China appears ready to further crush dissent within Hong Kong as its Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress begins review on a draft of the security law. The government claims to need the secretive bill in hopes of ending unrest while also vowing the importance of toeing the societal line.
“In the name of “Hong Kong independence” and “self-determination,” radicals openly challenge the central government and the SAR government and seriously touch the bottom line of the “one country” principle,” Hong Kong Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung tuts in an official blog published only in Chinese (Thanks to Google Translate for the assist.) today. “Coupled with the inadequacies of Hong Kong’s legal system and enforcement mechanism for maintaining national security, Hong Kong has become a gap in national security risks…The national security legislation aims to prevent, stop and punish the very few illegal elements that endanger national security, protect the vast majority of Hong Kong citizens who abide by the law, and protect their life and property as well as the basic rights and freedoms they enjoy in accordance with the law.”
Kin-chung rambles on about the need to “safeguard national security” through consolidation of the “one country, two systems” method of government for HK while issuing a warning to protest leaders and students who view freedom and universal suffrage key in their disputes with the Chinese and Hong Kong governments. “We often remind young people that it is not feasible to make mistakes and embark on a wrong path, otherwise they will destroy their future. This principle also applies to our city. As long as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region takes the right path again, the room for development will be infinite. No matter in the past, present or future, the motherland is always a strong backing for Hong Kong.”
Opponents rightly ask, “Security, at what cost?”
Hong Kong police wantonly used pepper spray again today during a peaceful protest causing injuries to demonstrators walking the sidewalk and journalists covering the scene. A Hong Kong member of the National People’s Congress told RTHK he believed it “reasonable” to throw those found guilty of the proposed law into a gulag for life(!) because it targets few people. Those believing the “few people” claim deserve a good dunking in the South China Sea given Beijing’s concentra-err-“vocational training camps” filled to the brim with Uighurs. Something similar likely exists already for Hongkongers who dare question the merits of communism and China’s more hands-on approach to affairs within the region.
The immediate response from most Americans towards China is a desire for war whether it be economic or military. There’s no wisdom in this given the likelihood the end result is death on all sides. History teaches us militant nationalism usually begets more conflict within regions when the economy wanes. China likely sees Hong Kong as an economic peach despite recent moves in Washington, DC to bruise its monetary appeal by applying China policy to HK. The DC policy may only inflame China to act more swiftly in hopes of protecting its own allies and grabbing as much money as possible.
It’s likely China decides a Hong Kong crackdown with an overt show of force on city streets is the ultimate solution if and when the security law gets approval. The American government is limited in its authority, however, it can extend refugee status to Hongkongers looking to escape from tyranny. It gives them another road to freedom outside of Great Britain or Tawain which are viewed as the most likely landing spots for democracy advocates or those who have no love of China.
Individual Americans have more power to help than the government. People can still chip in cash to Hong Kong democracy organizations including Demosisto or Hong Kong Free Press to directly help those who risk arrest at any day. State power is limited, but individual power is not. The moves may save a life or two more than total war – cold or not – along with preserving freedom within hearts and minds.