CCP's illegal annexation of Hong Kong
Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Under the one party rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) China's National Peoples Congress (NPC) on Thursday 28 May 2020 passed it's resolution for a National Security Law for Hong Kong (HK).
This National Security Law passed by NPC is a breach of HK's Constitution the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong.
On the issue of HK the democratic world currently seems to be at a loss for a unifying strategy and narrative to counter the authoritarian CCP's continious denials of it's obligations under the rule of law for HK.
Russia’s 2014 land grab in the Crimea was termed at the UN 'an illegal annexation'.
By collectively recognizing that this is an illegal annexation of HK by China's CCP this will ensure that democracies worldwide respond quickly and appropriately.
HK people, in unity and support of the Joint Declaration and their civil liberties, continue to non-violently protest based on their strategy of "攬炒 = if we burn you burn with us" while waiting patiently for September 2020 Legislative Council elections (see below).
We the People of HK suggests that a referendum needs to be held asap with multiple options for action to be agreed upon by HK people. Because of numerous breaches by China's CCP a HK referendum acted upon would allow the Joint Declaration to continue.
Pepe and Jeremiah B.
The world should refuse to recognise Beijing’s direct rule over Hong Kong
“Scenario One: riots in West Berlin, buildings in flames, the East German fire brigade crosses the border to help. Would you press the button? The East German police come with them. The button? Then some troops! More troops, just for riot control they say. Then the East German troops are replaced by Russian troops … Button? When the Russian troops won’t go they are invited to stay to support the civilian administration, the civilian administration closes roads and Tempelhof Airport. Now you press the button?”
Salami tactics, so succinctly described here by Yes, Prime Minister, are not the mere product of comic writers. Devastatingly deployed by Hungarian Communist leader Mátyás Rákosi, and other Soviet stooges they enabled Moscow to consolidate their grip over Eastern Europe after the Second World War.
(Russian Invasion – Salami Tactics | Yes Prime Minister)
Taking control one piece at a time has its advantages. The slow dividing and subtle subsuming of the opposition results in them being left holding half a stick by the time they have clocked on to what is happening. Even then, after they have realised what is one more thin slice? Or another? Or another? Until there is no stick at all.
Clearly the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have taken notes. If not from the tribulations of the Right Honorable Jim Hacker then at least their Stalinist forebears. Just look at Hong Kong today.
If Hong Kong is dead then its death has been a slow one, with many (premature) obituaries written. The unilateral imposition of Article 23 on the people of Hong Kong may not be the final death nail. Even with the introduction of this anti-subversion law, Hong Kong will still be much freer than the People’s Republic – admittedly an uncomfortably low bar if there ever was one. Its implementation is a fundamental attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy and a potentially irreversible turn for the worse. Yet it is still hard to say it is the end, this after all is the trouble with salami tactics.
A broken promise on Universal Suffrage here, and a few abducted booksellers there. The barring of political candidates, the expelling of elected lawmakers, the routine arrest of pro-democracy activists and the steady escalation of police violence against protestors. More recently still, Legislative Council coups and ominous statements from the Liaison Office. Now Article 23. All have raised the question: is One Country, Two Systems over?
This is an interesting inquiry, no doubt. Yet if the death of One Country Two Systems has occurred or is imminent then the more pressing question which must be answered is: what is to be done?
It is a question which has been asked many times. During a House of Lords debate, last year, Lord Patten reflected on a talk he gave in Hong Kong back in 2016. Afterwards, one student told him: “It’s all very well, Governor Patten, you coming along and making those sorts of remarks, but what happens if the Chinese continue to squeeze us? What will the rest of the world do? What will you do in Britain? What will the United States do? What will Europe do? What will you do personally?”
“It is a very good question”, Patten concluded as he wrapped up his speech. He is right. A good question and, given how events have unfolded, a pertinent one. Moreover, a bloody difficult one to answer. Solutions are difficult especially against an enemy as powerful as the CCP.
During this current crisis, Patten has drawn support from international parliamentarians against the imposition of Article 23. The message is clear, breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration will have consequences for the People’s Republic of China’s global reputation. If One Country Two Systems is further eroded then Britain, and its allies, should ensure that the rest of the world knows Beijing’s word counts for nothing. This is an extremely welcome intervention. As are the suggestions from my fellow Hong Kong Watch co-founder Benedict Rogers, who has highlighted Magnitsky-style targeted sanctions and alterations to the status of British National (Overseas) passport holders as just two concrete steps the British government could take in response.
