US-based Chinese political commentator Zhang Tianliang (章天亮) once said: “When the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] faces two choices — one with good results and the other with bad, it will choose the bad one.”
At first, I was as puzzled as anyone as to why it would be so, but after six months of protests were ignited in Hong Kong by a now-scrapped extradition bill, it finally makes sense.
When Britain handed Hong Kong’s sovereignty back to China in 1997, the CCP came up with the concept of “one country, two systems” and the idea that the people of Hong Kong should rule Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy as a way to bring Hong Kongers back into the fold.
However, the CCP’s true intention was to use the “one country, two systems” model to deceive Taiwan and realize the so-called “great project of peaceful unification of the motherland.”
Ever since the anti-extradition protests began, China has experienced an unprecedented crisis of governance.
Facing the protesters’ five demands — full withdrawal of the extradition bill; an independent inquiry into police behavior; amnesty for arrested protesters; a retraction of the classification of protesters as “rioters”; and universal suffrage in elections for the legislative council and chief executive — the Chinese government only had two options.
One was to respond positively to, and fulfill, all demands, creating a “one country, two systems” model in which Hong Kongers truly rule the territory by themselves with a high degree of autonomy.
The other option was to sternly reject the demands, rule out any kind of compromise and violently suppress Hong Kongers.
The results of each option are obvious. Fulfilling the demands would maintain peace and harmony in the territory, so that the “Pearl of the Orient” could keep its dazzling shine. More importantly, it would serve as a good example of the “one country, two systems” framework for Taiwan and lay the foundation for peaceful unification between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The other option would lead to results completely contrary to the first — Hong Kong’s economy would go from bad to worse, freedom and the rule of law would collapse, while Hong Kongers continued to fight suppression ever more strongly in a never-ending series of protests and demonstrations.
Faced with one good and one bad alternative, the CCP of course picked the bad one, and for a simple reason: It is the CCP’s nature.
Of course the CCP knows that its bloody suppression of protesters would drive Taiwanese away. However, the CCP also knows that meeting Hong Kongers’ five demands would pose a threat to its own totalitarian rule, as Chinese would learn from Hong Kong, which would make it difficult for the party to “keep China red.”
Not only does the CCP know that its legitimacy is the subject of much controversy and faces many challenges, it understands that its totalitarian rule is in danger. The only way it knows how to react is to intensify its plunder of Hong Kong — the goose that lays the golden eggs — because of its bandit instincts and its feeling that doomsday is near.
To satisfy its immediate interests, China will not hesitate to kill the goose and take the golden eggs.
Knowing the CCP’s instincts and nature, Taiwanese and Hong Kongers should continue to work together to sweep the CCP into the dustbin of history and bring peace to the world.
Kot Chun is a writer from Hong Kong.
Translated by Chang Ho-ming
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