If we want to see Hong Kong survive the One Country Two System and retain its form of democracy, then we must not interfere with their process. External influence and funding have been reported but these activities only serve to aggravate the crisis to a point of no return where the PLA may appear in the streets of Hong Kong to restore law and order. In the end game, Hong Kong people lose the One Country Two Systems.
There is a consistent thread in dealing with human rights approach to China and the Hong Kong crisis- a strident and confrontational approach which will bear no fruit. No political system or country is perfect but projecting China’s intention based on “ideological bigotry” and a containment strategies including gunboat diplomacy is a lose-lose situation for both sides as it can lead to war and ultimately MAD.
Men of good heart in the world would love to convince China about certain aspects of universal truths in the area of human rights and the rule of law because in changing the behaviour of China in some of this aspects is really good for the reputation and integrity of an emerging Chinese power.
However, the efficacy of the current western approach is almost zero, and a new innovative set of diplomatic approaches is necessary to convince China that it is advice from a genuine friend. The adversarial approach achieves nothing.
The innovative approach should embody an understanding of Chinese culture, current political system and the Eastern values of Confucianism. The commentator needs to stand in the shoes of the Chinese people and its civilization to appreciate and understand what China is doing. Labelling Chinese leaders and systems as Dictators and Nazism, only hastens the divide. Quoting treaties using British common laws may not be acceptable to Chinese laws. The British are masters of unequal treaties. The preaching about Hong Kong shows an acute bout of amnesia on the Opium Wars, slave trading and the colonial suppression of dissent.
My family have lived through generations of British colonial rule and in those days, democracy was not for colonial consumption, but a strict semi-feudal system of Master and Servant. Notwithstanding the colonial agenda, current generations from British colonies did receive other benefits from the Empire ie. a British education on all aspects of western life, history, politics and culture. We are grateful for these, despite it coming late.
Hence, as a bi-cultural product of the British Empire, we are more likely to seek peace, harmony and prosperity between the English-speaking world and the Chinese.
The real problem in Hong Kong is not the China or CCP. It is economics. I submit two comments published in the Sydney Morning Herald about peaceful co-existence and a plea not to interfere with HK politics but let the Hong Kong people decide with the HK SAR government and with the assistance of China to allow the One country Two systems to progress beyond the 50 years stipulated in the treaty.
4 Aug 2019: Hong Kong people must resolve their problems with their government; and the HK government cannot sit idle either. Anarchism, violence, civil disobedience contrary to law and order is not Democracy. Viewing Youtube videos from both sides showed police restrain & tolerance and in contrast, a video showing an elderly man surrounded and physically harassed by the young, is not a good showcase for peaceful protest. It takes two to tango; hence, a dialogue between the protesters and the government must be convened to maintain law and order; and to genuinely flash out the people’s frustration. The problem is economics not politics, ie. the gap between the rich and poor is widening & lack of employment opportunities for the young. The basic red line drawn by China is “Independence” not “Democracy” in Hong Kong. We all know what will happen if law and order is not restored, ie. losing economic opportunities and prosperity on all fronts, and that will ensure no future for Hong Kong when the PLA moves in to restore law and order. No Hong Kongers should tempt fate and gamble the future of their fellow HKers. Wise up kids, it is time to change tactics – go to the negotiation table; and it would be wise for Carrie Lam to open and have a heart to heart talk with the young ones for the sake of all concerned.
7 Aug 2019: Chinese history has recorded many revolts, rebellions and revolutions. Generally, the people win because the whole country is rotten with corrupt officials. no food and no future. Two reasons why HK protesters would not succeed (1) there is no mass corruption of officials; and (2) everybody gets to get and have a job (although the gap between rich and poor is widening). The problem only occur in one Chinese city HK with 7.5 m people compared with Shenzhen 12.5m and Shanghai 26.3m.
Of course the Chinese government would not let Carrie Lam resign as HKers must have cultural amnesia that Chinese “loss of face” has zero tolerance.
There appears to be no leadership in the protest which creates a problem if both parties wish to settle their differences. These leaders should come out and save HK from the protester side otherwise, they will bear part of the responsibility to kill Hong Kong. At the same time, Lam should initiate dialogue with them (& provide immunity from prosecution) as a goodwill gesture for the benefit of all in Hong Kong.
Carrying on with the status quo would ensure a restoration of law and order using mainland personnel, closing down Hong Kong as a free port and losing ‘democracy’ in Hong Kong. This will have a short-term loss for HK people, and when the Chinese remodel HK to look like Shenzhen or Shanghai (including prosperity), kiss goodbye to one country two systems and live like the other 1.4 billion Chinese brothers and sisters in the mainland.
Ryde Council Resolution
Finally, the resolution of Ryde Council in support of the Hong Kong protesters unfortunately did have collateral damage to community harmony, setting HK Chinese against PRC Chinese ; and Chinese against Korean communities. Such resolutions also have the adverse effect of making China leaning harder on Hong Kong.
Dr Anthony Pun, OAM – National President, Chinese Community Council of Australian Inc.