Chinese language President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong on June 30 and July 1 to commemorate the twenty fifth anniversary of the tip of 156 years of British rule by refusing to remain in a single day, a sign, in accordance with knowledgeable sources, of Xi’s fears for his security.
The identical fears had been a part of the explanation that he has not left mainland China for almost two and a half years, previous to this go to. As a substitute, Xi slept in Shenzhen, from whence he got here to Hong Kong by high-speed practice. In distinction, when former Chinese language President Jiang Zemin visited Hong Kong in 1997, he stayed at a lodge owned by his good friend Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man.
The truth that Xi didn’t hassle to remain the evening can also be illustrative of the town’s diminished standing as a global metropolis. Whereas Xi desires Hong Kong to be an necessary monetary hub on his phrases, it will likely be underneath draconian rule by the Chinese language Communist Get together, not on the phrases of liberal Hong Kong individuals and expatriates. Xi desires Hong Kong to prosper as a CCP-dominated polity.
Throughout the president’s go to, drones had been banned throughout the town, whereas the airspace above the Conference Middle, the venue of the handover ceremony, was a no-fly zone. A number of layers of barricades emanated in concentric circles, with doorways usually guarded by police. Within the method, law enforcement officials had been stationed at intervals, carrying flak jackets with digital devices. Saying crowds had been muted was an understatement. There appeared little urge for food for the commemoration past fastidiously orchestrated commemorations.
Newspaper distributors had been making a gift of free copies of China Day by day, which usually prices HK$10 (US$1.27). The entrance web page of the state newspaper was splashed with articles lauding the handover, together with a narrative on Xi commending the earlier Hong Kong chief government Carrie Lam for quelling the protests that rocked the town from 2019 to 2020.
The protests abated after Beijing imposed the Nationwide Safety Legislation in the course of 2020. A whole bunch have since been arrested and impartial media retailers like Stand Information and Apple Day by day have been shut. Town’s retired Catholic cardinal has been arrested together with its most outstanding writer, the architect of the essential legislation governing relations with China, and 47 outstanding democracy advocates.
Throughout his speech, Xi stated that after “the wind and rain,” Hong Kong individuals now notice ”the town can’t afford to descend into chaos.” He highlighted the necessity to protect the frequent legislation system inherited from the previous British rulers. However he pressured that “The regime should be within the palms of patriots… [there is] not a rustic or a jurisdiction the place its residents would permit those that should not patriotic, or are even traitors maintain political energy.”
In a touch that China’s model of “one nation two programs” is prone to stay in Hong Kong – if in China’s vastly restricted model – effectively previous its expiry date in 2047, he added, “There isn’t a motive to alter such system, and it should be maintained for a very long time.”
His remarks on “one nation, two programs” drew applause from the 1,300 fastidiously chosen company on the ceremony, which included John Lee, Carrie Lam, and Donald Tsang, a former Hong Kong chief government who had been jailed. Additionally current had been native tycoons like Allan Zeman and Victor Li, the eldest son of Li Ka-shing.
Round lunchtime on July 1, Asia Sentinel visited the Causeway Bay district, the place protest marches had been held for many years on July 1 since 2003. No demonstration was seen and the police presence in that space was seen. Asia Sentinel got here throughout a number of policemen frisking a person in Causeway Bay.
“I obtained blended emotions about what Hong Kong is popping into,” a mainland Chinese language girl who beforehand lived in Hong Kong instructed Asia Sentinel.
“As a Chinese language, I do know it’s inevitable and it marks the tip of humiliation, and I’m certainly happy with that. But as a Hong Konger, I most likely don’t like the truth that Hong Kong is turning into one other regular metropolis within the mainland,” stated the girl who declined to be named.
The distinction in opinion couldn’t be extra stark. On the identical day Christopher Patten, the final British governor of Hong Kong, delivered a scathing assault at what he referred to as the “Leninist” authorities in Beijing and the “Quisling authorities” of post-handover Hong Kong, named after Vidkun Quisling, the puppet chief of Norway underneath German occupation throughout World Conflict II. Patten stated these harsh phrases in a video posted on July 1 on the Fb web page of Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based nongovernmental group (NGO) which displays Hong Kong affairs.
“There isn’t a query that what you’ve gotten seen in Hong Kong is the try to stop any democratic expression of view, to finish freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry and freedom of the press, to engineer the souls of younger individuals in Hong Kong by imposing on them a Communist curriculum, and naturally to begin to erode the rule of legislation for the reason that Chinese language Leninists don’t truly consider that there’s a distinction that ought to be drawn between the legislature, the judiciary and the chief,” stated Patten.
The Quisling regime” of Hong Kong, he stated, “has connived at turning Hong Kong into an appendage of the Chinese language surveillance state. What was as soon as admired as Asia’s most interesting police service is not serving the individuals of Hong Kong however serving the Ministry of State Safety in Beijing.”
“They’ve crushed democracy, they’re crushing freedom placing it in handcuffs, they’ve crushed freedom of speech, and the Quislings are merely going together with that, as we will see that with the case of Apple Day by day….which they hated as a result of its proprietor (Jimmy Lai) has been a refugee from Communism and anyone who criticized Chinese language conduct with the bloodbath of individuals in and round Tiananmen Sq. in 1989,” Patten declared.
Lai is at present in jail for violating the Nationwide Safety Legislation.
“Why has the Chinese language Leninist social gathering accomplished this?” Patten requested rhetorically.
“They aren’t safe of their boots, these Leninist bosses in Beijing. What they’re scared of is the freedoms which Hong Kong displays,” Patten defined. That features a free press and the flexibility to name leaders into consideration, “which the Chinese language Communist regime realizes that in the end will deliver their regime crashing down.”
“I don’t suppose these concepts are going to be snuffed out. I believe they’ll survive lengthy after the Chinese language Leninist regime has been swept into the ash can of historical past,” Patten predicted.
What would Deng Xiaoping do?
At a Hong Kong International Correspondents’ Membership webinar on June 29, Zhang Weiwei, a former interpreter for Deng Xiaoping, stated if the late Chinese language chief was alive right now, the Nationwide Safety Legislation or one thing related may have been utilized in Hong Kong a lot earlier.
Throughout the Eighties, Deng negotiated the handover of Hong Kong with then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Zhang, who’s now director of the China Institute at Fudan College in Shanghai, recalled that in 1992, officers of the Individuals’s Liberation Military (PLA) offered Deng with a report on the Chinese language navy preparation for the handover on June 30 and July 1, 1997. Deng stated it was “too smooth,” Zhang disclosed.
Deng stated this navy preparation was for a peaceable switch, Zhang stated. Deng requested the PLA officers if the British did one thing surprising so there was no peaceable switch, whether or not the PLA was militarily ready for a non-peaceful switch, Zhang stated. So the PLA redrafted the plan, he added.