October 1, 2019

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong was in lockdown on Tuesday, with barricades in the city center, shuttered stores and a heavy riot police presence, as authorities scrambled to ensure protests do not overshadow China’s National Day festivities in Beijing. The former British colony has been wracked by nearly four months of street clashes and demonstrations.” Reuters

Both sides are applauding the protestors and calling on world leaders to support them as much as possible:

“Hong Kong’s protesters are outfoxing Beijing worldwide… From Oslo to Osaka, Congress to the United Nations, Taiwan to Twitter, Hong Kongers have taken their DIY approach to protest to a global audience. Celebrity supporters testify in high-profile settings; highly targeted, crowdfunded media campaigns aim to keep the issue in the spotlight; and viral videos, catchy slogans, and even a movement anthem and flag help magnify the message on social media… [In the] battle over international public opinion, it is Beijing and its minions that are outgunned.”
Chris Horton, The Atlantic

“Until now, Hong Kong enjoyed much freedom and democratic rule. That was a precondition for its return to China from Britain in 1997. The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed by the UK’s then-prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and then-Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang, guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Beijing-selected local government is fundamentally violating that pact. Residents fear they’re losing the political system they inherited from Britain, a system they know and trust…

“The people of Hong Kong have been sending the Chinese government a loud message: We don’t want what you’re peddling. We want freedom and democracy… America should answer that call with all the moral and diplomatic support we can muster — and work double-time to ensure democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.”
Elisha Maldonado, New York Post

“At the time of the British handover, there was optimistic talk about how an emerging China’s growing global economic integration would encourage a political transformation and, with it, Beijing’s gradual embrace of western values and international rules-based systems. Such hopes now appear largely misplaced. What Hong Kong shows clearly are the limits to China’s adaptability – and the Communist party’s undying attachment to political uniformity, not plurality…

“As a legal guarantor of Hong Kong’s freedoms, Britain has a duty to stand up to China’s repressive behaviour. But aside from a few carefully phrased diplomatic whinges, it has signally failed to do so. Such weak shilly-shallying is contemptuously dismissed in Beijing. The US counts itself a champion of global democratic values, or did so before Donald Trump took office. Congress has made threatening noises but the White House has taken no substantive action… In Washington, London and other capitals, it’s plain that money and power speak louder than democratic ideals, broken umbrellas and bloodied heads. Perhaps it was always thus. Yet if Hong Kong is permanently, definitively lost to democracy, it will be, at least in part, because the west failed to fight for it.”
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

“Over the last year, millions of people have risked their lives to challenge tyrannical regimes around the world. Venezuelans have poured into the streets to protest socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, who has bankrupted a once-wealthy country. Demonstrations in Sudan and Algeria have forced longtime despots from power…

“Thirty years ago, we watched the Chinese government lead a brutal crackdown against peaceful protestors in Tiananmen Square. Thousands were killed and many more were wounded. We know the nature of this communist regime and it is not afraid to use violence against its own people… The protestors in Hong Kong understand this history and still choose to stand in the street and fight for their future. They are not afraid. Nor are the Venezuelans, Sudanese or Russians who are risking their lives to demand more from their governments. The opportunity to turn the tide against tyranny is one that we cannot squander. As people from every corner of the world fight the global assault on democracy, America must fight with them.”
Michael McCaul, Fox News

“The United States should immediately pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. This legislation proactively enshrines American support for Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy into law and would send a powerful symbolic message to the people of Hong Kong: that American support for Hong Kong is more than just empty words. Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets earlier this month to call for the act to be passed into law… It [would send] a signal to China that it cannot erode the city's autonomy while reaping the benefits…

“Hong Kong is at a historic watershed. Its people are on the frontlines of the global fight for liberal democratic values. The passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would not only be a momentous symbolic statement that the world still cares about the people of Hong Kong, it would help incentivize the Hong Kong government to respect people's freedoms. It is time for the act to be passed.”
Johnny Patterson, The Hill

“Leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle have made strong statements condemning the Chinese and Hong Kong governments' exploits – but now is the time to attach action to words

“[The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019] requires the State Department to annually certify and report to Congress whether Hong Kong’s status of autonomy, and the government’s adherence to protecting civil liberties and upholding of the rule of law justify its continued special status. The Commerce Department would also submit an annual report to Congress that determines if China is exploiting Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. sanctions and export controls. This important bill also would ensure that violators of human rights in the region are held accountable by applying sanctions and banning entry to the U.S… [and] send an important signal that the United States will act to protect the rights of the people of Hong Kong – and continue to be a leading advocate for freedom in the world.”
Newt Gingrich, Fox News

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