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Defending the Rule of Law in Hong Kong

For the past eleven consecutive weeks, the Hong Kong people have been protesting the proposed extradition bill and later, how the authorities have mistreated people. Beijing has turned a deaf ear to them and even plans to use either the army or police forces from the mainland to bring “order” to Hong Kong. How should the West handle the CCP’s threats?

Before answering that question, let’s first try to understand this question: What do the Hong Kong people really want and what are they defending?

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has called the Hong Kong people “Hong Kong separationists” or “dogs of the British colony.” We all know that is not true; they are not asking for Hong Kong’s independence; they are not asking to go back to the U.K., either.

Are they asking for universal suffrage? Yes, they asked for it in the Occupy Central movement in 2014 and are asking for it now. However, one may wonder, “The Hong Kong people didn’t have universal suffrage under British rule. They didn’t ask for it then. Why now?”

This is because universal suffrage is not their essential appeal. Their essential appeal is for the “rule of law.”

Being a global financial center and trading hub, the rule of law is a must for Hong Kong. It needs that to assure people that they can be at ease doing business in Hong Kong: their personal safety is guaranteed, the security of their assets is protected, contracts are honored, legal processes are trustworthy, and officials’ abuse of power is systematically prevented.

Hong Kong enjoyed the rule of law under the British rule and continued with it under the “One Country, Two Systems” in accordance with Beijing’s agreement after it took over in 1997. However, as the CCP has gradually gained more control over Hong Kong, adherence to the rule of law has been deteriorating and the CCP has been replacing it with “rule by the Communist Party.” Chinascope has published an analysis explaining that in China, it is not the “rule of law” and not even the “rule by law” that has prevailed, but just “rule by the Communist Party.” {1}

Among the five demands that the Hong Kong people have made, four are related to the “rule of law.” They are: the withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, the government’s retraction of its characterization of the violent clashes as “riots,” unconditional release of arrested protesters and dropping charges against them, and a completely independent investigation of police behavior.

So, what the Hong Kong people are doing is defending Hong Kong’s rule of law. The request for universal suffrage is a means to enable that defense. An executive that the public elects is more likely to honor the public’s interest and the rule of law while an executive that the CCP selects will likely be the CCP’s puppet. This was not an issue during the British rule because the rule of law was already honored under the British, and thus, the Hong Kong people didn’t ask for the governor to be elected.

Now let’s come back to the opening question: How should the West handle the CCP’s threats? Should the world acquiesce to the CCP’s use force to end the protests in Hong Kong?

No, definitely not. The moment the CCP uses the gun instead of a humane approach to solve the Hong Kong issue, that is when the new era for Hong Kong starts. It will be the era of “rule by the party” in Hong Kong. The rule of law will be gone and Hong Kong will no longer be a global center.

The damage is not just that.

The world must take a stand and follow with specific actions that do not allow Beijing to expand its “rule by the party” to Hong Kong We cannot tell our companies that they must kowtow to the CCP if they want to do business in China. In fact, many of them have already practiced bowing to the CCP all these years and done it very well.

If the world lets Beijing renounce its promise that “One Country, Two Systems” will not change for 50 years, we are telling Beijing that it can sign any trade deal with any country and any organization, knowing that it can break its promise at any time. Beijing has already done that in many instances. Its WTO promises are just one.

If the world lets Beijing use tear gas, bullets, or tanks to put down protests in Hong Kong, we are telling Beijing that we do not care about human rights and we can tolerate a “Thuggish Regime.” We already made that mistake in responding to the Tiananmen Massacre.

The Hong Kong people have shown the world that they are willing to use their human flesh to defend the rule of law in front of a mighty state machine. If Beijing has its way with Hong Kong who is next?

Now it is time for the U.S., the West, and the whole world to join them, to show that we are committed to defending the rule of law, the spirit of the contract, human rights, and at the moral level, what it means to make a promise and to keep your word! We are also telling the thugs and evildoers that immoral acts have consequences.

Endnote:
{1} Chinascope, “China: Rule of Law or Rule by the Party?” April 5, 2015.
http://chinascope.org/archives/6497.

