CHINA Leaderless on the surface, a well-trained 'army' behind the scenes


Leaderless on the surface, a well-trained 'army' behind the scenes

People's Daily app

01:47, October 28, 2019

In their reports of what is happening in Hong Kong, mainstream media in the West jointly aver that this is a “decentralized and leaderless social resistance” and “most of the demonstrations are spontaneous actions not organized by leaders representing the people.” Those demonstrations are also called “wildcat resistance.”   

This is what they want people to believe: the “protesters” on LIHKG, an online forum, and the encrypted messaging app Telegram spontaneously organized and discussed activities, spontaneously learned how to make roadblocks, shields, and Molotov cocktails, spontaneously produced in large numbers artwork only professionals could design, spontaneously created sign language and tactical moves and spontaneously found the best way to deal with tear gas. In short, everything the rioters have come up with are results of self-study. 

Western media, do you believe that yourself?

The truth is that what is happening in Hong Kong are not demonstrations, but violent activities that are well-organized, professionally carried out and well-supplied.

Powerful mobilization on new Internet platforms 

Research on “color revolutions” shows that the West has a set of mature guidelines to instigate them and is well-versed in conducting psychological warfare on the Internet. The real issues Hong Kong people are worried about also made it easier for the West to sow discord and stir up conflict there. With mental sway over a susceptible public in place, all that is left for the West to do is organize those people in some form and use them to influence more people.

This is where various Internet communication tools come in. 

It goes without saying that traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter are brought into play. Nascent and highly secretive platforms, such as Telegram, LIHKG and Reddit, are also major factors pushing the riots forward. Telegram has a wide reputation, counting even ISIS among its loyal users. LIHKG is also intriguing -- its privacy policy requires a Hong Kong university student number and even dormitory number for registration. 

What is on those online platforms? 

Real-time tracking of police positions, requests for supplies to the frontline of protests, discussions about protest tactics, reposts of pictures smearing police and fake news, instructions on how to make weapons and even calls for murdering police officers. It’s not too far-fetched to say those platforms are the rioters’ headquarters for publicity, indoctrination and mobilization. In the eye of any rational person, such content is beyond the pale. 

The discussions, mutual help and learning experience on those platforms help cultivate a sense of brotherhood among the rioters and lead to greater commitment from them. Through those tools, foreign elements could more easily mislead and command the rioters. There is a Telegram group made up of foreigners who support Hong Kong rioters. They offer advice to the rioters, teach them how to attract international media attention and even revise publicity materials in foreign languages for them. 

The great capability of the Internet to mobilize people put some rioters under the illusion that they could get all people in Hong Kong on their side. They even made a detailed plan of online persuasion targeting patriotic Hong Kong people.

This plan breaks down patriotic Hong Kong people into 18 categories and suggests publicity products “most effective” in persuading them to change sides. How could this be achieved without professional support?

A crash course on becoming a rioter

The Hong Kong rioters have shown surprising physical fighting skills, a thirst for blood and fervor. How did those ordinary-looking young people become skillful rioters? Is it thanks to their “self-study” as media in the West claim? The answer is obviously no. 

A foreign instructor of mixed martial arts teaches his students in a building in Tsim Sha Tsui. He wants to equip them with sufficient “self-defense” skills after a full-day course. For advantages in “fighting” with police, this foreign instructor also teaches “tactical flashlight defense” and “club seizing,” among other skills. 

A game called Hong City Online (香城Online. ) further reveals how violent rioters are trained.

Equipment manual of the game. 

An RPG based in “Hong City,” the game has five player ranks. One of the lower ranks directly refers to peaceful protesters in Hong Kong. The highest rank is called “Warriors.”

The main missions in the game are “demonstration, mountain climbing, monster fighting and city defending.”

Does that sound familiar? That game is actually about violent activities in Hong Kong, with the monsters referring to “black police” labeled by the rioters. Young people playing the game fight “monsters” in a well-organized way in the virtual city to reach higher ranks, craving their “moment of victory.” 

Careers in the game 

Blurring the line between fantasy and reality, the game dulls the rioters’ sensibilities to the value of life and the consequences of their actions. They are led to believe that those they are facing are the enemy, their wounds can miraculously heal and death can be undone. All they care about is winning.

Just like that, this “special” game provides the shot in the arm to the rioters in need of some stimulation.

Highly professional on-site organization

To the untrained eye, an image only shows large crowds of rioters. For people who know a thing or two about tactical formation, it’s easy to see what is happening in the same picture: the rioters are divided into different groups with corresponding roles, just like the formation of troops. “Yongwu (the valiant)” attack the front, followed by “Spearmen,” “Shield troops” offering protection and “Grenadiers” lobbing projectiles. “Helifei (the peaceful, reasonable and non-violent)” are responsible for supplies. There are other “fighting roles” as well. Their expertise is truly amazing. Can spontaneous or random groups be so coordinated? Anti-government guerrilla forces in some countries might admire Hong Kong rioters’ competence.

