Hong Kong seeks independence from communist China

Category:  Opinions
Friday, October 11th, 2019 at 11:03 AM

Hong Kong is a small port state off the east coast of China, encompassing only 427 square miles of land. China had control over the area during the Han dynasty, somewhere between 25 A.D. and 220 A.D. On June 26 in 1843, Hong Kong became a British possession, thus allowing British merchants easier trade with China.

During the Cold War, Hong Kong became a safe haven for laborers and entrepreneurs seeking refuge from mainland China after China’s government was fully under control of communism. Those fleeing to Hong Kong feared China would overrun the small state, but China understood the importance Hong Kong had in the region; Hong Kong had become one of the wealthiest state harbors in the world.

China tightened its grip on Hong Kong, pressuring the British to return the port. Fearing the worst, many Hong Kong natives emigrated to other nations to protect themselves from communist rule. The remaining citizens were a new generation of people whose ideas were split between communism and democracy.

China took a stand against democracy in 1989 with the Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese officials massacred Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing. According to BBC, “previous estimates of the deaths in the pro-democracy protests ranged from several hundred to more than 1,000.”

In 1997, the British finally handed over Hong Kong to China; Hong Kong still is given semi-autonomous control over itself.

Today, China is still trying to tighten its grip over the small port state. Multiple protests and riots have broken out over a new extradition law, now suspended, put in place by China. This law would allow criminals to be sent to mainland China to be tried.

Those who spoke against the law believe China will use it for other means.

According to The Washington Post, China’s conviction rate is around 99.9%. China may use this law to control government critics. Hong Kong officials fear the state will not be able to fight a request from China, and that those that are taken to the mainland might lose their rights to a fair trial.

Protesters fear their elected officials in Hong Kong may not help defend them from this law because of how much China controls their election system. China also has its hand on Hong Kong’s free speech by censoring the media. “Patriotic education” is also being practiced within the state, pushing students toward communism and being a part of mainland China.

The clashes with the police have become more violent as the police try to quell the “illegal” protests. October 1 was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Crowds brought the celebration to a halt by protesting China’s rule over Hong Kong and by vandalizing celebration banners. Hong Kong protesters have even gone as far as waving the U.S. flag and singing the anthem in support of democracy.

This is a very important time for democracy, as the Chinese Communist Party is doing all it can to stop Hong Kong from becoming an independent democratic state. We, the U.S., are stuck with a very important decision: do we help the protesters?

As a constitutional republic, we have always come to the aid of nations fighting communism. Some of these fights have brought some success, like Korea. Half of the peninsula enjoys a democratic government, while the other half seems to be isolated from the rest of the world through communism. Imagine if the U.S. never entered the Korean War. The whole East Asia peninsula would be what North Korea is today. 

However, when we interfere it does not always go as planned, such as with Vietnam. Ideological issues still plague the country 40 years after the Vietnam War.

What if we do nothing? China is the largest country by not only land mass, but also population. It has also become one of the few technological super powers of today. Any physical assistance could spark tension between our nations.

President John F. Kennedy said it best: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit the small planet. We all breath the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we all are mortal.”

Hong Kong and China must come to an agreement. Humans have always disagreed, but they have always prevailed to become stronger.

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