Beijing plans to set up institutions in Hong Kong to perform 'necessary duties' related to maintaining national security.Thomson Reuters

Beijing plans to set up institutions in Hong Kong to perform 'necessary duties' related to maintaining national security.Thomson Reuters

What are grounds of this global assertion? In the first turn, the question is that liberalism and authoritarianism «in terms of one country and two systems» were brought together on a vast area where one of the parties is doomed to defeat. Facts say the following.

Background: Hong Kong, or Siangan is a territory uniting more than 260 islands. It was seized by Great Britain in 1842 and turned into colony. A greater part (with lesser population) of Hong Kong, the so-called New Territories, were leased from China in 1898 for a term of 99 years. Note that London has never declined from giving these territories back to China by 1997, and this became a reality by the time fixed. It is important to note that Hong Kong is ruled as autonomy by local residents within the framework of Deng Xiaoping’s concept of «one country and two systems». Granting this, the Chinese government is responsible for the autonomy’s defense and foreign policy while Hong Kong deals with legislation, police, monetary system, duties and immigration policy and has its own offices in international organizations.

Also, the National People’s Congress of China (NPC) announced later May that it was going to adopt a law on security in Hong Kong that prohibits a separation of the autonomy, subversive activity, terrorism and foreign interference. The Standing Committee of the NPC is responsible for elaboration of the draft law to be over in a fortnight, so the law takes effect later summer-earlier autumn. In this connection, observers expect toughening of legal requirements, including persecutions of civil activists, long terms of imprisonment for violation of national security, etc. The most important thing is that Chinese security forces and army will act in Hong Kongе on a legal basis.

Mass actions of protest in Hong Kong last year are widely known but just a few remember today that in 2003 Hong Kong and another autonomous Chinese town Macao (former Portuguese colony) had already been suggested to enact draft laws prohibiting riots, subversive activity, separatism and treason. Note that the draft law stipulated strengthening of authorities of law-enforcement bodies, in particular, they were allowed to make unwarranted searches if believed that a delay in judge’s sanctions threatened the national security. However, the draft was rejected by Hong Kong but adopted by Macao where the civil movement was widely developed. It is worth reminding that the law has not practically been applied in Macao within 11 years after its adoption.

It has to be kept in mind that a legal foundation of Hong Kong is based on standards of the UN International Pact on Civil and Political Rights. The Pact has provisions that restrict rights when the national security is endangered. That’s why a law prohibiting activity of organizations standing for independence has already in effect in Hong Kong.

Note that today the Hong Kong police department is engaged in making large-scale arrests while the Hong Kong procurators are busy bringing accusations against law-breakers. A head of the administration, Lam stated that the Hong Kong police would continue its law-enforcement activity; however, her words raise doubts of citizens.

As for the US and West’ response as a whole, US Secretary of State M. Pompeo declared on May 27, 2020 that «a Beijing’s decision is a step toward suspension of Hong Kong’s autonomy as set forth in а UN-approved Chinese-British declaration. When adjusted for facts available, no man of good sense can insists that at present Hong Kong exercises high level of autonomy from China. That said, the United States is going to annul a special status of Hong Kong and thus deprive the autonomy of trasde privileges, in particular, lower tariffs as compared with the mainland. «China substituted a formula «one country – two systems» for «one country – one system. So I ordered that my administration start cancelling the policy of privileges for Hong Kong», D. Trump noted. The US President explained that this decision embraced a number of agreements with Hong Kong, including extradition, export and trade of dual-use goods.

It must be conceded that Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States signed a joint statement that said that a Beijing’s decision of elaboration of the law on national security for Hong Kong was contrary to a declaration signed by Great Britain and China on autonomy of the region. In reply, a Chinese Foreign Ministry representative, Xiao Litsyan called other countries to cease interfering with Hong Kong internal affairs.

Some analysts hold that aggravation of relations between the United States and China is none other than a part of pre-election campaign in the USA, especially as the confrontation tends to become a major foreign political aspect of this campaign. On the other hand, China is leaving the USA and West far behind in removing pandemic consequences and Beijing’s large-scale damping purchases of productions abroad, speeding-up its economic development worldwide. In so doing, Beijing will be able to reject Washington’s request on country’s joining new agreements on control over armaments between the USA and Russia.

A question arises: will today’s confrontation lead to the formation of bipolar world and arouse a conflict between liberalism and authoritarianism?

The point is that the United Sates has driven itself into a corner with its harsh anti-Chinese policy. Suffice it to say that a Trump administration document titled «Strategic approach to the People’s Republic of China» says that China is a US’ strategic rival in economy, ideology and national security.

From now on, Washington will either bend Beijing to its will or paradoxically punish not China but Hong Kong through destroying one of the world’s powerful financial centers.

It should be borne in mind that Hong Kong residents have for a quarter of a century been citizens of China. However, they decline from identifying themselves as Chinese as saying that they are accustomed to another identity and speak another dialect of the Chinese language – Canton dialect, not Beijing one – Mandarin. Besides, they profess a religious pluralism which is strongly different from continental China. Every year on June 4, tens and sometimes thousands of residents gather in a park of Queen Victoria to honor the memory of those killed on Tiananmen Square in 1989 and name tragedy culprits (Communist Party of China).

Until recently, nearly all draft laws stirring up protests have been withdrawn. These also included agreements of 2019 on extradition of suspects. From now on, the situation has sharply changed.

It should be added that China is faced with two pressures – internal from Hong Kong and external from the United States. It’d be undesirable to yield to the US pressure but obstinacy is fraught with new, stronger protests capable of growing into the civil war. The most important thing is that the situation around Hong Kong may scare Taiwan away from a plan of stage-by-stage integration with China.

It should be remembered that according to some western mass media prognoses, Beijing will score a victory in the conflict: sanctions are likely to attach Hong Kong stronger to the People’s Republic of China, and the latter as a main investor today may become a single one tomorrow! So today’s broader autonomy of Hong Kong may radically change tomorrow.

It ought to be noted that US statements are interpreted by official Beijing as recognition of attempts to change the internal social system of China by means of «Hong Kong model» and avail of Hong Kong as a springboard for separatist, subversive activity on inland territories.

So, confrontation is too serious to be resolved by means of compromises only. It is stirred up by dangerous political and economic processes speeded up by pandemic. The point is about the growth of nationalism, xenophobia and isolationalism destroying the globalization which, in turn, is reduced to liberalism displeasured in a greater part of the world. It’d be appropriate to agree with point of view under which «the growth of unemployment together with natural calamities caused by climatic changes and outburst of diseases will aggravate discontent worldwide».

It’d be wrong to take the liberty of finalizing prospects of confrontation between liberalism and authoritarianism, hence, let’s look at a mass media diagnosis dated May 28, 2020):

«Despite extraordinary stimulation measures, the US real GDP is expected to fall by 39, 6% in the second quarter of 2020 and by 5,6% following the results of the overall year. All these are explained as being due to the fact that most monetary and budgetary measures are aimed at addressing issues due to temporary money flows. The world has to modify business and employment models through supplying them with new instruments for the post-pandemic epoch. For this to happen, it is essential to make large-scale investments at local, national and global levels» - see Andrew Sean, Chao Gen. Cooperate with China or suffer.


Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line