Beijing Unveils Plan to Promote Shen Zhen as New Center for “One Country, Two Systems”

At the time when Hong Kong’s anti-extradition bill protests continued, the Chinese government announced its plan to support Shenzhen as a pilot zone for a new practice of “one country, two systems.” Some scholars believe that the move shows the central government’s wish to tell Hong Kong that China’s development will not be affected by the situation in Hong Kong and that Shenzhen, with strong support from the central government, may replace Hong Kong in terms of its financial and economic standing.

On August 18, the State Council issued an opinion about developing a “Pilot Zone for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” in Shenzhen. The document indicated that the plan is conducive to promoting reform and opening up, implementing the strategy of the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, and enriching the development of “one country, two systems.” It includes a total of 19 specific goals, aims to make Shen Zhen a world top city by 2025, and a national model by 2035.

He Ping, a professor at Tsinghua University told Radio Free Asia that Hong Kong’s frequent protests in recent days has led to political instability. At this juncture, the central government’s plan to develop Shenzhen vigorously is actually to show Hong Kong that Shenzhen can be as prosperous as Hong Kong. He believes that if Hong Kong’s demonstrations continue and the economy stagnates, Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center may not be sustainable, and Shenzhen may replace Hong Kong.

However, Liu Kaiming, a scholar at a Shen Zhen think tank, pointed out that even if the central government strongly supports Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s full-fledged rule of law and financial institutions, which are in line with international standards, makes it impossible for a mainland city to take over. If the mainland wants to attract foreign investors, it has to change and use the rule of law and the financial system, but that cannot be done in the short run.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 19, 2019
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/shenzhen-08192019083422.html

The Paper: Former Iowa State Representative Called on Hong Kong Protesters to Stop Violence

The communist party often prefers to publish Westerner’s opinions when they are supportive of its position. The Paper reported that Gregory Cusack, {a Democrat and former member of the Iowa State House of Representatives from January 8, 1973, to October 1, 1981,} wrote a letter to Shanghai Daily on August 14, in which he expressed his concerns about the Hong Kong protesters and called on them to “renounce violence.”

The article quoted the following from the Cusack’s letter:

“From the first protests in Hong Kong this summer, I have been troubled by the ever-expanding demands of the protesters. This is one of the consequences, by the way, of the lack of clear leadership. Unfortunately, during the recent outbreak of violence employed by a small number of the protesters, a truly ominous escalation has occurred. The New York Times quoted a young female protester as saying, ‘We saw that violence has proved successful elsewhere in attaining objectives so we decided to use it, too.'”

“I have no idea who the ‘we’ are, but whatever number of people (who hold that belief) are in grave error. Violence may seem ‘purifying’ or ‘necessary,’ but as it dramatically escalates both emotions and stakes the only thing violence achieves is greater violence.”

According to the Paper, this is not the first time that Cusack has written to Shanghai Daily. Earlier, Cusack wrote a letter after reading Xinhua’s report on the U.S.-China trade dispute that brought disaster to the farmers in the Midwestern United States. In his letter, he specifically stated that, “One heck of a lot of farmers in America are not happy, and an even greater number are very worried about how this will all play out, especially the longer the stand-off continues.” That letter was published on Shanghai Daily on June 21 this year.

Source:
The Paper, August 16, 2019
https://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_4179295
Shine.cn, August 16, 2019
https://www.shine.cn/opinion/1908160287/
China Global Television Network (CGTN), June 22, 2019
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-06-22/Media-s-role-in-informing-U-S-farmers-HJPIe5Xo9W/index.html

Epoch Times: Xi Ordered “Stand Still”

According to The Epoch Times, after the anti-extradition movement had continued for more than two months in Hong Kong, the CCP’s media repeatedly released the film, “A Large Number of Armed Police Convoys in Shenzhen” to intimidate protesters. On August 14th and 15th, President Trump urged Xi Jinping several times to solve the Hong Kong problem humanely before he would make a deal on tariffs. Thereafter, it is said that Xi Jinping sent  a special agent group to Hong Kong to convey an urgent message of the highest order: “Stand Still.”

An informer said that, since demonstrators occupied the Hong Kong airport, for safety reasons the special agent group flew from Beijing to Shenzhen, and then took special vehicles to Hong Kong. They secretly conveyed the highest order to the Hong Kong Liaison Office of China and the Hong Kong Garrison, as well as the SAR Government. The highest order had been made at the CCP’s annual Beidaihe meeting.

