Sun, Aug 12, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Crackdown on HK exposes China

By Joseph Bosco

With another turn of the screw, China’s heavy-handed communist leaders are at it again, stubbornly fighting the tide of history. In the case of Hong Kong, they are trying to not only stop it, but to reverse it. Yet, despite the evidence of the past three decades, they fail to see that their crackdown on Hong Kong is guaranteeing either a showdown or a backdown on Taiwan.

Last week, Hong Kong police took action to shut down a pro-independence party. In a letter to the Hong Kong National Party, the territory’s Security Bureau said the unprecedented move was “necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of human rights.”

Yes, the Beijing-controlled authority actually invoked “human rights” to justify further suppression of Hong Kongers’ political and human rights.

Black is white, white is black.

By increasing political control over the territory, China’s communist leaders are continuing the stultification of democratic development in China and permanently foreclosing any possibility of peaceful unification with Taiwan.

Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on the future of Hong Kong, the former British colony would become a semi-autonomous Special Administrative Region.

Then-Chinese president Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) proclaimed it the model for the “one country, two systems” solution he devised to lure Taiwan into the Chinese orbit.

He promised it would give Hong Kong — and eventually Taiwan — “a high degree of autonomy” from mainland China, except in the area of national defense and foreign affairs:

“We should have faith in the Chinese of Hong Kong, who are quite capable of administering their own affairs. The notion that Chinese cannot manage Hong Kong affairs satisfactorily is a leftover from the old colonial mentality,” he said.

Deng’s soothing words were intended to prepare Hong Kong and the world for the handover from Great Britain to China in 1997. The smiling, grandfatherly leader spoke them in 1984 — a year that in the literary world was already pregnant with meaning about the relationship between truth and power.

Five years later, he showed a different face to the students and workers gathered in Tiananmen Square. Many in Hong Kong watched with horror as the carnage unfolded on television screens and expressed their moral support with chants of “today Tiananmen, tomorrow Hong Kong.”

Taiwan’s citizens also noticed.

China’s communist leaders in turn observed the Hong Kongers’ sympathy for the Tiananmen students. It was during this fraught period that Beijing enacted the Basic Law — essentially Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. However, instead of providing for direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive, it established its Election Committee, which would be dominated by people chosen by the communist regime. So much for Deng’s “faith” in the people of Hong Kong to govern themselves.

Hong Kongers still maintain a level of autonomy the rest of China does not have, such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. However, those rights are eroding, gradually and steadily, especially under the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

Pro-independence campaigners have been barred from running for office and others disqualified from the legislature. Other independence activists have been imprisoned for years, and booksellers have been jailed. Beijing has even extended its long reach by harassing family members abroad to silence dissenters in Hong Kong.

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