Wed, Feb 14, 2018 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: Beijing trying to buy Taiwanese

Every time there is a major political shift in Hong Kong, the number of Hong Kongers emigrating to Taiwan rises sharply, according to a report by Voice of America.

As of December 2016, more than 70,000 Hong Kong and Macau residents had emigrated to Taiwan. Experts have suggested that the trend of Hong Kongers emigrating to Taiwan will continue, as many have grown disillusioned with the territory.

There have been three major peaks of Hong Kong residents emigrating to Taiwan: In 1983, when then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher failed to renegotiate the lease for Hong Kong; in 1989 shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre; and in 1997 after Britain’s sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred back to the Chinese government.

However, when it comes to the influx into Hong Kong, more people from the Chinese mainland have immigrated there after it was returned to China. The more Chinese move to Hong Kong, the easier it becomes for Beijing to gain complete control of the territory. Nevertheless, the forceful administrative measures imposed by Beijing are gradually and steadily wearing down Hong Kongers’ identification with China.

China deploys various political and economic strategies toward Hong Kong, depriving the “Pearl of the Orient” of its shining luster and aiming ultimately at the complete integration of Hong Kong into China to stop the spread of universal values in the mainland. This way, the “one country, two systems” formula will never have an effect on China’s one-party authoritarian rule.

Hong Kongers did not have a say when China signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration or when its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, was drafted and put into effect in 1997. They are, metaphorically speaking, destined to be a piece of meat on China’s chopping block.

Moreover, the declaration is regarded by Beijing as no more than a “historical document,” and the pledges made in the declaration are not worth the paper they were written on.

The “double general elections” — of the Hong Kong chief executive and the Legislative Council — are now just a historical irony, as directly elected lawmakers were disqualified from entering the legislature by Hong Kong courts on account of small “technical” issues, as they “failed to sincerely take the oath of office.”

Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) quip that “horse races will go on and night clubs will stay open” for the next 50 years was also intended to serve China’s “united front” tactics toward Taiwan.

Despite the breakdown of the “one country, two systems” framework in Hong Kong, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) continues to tell Taiwan that the same system will be used there, regardless of Hong Kongers’ indignation having spread across Taiwan.

While Xi’s call is ineffectual, Taiwanese should read carefully between the lines to understand its hidden implications: Beijing does not care about the will of 23 million Taiwanese, as its wants to impose its will over Taiwan and forcefully incorporate it into China, making it serve China’s big power dreams.

After all, Taiwan is China’s gateway to the Pacific Ocean, and the Taiwan Strait is the corridor that controls international flight and maritime routes.

Behind the struggle of wills between Taipei and Beijing, there is a competition between big powers. Establishing closer ties with other democratic allies to counter authoritarian China would be in Taiwan’s best interest.

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