While the UK and America look the other way, China is tightening the screws on Hong Kong.
First, the arrests. No doubt under direct orders from Beijing, the puppet government’s police have started arresting pro-democracy leaders including Joshua Wong who is charged with ‘unlawful assembly’ outside the police headquarters. Fellow Demosisto leader Agnes Chow faces similar charges. Both were released on bail, but the message is clear.
Second, opposition parties are removed. The Hong Kong National Party has been banned and its leader Andy Chan detained on rioting and assault charges.
Third, China puts pressure on companies and entrepreneurs to ‘show loyalty’ to the Motherland and come out squarely against those who cling to any old fashioned ideas like honouring the 50 year transition agreement. One company they have publicly accused of not doing enough is the Cathay Pacific airline. The spineless board has responded by firing the CEO and warning all staff that if they take part in this week’s two day General Strike they will be instantly dismissed.
Some entrepreneurs were sufficiently frightened that they showed up at a pro government rally, while others were more nuanced in their response. 91 year old billionaire Li Ka-shing (don’t you love the rhyme with ker-ching) placed full page ads in the local papers telling people to ‘love China, love Hong Kong and Love Yourself’. At the same time, he is buying up British assets like Greene King in a desperate attempt to get as much of his wealth out of Hong Kong as quickly as possible. I wonder if he senses which way the wind is blowing…
Fourth, taking a cue straight out of the SS playbook, you select targets and send in the thugs to give them a beating. Jimmy Sham is the leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, an internationally respected organisation in which 44 Non Government Organisations are involved. Sham was recently attacked in a restaurant by two men with baseball bats and a knife. On the same day, elsewhere in Hong Kong, activist Max Chung Kin-ping was given a vicious beating. In a piece of newspeak worthy of Tony Blair, the beatings are no doubt being inflicted by members of the People’s Liberation Army.
While Hong Kong’s companies and entrepreneurs are caving in to the People’s Republic, as with Tiananmen Square it falls to students and schoolchildren to show some backbone. Many have boycotted new term opening ceremonies, some have added hard hats, masks and goggles to their school uniform and knelt in protest to defend the Five Major Demands:
- Withdraw the extradition bill that kicked off the whole protest movement, rather than simply delaying it to a more opportune time.
- Remove Bejing’s puppet governor, Carrie Lam, who has lost all trust of the population
- Hold an enquiry into the police brutality that has been visited on protesters
- Release those who have been arrested and the biggie:
- Introduce more democratic freedoms
Have you ever seen anyone protest against the introduction of more freedoms? Me neither. China’s goals are transparent. Under the most despotic leader since Mao, the state must win at all costs. Any thoughts of a return to the freedoms enjoyed under British rule are anathema to a totalitarian state like modern China. With several years experience of working in China and rubbing shoulders with Chinese business people, the supreme irony is that they are a far more entrepreneurial bunch than most of the Brits or Americans I meet. And yet they operate this weird form of capitalist action within the framework of a state- controlled communist philosophy.
Hong Kong is buzzing hub at the crossroads between capitalism and communism. It’s been free to grow for a hundred years. And now it is being systematically and deliberately killed off by a country that has forgotten what freedom means.
The 1st October marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People’s Republic of China. How much blood will be shed in the tiny province of Hong Kong as China seeks to ‘liberate’ its people so they can enjoy the same ‘freedoms’ as the mainland population?
Meanwhile, the rest of the world remains silent as Goliath tramples David under foot.
Think you can’t do anything to help? Yes you can. Write to you MP in 30 seconds using the form at www.standwithhk.org
Some things are even more important than Brexit.
Until next time.