The Hong Kong protests could trigger unrest in mainland China


The Legislative Council of Hong Kong’s shelving of the China Extradition Bill reveals Beijing’s real Achilles heel, which is public unrest on a scale that poses an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party itself. Even as it tries gamely to apply the ridiculous and self-refuting “one country, two systems” principle, Beijing knows that Hong Kong has always been an ideological hand grenade with the pin removed.

Events during the past week give President Xi Jinping and co a good sense of what mass protests and violence on the mainland might resemble should this ever spread beyond the electrified fences at Lo Wu. Despite its comparatively small population, Hong Kong has the least to fear in this scenario, because Beijing’s real horror is a contagion it could not possibly hope to stop.

Beijing got away with one violent crackdown on human rights in 1989, but will not get away with a second. For the state apparatus, the recent riots in Hong Kong echo Tiananmen Square. And no matter how much propaganda is pumped through the megaphones in Beijing, the central committee knows that in an age of mass communication and rising frustrations, mainland China is more than ever a lake of gasoline just waiting for a match. And should that fire start, it will start in Hong Kong.

Mike Galvin
Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

Playing dumb

By wishing to avoid public debate on television, perhaps Boris Johnson understands the concept that it sometimes better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt.

Matt Minshall
King’s Lynn, Norfolk

Labour hypocrisy

So Alastair Campbell gets kicked out of the Labour Party for voting Lib Dem, but a number of Labour MPs can defy a three-line whip vote to block a Tory no-deal Brexit, putting their jobs before the country. When are they going to spell out what possible advantages a no-deal Brexit could bring to the UK, over and above those we already have within the EU?

Brian Phillips
Ilkley, West Yorkshire​

It’s time for BBC staff to speak out

I would like to call on BBC presenters, executives and highly paid employees to support the case for free TV licences for the over-75s. Surely you cannot accept that an elderly person on a basic pension is to be charged almost an entire week’s income to subsidise your comparatively huge salaries?

Let’s face it, the BBC is nothing without you, its star performers. Please stand up and be counted and let’s hear you voicing your objections.

How does the BBC intend to police this charge? How will it know who is and is not receiving pension credit? Surely that is protected information? And if all over-75s refuse or are unable to pay, will they all be jailed?

An easy way for the government to claw back some cash from the masses is to withdraw from high-earners, millionaires and peers the annual fuel allowance – absolutely ridiculous.

Maureen Ledward​

Back off Jo Brand

Isn’t it ironic – as Alanis Morissette might have said – that a gifted comedian known for her sharp wit and satirical eye is castigated for a comment made on a BBC Radio 4 programme Heresy, while certain inept, self-seeking politicians known for their witlessness and violent utterances are allowed to blather on with impunity?

The leader of one newly formed party has screeched that if Brexit is not delivered, he will be “forced to don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front line”.

Another would be leader of a well-established party makes racist, Islamophobic comments and is lauded as a plain-speaker thumbing his nose at “political correctness”.

Brand concluded her comments with a pithy “it’s purely a fantasy” while the putative arms carrier said of Brand, “the police need to act”.

In the meantime, to conclude with some words that Jonathan Swift so very nearly said: “When a true pillock appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy for him.”

Lorraine Cumming
Amersham, Buckinghamshire​

Fight back against US attempts to wage war against Iran

Donald Trump used to attack his predecessor Barack Obama for being a Muslim without a US passport. It was of course a lie. Since becoming president, Trump has regularly attacked London mayor Sadiq Khan and attempted to impose a travel ban for Muslims entering the US. Sajid Javid wasn’t invited to Trump’s UK banquet despite lesser secretaries of state attending. One can only conclude that Trump is an Islamophobe. This affects his stance on Iran.

The Gulf of Tonkin ”incident” that led to the escalation of the Vietnam War resulting in the loss of 3 million Vietnamese lives and 55,000 American lives is now known not to have happened; it was manufactured to enable US forces to attack the North Vietnamese. Hitler also seized power by burning down the Nazi headquarters – the Reichstag – and blamed it on the communists so he could seize absolute control of the media and government.

The US is now manufacturing a pretext so they can go to war with Iran. The “reports” of Iranian proxies attacking ships and bombing Iraq should not be believed. The axis of the CIA, Mossad and Saudi intelligence is entrenched in Iranophobia. They will have no qualms in manufacturing fake news designed to start a horrific war with Iran.

With the rise of the far right in the US and around the world, where is the counterweight to their aggression? European powers must rise up and challenge this offensive against Iran. The UK is paralysed and consumed by Brexit and so is pandering to the military requirements of Trump out of hope for a post-Brexit trade deal. We in the United Kingdom must not sell our soul and instead should stand up against this duplicity. Let us learn the lessons of history.

Phil Hardy
Hethersett, Norfolk​