Hong Kong: The Next Salvo in China’s War Against the World

by | May 30, 2020 |

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Since China unleashed its biological attack on the rest of the world in January, everything has changed. Exploding infection rates, spiraling deaths, universal shutdowns, and economic disaster have visited populations in some 200 countries around the globe. And even as the numbers have begun to drop in parts of Europe, Asia, and the U.S., the pandemic is now spreading throughout the southern hemisphere, and the number of infections is growing rapidly. Brazil, whose numbers are already second to only the U.S., has nearly half a million infections and more than 26,760 deaths.
Yet nothing surpasses the real number of cases in China, where it all began. These numbers have never been officially reported, but every indication is that they exceed even the wildest assumptions, based on first-hand accounts that even China cannot completely stifle.  
China’s Real Numbers
Although China officially admits to having had only 82,993 cases to date, (a number that the World Health Organization obediently includes in its official reports), the Chinese have proven themselves time and again  to be the masters of under-reporting and mis-reporting (otherwise known as lying) about the number of cases they actually have had there. Unofficial estimates run as high as 500 million people in China who have been infected by the virus, and more than 50 million who have died since the virus was first unleashed in Wuhan. These numbers have been supported by first-person reports of the huge number of dead being cremated and buried in Wuhan and throughout Hubei province, where it all began. Now a second wave has struck in Jilin province in China’s northeast, which borders Russia and North Korea. 
So how did the pandemic begin? Back in January 2020, just before the Lunar New Year, when a two-week holiday gives the Chinese people an opportunity to travel – in China and abroad, the madness of the Chinese government stoked the notion it was a good idea to allow 50 million Chinese nationals to travel around the world. This was at the height of their first epidemic, and they must have known that the travelers would be spreading the virus wherever they went. So it speaks volumes about the morality of the Communist regime in Beijing and its intentions regarding the rest of the world, because they knowingly unleashed their new version of the coronavirus on the rest of the world. 
China Being China
One would think that with so much sickness and death hanging around its neck, Communist China would be apologetic, even contrite, and willing to go that extra mile to help the nations of the world recover from what it has inflicted on them. But this is the People’s Republic of China, governed under the iron fist of the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, and there is no contrition and there are no apologies; only threats, sabre rattling, and actual acts of aggression.
Only last week, China sent 5,000 troops across its border with India, raising concerns about an attack on an important Western ally. 
But China’s nearest and most vulnerable target is Hong Kong, where the people are fighting for their lives against the Communist regime. They are demanding that China adhere to the agreement it signed with Margaret Thatcher back in 1997, which ended Britain’s 99-year lease of Hong Kong, and turned the colony back to China, on the condition that the former British colony remain autonomous for another fifty years. Personal freedom had been a way of life for the people of Hong Kong under British rule, and Britain demanded that this be preserved for them as the price for returning the colony to China.
According to this agreement, Hong Kong was guaranteed political and civil autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework that had been in place since the 1980s, and was supposed to last at least through the year 2047. That framework allowed for the rule of Communism in mainland China, but ‘ensured’ political autonomy and a free market economy in Hong Kong, without interference from China.
But today, only twenty years later, during which Hong Kong has continued to thrive, the Chinese government is abrogating this promise. Because China is no longer patient and wants Hong Kong under its Communist rule – now. 
China is well-known for dishonoring its agreements and this has been no exception. In fact, had the world been paying attention, this should have been expected. There was plenty of warning but it was overlooked by most of the world, because Hong Kong’s wealth is generated by its free market system, driven, in part, by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (which is the fourth largest stock market in the world). 
The world took it all for granted, and largely ignored the growing pressure on Hong Kong from Communist China. Willful blindness was so comfortable. 

