Beijing: Global Popular Uprising “Worse Than SARS”


Leading Chinese diplomat hysterically denounces the mass protests in Hong Kong and around the world


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 25 October 2019,




A leading representative of China’s ruling class made a very telling statement about the popular uprising in Hong Kong and the spreading wave of global mass protests. Xie Feng, commissioner at China’s ministry of foreign affairs in Hong Kong, spoke at a conference in the city on 24 October. He condemned the popular upsurge for democratic rights in a tirade of hate.


As it is well-known, these youth-led mass protests dominate political life in Hong Kong since 9 June. Despite brutal police repression and threats by the Beijing regime to send the army to crack down, hundreds of thousands of people continue to march courageously on the streets. The RCIT has stated its support for this democratic struggle since the beginning. [1]




Civilisation as a whole would be plunged into calamity




China’s top diplomat in Hong Kong said: “The true motive of the opposition in Hong Kong and the foreign forces behind them is to mess up the city, overthrow the legitimate government ... and ultimately destroy ‘one country, two systems’ by turning Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity.” He warned that “black hands” were behind the mass movement and that the democratic demands, like their opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill, were merely a pretext for insurrection. [2]


In his hate-filled speech, Xie hysterically spoke about the city’s “virus of street violence”, adding that it was more deadly than the ”severe acute respiratory syndrome” (SARS) virus which caused 299 deaths in Hong Kong in 2003. “The virus of street violence knows no boundaries or limits. It is highly susceptible to being complicated by other viruses such as populism, separatism and extremism, developing into the tumour of terrorism. (…) From Spain to the UK to Chile, protesters are threatening to copy Hong Kong. Should the Pandora’s box of street violence be opened … civilisation as a whole would be plunged into calamity and no country would stay immune.


He concluded his remarkable speech with an appeal to the “international community”, i.e. the ruling classes of other Great Powers. “The international community cannot afford to remain silent, sit idly by or gloat over the unrest in Hong Kong,” he said, calling on the world to help maintain prosperity and stability in the city.




What does Xie’s speech reveal?




Xie’s speech is very telling for several reasons. First, it underlines the panic-stricken state of the China’s ruling class. While it is true that the popular upsurge has been limited to Hong Kong – a region of more than 7 million people – until now, Beijing evidently fears that the “virus” might spread to the mainland.


Secondly, the hysterical language demonstrates that Beijing is preparing for a military crackdown of the popular revolt. As we have warned since some time, the regime plans to violently suppress the mass protests – preferably by the Hong Kong forces alone, but with PLA forces if necessary.


Thirdly, China’s ruling class (correctly) views the mass protests in Hong Kong as part of a global wave of popular upsurge (“from Spain to Chile”). In dramatic words, it warns the rulers of other capitalist states of the consequences of these global mass protests (“civilisation as a whole would be plunged into calamity and no country would stay immune”).


As we have elaborated in a recently published essay, the Hong Kong mass protests are indeed part of a global upswing of class struggles which amounts to a kind of “pre-68 period”. [3] In fact, this global wave of mass movements is a crucial feature of the dramatic shift in the world situation which we are currently facing. [4]


There is also an increasing understanding among activists around the world that the popular upsurges in the different countries have a common bond and that they should support each other. Yesterday, for example, about 3,000 people in Hong Kong staged a rally in solidarity with the mass protests in Catalunya. People waved Catalan flags and banners urging “a fight for freedom together”. At the same, time there was also a small rally in Barcelona expressing support for their brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. [5]




Stalinism and Chinese imperialism




Fourthly, this statement reveals once more very clearly the character of China’s ruling class. While Stalinists and other pseudo-leftists stupidly claim that China is a “socialist” or at least a “progressive” state, Xie’s speech demonstrates the opposite. It shows that China is dominated by a capitalist class which views its interests as similar to their class counterparts in other bourgeois states. Xie understands very clearly that all these protests around the world are the result of the same “virus” and that “we”, i.e. the ruling classes of the imperialist Great Powers, must stand together in order to save “civilisation”.


This confirms once more the analysis of the RCIT that capitalism has been restored in China long ago. [6] In fact, China has become a leading imperialist Great Power which channels the long-time hegemony of U.S. imperialism. [7]


We are under no illusion that the Stalinists and other “friends of China” will be able to recognize that they effectively support – under the banner of “socialism” and “anti-imperialism” – the ruling class of one imperialist Great Power against its rivals. They remain, as the RCIT has pointed out repeatedly, servants of Chinese imperialism.


We emphasize once more that it is impossible to build an authentic revolutionary socialist international without recognizing the imperialist character not only of the Western Great Powers (U.S., EU, and Japan) but also of the new Eastern Great Powers (Russia and China). Likewise, it is impossible to advance in building a Revolutionary World Party without linking solidarity with the current global popular upsurge with a program of international socialist revolution. The RCIT calls revolutionary activists around the world to join us in building such a Revolutionary World Party!




[1] RCIT: China: Solidarity with the General Strike in Hong Kong! For an international solidarity movement as the Stalinist-Capitalist regime in Beijing prepares a brutal crackdown! 01 August 2019,; RCIT: China: Long Live the Popular Uprising in Hong Kong! After protestors storm the parliament: general strike against the extradition bill and the Lam Administration! 03 July 2019,; RCIT: China: Mass Protests against Reactionary “Extradition Law” in Hong Kong. For an indefinite general strike to kill the bill and to bring down the Administration of Carrie Lam! 18 June 2019,

[2] Kimmy Chung: Hong Kong protests: ‘virus of violence’ deadlier than Sars and is spreading overseas, says China’s top diplomat in city, Xie Feng, South China Morning Post, 24 Oct, 2019,

[3] Michael Pröbsting: Are We Nearing a New “68 Moment”? A massive upsurge of global class struggle in the midst of a dramatic shift in the world situation, 22 October 2019,

[4] See on this, in addition to the above mentioned essay “Are We Nearing a New “68 Moment”?” the following articles by Michael Pröbsting: Another Great Recession of the Capitalist World Economy Has Begun. The economic crisis is an important factor in the current dramatic shift in the world situation, 19 October 2019,; The Gang Leaders of Western Counterrevolution Are Faltering. Some observations on an interesting historic moment in the world situation, 25 September 2019, For a general background we refer to the World Perspectives 2019 document of the RCIT: World Perspectives 2019: Heading Towards a Volcanic Political Eruption. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 2 March 2019,

[5] See e.g. John Geddie, Jessie Pang: Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters rally for Catalan separatists, October 24, 2019 /; Holmes Chan: ‘Fight against oppression’: Hong Kong and Catalan protesters hold parallel solidarity rallies, 25 October 2019

[6] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4,

[7] For the RCIT’s analysis of China as an imperialist Great Power we refer readers to the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: Our most updated analysis of China and the accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers can be read in Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019. The book can be read online or downloaded for free here: A series of RCIT articles on the current Global Trade War has been collected in a special sub-page on our website: