China’s Wrongful Intrusion In Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s autonomy was wrongfully obstructed by China for another month this October as the world failed to punish China yet again. The pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong initially started this past June in opposition to the tyrannical Hong Kong Extradition Bill. This bill would have allowed China to arrest political dissents in Hong Kong, a place where free speech is guaranteed, unlike in China. Luckily the terrible bill was withdrawn by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Since then the focus of the protests have largely shifted towards individual freedoms and China’s malicious and unlawful attempts to gain more control over Hong Kong. Chinese influence has slowly eroded away the free speech, press, and elections the citizens of Hong Kong once enjoyed. We as the protectors of democracy must do more to protect the freedom fighters of Hong Kong from the Orwellian Chinese regime who seeks to extinguish the fragile flame of democracy from Hong Kong.
Recently, tensions in the autonomous zone reached a fever pitch when police wrongfully shot a protester who was fighting for his basic democratic rights, the same rights that we all enjoy as citizens of the free world. We need to step in now in order to put a stop to these cold-blooded killings. Brutality and abuse of power from Hong Kong’s corrupt police force is becoming ever more common at these demonstrations. Protesters are often shot with rubber bullets, gassed with tear gas, and sprayed with mace while fighting for many of the rights we take for granted every day.
China’s response has largely been hands off so far but, violence from Chinese authorities will occur soon if the protests do not end. Just recently, a buildup of PLA troops and armored vehicles were spotted outside of Shenzhen, a city just to the north of Hong Kong. If China decides to use military force to quell the protests a massacre larger than the one seen at Tiananmen Square will occur. China’s barbaric policy of refusing to let the residents of Hong Kong air their grievances spits in the face of Hong Kong’s autonomy and the freedom of speech that comes with it.
The stakes in Hong Kong are high because if Hong Kong falls under Chinese control it would send a chilling message throughout the world that we are too afraid to stand up to China. China has recently been making moves to expand their malicious influence elsewhere in the world. Such as with their spurious territorial claims in the South China Sea and with the Belt and Road initiative. Under this initiative countries indebted to China are forced to give up influence to all spheres of their country. If we don’t stand up for Hong Kong it will give China the impression that we will let them do whatever they please.
China should not be encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy. When Hong Kong was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1997 it was promised that China would leave the region as semiautonomous for at least 50 years, until 2047. More specifically the agreements detailed that Hong Kong would be a part of China but be governed over by a different, independent government under the “One Country, Two Systems” scheme. China’s current moves are at least 28 years too early according to these agreements.
We may seem powerless against the evil Chinese empire but, they have an Achilles heel. China’s political clout largely banks on their economic power due to them being a manufacturing Mecca. If the powers of the world could band together to take advantage of this dependence, they could overpower the Chinese sway and have some real leverage. For example, a boycott of Chinese goods or trade sanctions would cripple the Chinese economy in a matter of days, bringing China to their knees. This approach has already been proven to work as demonstrated when the American colonists boycotted British goods in protest of the Townshend Acts, leading to a dramatic decrease in imports from Britain.
The world’s democracies now have a decision to make. They can vow to protect freedom, or they can allow China’s authoritarian dictatorship to stamp out the flame of democracy and autonomy in Hong Kong. If no action is taken against China, Hong Kong’s democracy will wither sending a chilling precedent throughout the world that no action will be taken against regimes that demolish freedom and democracy. In the end, the responsibility of preserving the spirit of democracy rests on the shoulders of the free world. That is the only way to ensure Hong Kong’s freedom and in turn the rest of the world’s freedom. There is no time for delay, action needs to be taken now.