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Chinese Internet Users Are Mocking Hong Kong's "Fishball Revolution"

Dozens were injured in the clash in the streets of Hong Kong, which carried echoes of last year's Umbrella Movement.

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But Monday they were the catalyst for a clash between the police and the vendors that left dozens injured and many arrested.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

The scene — which included hurled bricks, burning trash bins, and bleeding heads – was anything but beautiful on the first day of a new year.


The riot started simply enough with the police ticketing undocumented street stalls that were set up in the Mong Kok area of the city for the Lunar New Year celebration.

Kin Cheung / AP

When protestors heard that the police were shutting down the stalls — a large part of Hong Kong's working class culture and a symbol of the rise of capitalism — they rushed to the scene, where they clashed with police. It is said to be the most violent affair in the streets since the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

The chaos was almost immediately dubbed as the "Fishball Revolution" by social media.

View this video on YouTube

In mainland China, which has a complicated relationship with Hong Kong to say the least, there have been 4 major types of reactions to the clashes among users on Weibo:

1. "Blame democracy"

"These are all terrorists, (and this is) the consequence of excessive democracy, policemen are citizens too!" This comment has gotten over 500 "likes."

2. Condescending comparisons with mainland China.

"This is the behavior of a more civilized society those pro-independent Hongkongers are talking about? Want an independence with this? Without the support from the mainland you are nothing," reads a comment that got over 600 "likes."

3. Conspiracy theories against the U.S. — again.

"The story behind is intriguing, the shadow of the U.S. is haunting. The damned capitalist America is constantly causing our country's trouble. Our great economy is threatening it, after Iraq and Syria, they want to take China down."

4. "Holding a different voice is dangerous."

"I just don't understand why some comments have to say that Hongkongers are not patriotic, that Hong Kong will be nothing without China, can one or two single events represent the general Hong Kong people?" asked a user on Weibo.

They were soon pelted with comments like this one.

"Have you been to Hong Kong? Or you are Hongkonger? Oh without China Hong Kong is really nothing," read one comment. "To some extent, being neutral is encouraging crimes," read another.

But the lighthearted takes that bubbled up on Weibo ignored the the significance of the Umbrella Movement and the follow-up that played out on Monday.

Facebook: HelloWong

Mong Kok was an expanded battle field beyond just students during the later stage of the Umbrella Movement, with its unresolved clash over Hong Kong's request to elect its own chief executive. The tensions carry over to this day.

Meanwhile, mainstream Hong Kong society has continued to criticize the rioters, particularly the "localists" who planned for the violence. The chaos has been held up for ridicule by Chinese internet users and under the tightening media censorship inside China, the one-sided opinions displayed on Weibo seem even more extreme.

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at

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