Monday, June 24, 2019

The Rallies by the Chinese Residents of Hong Kong Have Given World a Warning.

The goal of President Xi Jinping is not only to make China great again through economic development and a Han Chinese nationalism.  President Xi’s goal is not only to create a Chinese global hegemony based on technology along with economic and military power. The goal of President Xi is also to establish absolute control by the Communist party in China and to replace the current world order based on the Western liberal tradition with a new world order which is safe for autocracies.

Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 until sovereignty was returned to China in 1997 with an arrangement of “one country, two systems.”  A Basic Law allowed Hong Kong to keep its judicial independence and its own legislature. It also retained its own economic system and the Hong Kong dollar.  Certain human rights, including including freedom of speech and assembly, were protected.

Beijing has now, however, been slowly gaining political control by controlling the nominations process and the election committee for Hong Kong’s chief executive.  The recently proposed extradition law is directed toward criminals that have sought refuge in Hong Kong. There is a concern, however, that it will also exposes anyone in Hong Kong to China’s flawed and political justice system.  It would open the door to Beijing snapping up democracy advocates, dissidents and other critics. The bill would also allow mainland-initiated asset freezes and this has been a concern for Hong Kong’s powerful business community.  

There is also an awareness of Beijing’s hostility to democratic values as described in Docunent 9 from 2013.  This described seven areas which should not be discussed and these include Western constitutional government, universal values, civil society, individual rights, freedom of the press, historical nihilism (discussion of the severe Maoist period), and economic liberalism.  The massives rallies against the extradition law (estimated by some to be 2 million) have also occurred about 30 years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in which the Chinese army was used to suppress a democratic movement in mainland China.  There is an awareness of the CCP’s use of technology to develop surveillance and a social credit system.

The Basic Law expires in 2047 and what happens to Hong  Kong's autonomy after that is unclear. The Chinese residents of Hong Kong, however, in their rallies against the extradition law have given the world a message and a warning concerning the perils of China’s authoritarian ambitions under President Xi Jinping.

USA Today -- Gary Shih, AP

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Council on Foreign Relations

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The Guardian

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