China is sounding the battle horn for a new US-China cold war by proposing a national security law for Hong Kong while the West is preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, an academic said yesterday.
Academia Sinica Institute of Taiwan History associate research fellow Wu Ruei-ren (吳叡人) made the comments at a news conference in Taipei, saying that he was representing the Economic Democracy Union’s research branch.
The resolution signals China’s abandonment of the “one country, two systems” framework, as it prepares to take full control of Hong Kong, ending the era of Hong Kong as an international financial center, which was made possible only through guarantees of democracy and rule of law, Wu said.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
Beijing’s decision was also influenced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) no longer needing Hong Kong to attract capital or to “launder” its money, he added.
The “one country, two systems” framework has worked too well in Hong Kong’s favor, positioning it as an “international treaty port,” which Beijing cannot tolerate, Wu said.
Beijing never considered Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to be complete and must take back its rightful property, he said.
Wu described the security legislation as “laced with desperation,” saying that China believes it is being backed into a corner, both domestically and internationally.
Domestically, the CCP is faced with a declining economy, a sharp increase in unemployment due to COVID-19 and internal political struggles, he said.
Internationally, China is facing increasing calls on the Internet for compensation for the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in Hubei Province; the rise of anti-China sentiment worldwide; an irreversible decoupling of the international economy and the Chinese economy; and the threat of a US-China cold war breaking out, Wu said.
Beijing believes that the “one country, two systems” framework no longer applies to Hong Kong, where protests have spiraled out of control, as some people have embraced the Hong Kong identity over the Chinese identity, he said.
International coverage of Hong Kong’s protests has also sparked a wave of anti-authoritarianism, which, despite not having the power to topple one of the largest autocratic regimes in the world, Beijing must stop, Wu said.
China’s textbook answer to domestic problems is to blame its woes on an external hostile force, which, in this instance, is Hong Kong, as the territory is the geopolitical crux of the US’ first island chain strategy, he said.
“Beijing is taking a calculated risk. It aims to act first and resolve international recriminations by claiming the act as a , a move patterned after the Crimea model, Wu said.
Beijing is indifferent to possible Western sanctions and the possible collapse of Hong Kong as a financial center, as it believes the West is already enacting such sanctions, he said.
The legislation has been timed in anticipation of the West’s inability to react, and capitalizes on the Hong Kong protest movement having lost steam due to the pandemic, he said.
“Hong Kong is the stage for the opening moves of a new US-China cold war, resulting in Hong Kong truly becoming a part of China, despite suffering greatly,” Wu said.
China firmly believes that while its actions would cause ripples in the short term, the West and Japan are too financially reliant on Hong Kong to allow it to collapse completely, Wu said.
Over time, Hong Kong would once again rebuild itself as an international financial center while remaining depoliticized, he said.
China would not stop with Hong Kong and Taiwan would inevitably become the jousting field on which the US-China cold war would take place, Wu said.
Taiwan must stand with Hong Kong, “before Hong Kong is free again, we are all Hong Kongers,” he said.
Wu also called on the government and people to remain as united against Chinese aggression as they have against the pandemic.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu