Communist Chinese Gov't Fears a Free Hong Kong
Withdrawing the extradition bill is good, but it may be simply an attempt to restore order.
In recent months, the world has anxiously watched the scenes of violence and oppression in Hong Kong at the hands of the communist Chinese government.
As a British colony for more than 150 years, on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule under an agreement that promised to leave it as a largely autonomous region under a “one country, two systems” policy.
Yet soon after mainland China took control it began eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy, understandably causing concern and resentment for a people accustomed to the freedoms of a Western-style democratic government; a form of government that had made them wealthy and prosperous and the envy of much of the world. Of course, such freedom and prosperity was and is a cause for fear within the communist Chinese government, which relies on fear and force to maintain absolute control of its vast population.
Tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland government have escalated since June, when legislation was proposed by Carrie Lam, Beijing’s hand-picked puppet leader of Hong Kong, allowing extradition of its citizens to mainland China for trial under communist Chinese courts.
The backlash was enormous; nearly two million of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million citizens took to the streets to protest. With tensions rising, the communist Chinese government began cracking down on demonstrators in an effort to crush demands for more freedom before it spread beyond Hong Kong and into mainland China.
This weekend the government arrested more than a thousand protesters, including several members of the city’s Legislative Council who have been vocal critics of the Beijing government’s denial of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy.
With the crackdown by government forces, some protesters set up barricades around the Central Government Complex, blocking access to the buildings, resulting in a clash where dissidents were hit with tear gas and water cannons, and retaliated with Molotov cocktails.
In addition to the crackdown by police, the communist government sent in gangsters to physically attack protesters. One victim was Jimmy Sham, head of the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front, who was beaten with baseball bats by two thugs. CHRF was denied a permit for a peaceful demonstration. Anyone who participates in a non-permitted demonstrations faces up to five years in prison.
In another incident, Hong Kong police stormed a subway train and violently subdued citizens, some of whom had not even been demonstrating.
While not explicitly calling for a state of emergency, Lam stated that if protests continue, the government would consider declaring a state of emergency. Under Hong Kong law, under a state of emergency, the executive can “make any regulations whatsoever which he may consider desirable in the public interest,” including “censorship, and the control and suppression of publications,” arrests, seizure of property, and restricting movement.
Today we learn that Lam — certainly on orders from Beijing — is withdrawing the extradition bill.
The withdrawal is a sign that protests worked (or at least that Beijing wants to contain them by the appearance of backing down). That may include Lam’s protest. In a leaked tape of a meeting between Lam and Hong Kong business leaders, it appears Lam is a powerless puppet for Beijing, telling business leaders, “For a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc to Hong Kong is unforgivable… If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology.” Lam has since denied she ever discussed resigning with Beijing.
Remember, however, which government we’re talking about here. The Chinese government has made abundantly clear its willingness to use all means necessary to restore order and force protesters to comply with its dictates. In a warning issued Sunday through the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency, the communist government declared, “The end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong and antagonize China… Anyone who dares to infringe upon these bottom lines and interfere in or damage the ‘one country, two systems’ principle will face nothing but failure… They should never misjudge the determination and ability of the central government … to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security, and core interests.”
Does anyone doubt that the government which fired on peaceful protesters and crushed them with tanks would not use deadly force again to secure its power?
In Hong Kong, protesters wave American flags, sing our national anthem, and plead with President Donald Trump to intervene in their behalf. It may be that whatever pressure he applied behind the scenes was successful, given that China backed down on the extradition bill.
Yet the communist Chinese government remains a threat not only to its own people but to all free people. A failure to confront China’s totalitarian brutality now will only lead to more brutality — within its borders and without.