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Prosperity and stability (part 2)

This is a follow up to an earlier blog on the issue of STABILITY and PROSPERITY in Hong Kong. Looking around Hong Kong in October 2020, one has to look deeply at governments' proclaimed narratives of "prosperity and stability".

There is a simple equation understood and believed by many: stability = prosperity. In Hong Kong (HK), however, we have a political crisis created by Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Since massive peaceful anti-extradition law protests began in June 2019, HK has only had instability and a significant decline in prosperity. The continuing COVID-19 global pandemic, and its looming debt crisis, adds to increased instability and declining prosperity.

To remedy this situation BALLOTS are needed, NOT BULLETS.

Political changes is a must, including universal and equal suffrage for the next Legislative Council elections to be held no later than September 2021 and Chief Executive in 2022.

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1 October 2020

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said stability had been restored in Hong Kong three months after Beijing imposed national-security legislation, as thousands of police officers fanned out to pre-empt any protests that might disrupt Thursday’s celebration of China’s National Day. Wall Street Journal.

“Over the past three months, the plain truth is, and it is obvious to see, that stability has been restored to society while national security has been safeguarded, and our people can continue to enjoy their basic rights and freedoms in accordance with the law,” Lam told a reception... Business Day, 1 October 2020.

There was widespread media coverage reporting both national day celebrations as well as the hundreds of police in riot gear and numerous police vehicles that patrolled the route of a banned anti-government march by pro-democracy activists.

Carrie Lam as Chief Executive of the SAR continues uttering hogwash in vain attempts to window-dress what has been - and continues to be - appalling governance of Hong Kong by both her own team and that of her authoritarian overlords, the CCP. How does any form of BAN fit with purported 'basic rights and freedoms', Mrs Lam?

We can't even sing freely in the city (see our blog: Glory to Hong Kong!), the work of media is being curtailed (see our blog: Who's meddling now? ), and children and their teachers are also being subjugated (see our blog: Teach them a lesson). There has also been widespread condemnation internationally from UN observers and other nation states of HK Police and government activity in the SAR.

In a previous blog we have already pointed out that it is the CCP's breach of the Joint Declaration signed by China and Britain that is stifling the desire for 'prosperity and stability' (see our blog: Seeking prosperity and stability for HK) in the SAR.

Despite its rather ambiguous aims, an international treaty, the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong ("Joint Declaration") clearly states that HK's "quality of life" will be unchanged for 50 years.

The very first paragraph of the Joint Declaration says"...that a proper negotiated settlement of the question of Hong Kong, which is left over from the past, is conducive to the maintenance of the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and to the further strengthening and development of the relations between the two countries on a new basis..."

The plain truth is - and it is obvious to see - that the quality of life for Hongkongers HAS changed for the worse: the CCP is blocking democratic development in the SAR, the will of the people is continually denied, ordinary citizens are not being consulted on matters that impact their lives, taxpayer funds are being squandered, the rights and needs of minorities are being ignored, and a process of assimilation has begun while the city is being annexed by its totalitarian overlord the CCP.

Ronny Tong, an Executive Council (Exco) member serving as advisor to the CE, tried to bolster Carrie Lam's laughable words in media statements following the 1 October National Day celebrations. He said HK people continued to enjoy and exercise the freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and claimed that the National Security Law has benefitted the people of Hong Kong,

"There are no mass arrests of dissidents and no shutting down of media," Tong said. "Quite the contrary, people continue to criticise the Central and SAR governments both publicly, in the media, as well as over personal social media.

"People accused of committing crimes of rioting, unlawful assemblies and other public order offences continue to be granted bail or acquitted by the courts." RTHK

You would think that as a barrister, and Exco member he would be more in touch with reality, and that his comments would be more astute. Perhaps he should just shut up, or resign from the legislature altogether? We don't need this type of "bent ruler" or 'tyrant' that misses the point every time a crisis arises!

What are the supposed benefits, Mr Tong? Where's your evidence?

Why are people in HK having to protest for their rights recognised internationally under United Nations treaties including International Covenenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)? There have been a string of letters from the UN to China, to no avail (see the list of correspondence from Special Rapporteurs listed at the end of this blog).

Why are people in HK having to protest about the behaviour of the Police who are meant to serve and protect them, and why are calls for an independent investigation still being ignored and denied?

Why are peaceful protesters and defenders of human rights categorised as rioters?

Why are colonial era laws such as the Public Order Ordinance, or the Emergency Regulations Ordinance being used against people in ways that were never intended and do not comply with ICCPR?

Why is the work of HK's independent judiciary being undermined and questioned?

Why is the government not moved by the suffering, hardship and complaints of ordinary Hongkongers?

Here's some evidence that HK's prosperity is in doubt:

  1. Ongoing protests and dissatisfaction that has NOT been effectively addressed continue to effectively dampen economic activity. e.g. 29 October 2019, "Hong Kong is facing a financial crisis amid ongoing protests that have morphed into a pro-democracy challenge to Chinese authority." Newsy

  2. Investment in Hong Kong commercial property dropped 52 per cent last year, as protests hit demand across sector, CBRE says. 16 January 2020, SCMP.

  3. Donald Trump ends Hong Kong's special trade status with US, sanctions China. 15 July 2020

  4. The peripheral impact of the U.S.-China Trade war on HK. 6 September 2020, 'Made in Hong Kong' brand suffers as US-China tensions deepen, ABS-CBN News

  5. Hong Kong GDP shrinks 8.9% in worst decline on record. Nikkei Asia, 4 May 2020.

  6. Hong Kong visitors plunge 99% in February, 17 February 2020, Forbes.

  7. Hong Kong's economy gets shot to hell by CCP; GDP is down 24%!

  8. Hong Kong security law is going to devastate its economy: 2019 home prices fell 29% and dropping

  9. The Motley Fool, one of the most popular stock investment advice websites in the US, quits Hong Kong over political ‘uncertainties’, 7 October 2020, SCMP.

  10. The escalating political turbulence, which follows months of anti-government demonstrations last year, has jarred a city that for decades served as a stable base for multinationals to access China. Now it’s firmly in the cross-hairs of a broader fight between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding an element of unpredictability that could reshape the business environment even more than last year’s protests and the deep recession exacerbated by the pandemic. 16 July 2020, Japan Times.

Here's more evidence that stability is also elusive:

1. Beijing extends Hong Kong’s Legislative Council term by ‘at least one year’ but kicks ball back to Carrie Lam to decide how disqualified lawmakers can continue their duties. 11 August 2020, SCMP.

2. "The [national security] law is a total destruction of Hong Kong's legal and judicial system," said Victoria Hui, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame.

China says Chinese and Hong Kong legal systems are incompatible, so China's must be seen as the default legal authority. 1 July 2020, NPR.

3. Hong Kong police tighten control on media with new accreditation rules. 23 September 2020, The Guardian.

4. Hong Kong teacher loses job for asking students 'what is freedom of speech?', 6 October 2020, Independent.

5. Hong Kong corporate exodus begins, leaving space for Chinese Communist brands, 3 July 2020, Breitbart.

Please see our blogs:

These UN letters to China on HK protests provide ample evidence of CCP and HK government reckless intransigence :

Jeremiah B.

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