To the truly authoritarian mind,
“spontaneity” is impossible. The state can and should control all
organizations. There is no such thing as a self-organized crowd. If
people are sleeping in tents in Hong Kong’s central business district or
Kiev’s Maidan, somebody must be paying them and directing them, and if
it isn’t our state, then it must be someone else’s.
I don’t know whether those who talk like this necessarily believe it
(for the record, I’m guessing Vladimir Putin does but Hong Kong’s
leaders don’t). The vision of foreign conspiracy is self-serving: If
there is a foreign power directing the protest, then the government can
legitimately destroy it. The conspiracy narrative has an explanatory
purpose, too. If the Hong Kong protests are an American plot, then
mainland Chinese can safely ignore it.