How can the rioters be so well-organized? It’s not difficult to find the answer. A simple-to-follow instruction manual made by HK rioters can be found on the Internet. The manual teaches in detail how to “fight against” HK police. 

What are the roles their responsibilities? Besides “Yongwu” and “Helifei,” they have “Yuangong” responsible for long-distance physical attacks and “Firefighters” behind “Yongwu” to put out fire. “Flagmen” are the most important on-site commanders who are responsible for information transmission and keeping the rioters in formation.

How is information transferred? Sign language is the major way to transfer all kinds of instructions and requests.

The picture shows (from left to right) protesters using sign language to send messages asking for cable ties, scissors and hexagon keys.

How are these supplies delivered? Supply chains composed of people can continuously provide things like helmets, umbrellas, masks and eye protectors. 

The gif shows a moving human supply chain. 

How do the rioters track the police? They used an APP named “” to track the police and avoid being captured by police or even attack police officers left on their own.

How to deal with an emergency? Technicians in Taiwan provide Hong Kong rioters with messaging apps that can work without Internet connection. They include Bridgefy, Zello, iNterco and FireChat. Zello was widely used in the “color revolution” in Ukraine.

When retreating, use construction guardrails, garbage bins and construction materials as roadblocks. Erect roadblocks while setting fire. If detained, use Parachute, recommended by “foreign friends,” to send messages to others. All informed groups delete all the records of chats with the captured rioter and remove them from the groups. Members on the frontline should take pictures of captured people to help identify them in case they fail to send the messages. 

A big network is behind such a high level of coordination. 

Multiple teams were responsible for tasks including publicity, scouting, logistics, and intelligence. 

From action strategies before the riots to detailed task assignment during the riots and cars that pick up the rioters after the riots, the organization and execution of the riots are nothing short of extraordinary. Media in the West that claim the riots are spontaneous might have thought they were supermen.   

Weapons that can be used for war

The organized violence in Hong Kong has, in a sense, become a real “war.”

Look at the “weapon list” of the rioters. Gasoline bombs, water guns loaded with caustic soda (corrosive weapons), crude bombs, bow and arrows, modified slingshots, homemade smoke bombs, homemade flamethrowers, bricks, sticks and so on. Chemical explosives, corrosive weapons and physical attacks are all covered.

Look at the rioters’ equipment. In addition to learning how to make offensive weapons on sites like LIHKG, the rioters have a full set of black clothes, black masks and communication tools, which “can rival the equipment of the riot police.” All the equipment is managed according to their types and studied for their practical value in violent activities. Due to a shortage of such goods in Hong Kong, some Taiwanese labor unions and churches, Taiwan’s Taoyuan Flight Attendants' Union for example, collect and provide equipment for the rioters in Hong Kong .

Online tutorials for making weapons

Look at the rioters’ strategy for conducting violence. On June 11 this year, a new version of the “Resistance Manual” was released on the Facebook page “Hong Kong Indigenous.” The content of this small brochure includes a brief introduction of the equipment, a catalogue of the equipment, personal training guidance, and instruction on adapting to situations in the “battlefield.”

The equipment and weapons are vividly listed in the Resistance Manual. This picture shows a rioter ready to throw an object.

Additionally, the rioters have a complete set of logistics support mechanisms that cover injury healing, damage disposal, long-term psychological counselling, post-incident psychological intervention, legal aid, advice and consultation and so on.

Are Hong Kong riots really leaderless?

When a rioter feels conflicted about using violence, instead of providing guidance on how violence is not the solution, some psychological counselling institutions encourage them to continue to “fight.” When a rioter needs legal aid, some legal aid groups are more than happy to offer professional legal services so that the rioter will not worry about the future.

The consultation service warrants scrutiny because it points to a key hidden factor-the deep involvement of foreign elements.  

Colin Sparks is a British professor with Hong Kong Baptist University and a scholar specialized in cultural communication. He has done quite a lot to plunge Hong Kong into chaos. Not only did he provide personal accounts to raise funds for the rioters and publish articles praising the rioters, he also instigated radical demonstrations on an “online platform for uprising” with connection to the British government.

Consultants offering “advice,” the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) providing financial support, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offering guidance -- all of these constitute the external forces driving Hong Kong into chaos. As far as the actual “fights” happening on Hong Kong streets are concerned, some of Hong Kong’s elite class have been pulling the strings behind the scenes. Young people and some professionals have joined in person and become commanders on the spot. Together, they run a huge, sophisticated machine that manipulates ignorant “pawns” on Hong Kong streets to do their bidding. 

So far, what we’ve revealed is only the tip of the iceberg in the rioters’ organizational and command system. Is it true that there are no ringleaders behind Hong Kong’s riots? It might be true that there’s no “commander-in-chief” to whom all the thugs defer. But it definitely does not mean that the riots are spontaneous and not manipulated by hidden forces. On the contrary, by virtue of the Internet and social organization, the hidden hands can direct happenings on the ground more effectively than any of the previous color revolutions. Even if the rioters are truly “wildcats,” there is undoubtedly a “wicked witch” standing right behind them.

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