2019 Hong Kong Riots As I Experienced Them, by Greg Hutchison. With photos.


By Jeff J. Brown

Pictured above: Greg Hutchison on the right, with yours truly in a very good Guangdong (Canton) restaurant in Hong Kong.

Sixteen years on the streets, living and working with the people of China, Jeff

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Note before starting: Greg reached out to me a year or two ago and we have stayed in touch by email. Living in Hong Kong, it was a real treat to meet him, on my way back to France, after being in China for almost a month. As we were enjoying a great local meal, Greg regaled me with amazing stories about the 2019 riots there, and how the city is divided in to “Blues” and “Yellows”. I told him his real life experiences needed to be shared, so he agreed to write his testimony below, including a few photos to boot.

You can’t get more authentic than this!

I wrote several articles about Hong Kong’s CIA color “Umbrella Revolution”. Thank goodness for the citizens, those days are over,


2019 Hong Kong Riots As I Experienced Them, by Greg Hutchison

Firstly, I say riots, because apart from the Extradition Law, protests,  any other protest turned into a carefully planned riot. If the aim of the protests initially was to stop the Extradition Law, it worked, because the Government took it off the table. There were some “sit-in protests and singing and chanting in shopping malls, but any “protest” on the street was simply a riot.

This article is simply my experience from 2019.

There were, and still are to some extent, two sides, the yellow and the blue. Yellow was the pro-protest/pro-riot and the blue side was anti-riot or pro-police. Now, some “yellow’ people may have been against the extradition law, but may have also been against the riots. Likewise, being a “blue” does not make you pro-government, or pro-China, but only against the riots. It can be a bit complicated. Either way it was divisive, and still is at times.

Many stories about family gatherings being cancelled. If they went ahead, talking about the riots was off limits. I think in general, the younger people were in favour of the riots and the older generation were against them.

There are “yellow” and “blue” restaurants and even tv channels. I know one fellow who went to a local restaurant was treated fine, until staff found out he was blue, then the service became not so friendly. Even in the gym I worked out, someone may walk in and change channels because it wasn’t the right colour. Four years after the riots, friends still talk about yellow and blue.

Some of my own experiences from talking to people:

A lady I know quite well, was telling me, her daughter who went to University in HK, knew students that had bank accounts, that money was paid into when they protested.

One guy said that Uni students were standing out in front of his kid’s school handing out flyers, encouraging and recruiting school kids, to join the protests. I don’t believe this happened at my daughter’s school though.

A guy I met, who had served in the US military, many years ago, said if I could get 15 or 20 guys together, he wanted to round some of the rioters up, and give them a good beating.  He also had contacted the police giving them tips on how not to become isolated during a riot. Some police officers had become isolated and did have to draw their weapons and fire off a shot and unfortunately, in some cases, wound some people. Because someone is a Westerner did not make them pro-rioters.

When Hong Kong’s National Security Law was passed in June 2020, I thought it strange that my mother was stopped in the street, with people asking how I was. “When we read about what’s happening in Hong Kong, we think of your son over there”. Somewhat concerned that I was in danger. If that’s what the media said, well I must be in danger, I just didn’t know from living here!

Another time an Aunty called my mum, saying that I must return home as I was now in danger. Mum just said he’s fine, he’s in no danger. But my Aunty was adamant that I was not safe in Hong Kong and should return home. As she had read or watched the news, that due to our National Security Law, people were in danger, well, it must be true. Once again, I didn’t know it!

So, we now have a security law, that keeps people safe from rioters.

A 70-year-old man was killed by a brick thrown by a rioter. A man that had confronted rioters trashing a shopping mall, was set alight. No more Molotov cocktails thrown at police. In one incident, residents cleaning up their street had Molotov cocktails thrown at them. And people not living in Hong Kong think the security law is a bad thing. Surely misled by western media. Western politicians harp on about the oppressive security law. But we’re safe and many Hong Kong residents rejoiced when our security law was implemented.

At no time did I feel unsafe during the riots. Same cannot be said for those who spoke Mandarin to rioters. There are many incidents that have been videoed, and can still be found on YouTube. Examples of women speaking Mandarin against the rioters, being bashed and pushed to the ground, sprayed with black paint. Cowardice rioters would punch or hit with an umbrella, coming over the top of a group of thugs, then run off. One video shows a pregnant women being struck and pushed to the ground by a “tough guy”.

Businesses that had ties to China or whose owners spoke out in favour of the police, had their businesses trashed by rioters.

A search on YouTube still has many channels showing atrocities by the “cockroaches” (an “affectionate” term given to the rioters). A number of YouTube channels were taken down not long into the riots, These showed rioters training to go out onto the streets.

It was an interesting time to say the least. Many nights were spent watching the riots live on television or on YouTube. Sham Shui Po, Nathan Road at TST and Mong Kok, Kwun Tong, Causeway Bay areas, were regular hot spots for the rioters. New Town Plaza, Shatin also had its share of activity and the infamous Yuen Long MTR (Metro) confrontation.

These are some photos from around the local MTR.






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JEFF J. BROWN, Editor, China Rising, and Senior Editor & China Correspondent, Dispatch from Beijing, The Greanville Post

Jeff J. Brown is a geopolitical analyst, journalist, lecturer and the author of The China Trilogy. It consists of 44 Days Backpacking in China – The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (2013); Punto Press released China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (2016); and BIG Red Book on China (2020). As well, he published a textbook, Doctor WriteRead’s Treasure Trove to Great English (2015). Jeff is a Senior Editor & China Correspondent for The Greanville Post, where he keeps a column, Dispatch from Beijing and is a Global Opinion Leader at 21st Century. He also writes a column for The Saker, called the Moscow-Beijing Express. Jeff writes, interviews and podcasts on his own program, China Rising Radio Sinoland, which is also available on YouTubeStitcher Radio, iTunes, Ivoox and RUvid. Guests have included Ramsey Clark, James Bradley, Moti Nissani, Godfree Roberts, Hiroyuki Hamada, The Saker and many others. [/su_spoiler]

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