Beijing crushes Hong Kong’s spirit under a legal jackboot

Beijing crushes Hong Kong’s spirit under a legal jackboot, by Greg Sheridan.

The Chinese Communist Party has decided now to crush the semi-independent, liberal way of life, based on the rule of law and independent institutions, that the people of Hong Kong have enjoyed since before the territory’s handover to Beijing in 1997.

The passage by Beijing’s National People’s Congress of a national security law to apply in Hong Kong makes this now stark and clear and undeniable.

Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and Hong Kong’s Basic Law that flowed from it, Hong Kong is meant to have its own national security laws. …

Under Beijing’s new national security law for Hong Kong it will become a crime to spread false information, engage in acts of sedition or secession, and to conspire with foreign agents.

Beijing’s People’s Armed Police, the Ministry of State Security and other similar mainland institutions will set up in Hong Kong.

The vagueness in Chinese law of terms such as sedition and foreign agents suggests virtually anyone in Hong Kong who participated in demonstrations such as those that transfixed the world over the past 14 months, even the most peaceful demonstrations, would be liable for savage punishment.

This is a looming, terrible and perhaps irreversible tragedy for the people of Hong Kong. …

Beijing’s moves are clearly in violation of the agreement under which Hong Kong fell under Beijing’s control in 1997, which provided that the people of Hong Kong would exercise “a high degree of autonomy” and would preserve their distinctive way of life for 50 years. …

The Chinese Communist Party brings together two ideological dynamics unique in global history. The first is Marxism/Leninism. Western analysts routinely pooh-pooh Marxism/Leninism, if they’ve ever even heard of it. But one compliment analysts should pay the Chinese is to listen to what they actually say, especially to each other.

The Chinese Communist Party has fashioned its own ideological position but it has taken at least five lessons from Marxism/Leninism. …

  1. the centrality of the Communist Party to the state
  2. the dominance of the state in the economy
  3. the necessity for the party to ruthlessly maintain control over every element of state power
  4. the historical, almost metaphysical quality of the party as the vanguard of history, the animating agent of history …
  5. the notion that political life for the party and the citizenry is one of continuous struggle.

This last is a theme Xi himself has often repeated. …

The second great ideological dynamic that powers the Chinese Communist Party is the tradition of Chinese nationalism and exceptionalism.

Under Xi, Beijing has fashioned a pervasively ideological view of all history. It has determined, for instance, that the Qing Dynasty (1636 to 1912), China’s last imperial rule before the Chinese republic was established early in the 20th century, was a uniquely benign, and uniquely non-military, golden child of world history.

The Qing dynasty, like all other empires in human history, expanded in part through military conquest. But under modern Communist Party orthodoxy it is seen as having won support from the periphery of the Chinese empire, from Tibet and Xinjiang, from Taiwan and Inner Mongolia, entirely through acceptance of its superior civilisational qualities.


UPDATE: US splits with WHO as Trump strips Hong Kong, by Daniel Sankey.

The United States will reverse Hong Kong’s special customs status and bar “certain foreign nationals from China” as President Donald Trump hit back over new security plans for Hong Kong. …

Mr Trump said China had “broken its word” on Hong Kong, with the institution of new powers to quash unrest “diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status.” …

“I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy that gives Hong Kong different and special treatment.

“This will affect the full range of agreements, from our extradition treaty to our export controls on dual-use technologies and more, with few exceptions.”

And WHO gets the flick:

In a press conference at the White House this morning (AEST), Mr Trump also said the US would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organisation, which he said had not made any reforms in the wake of the deadly coronavirus.

What would Hillary, Obama, or Biden have done? Probably nothing. Given WHO more money so it can do a better job next time? Given implicit acquiescence to China by “recognizing reality”, while accepting Chinese donations funneled through Chinese businessmen? Maybe the Chinese would give their children valuable “jobs”?