded Tory-led operations like Hong Kong Watch. They have given anti-communists like Iain Duncan Smith a high profile in their work. They have taken leading Hong Kong dissidents to stand alongside Priti Patel and give her photo opportunities to enhance her reputation. They have done little or nothing to expose the support of Tory-supporting banks and corporations for the repression in Hong Kong.
And they have been largely silent about Johnson’s sidelining of them after February 2021, when he pointedly put the interests of Tory businesses in China before them.
The anti-communist Tories are parasites on the Hong Kong, Uyghur and Tibetan diaspora; unable to mobilise any real protests or get real solidarity.
The elevation to importance of figures such as Duncan Smith and Golds instead alienates the natural allies of Hong Kong workers — those who genuinely support democratic rights and are appalled at Priti Patel’s Borders Bill and the Tories’ Police Bill.
The Tories’ penetration of the anti-CCP movement in the UK has allowed supporters of the CCP to lyingly characterise all those giving solidarity, as well as the Hong Kong and Uyghur people themselves, as “agents of UK or US imperialism”. Many, including on the left, are largely uninformed on China, so association with right wing Tories, the actual agents of US and UK imperialism, is immensely damaging.
In London there was little turnout from the labour movement or from radicals. On the other hand the protest in Nottingham, despite heavy rain, pulled in labour movement speakers such as Labour MP Nadia Whittome. Labour councillors and many trade unionists also spoke and attended. LMSWHK placards denouncing the UK corporate support for the National Security Law, opposing police repression in UK and Hong Kong, demanding full resident rights for all migrants, were prominent on the protest.