In the movie Star Wars: Episode 3 — Revenge of the Sith, the Galactic Senate gathered to vote on the reorganization of the Galactic Republic into the Empire. Sith Lord Darth Sidious justified this change to “ensure the security and continuing stability” of the Republic. The Senators were elated. Princess Padme Amidala of the planet Naboo said: “This is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.”
A similar event might have occurred when the Chinese National People’s Congress gathered to vote on national security legislation for Hong Kong.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would echo Darth Sidious, claiming that stability is China’s only way forward. His words would be met with the thunderous applause of 2,980 delegates from around China, but not a single directly elected representative from Hong Kong would have a say.
The freedom-loving world watches with dismay and horror as the orchestrated show of “democracy” in China reveals itself.
However, remember that none of this is surprising.
When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, the territory was the face of modern China and what all its major cities aspired to be. Forbes reported that in 1993 Hong Kong’s economy was valued at 27 percent of China’s, but by 2018 it was only 2.7 percent. Hong Kong has been eclipsed by China.
As of last year, Beijing’s economy was worth US$553 billion; Shanghai, US$540 billion; Shenzhen, US$374 billion; and Hong Kong, US$372 billion.
The numbers show that China has lost interest in Hong Kong. The territory has no long-term value for China since other cities can replicate and surpass its success.
A founder of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), said: “The Chinese do not know ‘liberty,’ but only about ‘getting rich.’”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), liberators of the oppressed and the guiding light of the Chinese, follow wherever the money takes them and no longer uphold the principles which the Chinese people once looked to them for.
The developments across the Taiwan Strait have only strengthened the national cause of Taiwanese to defend the freedoms and liberties which they now have.
Taiwan has become Asia’s bastion of democracy and much of the world recognizes this. The volume of congratulatory messages sent to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after her inauguration for her second term is a testament to that.
Even the China-friendly Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) recognizes the weight of this issue. KMT spokeswoman Hung Yu-chien (洪于茜) on May 22 said that “Taiwan, regardless of party, is concerned about the rights and situation of the people of Hong Kong.”
She also said that in bypassing the Hong Kong legislature, China not only breached the spirit of Hong Kong’s self-governance, but also the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.
Perhaps now more than ever the KMT has the opportunity to return to their core principles and recognize that unification with China, on Beijing’s terms, would only mean the end of a democratic Taiwan.
The KMT must face reality and once again take a steadfast stance against the rising threat of Chinese communism.
Sun also said: “In a democracy it stands to reason that we should still show loyalty, not to princes, but to the nation and to the people.”
Loving a nation does not mean loving the government (or a political party), as the Chinese would say. Believing in democracy and the ability for all to have this right means standing side by side with the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan in the face of tyrannical injustice.
The two united fronts that were formed between the CCP and the KMT, first during the Northern Expedition against the warlords and again during World War II against the Japanese, are a hallmark of modern Chinese history that the Chinese people have the capacity to unite against common threats.
There is now a new impetus to bring together a new united front to defend liberty against Beijing and Xi’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The end of the Chinese National People’s Congress would be marked with thunderous applause and The Internationale, a song which has lost all its original meaning.
The lyrics of their own song are a rallying cry to rise against them: “This is the final struggle. Let us group together, and tomorrow the Internationale will be the human race.”
Nigel Li is a student at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
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