By Nathan Barton
Hong Kong is in the news a lot: protests have disrupted business and usual, and even shut down airline flights in and out of the former Crown Colony. The protests started several months ago, because Beijing was implementing new extradition procedures to pull “criminals” from Hong Kong to other parts of China for trial. (I say “criminals” because the Communist regime has no concept of “innocent until proven guilty” nonsense.) It isn’t the first time – there were protests five years ago over “election reforms” pushed by Beijing. These are becoming more violent. The normal 6,000 Red Army troops which occupy Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” rule are being reinforced by as many as 15,000 more troops massing outside the special region.
Activists fly American flags and sing Star-Spangled Banner in Hong Kong (Hong Kong old flag shown below).
I think that the days of Red China are numbered.
Hong Kong was a possession of the UK from 1837 to 1997, with the original city and an island given to the British in treaties ending wars which China lost, and the “New Territories” leased in 1898 for 99 years. Without those New Territories, Hong Kong could not survive, so the Brits gave the whole thing back in 1997, with a treaty that promised Hong Kong autonomy for 50 years. Until 2047, Hong Kong could continue to have a democratic internal government, a free market, and freedom from most Communist social and administrative requirements.
But it is clear that Beijing cannot wait that long. Especially since Hong Kong is a source of infection for the rest of China – infection with the ideals of liberty.
Although China now has a “capitalist” system, it is still a totalitarian Communist state, even though some conditions have improved in the 70 years of this current dynasty. And its capitalism is a nasty mixture of “state capitalism” (in which the government is the major investor and owner of the various businesses – especially larger ones) and “crony capitalism” (sometimes called monopoly capitalism, where who you know is far more important than what you know, what you sell, and competition for customers is).
And it is a system in which the leaders fear what they call “democracy” (what we as lovers of liberty would call a republican form of government). Especially in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan. (Taiwan is part of “one China,” also, according to Beijing, although it has been independent for 70 years.)
And China’s Communist bosses also fear religion. Particularly Islam and Christianity. Islam is strong in the northwestern part (Xinjiang Autonomous Region), which is not ethnic China (of any type) but is rather Turkic. It seems to be making progress in provinces to the east and in Inner Mongolia (another Autonomous Region). Christianity has slipped the tether of the permitted, state-controlled church and is spreading wildly in house churches and more and more underground churches. Especially in the South.
The Communist regime is also afraid of China’s millennia-long instability and significant cultural and social fractures. Even under the Communists, China is an empire. Its dominant Han regions (the North) are a small part of the country. Different languages, cultures, social systems, and ethnicities occupy the rest of the country, from Xinjiang and Tibet in the West, to Manchuria and places like Hunan and Sichuan (and cities like Shanghi) in the South. Han rule, even under Communist doctrines as the heirs of Mao, rests uneasily over a majority of the 1.4 billion.
Worse, a united China faces major problems: poor transportation, poor energy resources (especially dependence on the Middle East and Indonesia), many areas of poor climate and terrain, and a lot of really stupid decisions on running an economy. And it is facing serious demographic problems, getting worse by the year. Many observers believe that China’s apparent strength and posture today is blustering which hides weaknesses as great as the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Some have suggested that China may fracture into as many as eight parts, perhaps within a decade. “Democracy” and Islam and Christianity all feed this fear. So, among other things, Hong Kong must be crushed: thirty more years of “two systems” is not tolerable.
The lessons? For lovers of liberty, the future is bright. Humans desire freedom – perhaps many do not want it as much as we wish, but there are limits. As governments gain more and more power over people, they ultimately reach a point beyond which more is not tolerated. Even partially free markets, limited capitalism, is dangerous and destructive to tyranny. Not immediately, but within decades.
Chinese (and Vietnamese and Cuban and Venezuelan and Belarussian) Communism is doomed. Even as American liberty seems more threatened from within, new centers of liberty will arise.
Those who argue about whether Russia or China presents the greater danger, the greater challenge, to the Fifty States (implying that challenge is to liberty and freedom) ignore the greater threat: the internal threat of those regressives, Tranzis, neo-liberals. And that of conservatives who would (like their opponents) destroy our liberties to “save” them.