‘Chinazi’ and Police Brutality – Political Limitations of the Movement in Hong Kong

by Ralf Ruckus

[deutsch | english] – The ‘Chinazi’-slogan and the way ‘police brutality,’ ‘authoritarianism,’ the ‘rule of law’ and ‘democracy’ are discussed show some of the political contradictions of the movement in Hong Kong.


The movement in Hong Kong still largely focuses on two issues, the brutality of the city’s police and the CCP regime’s political influence in Hong Kong.

The police force had been a target of the movement even before July 21 this year, but on that day anger increased substantially because the police did not intervene when white-shirted men (allegedly from local criminal gangs or ‘triads’) attacked protesters.

Many cases of police brutality – apparently motivated by wrath and tolerated or condoned by the government – have since been documented, online, on ‘Lennon Walls,’ and elsewhere.[1][2][3

The result has not only been a growing cleavage between large parts of the population and Hong Kong’s state and security institutions but an increasing support for the movement and its demands as well as for violent attacks on the police.

The critique of the police and its role is still mostly framed in ‘liberal’ arguments, with demands for the defense of the ‘rule of law’ against the Hong Kong police and government as well as the CCP regime. The connection between the capitalist system in Hong Kong and its state form – which includes the police and a certain ‘rule of law’ that is, basically, meant to ensure capitalist property and relations – is not addressed by the movement much.

The underlying issue that led to the movement – the growing influence of the CCP regime in Hong Kong – is also still presented in ‘liberal’ ways and supplemented by nationalist discourses, i. e., the promotion of Hong Kong ‘autonomy’ or ‘independence,’ the celebration of an alleged Hong Kong ‘identity,’ the refusal to be considered ‘Chinese,’ etc.

In September, the CCP’s ‘authoritarianism’ was highlighted more often, especially with slogans including the term “Chinazi.” The term had already popped up earlier to highlight China’s dictatorial system and the lack of ‘democracy.’

To be clear, an analysis of the particular form of authoritarian rule in China today and the connected socialist legacy – a ruling class around the CCP leadership – is necessary. It makes no sense, though, to simply lump together different forms of repressive state rule – like German national socialism and the CCP’s actual capitalist regime.

It also makes no sense to present ‘democracy’ (or even just ‘universal suffrage’) as a ‘liberal’ counter-vision without addressing capitalist contradictions. Many so-called ‘democratic’ states with ‘universal suffrage’ (like the U.S., Germany, Brazil, India, and many more) are authoritarian in this or that way, are run by capitalist regimes, and are based on exploitation, gender division, and racism.

The simplistic juxtaposition of ‘authoritarian’ and ‘democratic’ shows one of the political limitations of the movement in Hong Kong.

Left-wing activists supplemented the “Chinazi” slogan, for instance, in “Chinazi and Amerikkka. two countries, one system” in order to highlight the capitalist character of both countries, but the equation of China and Nazi Germany is still misleading.