Given the world’s muted reaction to Beijing’s hard-handed tactics pre-COVID, it’s difficult to imagine they played a significant role here.
China is not so easy to keep united, there are a ton of varied and potentially conflicting interests. Easy to keep conflict down when the pie is growing for everyone, much more difficult when the economy is falling apart at the seams and the US is beginning to get scared of how big you are getting and starting to close its market to your exports...
We'll see how they manage it, based on early returns it is is looking to be ugly. Xi is ramping up the nationalist rhetoric and burning down any soft power they've built up with the West in the process. The violent language towards "rogue provinces" is increasing, they are churning up the populace with anger and hoping it stays channeled externally.
If people demonstrate, the tools needed for public health can be used to silence the voice of the people.
It is a cowardly move to permanently alter governmental fundamentals during a time of crisis.
Personally I think Xi messed up igniting this thing when he was legally going to get hong kong if he just waited patiently. He lost a lot of face, and now is facing american repercussions for pushing harder on hong kong :/
People like to attribute wisdom to those who have power but, tbh, acquisition of political power is a weak signal on leadership competence
Massive inequality and the lower class literally living in cages?
Okay, that was rude, but I have a feeling that what is driving most of what's great about it (almost unparalleled economic freedom being that driver) leads to that outcome. The vibrant cultural scene etc is a side effect of that inequality and the riches it provides to the upper class.
What in the world does the US being in the South China Sea have to do with the topic at hand: China sending their secret police into Hong Kong to "police" the protest movement (ie. detain and disappear people with impunity).
This knee-jerk reaction to complain about America every time China's misdeeds are reported on is growing tiresome.
The super powers are clearly aiming for a larger confrontation at this point.
If you want context to the particular change, look at neighbouring Macau where apparently it has been law for more than 10 years:
Two Sessions, two cities: what can Hong Kong learn from Macau’s experience of national security legislation?
I'm not saying people shouldn't worry about both, but if you're wondering why people are saying "but America" I'd guess that is the main reason.
Then, almost simultaneously, economic crises spreading everywhere... but luckily for everyone, governments around the planet step in to keep it from getting worse.
Then, an incipient financial shock everywhere... but luckily for everyone, governments and organizations around the planet flood the financial system with liquidity, to maintain financial stability.
Now, I read this, and all I can think it is, let's hope we will not see geopolitical crises too.
Not reopening their borders with Sweden would be a massive diplomatic snub.
You are in one.
It isn't true the "only" reason Hong Kong is a part of the PRC is because they agreed to that declaration. This agreement was made because PRC could unilaterally annex Hong Kong at anytime.
What we’re seeing now is even just that extremely minor inconvenience is too much for Xi. He could get China everything he wants just by waiting. But he would rather tear up a signed treaty than wait.
The key is that HK was very useful as a gateway with the rest of the world for import/exports and finance. They preserved it because, while they despised foreign presence, it served their interests to. Iirc, at one point something like 90% of the PRC's imports and exports transited via HK.
China would have immediately faced sanctions and the possibility of military support to dissident movements within its borders. Not to mention, accelerated arms sales to its neighbours.
They could not have cared less about 'sanctions', which seem like a meaningless threat at the time of the Cold War and Maoist China.
The West was and still is supplying weapons to their neighbours, which is not very important, anyway.
As for 'dissident movements'... This is not a South American banana republic. The CIA probably did try things at some point but clearly to no effect because there is no 'dissident movement' of any scale.
From a historical point of view the question I am very interested in is why did Mao stop short of retaking Macao and HK, and of taking Taiwan in 1949?
They refrained from taking Russian colonial possessions in the North, which is understandable. But I am puzzles about the rest.
For HK and Macao, perhaps he wanted to respect treaties because he also wanted to rely on treaties regarding Tibet (which all the powers recognised as Chinese by previous treaty), I don't know.
Mao was long dead when the relevant treaties were negotiated.