Hong Kong Protests China


Warning Signs
As China laid the groundwork for its takeover of Hong Kong, one of the first things to go, was the free election of Hong Kong’s government. Back in 1984, the Chinese and British governments signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which said about the selection of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive: “The chief executive will be appointed by the Central People’s Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally.” 
And in Article 45 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which was issued in 1990, based on the Joint Declaration, it was written: “The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” But it didn’t define the term “universal suffrage” so you may read into this the extreme bias and mainland influence in the selection process. 
Then, in 2014, after the handover, another decision was taken in anticipation of the 2017 elections for the CEO. According to this decision, the new CEO would be elected by “one-person-one-vote”, but only after a “broadly representative” nomination committee would select two or three candidates from whom Hong Kong voters could choose. It soon became clear that the Chinese government had its heavy hand on the scales, and favored Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (or Carrie Lam, as she is best known), who won the election as planned.
So, we should have been paying more attention. Because in June 2017, which was also the 20th anniversary of the handover, China announced that the agreement between the UK and China, that guaranteed Hong Kong’s legal autonomy, had “no practical significance.” And after that, little by little, China continued to take over control of Hong Kong. 

That is what the demonstrations that began last summer and continued into the winter of 2019 were all about. The demonstrators demanded a return to full autonomy, and some raised the U.S. flag and sang the Star Spangled Banner as their undeniable definition of what they wanted.

At the time, we wondered how much force China would be willing to bring to bear against the people of Hong Kong. Would China bring its police into Hong Kong? Would it bring the force of its military against the people of Hong Kong? 
We never really found out, because, although the Chinese government had stationed troops on the border between the mainland and Hong Kong, and had sent plainclothes police to infiltrate the huge number of demonstrators, the pandemic brought the demonstrations to an abrupt halt, as face masks and quarantines became the orders of the day. In fact, the first known patients of the new, mysterious virus from Wuhan that appeared outside of mainland China showed up in Hong Kong in the final days of 2019. This was what we now call COVID-19.
But that crisis has passed, at least for the time being, and now China’s intentions are becoming dangerously clear. 
Last week, the demonstrations resumed when the spokesman for Hong Kong’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, which is now essentially a puppet of Communist China, announced that a bill was being drafted to “establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding the national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” The wording of that bill as it was written was ominous. And the bill was passed into law on May 28. 

Now it is law, called the National Security Law, and it allows the central government to set up “relevant national security bases” in Hong Kong. China’s daunting military force will now have a legal presence in Hong Kong.

According to the state-run media Xinhua, this law will end the existing “One Country, Two Systems” framework, which will no longer be supported by the Chinese government. China has made it clear, in fact, that the autonomy which Hong Kong has enjoyed since the China-UK agreement, and the free market systems that have enriched the protectorate, will now all be subject to mainland China laws and the police force of China. This is an ominous turn of events and a death knell for the formerly free people of Hong Kong.
And to underscore that, Wang Chen, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee in the Hong Kong legislature, has made it crystal clear this week that Beijing would not tolerate any activities that challenge the regime’s authority. That includes promoting democratic elections, which were guaranteed by the 1997 agreement with Britain, any legislative actions from foreign governments that would interfere with Chinese control, and any advocacy groups that support the pro-democracy protesters.
In short, the autonomous status of Hong Kong will soon disappear. And so, by the way, will its free market economy which has made Hong Kong one of the major centers of wealth in the world. 
China will now effectively kill the goose that laid the golden egg, and the people of Hong Kong will lose the most of all. 
Is This “Game Over”?
What will happen to the people of Hong Kong who have lived under relative freedom all their lives? And what will happen to the territory’s thriving free market economy, and its world-famous stock exchange which has generated so much wealth for Hong Kong? 
All of this remains to be seen. The Chinese Communist Party has officially abrogated its agreement with Great Britain that was meant to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy and its free market economy for at least another twenty-seven years. The treaty has been trashed and the people of Hong Kong are about to be crushed! 
When he first heard about the impending National Security bill, President Trump said, “If it happens, we’ll address that issue very strongly.” But now it has happened, the National Security Law has been passed, and President Trump has come back with words that are clearly strong and unambiguous. At a special Friday afternoon press conference on China, the President made another statement. And in it he said:
“China’s pattern of misconduct is well known. For decades they have ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before. . . . raided our factories, off-shored our jobs, gutted our industries, stole our intellectual property, and violated their commitments under the World Trade Organization. . . To make matters worse, they are considered a ‘developing nation’ getting all sorts of benefits that other nations, including the United States, are not entitled to. . . . and they broke their word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong. . . . The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China, but achieving that relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interests. 
“The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations. These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside. . . .
“Several of the most significant actions we are taking today pertain to the deeply troubling situations unfolding in Hong Kong. This week China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security. This was a plain violation of Beijing’s treaty obligations with the United Kingdom in the Declaration of 1984 and explicit provisions of Hong Kong’s Basic Law. It had 27 years to go. 
“The Chinese government’s move against Hong Kong is the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status. This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China, and indeed the people of the world. 
“China claims it is protecting national security. But the truth is that Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China’s state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty. 
“China’s latest incursion, along with other recent developments that degraded the territory’s freedoms, makes clear that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover.  China has replaced its promised formula of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ with ‘One Country, One System’. 
“Therefore, I am directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment. 