Anyone can join the “Something Must Be Done” brigade or, for that matter, write an opinion piece (guilty as charged). So having the above suggestions are a real boost to the credibility of the international effort to defend Hong Kong. They take into account an understanding of the policymaking process and the levers foreign governments have at their disposal. Yet understanding this has its own constraints. With it, there is also a pressure to lower demands to something that governments of the day may find somewhat reasonable. Instead of calling for what should be done or what can be done, instead, options which governments might consider are proposed. After all, nobody likes shouting into a void…
… but here goes nothing. If we reach a point in the future when the threat of shaming has failed, and sanctions have proved futile, what next? Despite being an international treaty, lodged at the United Nations (UN), the Sino-British Joint Declaration has no enforcement or dispute provisions in the event of its breaching. In this case, should Britain, and its allies, simply accept Hong Kong under a One Country One System model?
No. From 1997, Hong Kong was promised a high degree of autonomy and that its way of life would remain unchanged for fifty years. This was the basis on which Britain gave the PRC the territory it desired. If Beijing no longer wishes to honour this agreement then Britain, and its allies, should not either. What is the point of liberal democracies constraining themselves with rules and agreements which the authoritarians of this world have already decided to ignore?
If One Country Two Systems is over before 2047, Beijing’s rule over Hong Kong should be regarded as illegitimate. How exactly this should be expressed I do not know (see, coming up with actual solutions is difficult!).
Until 2008 the British government did not explicitly recognise the PRC’s sovereignty over Tibet but instead its suzerainty. While an obscure distinction, and according to its critics anachronistic one, it did affirm the belief that Tibet was distinct from other provinces within the PRC. Thus it expressed the belief that Tibet should be granted some level of autonomy, that is without any fifty-year end date. Moreover, the acknowledgement of this relationship served as a basis for talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama.
Inspiration may also come from the international communities response to Russia’s 2014 landgrab in the Crimea. Here the British government have repeatedly condemned the Putin regime and have refused to accept this “illegal annexation”. This view has also been expressed in a vote at the UN General Assembly.
While neither example fits the Hong Kong situation perfectly they could, I hope, be a starting point for discussion.
Surely democratic governments across the world can do better than the French who have told the CCP that they respect the PRC’s sovereignty and have “no intention to interfere in affairs of China’s Hong Kong” – so much for President Macron ‘champion of the liberal international order’. Or for that matter measures, such as America’s revoking of Hong Kong’s special privileges, which only treats the territory more and more like just another PRC province. Which surely is, in the end, precisely what the CCP wants.
Is the Hong Kong Protest going to succeed?
Source: 14 November 2019. Original Chinese text written by Mr Cheng Lap, a newspaper columnist.
Strategy: To destroy the economy of Hong Kong and damage China's plan to use Hong Kong as a money-printing machine, eliminating the chances for any plan of development made by China.
攬炒 = if we burn you burn with us; also know as scorched earth policy and mutual assured destruction
You must understand the general strategy of Hong Kong Protest. The strategy used by HK protesters is 攬炒 = if we burn you burn with us.
Many people thought that the goal of Hong Kong protesters is to seek a compromise with the government or seek party alternation similar to Taiwan or democratization in Hong Kong. Or even eliminate the HK Police or PLA and declare its independence. But these are not the correct way to do it or even the necessary way to the Hong Kong people. It would be wonderful if these things happened but the strategy of Hong Kong protesters is not based on these goals.
The core of the mutual destruction strategy used by Hong Kong people is the economical aspect. Many Taiwanese (or people from other countries) feared that if PLA is deployed Hong Kong is doomed. But at the very early stage of the protests, the protester already stated one thing: they do not fear the military, it would be even better if PLA comes in town with tanks and shooting missiles.
You may wonder why people of Hong Kong are not afraid of getting massacred by PLA?
If the military is used to suppress the protest this will indeed destroy the protests and thousand will be killed, the very foundation of the protest will be decimated. But it does not mean that things will end, this gives a chance for Hong Kong people to retreat overseas and build up strengths there. Although the protests will stop, at the same time the economy of Hong Kong will suffer heavily due to the use of military, together with the reputation of Hong Kong government and Hong Kong’s banking and financial system. This will also affect the credit system and all overseas strategic plan of China, especially the One Belt One Road project.
Naturally, some people will claim that Hong Kong is no longer important to China but just a mere city, Shanghai or Shenzhen can easily replace Hong Kong’s role as a new financial centre. But the reality is cruel and if you look at the numbers you will know that you cannot just build up a financial centre anywhere, otherwise, CCP will build a financial centre at Yanan (one of the core territory of CCP pre and during WW2, the foundation of CCP).
Hong Kong's banking system have a loan of around HKD 4000 billion to China (approximately 15.46 billion TWD, or around 500 billion USD https://medium.com/@ecyY/how-much-loan-is-from-banks-in-hk-to-mainland-china-7d120a2e79fc).
This credit system depends on the asset value of Hong Kong, and if the value of Hong Kong declines the ability for Hong Kong banks to loan to China will be affected heavily. At the same time, the Hong Kong government planned lots of large scale infrastructures to be built in Hong Kong (white elephant) to transfer the money in treasury indirectly to China. There is a plan for Hong Kong government for instance to build an artificial island that costs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantau_Tomorrow_Vision) 1000 billion HKD. It is planned to buy the materials from China and if the economy of Hong Kong is affected by the protests this will seriously hinder the plans for these white elephant project.
