The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operates as a foreign terrorist organization, and the US government should formally designate it as one, two lawyers wrote in an article published in November last year in the Journal of Political Risk.
They cited the CCP’s persecution of the Uighurs, “Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong believers, Christian sects, independent-minded journalists, human rights attorneys and others.”
Whether or not the US government decides to label the CCP as a terrorist organization, the rest of us can go ahead and call it what it is.
The CCP is often accused of bullying, but that understates the truth. Bullying is what kids do on a playground. Threatening a murderous invasion of the peaceful nation of Taiwan is a completely different level of evil. Such threats aim to inflict a permanent psychological state of terror and are appropriately described as terrorism.
With Hong Kong’s National Security Law that the CCP imposed on the territory last summer, the CCP has spread its terror across the globe. Article 38 of the law states that it applies to every person on the planet regardless of their nationality or place of residence. It attempts to undermine the legal rights and freedoms guaranteed to citizens of countries around the world.
“Behavior that is perfectly normal, even commendable, in an open society is being criminalized, with a level of punishment that would normally apply to serious violent crimes,” Michael Davis wrote in his book Making Hong Kong China.
UN human rights experts have criticized the CCP’s security legislation for its vagueness, which seems intentionally designed for abuse. Authorities can construe almost any form of dissent as an illegal act of “subversion” to justify an arrest.
Threatening life imprisonment, the law aims to frighten all of humanity into silence. Anyone who speaks out against the CCP’s tyranny can be targeted with an arrest warrant.
This is exactly what happened to an American named Samuel Chu (朱牧民), founder of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, whose only crime was, in his words, “lobbying my own government.”
Although Chu is safe in the US, if he ever sets foot in China or a China-friendly country, his life could be over.
In a 2002 essay, Princeton professor Perry Link described China’s communist regime as “the anaconda in the chandelier.” The great snake’s unpredictability strikes dread into all who stand below. When the snake feels threatened, it strikes ruthlessly, often targeting public figures to make an example out of them. In China, this is known as “killing the chicken to scare the monkey.”
Hence we see the CCP use its new security law to arrest and seize the assets of pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英), sending chills down the spines not only of journalists, but also anyone with something to lose. The implied message is that neither you nor your assets are safe in Hong Kong unless you keep your mouth shut.
In modern China, morality is not derived from religion, God or deep introspection into one’s own conscience. Instead, the CCP is the ultimate arbiter of good and evil. In the CCP’s worldview, supporting its authoritarian rule is one of the highest goods and is construed as “patriotism,” while those who oppose CCP rule are evil and smeared as criminals.
The Hong Kong security law requires that the CCP’s style of patriotism be taught in the territory’s schools. Students have been warned that they could be reported to the police if they engage in any “unpatriotic” behavior, such as singing the popular protest song Glory to Hong Kong, which contains the now illegal phrase: “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time.”
A new survey of nearly 1,200 teachers showed that 40 percent of them are likely to quit. Given that a mere slip of the tongue could result in an arrest, one can hardly blame them.
Parents are also deeply concerned. Authorities have introduced a “national security hotline” and are encouraging Hong Kongers to snitch on each other for possible contraventions of the security law. In the past six months, more than 100,000 suspected security law crimes have been anonymously reported.
If Hong Kong’s schools successfully indoctrinate students with CCP-style patriotism, students could face a tough decision if their parents oppose CCP rule. Should they report their parents to the authorities? Should they spy on and accumulate evidence against their parents if asked to do so by “patriotic” teachers, administrators or peers?
A couple of recent headlines give an indication of the atmosphere. An article in Quartz is titled, “A Cultural Revolution 2.0 is sweeping through Hong Kong’s offices and schools.” The South China Morning Post published an article called, “Watch what you say: Hong Kong civil servants become wary of office snitches jostling to prove loyalty.”
Intending to escape the territory before the situation worsens, thousands of Hong Kongers are leaving, with some saying that they would never return. An estimated 300,000 Hong Kongers are expected to immigrate to the UK over the next five years.
Foreigners are also departing. Hong Kong just witnessed the biggest exodus of banks and insurers in 11 years.
Several senior executives interviewed by the Financial Times said that many more companies would have left if the COVID-19 pandemic had not made it difficult to relocate.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong surveyed its members, and more than 40 percent of respondents said they are planning to leave, most citing anxiety about the new security legislation.