The informer also said that, now that Xi Jinping would not order “sending troops” to Hong Kong, Zhongnanhai had reached a consensus and would temporarily take the strategy of “Standing Still” and “Slowing Down” {Editor’s note: Both are from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War}. As soon as the Zhongnanhai special agent group arrived in Hong Kong, the group began to “work” and conveyed the “Slow Down” strategy about “how to restore order in Hong Kong  ASAP” to “special groups.”

The participants in the 1.7 million people’s rally on the 18th in Hong Kong said that the behavior of the police  had “changed.” This was the first time the police did not shoot and fire tear gas at the demonstrators, which was evidently related to Zhongnanhai’s latest strategy.

Source:
The Epoch Times, August 21, , 2019
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/19/8/20/n11465818.htm

CNA: Beijing Defines Extradition Protest in Hong Kong as a “Color Revolution”

According to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao News, at the Beidaihe meeting, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) top officials defined the violence that the Hong Kong anti-extradition protest triggered as color revolution. The article said that the current and retired leaders have reached a consensus that the incident is the result of a color revolution “led by military and political intelligence agencies from multiple nations and regions.” They defined the target; it is against the CCP. The CCP’s top officials have concluded that the color revolution is likely to expand into areas such as finance, trade, or national security. Therefore, the Hong Kong Government may not be capable of handling it and may need or require Beijing’s support. However, they still hope that the Hong Kong government can use its ability to calm the civil strife within a limited time and legal framework. According to sources, if the Hong Kong government is not able to do so, Beijing can, under the law, provide all needed “assistance.”

In July and August each year, the CCP leadership takes a vacation at the Beidaihe summer resort, Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province and discusses a number of major issues. This is commonly known as the Beidaihe Conference.

The state CCTV news recently broadcasted that Li Zhanshu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and Chairman of the National People’s Congress attended an event in Beijing, indicating that this year’s Beidaihe Conference has ended. Hence the report in Ming Pao.

Source: Central News Agency, August 17, 2019
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/201908170032.aspx

Huanqiu Article: Expose the “Gang That Endangered Hong Kong Security”

Huanqiu published an article that condemned a list of leaders of those in Hong Kong who have been involved in the protest against the proposed extradition bill and warned them not to use democracy as an excuse and not to portray students as victims. It cautioned them, saying they should forget about launching a “Color Revolution” in Hong Kong.

The list included the following people: Jimmy Lai (Lai Chee-Ying), businessman; Martin Lee Chu-ming, politician; Anson Chan (Chan Fang On-sang), formal Chief Secretary for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government; Albert Ho Chun-yan, a former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for the District Council; Joshua Wong Chi-fung, student activist; Nathan Law Kwun-chung, student leader; and Alex Chow Yong-kang, social activist. The article listed their crimes which include assisting foreign forces to interfere in Hong Kong, inciting violent individuals to destroy Hong Kong, and inciting students to march on the streets. It specifically criticized them for the following:

1. Jimmy Lai for meeting with Pence, Pompeo, and Bolton in July and publishing anti-extradition statements in the New York Times;
2. Martin Lee Chu-ming for meeting with Pompeo in May and Julie Eadeh, US Consulate General, in Hong Kong in August;
3. Anson Chan, for meeting with Pence, Pelosi, and representatives from the National Security Bureau; for appealing and calling on the U.S. to put pressure on Beijing in March as well as meeting with Julie Eadeh in August;
4. Albert Ho Chun-yan for attending the protest in Yuen Long in July and meeting with a male foreigner in August;
5. Joshua Wong Chi-fung for meeting with Julie Eadeh in August; and for inciting violence during the protests;
6. Nathan Law Kwun-chung for making up rumors to endanger the police force; for calling on the public to participate in the protest through social media; and for meeting Julie Eadeh in August;
7. Alex Chow Yong-kang for his speech in the U.S. in March in which he started that there is no democracy and freedom in Hong Kong; for calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to further study the development of Hong Kong democracy; and for participating in protest activities in front of the Chinese consulate in New York in August.

Source: Huanqiu, August 17, 2019
http://china.huanqiu.com/gangao/2019-08/15316859.html?agt=15422