A senior Chinese official has urged the people of Hong Kong to stand firm and stop the violence and chaos and help to restore order in the autonomous city that was a British colony until 1997. But he also made it clear to "the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them" that those who play with fire will perish by it.
We all know who those “dirty forces” are. They are the hidden hands of Anglo-American imperialism who are making trouble in Hong Kong in the mistaken belief that this will strengthen Washington’s hand in its struggle to contain the burgeoning Chinese economy.
The British government is, once again, shamefully doing the Americans’ bidding even though it has nothing to gain and plenty to lose in antagonising China, one of our major trading partners.
People’s China is Britain's fifth largest trading partner and the second largest non-European Union (EU) partner after the USA. Trade with China is worth £66 billion and there’s plenty more to come if Britain leaves the EU.
Boris Johnson says his government will be very "pro-China". The new Tory leader speaks highly of China’s Belt and Road global investment strategy and he pledged to keep Britain “the most open economy in Europe” for Chinese investments.
He’s now got to match words with deeds and stop crawling to the USA over Hong Kong.
…and in Kashmir too
India’s decision to revoke the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir has once again pushed relations with Pakistan to breaking point. The Indians claim that Pakistani intelligence is behind the recent wave of guerrilla attacks in the disputed province that has triggered four all-out wars with Pakistan since independence. But the crisis goes back to the shambles of the partition of Britain's Indian Empire in 1947.
Britain believed that sectarian division would preserve British imperialist interests. Millions upon millions died in communal rioting and the first Indo-Pakistan war that followed.
Kashmir's decision to join the Indian Union was made by their feudal prince without consultation with the people – a fact recognised by one of the first decisions of the United Nations (UN), which agreed on a plebiscite or referendum to allow the population to vote on whether they wanted to be in India, Pakistan or for independence.
India is now led by a reactionary high-caste party that relies on the support of anti-Muslim Hindu movements to keep them in office. The decision of the Modi government to abolish the Indian-Kashmiris right to their own constitution and parliament fulfils the long-term objective of the Hindu supremacists who want to end all pretence of secularism in the Republic of India.
A cease-fire line divides Kashmir – one-third remains under Pakistani control and India administers the rest. The vast majority of the population are Muslims with close ties to Pakistan. There can be no doubt that any popular vote would lead either to union with Pakistan or to independence. The Indians have never accepted this and now they think Pakistan is too weak to stop them annexing the province outright.
Past Pakistani governments have looked to the USA for assistance but that has never helped the people of Kashmir.
Now Pakistan appeals for support at the UN and calls on the USA to mediate and end the crisis. But the UN is a broken reed and Washington, which has more to gain from India these days, refuses to get involved.
Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers, and another full-scale war could easily escalate into a nuclear exchange that would leave millions dead. We must support all efforts to ensure that this does not happen.
The key demand is the end of partition. We must uphold the original UN resolution and support the just demand for a referendum to let the Kashmiri people decide if they want to be part of India, Pakistan, or in an independent state of Kashmir.