Just how spontaneous was the spontaneous show of affection for Chinese President Xi Jinping during his UK visit?
In a clip aired on BBC Newsnight, Mark Urban found that boxes of patriotic merchandise had been shipped in by the Chinese Embassy.
With spontaneous demos nothing should be left to chance:boxes of hats, T-shirts & flags flown in by Chinese embassy pic.twitter.com/qXbWAuRPeW
— Mark Urban (@MarkUrban01) October 20, 2015
Meanwhile, Britain’s Channel 4 News aired footage of pro-China supporters obstructing human rights protesters:
Human rights protestors clash with pro-China supporters One dragon got too close to the pro-Tibet protestors and was moved on. Human rights protestors clashed with pro-China supporters on the Mall today during a procession welcoming the President Xi Jinping to the UK.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Some questioned the intentions of those attending rallies in support of Xi. London-based NGO Free Tibet filmed a cyclist confronting pro-China supporter, asking whether freedom of expression extends to those in Tibet.
Suspiciously coordinated pro-government rallies are not uncommon in Hong Kong. A new clip published this week by James Leong and Lynn Lee of lianainfilms.com documents a protest “with Chinese characteristics”. It was shot earlier in the year during Chinese official’s visit to the territory.
An iCable investigation last year famously uncovered evidence of pro-government protesters being paid to demonstrate.
Cable TV, TVB, Oriental Daily and the Economic Journal each discovered instances of demonstrators being paid up to HK$480 or offered freebies to attend a rally against the pro-democracy Occupy movement in August 2014.