China Wants to End Hong Kong’s Autonomy While COVID-19 Distracts the World


The transfer by China’s ruling Communist Party to set in practice a nationwide safety regulation for Hong Kong alerts a crackdown on the town’s freedoms and will spell the top to the autonomy it has had because the British handover of 1997, activists and analysts have stated.

The controversial law that bans “treason, sedition, secession and subversion” in Hong Kong will probably be offered at China’s National Party Congress (NPC), which has simply began, and largely rubber stamps the management’s needs.

After months of unrest and anti-China protests in the city last year, the brand new regulation is seen by its opponents as a approach to rework the “one country, two systems” association in place over the 23 years because the British switch of Hong Kong’s sovereignty, which gave it a excessive diploma of autonomy and self-governance.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was the British overseas secretary in 1997, described the state of affairs as “desperately serious” and that, as signatories to the treaty that ended its administration of Hong Kong, the U.Okay. had authorized and moral obligations to face up for it.

China Wants to End Hong Kong's Autonomy While COVID-19 Distracts the World
Pro-democracy protesters pictured on May 22 oppose a proposal to enact new Hong Kong safety laws submitted by China’s ruling celebration. Opponents concern it would erode Hong Kong’s autonomy. ANTHONY WALLACE/Getty Images

“I think the initial question will be, will Hong Kong itself respond as it has done before? I suspect it will, but it needs international support,” he advised Newsweek.

“Hong Kong’s current status is the result of an international treaty signed by China and the United Kingdom, lodged at the United Nations, which is meant to last for 50 years.

“Therefore, Britain has a authorized, in addition to an ethical, and moral entitlement to specific its views and accomplish that most strongly.

“Britain by itself isn’t going to change the whole scene. It needs the United States, Europe and the Asian countries as well to express their solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.

“If you destroy Hong Kong’s rule of regulation and its freedom, you destroy worldwide financial confidence in Hong Kong…it would imply a relentless and irreversible erosion of Hong Kong’s capacity to behave as an financial hub, not only for itself however for China as a complete.”

In 2003, an attempt to pass national security legislation into the Basic Law, which is Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, failed, and hundreds of thousands took to the streets in protest. Last year there were further mass protests sparked by a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

China Wants to End Hong Kong's Autonomy While COVID-19 Distracts the World
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-Kingis pictured during Hong Kong’s House Committee’s election of vice chairpersons on May 22. A move by Beijing to impose security restrictions in the city has sparked an outcry among those fearing for Hong Kong’s autonomy. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The latest move by Beijing to effectively bypass Hong Kong’s lawmakers is seen by critics as another move to stamp down on dissent and impose its authority, and has sparked outrage among pro-democracy activists.

On Friday, a group of protesters descended on China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, the BBC reported, suggesting there could be a sequel to the protests and demands for democratic reform last year.

Bruce Liu, a senior journalism lecturer from Hong Kong Baptist University, said the speed of the latest move by China’s Communist Party had taken him by surprise and signified its intention to “weaponize” the “one nation, two techniques” framework.

He also believed that growing tensions between the U.S. and China have “acted as a catalyst for China to make a decisive transfer.”

“China has deliberate for this for a really very long time, because the Occupy motion of 2014,” he told Newsweek, referring to a series of pro-democracy sit-in street protests, also known as the Umbrella Movement.

“I believe that is clearly the top of ‘one nation two techniques’ as a result of the type of legal guidelines China needs has a really broad definition and the celebration can outline who’s a legal and who just isn’t.”

Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the London-based School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said the seeds of the current situation were sown when President Xi Jinping included Hong Kong in the Greater Bay Area as part of a drive to develop major metropolitan clusters.

“In this new paradigm, the worth of Hong Kong just isn’t as a totally separate and stand alone SAR however as a key a part of the Greater Bay Area which may play a task that even Shenzhen can’t play,” he told Newsweek.

China Wants to End Hong Kong's Autonomy While COVID-19 Distracts the World
Former U.K, foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, is pictured in 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Getty Images

Xi signaled his intent to take a hard line on Hong Kong protesters in 2020 when he appointed Luo Huining as head of the Chinese government’s liaison office there.

This was bolstered by his appointment of Xiao Baolong to head the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in February, Tsang said.

“So, the route of journey just isn’t a shock. The approach it’s being carried out was not anticipated by me,” he said.

“Enactment of the regulation just isn’t the top of Hong Kong however the finish of the ‘one nation, two techniques’. Hong Kong is a really resilient place and it’ll discover a new place for itself, albeit, a diminished one.”

Beijing has emphasized that it was asserting control through the “enchancment” of the Basic Law, according to Wang Yang, who heads the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Washington Post reported.

Zhiqun Zhu, who is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, said following last year’s protests, Beijing had become impatient.

“From Beijing’s perspective, the mass and sometimes violent protests in Hong Kong in 2019 broken Hong Kong’s standing, spoiled Hong Kong-Mainland relations, and challenged the Central Government’s authority,” he told Newsweek.

“This can also be taking part in out towards the backdrop of rising tensions between China and the West. Beijing suspects that pro-democracy activists and separatists in Hong Kong are colluding with ‘evil overseas forces’ to destabilize Hong Kong and to advertise anti-China sentiments in Hong Kong.

“I think Beijing hopes to eliminate all those perceived radical anti-China forces in Hong Kong so that Hong Kong will perhaps become more like Macao—more subservient and focusing on making money, and not causing ‘trouble’ for Beijing,” added Zhu, who can also be professor of political science and worldwide relations at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

When the NPC approves the measures, mainland officers will begin to execute nationwide safety regulation in Hong Kong, which means that dissidents could be despatched to mainland China to face justice, Eric Cheung, principal regulation lecturer at Hong Kong University, stated.

“It amounts to a de facto declaration by Beijing that ‘one country, two systems’ has failed and it amounts to Beijing telling the whole world that the original design of the whole law doesn’t work,” he advised Newsweek.

“Beijing must have contemplated the reaction of people before they made the decision and they all know that the European countries and the United States are busy with dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.”