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Good morning. Our colleague Vivian Wang helps you make sense of China’s crackdown on Hong Kong.
China’s crackdown on Hong Kong has occurred swiftly: A rising energy has asserted its authority over a worldwide monetary capital, by way of a harsh nationwide safety legislation enacted final summer time.
It’s one of many world’s most consequential tales, but one typically overshadowed by the pandemic. This morning, I’m specializing in Hong Kong, with assist from my colleague Vivian Wang, who’s based mostly there. Our alternate follows.
David: Britain handed over management of Hong Kong to China almost 25 years ago, and there has lengthy been a pro-democracy motion there. Why did Xi Jinping and the remainder of China’s management resolve to behave now?
Vivian: The brief reply is the big antigovernment protest motion in 2019, in response to a authorities proposal that may have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
Officers in Beijing additionally hated that overseas politicians, like these within the U.S., had been so vocal in help of the protesters. Beijing is absolutely fearful that Hong Kong might be a base for overseas powers to attempt to topple the Chinese language authorities.
From Beijing’s perspective, has the crackdown labored? And has it created any issues for the central authorities?
In some ways, it has completely labored. There are no more street protests. There’s intensive self-censorship. Just about each distinguished pro-democracy activist is in exile, in jail, awaiting trial or has disappeared from public life.
However there’s numerous simmering anger amongst Hong Kongers, even when they don’t dare categorical it publicly anymore. They nonetheless store at shops and eating places they suppose help the democracy motion. That’s why we see Beijing persevering with to use stress. It clearly, and I feel rightly, doesn’t suppose the menace is previous.
So far as penalties, the crackdown has introduced worldwide condemnation, and the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Chinese language and Hong Kong officers. The query is how a lot China cares. In the intervening time, it appears to suppose that it’s ascendant sufficient to climate this.
Is the purpose to show Hong Kong into one other Chinese language metropolis — one which’s politically indistinguishable from, say, Shanghai — or does the management nonetheless need Hong Kong to be distinct?
The framework that has all the time been used to explain Hong Kong post-handover is “one nation, two techniques.” Many individuals understood the “two techniques” half to be twofold: Not solely was Hong Kong capitalist whereas China was socialist, however Hong Kong additionally was comparatively politically free, whereas the mainland was not.
Chinese language officers nonetheless insist that they’re dedicated to “one nation, two techniques.” However their focus appears very a lot to be on retaining Hong Kong as a separate, hypercapitalist system, not on retaining its separate political id. Many Hong Kongers have lengthy stated that they anticipated their metropolis to become simply one other mainland metropolis ultimately.
I’ve a tough time seeing how this story ends with something apart from victory for China’s leaders and defeat for the pro-democracy motion. Do folks inside the motion see any motive for optimism?
Ever since the security law was enacted, the temper inside the pro-democracy motion has been bleak. I anticipated at the least some folks to supply fiery defiance and remind folks that there’s nonetheless hope — if solely simply as a rallying cry, whether or not they believed it or not. However fairly constantly throughout folks I speak to, the consensus is that there’s not a lot they will do to alter the scenario, at the least for now.
That’s why you see many individuals making preparations to go abroad. And never simply rich Hong Kongers with twin citizenships — folks with no expertise exterior Hong Kong or who don’t converse a lot English are doing so, too.
China’s leaders additionally contemplate Taiwan to be a part of their nation. However Taiwan, not like Hong Kong, has an unbiased authorities. How do you suppose Hong Kong impacts Taiwan?
Many individuals see Beijing’s actions on Hong Kong as a harbinger of, or a laboratory for, extra aggressive actions on Taiwan. It’s all a part of an more and more assured Chinese language authorities that feels it might probably take these dangers.
On the similar time, the crackdown is probably going driving public opinion in Taiwan further from Beijing. Prior to now, Beijing has additionally proposed reunification with Taiwan underneath a mannequin of “one nation, two techniques.” Many Taiwan residents can take a look at Hong Kong and see how that has turned out.
For extra: Edward Wong, a Occasions correspondent who spent 9 years reporting on China and has lined Hong Kong protests, recommends two episodes of “This American Life” — “Umbrellas Up” from 2019 and “Umbrellas Down” from 2020.
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Thanks for spending a part of your morning with The Occasions. See you tomorrow. — David
P.S. What’s going to your life seem like after Covid? The Occasions needs to listen to about your hopes, fears, predictions and extra. Share them here.
Source: The New Hong Kong