China’s takedown of Hong Kong is part of a strategy of world domination
After China violated an international treaty on Hong Kong, the world shouldn’t trust it to honor any other treaty.
By Claudia Rosett
1:30 AM on Dec 27, 2020 CST
The year 2020 will be remembered as a time of major inflection points, including the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. election. More obscure to most Americans, but a dire turn in the shaping of the 21st century, is an event that took place in Hong Kong at 11 p.m. on June 30, the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to China.
That event was the imposition of China’s new National Security law for Hong Kong, the communist instrument with which China, in one stunning blow, stripped away wholesale the rights and freedoms it promised to Hong Kong for 50 years after the handover.
Passage of the law marks the first full takedown by a communist tyranny of a thriving and mature free society. For Hong Kong, it is a colossal tragedy. For all of us, it is a harbinger of the 21st century world order that China’s ruler, Xi Jinping, is already heavily influencing and proposes to dominate under his vision of a “shared future for mankind.”
Because Hong Kong falls under Chinese sovereignty, China calls its crushing of Hong Kong a purely internal matter. That’s wrong. China signed a binding international treaty with Britain, the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, guaranteeing that from the time of the 1997 handover until at least the year 2047, Hong Kong would be self-governing in domestic affairs, enjoying a “high degree of autonomy” under an arrangement Beijing dubbed “One Country, Two Systems.”
What stands out today is not solely China’s bad faith in violating a binding treaty that still had 27 years left on clock…The further alarming precedent is the speed, brutality and sweep with which China has reduced the vibrant, open city of Hong Kong to a shrouded enclave of repression, censorship and political prisoners.
In sizing up China’s threats toward its next target, Taiwan, and its likely timetable for Xi’s desired dominance worldwide, it is important to understand just how rapidly China rolled over Hong Kong, once Beijing really swung into motion, and how dark a scene it has become. Less than two years ago, Hong Kong was one of the great cities of the free world.
In early 2020 came the spread from Wuhan, China, of the coronavirus. The related restrictions have since doubled as a veil for China’s dirty work. In March, Hong Kong’s government imposed an entry ban on almost all non-residents, now extended through March 2021, drastically curtailing international traffic through the city and effectively walling out many international reporters.
In June, while the world was preoccupied with the pandemic, Beijing delivered its mortal blow to Hong Kong’s freedoms, passing “The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
This law runs to 66 articles, but boils down to Beijing granting itself the power to intervene in Hong Kong in any matter that China’s government deems relevant to national security — a concept that under China’s communist rule means whatever the party overlords want it to mean.
Xi made his plans for Hong Kong quite clear in an October speech delivered in the nearby Chinese special economic zone of Shenzhen. Never mind the immediate cost, Hong Kong — much diminished — is to be mulched into the surrounding Chinese turf Xi calls the Greater Bay Area, integrated into China’s system as a compliant node in his Belt and Road Initiative for trade supremacy and global dominance.
Claudia Rosett is a foreign policy fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum and an adjunct fellow with the Hudson Institute. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.