No matter how much China boasted about their economy it won’t change the fact that RMB cannot be exchanged freely. Moreover, a well established financial centre requires a well-maintained credit system as well as laws to support it. This is what China will never be able to build: rule of law. It is pathetic that some people think Hong Kong is a successful international financial centre just because there is some foreigners trade in Hong Kong, but what they don’t understand is that Hong Kong has a well-established system to support its financial sector.
Protesters cannot directly damage the economy of Hong Kong, the real damage comes from the government itself.
For example, to stop people going to protest, the government shortened the operating time for public transport, constantly closing down metro stations. The police also fired tear gas in different tourist attractions and sometimes even hurt or arrested foreigners and tourists.
Such actions affect every single industry of Hong Kong regardless of your political opinions. The first victim of the government is the travel industry, then food and beverage and then the retail industry. When the government use the Emergency Regulation Ordinance to legislate the Anti mask law without any serious consideration, it affects the trust on the rule of law in Hong Kong and damages the rating on credit and protection of private property in Hong Kong.
Take Taiwan as an example, the use of the Emergency Regulation Ordinance is similar to the Temporary Provisions against Communist Rebellion during the martial law period in Taiwan. Or the Reichstag Fire Decree after the Reichstag fire in Prewar Germany. This is not a mere autocratic rule, but a military dictatorship with the legislation, administration and legal system as supports.
Hong Kong as a key element in the development plan in China can do serious damage to the strategic plan of China if Hong Kong is weakened. To damage Hong Kong economically and effectively weaken Hong Kong and China government in the long term, that is the real goal of 攬炒, mutual destruction.
Historically such long term asymmetric, guerilla-style warfare is a trick used by weaker countries against the huge empire, it is a battle between the elephant and ants. The Netherlands against Spain, American Revolutionary War, Vietnam War, Privateers used by British against the Spanish fleet, these are examples of weaker forces defeating a stronger opponent by disrupting its supplies and destroying its economy.
There are serious costs and casualties for protesting, but the greatest effect of protest is to cause the government to overreact and hurting themselves in the process. In a hindsight, the protest is doing well as the Hong Kong government keep doing things that damage its economy and financial/credit system.
Tactically it is dangerous for Hong Kong people, fighting a well trained and well-equipped police force. But strategically it is not, police brutality against ordinary citizens is not a very appealing sight for other countries. The image of Hong Kong is more like a warzone in Libya than a civilized financial centre like New York.
Every strike from their police baton, every shot of tear gas canister against Hong Kong people bring nothing but doom upon the future of China and Hong Kong economy.
Hong Kong is like a rat. It may not win against a human but when it started running around, the human already smashed the valuable stuff in their home just trying to kill it. This strategy used the volume of damage dealt with China to measure the successfulness of the protest. Maybe someday the protest will end but the aftermath and irreversible damage [done] to Hong Kong and China’s economy will make China pay [again and again].
Many think that foreigners need to help Hong Kong or even provide military aid to Hong Kong, or at least humanitarian aid. But they are not essential. What Hong Kong people do are not seeking for help but to actively destroy the economy. If foreign countries starting to take advantages from China during these times they are indirectly helping Hong Kong people. Like a parasite slowly draining the life of China by exploiting it, there is no need to be empathetic or love Hong Kong people. Exploiting China while they are busy dealing with Hong Kong is the greatest help you can provide.
So is the protest successful if Hong Kong people achieve this mutual destruction? Of course not as there are many other things needed by Hong Kong to do. But one thing we can be sure of is that when the protests are starting to go quiet but the economy of Hong Kong remains unaffected and even grow stronger than ever, that’s a total failure for the protest.
Creating a new identity of “Hong Kong People” is an important side objective achieved by the protest.
Understanding the protest of Hong Kong in this way makes it more clear that the protest will succeed, just not that quick and simple. Since Hong Kong does not have a democratic system similar to Taiwan. For a democratic country, success means party alternation, the government step-down and a new government is established. However for Hong Kong to succeed means something much, much more difficult. You cannot expect the government to suddenly co-operate with the people, or the people finally have control over the government or defeating the government in mere months. But that does not mean that there is no other way around.
Some say that it is suicidal for young people to fight against the government, but if you really talk to people who participate in the movement, do some research and talk with them about their livelihood, what is their living condition, where they sleep and what work they do, you will understand why Hong Kong people are willing to risk everything to join the protest. Some people do even have a home to go back to, and who do you think is the one that makes such adversities.
The government and many politicians claim that if you don't like Hong Kong, with no place to live or no work to do go somewhere else, immigrate to other countries. If the government told you that your future home is not Hong Kong, what's the difference it makes for Hong Kong people?