Stand with Hong Kong: How A Miscalculation Led To Widespread Insurrection | Damian Bilbrough
On June 9th 2019, a large scale protest involving hundreds of thousands of citizens in Hong Kong occurred, in protest to a bill to allow extraditions of wanted criminals to Mainland China. In any other event, this protest, whilst large, may have just passed. But with the reaction from the Hong Kong government and by extension, their CCP puppet-masters, and the anger felt by Hong Kong civilians who had seen moves by China to strip their autonomy over the past few years, enough was enough. This protest sparked the Hong Kong Protests that have lasted for ten months now with little chance of ending until their demands are met. Whilst it is hard to discuss events that are still ongoing, with the possibility that any work done on the subject can be outdated in a matter of days, the import of these events mean that they must be discussed, even in very brief terms. The most pressing matter is the cause of the protests, for they can help us to try and work out where these protests will end and can help us to answer the question, ‘should we stand with Hong Kong?’
The flashpoint cause o the protests was the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill. This Bill sought to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to places with whom they did not have previous treaties, with one clear goal: Mainland China. This tyrannical act would help to pave the way to finally destroy the autonomy that Hong Kong enjoyed from China and to bring Hong Kong fully under the boot of Beijing. Whilst the CCP tried to pass this off by linking it to a murder suspect from Taiwan, the people of Hong Kong knew this was a lie.
Despite this blatant power grab, the CCP and its lackeys in the Hong Kong House Committee sought the bill’s passage, as it would allow for easier co-operation, or so they claimed, blatantly ignoring the One Country, Two Systems that has kept Hong Kong not only afloat, but thriving, since leaving the British Empire and joining the People’s Republic of China. With the attempts to strip Hong Kong of this special accommodation, the CCP showed its hand, and the brave people of Hong Kong defied this.
The cause for China’s attempt to completely control Hong Kong is obvious, fewer and fewer youth of Hong Kong see themselves as Chinese, with many of the residents supporting independence, or touting a return to British or even to American rule. The Chinese State cannot allow this to happen, for if a region as prosperous as Hong Kong is allowed to leave, other regions, such as Macau, may try their hand at independence as well. To the State, this is not merely a protest against corrupt officials, this is a direct threat to the Party and must be swiftly crushed. To the people of Hong Kong, this is a fight for their very futures and in some cases, their lives.
Anger is also rampant in the people of Hong Kong, not purely due to the tyranny of the CCP, but due to house prices and a lack of job opportunities owing to a small business elite that has dominated Hong Kong since the colonial era, and due to lower wages being accepted by mainlanders who move from China to Hong Kong for work. Whilst it is true that many of these issues were not caused by the CCP, and therefore anger cannot be aimed at them for it; but their failure to address this, and the negligence that they show towards the people of Hong Kong, makes the anger of its citizens all the more justified. This lack of help from the Chinese government for the people of Hong Kong shows exactly what the CCP prioritises and it should highlight to the rest of the world that the current Chinese regime cannot be trusted.
The protests themselves came to real prominence on June 9th, with well over a hundred thousand people taking to the streets, demanding the withdrawal of the extradition bill, though after harsh police brutality on June 12th against the protestors, this changed to become a much wider range of demands, such as the release of arrested protestors, and most of all, the resignation of Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong Chief Executive and the main puppet to Beijing in Hong Kong. Lam herself was even at the 70th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of the PRC in Beijing, showing her loyalty and position of favour under President Xi. It is clear that Lam is under the thumb of Xi Jinping and, if Hong Kong is ever to be the shining bastion of democracy that it ought to be in the murky waters of Chinese tyranny, Lam must go.
The Hong Kong Protests clearly have many different reasons for occurring, and there must be several institutional changes, not only in Hong Kong, but in Beijing, for the righteous anger of the protestors to finally abate once Hong Kong opens up after the current Covid-19 pandemic. The way to do this is clear, Beijing must abandon its dogged efforts to control all of Hong Kong and respect the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement forged between China and the United Kingdom back in 1997. It must respect the democratic rights and the will of the Hong Kong people, by no longer seeking any legislation akin to the Extradition bill; and the removal of Carrie Lam from her post is a necessity. If it fails to do so, China runs a real risk of seeing a Hong Kong in the near future that seeks to break truly free, perhaps enforcing its will through force and blood. Hopefully, China agrees to respect Hong Kong and we see a peaceful resolution to all the issues plaguing the relationship, and, if not… I stand with Hong Kong.
Photo by Jonathan van Smit on Flickr.