Tue, Dec 03, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Hong Kong brings its protest to ballot box

By Jhang Shih-hsien 張世賢

The Hong Kong protest movement that began with the demonstration against the extradition bill, which was later withdrawn, has continued for half a year.

With the cruel suppression of the protests by the Hong Kong government in cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), local council elections resulted in a massive win for pro-democracy candidates in a heavy blow to Beijing.

The protesters’ stance that the government must agree to every one of their five demands is strongly supported by Hong Kongers in general.

Over the past 30 years, the CCP, which practices party-state capitalism, has used many unfair trade methods to grow its economy. It is convinced that it is sufficiently strong to complete the “great revival of the Chinese people.”

During this period, it has turned machine guns and tanks on students demonstrating for democracy in Tiananmen Square, and now holds the vast Xinjiang region in its grip, as it did in Tibet.

The party has always believed in the myth that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, so why are they so riled up by the protests in Hong Kong?

It would only take them 15 minutes to send over the armed police from Guangzhou, and quickly sort out the mess and “maintain stability.”

At the same time, the US-China trade dispute has entered a critical period. US President Donald Trump is taking a carrot-and-stick approach, causing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to hesitate on taking action in Hong Kong, a crucial portal to the West, and to go ahead with Hong Kong’s local elections as planned.

Hong Kongers jumped at this rare opportunity to tell the CCP and the world how they felt, to put an end to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s (林鄭月娥) arrogance and to give President Xi a slap in the face.

They could accomplish all this by simply lining up to cast their ballot, without gas masks to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray, or umbrellas to protect themselves from the water cannons. In a single day, they turned the situation on its head.

The vote is mightier than the sword.

The CCP’s greatest fear is that Chinese learn of the election results in Hong Kong — which could be considered a referendum — and the party has no choice but to suppress the news. Beijing knows all too well that the party-state would collapse if Chinese could vote their conscience.

Hong Kongers have experienced the power of the vote. They will not give up until they are the ones to vote in their legislators and chief executive.

Taiwan, with its many elections, is the envy of Hong Kongers, but will Taiwanese put that right to its best use?

Voters must turn Taiwan into a normal country by blocking red pro-unification forces from infiltrating Taiwan.

Jhang Shih-hsien is a retired National Palace Museum researcher.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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