Hong Kong Freedom Protests

 In Foreign

They were all dressed in black, a sea of protesters that filled the streets of Hong Kong over the last few days. Hundreds of thousands of people were in direct confrontation to the totalitarian nature of China. What are the implications? Huge.

“It’s not the endgame, because the Hong Kong government and Beijing just turned a whole generation of students from citizens to dissidents.” Joshua Wong, pro-Democracy activist released from prison on Monday

The protests stemmed from an extradition law that would make it easy to prosecute Hong Kong citizens in Communist China. The people balked. They viewed it as an “assault on their rights.” The Special Administrative Region suddenly would have been not so “special.” The 1997 “deal” gives Hong Kong 50 years to assimilate into Communist China’s repressive environment.. Looks like they don’t want to do that.

The Chief Executive (who is backed by Beijing), Carrie Lam, at first pushed back against the protesters. But her actions created even more protesters, so she suspended the vote on the law. But even though she “apologized” for the conflicts, now they demand she step down with even MORE protests. Most of the 70 member legislative body are pro-Beijing, so the protesters are demanding the law be permanently removed from consideration so that the legislature can’t pass it at all.

Hong Kong was “given back” to mainland China by the British on July 1, 1997. Instantly, the freedom loving, wealthy protectorate became part of a totalitarian state. They were used to capitalism, and their wealth proved it. The idea was to create one nation, two systems – one communist with all that entails, the other relatively autonomous with freedom. Beijing has other thoughts on the matter.

“For decades, Hong Kong’s relative autonomy has made the island territory an appealing place to do business in Asia. But under stronger Chinese rule, financial markets and regulatory systems in Hong Kong may become less reliable as they begin to reflect the national interests of China – not those of the free market.”

The Conversation

Chinese nationals in Hong Kong have amassed an enormous amount of wealth. Will Communist China allow the massive protests? The danger for a totalitarian regime in allowing them is that the spirit of the protests could catch on in the mainland in spite of the history of previous years.

The massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989 cracked down on the China’s pro-Democracy movement. If they attempt a similar move with these protests, the result will be even more bloody. It would also severely deter Taiwan from ever reunifying with the mainland – which is something sought after by Beijing.

The Communist government has blocked some news and attempted to subvert the message of the protests by blaming the US for “meddling.” But the fact is that it’s organic from within Hong Kong. And the pro-Democracy movement won’t be shut down by attacks.

If Xi exercises disciplined restraint and allows Hong Kong to evolve, we will be in a vastly different world – and may be able to talk about a long-term evolution from dictatorship toward freedom for China.

If, on the other hand, he moves to crush dissent and to impose totalitarian controls on Hong Kong, we will be in a much more serious challenge to freedom across the planet.

This is a critically consequential moment that matters to all of us – not just to the more than seven million citizens of Hong Kong. Now, we must wait and see what Xi decides.

Newt Gingrich

Featured photo: screenshot via @AmichaiStein1 on Twitter

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