  • My announcement today will affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong from our extradition treaty to our export controls on dual-use technologies and more, with few exceptions.  
  • We will be revising the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese State security apparatus. 
  • We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.
  • The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and  . . . smothering Hong Kong’s freedom.” 

The President’s words were clear and unequivocal. And his actions will be a powerful statement to China about America’s intentions to support the people of Hong Kong, but not the new status which China has imposed on the territory. 
Sadly, China is not likely to bend to these moves. It is most likely to take a strong position in its imposition of authority and to take all necessary measures to crush the uprising that the people of Hong Kong have so valiantly taken on. 
What China has done by inflicting the coronavirus on the world is unforgiveable. What China is about to do to destroy Hong Kong is also unforgiveable. 
There is no better proof of China’s duplicity than the events of the past six months that began in Wuhan. And today those acts of malfeasance are viciously compounded by the events of this past week with regard to Hong Kong. The people of Hong Kong are about to experience a trauma unlike anything they have witnessed in their lifetimes. In a single blow, they will lose the freedoms under which they have lived all their lives and be forced to live under the iron fist of the Communist Party of China. 

When the ‘Iron Curtain’ descended on eastern Europe, the free world thought that the people in these countries had lost their freedom forever. But in the end, the free West was able to prevail against the Soviet Union, and it collapsed. We can learn from this history. By not giving in to the threats of Communist China, and protecting the free nations of the world against it, we can pre-empt the tragedies that history has warned us about. 

The damage that the Chinese government has already inflicted on the world and is about to inflict on Hong Kong cannot be tolerated and must be challenged in every way possible. The President’s strong position against this evil is a beginning. But it is not likely to be enough. It will only be through continued strong and devastating sanctions, debilitating tariffs, and whatever other measures will bring China to its knees in the international arena that we can stop its war against the world, the destruction of free Hong Kong, and the shattering loss of its national soul. 
China must be stopped now – before it can take this insane war against the rest of the world any further. Its next front is Hong Kong, but that war is only one small step in its larger plan for global supremacy. 
China is not afraid of waging its war for world dominance and the supremacy of its Communist ideology. So the world – and particularly the free world – must not stand by and watch China continue to disregard the interests of the international community. The nations of the world need to put aside local self-interest and confront this global menace together.  
President Trump has taken the first step and sounded a clarion for the rest of the world. Now it is time for other world leaders to step up and join the battle of our lifetime.

Ilana Freedman

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst with more than thirty years in the field. She was trained in Israel, where she lived and worked for sixteen years. After returning to the U.S., she served as CEO of Gerard Group International in Massachusetts, providing major corporations and government agencies with intelligence-led support for their homeland security programs. Her global network of specialists and field assets has provided her with an ongoing resource of critical, real-time intelligence and domain expertise. Today, Ilana is an independent consultant and author of hundreds of articles on terrorism and the geopolitical landscape. She has written four books on Islamic terrorism, and is currently working on a comprehensive book on China - past, present, and future.

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