Several businesspeople told CNN that they would “significantly modify their behavior while outside China to avoid attracting the ire of authorities in the country, where they need to do business.”
A number of academics, workers at non-governmental organizations and media professionals also told CNN that they would not return to China after the pandemic is over, even though they previously visited China regularly as part of their work.
“I used to assume that if I couldn’t go to the mainland, I would just go to Hong Kong more often, and now I feel that actually Hong Kong isn’t safe, either,” Jeff Wasserstrom, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, told CNN.
Universities in the US and UK have concluded that their own classrooms are not safe, especially when lessons are conducted online. Anything said or written could be recorded and end up in the hands of Chinese authorities, who could use the recordings against students if they ever enter Chinese territory in the future.
A Hong Kong student studying in the UK told the BBC: “We expected more freedom to speak in the UK. It feels like we are still being monitored.”
To protect students enrolled in courses related to China, universities have begun implementing safeguards.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Princeton students submit papers anonymously using codes instead of their names, and Harvard Business School “excuse[s] students from discussing politically sensitive topics if they are worried about the risks.”
Oxford University stopped offering group tutorials and warned students that they would face disciplinary action if caught recording classes and sharing them with outsiders.
One of the easiest ways to fall afoul of the new security legislation — so easy that the CCP’s own diplomats sometimes do it by accident — is to acknowledge that Taiwan is not and has never been part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The Hong Kong police issued a statement to confirm that expressing support for Taiwan’s independence is a crime. The only way to ensure compliance with the law is to endorse the lie that Taiwan is a province of the PRC, a fiction that is enshrined in the PRC constitution.
In 2005, the CCP wrote an “anti-secession” law that guarantees that it would use “non-peaceful means” to take over Taiwan if Taiwanese refuse to hand over their nation voluntarily.
Essentially, the CCP has legalized deadly violence, claiming it as a legitimate means of territorial expansion.
The security law imposed on Hong Kong is an escalation of the CCP’s coercion in that it threatens every person on Earth with imprisonment if they refuse to pay lip service to the CCP’s lies about Taiwan.
In November last year, a CCP spokesperson acknowledged that China was drafting a wanted list of Taiwan independence supporters, but refused to state who was on the list.
The Chinese state-owned Global Times wrote in a headline that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was likely among those targeted.
The article quoted an “anonymous expert” who said that those who are blacklisted, including their family members, would be pursued for the rest of their lives and that “they will be scared and won’t dare to travel to the mainland, Hong Kong or Macao, as well as other countries, especially countries which signed an extradition treaty with and have close relations with the People’s Republic of China.”
The CCP’s legal scare tactics work. Few governments are willing to refute their nonsense and establish formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In 2018, every major international airline operating in China, without exception, caved in to CCP legal threats, demanding that they update their Web sites by listing Taiwan as a province of the PRC and removing Taipei as the Taiwanese capital.
In the most recent scandal, actor and 16-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion John Cena referred to Taiwan as a country while promoting his latest movie, Fast & Furious 9.
Although there are no reports that Cena or the movie company received legal threats, he was attacked by an online mob of angry Chinese “patriots,” which prompted him to post a profuse apology, presumably out of fear that the movie would be boycotted, if not banned, in China, which would lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for the movie company.
An element of CCP-induced terror has been injected into nearly all domains of modern life, ranging from the news, education, travel, government and business to professional sports and Hollywood.
The CCP has successfully engineered a global pandemic of fear and self-censorship. This new viral terror did not escape a lab by accident. It was released on purpose. Life will not return to normal until we find a way to vaccinate ourselves.
As many Hong Kongers have realized, there is only one way to guarantee immunity: You have to sever your ties with China, leaving no way for the CCP to gain leverage over you.
As more individuals and businesses do this, China will grow increasingly isolated from the international community. If the isolation starts to have a noticeable impact on Chinese society, no amount of CCP propaganda and censorship will be able to fool Chinese about the true cause. It would be on them to reclaim the meaning of patriotism and cure their country of this ghastly disease.
Lindell Lucy is a master’s student at the Harvard Extension School and has a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. He teaches in Tokyo and previously taught in Hong Kong. He started the petition “Let Taiwan Be Taiwan at the Tokyo Olympics,” which has been signed by more than 43,000 people.
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