> CIA probably did try things at some point but clearly to no effect because there is no 'dissident movement' of any scale
In the late 90s, the West best over backwards to accommodate China. It was a new market and stable Asian power.
Modern China has dissident and separatist movements. The NPC has prioritised legislation precisely to head off the threat. Censors scrub the Hong Kong and Tianamen Square protests for similar reasons.
> why did Mao stop short of retaking Macao and HK, and of taking Taiwan in 1949?
He didn’t have the firepower. Water crossings are taxing. It would have taken a full military commitment, and still left the endpoint uncertain. Consolidating power on the mainland was the more prudent move.
We're discussing the option communist China had to take HK back by force. The point is thus why that did not occur in 1949 or the 50s.
That is a long time, 156 years from 1997 is 2153.
But they didn’t. An agreement was reached.
“I could have walked away, but didn’t” isn’t a valid reason for breaking a deal.
Might makes right in geopolitics. There is no international court to take a broken treaty to. Nation states pretty much always act in their self interest when they can.
China thinks that it is in their self interest to do this. Someone can try to change their mind, but it probably won't be easy.
What we're seeing now is a domestic Chinese political issue that has developed ultimately as a result of the Chinese Civil War.
It's really a masterstroke to have convinced Western opinion that this was an international issue between HK and China.
It is, however, normal in the sense that it is a clear part of the trend in the China / Hong Kong situation — a trend towards ever-increasing political oppression.
Which involves Xi’s government breaching an agreement, with the U.K. and Hong Kong people, from 1997.
Countries are sovereign. But reputations matter. Any country dealing with Xi would be mad to take his word.
The repercussions of these actions in neighbouring countries, such as Taiwan and the Philippines, will be interesting to see unfold.
If you look at the language of the CPC meeting today you will know they have already removed the word peaceful reunification, which is an indication that they have accepted that if push comes to shove they need to fight USA through Taiwan (which will be very unfortunate in my view as they should determine their own course, independent of USA).
It's called freedom of expression.
If USA or for that matter any country condemn China, they should do the same condemnation and restrictions on other country with same fervour, don’t have dual standards. What I see here is the same Cold War, not a reasonable or justifiable action.
I do understand the definition of freedom of expression as defined in many constitutions and also in common law jurisdiction, which I understand better than continental law jurisdiction followed by Germany, Japan and China.
This was your assertion, word for word. You were given an obvious counterexample, and now you're deflecting to claim you only meant India?
Here's another example: in New Zealand, burning the flag was most recently punished by... An NZ$500 fine. Nothing like what you're claiming.
How about the UK? In 2011, 20-30 students publicly burned a large British flag. They got a verbal warning. Waving American flags is legal.
How about Northern Ireland? Burning the flag is literally legal. Waving American flags: also legal.
How about Japan? Once again, burning the Japanese flag is legal. Waving American flags: also legal.
And as you know, the USA legally allows flag-burning as well, and waving whatever flag you want.
> torture protestors
Do you have any links/data regarding modern events to back up your extraordinary claims?
> If USA or for that matter any country condemn China, they should do the same condemnation and restrictions on other country with same fervour
Perhaps the Kashmir situation got less media attention than Hong Kong, but I think that's more of a result of more developed regions getting more global news attention in general. It's the same reason that the Uyghur situation doesn't get as much media attention as Hong Kong either.
Comparing HK to California seems intellectual dishonest. The history is not comparable at all. The very existence of the notion 'One Country Two Systems' should tell you that the Hong Kong situation is quite special.
As for 'desecrating the Chinese flag'. You can also see that as a hint that people are really angry. I don't understand at all how oppression is a sensible answer to that.
Unless newborns start living into their 130s no one alive today will witness it.
You can’t “fast-forward” and erase 156 years in a few decades.
This is not evidence of anything and I think this is quite irrelevant here.
The main issue is not the length of the British "occupation", it is the Chinese political division that has existed since the Civil War. Many in HK (like in Taiwan) fled the communists and the others moved there during "old China" times. The issue is opposition to communist forces.
"The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years."
(50 years from 1997)