Hong Kong’s quaint experiment with liberal Western democracy is coming to an end. That, of course, is not the Hollywood ending a generation of snowflakes raised on a diet of Walt Disney dramas like Frozen is expecting. While there is a lot of noise on social media egging on the embattled protesters massing on Hong Kong’s streets, people seem to forget the inconvenient fact of The Great Firewall of China.
Pushed far enough, China will put Hong Kong behind that wall. Pushed far enough People’s Liberation Army tanks will start rolling into the New Territories and troop boots will start goosestepping out of helicopters and landing craft into Hong Kong itself. This is the advantage of authoritarianism over “democracies”. The popularity of an idea is of no consequence to practical and swift solutions to emerging problems concocted by central committees (or whatever you call them behind that Great Firewall).
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For now, Hong Kong is merely an emerging problem for Beijing — not enough of a pain in the ass to send in the marines. Hong Kong, afer all, is now just a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China — a euphemism for Beijing’s cautious tolerance Hong Kong’s “citizens” have so far enjoyed since their little territory’s exit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s realm in 1997. In short, Hong Kong is no longer part of the “Free World”. This is a reality snowflake “activists” pontificating about how the Hong Kong Government ought to be behaving need to wake up to.
Long long before this “crisis” in Hong Kong became the nuclei of boogers forming in the noses of snorting “activists”, China had already been cracking the whip to ensure that the rest of the global community toed the line. Governments on both sides of the planet complied, all of whom dared not regard Taiwan as any form of independent state in any official statement and ensuring that the “SAR” acronym conspicuously followed the words “Hong Kong” in every document checked for crossed “t”s and dotted “i”s.
Indeed, Hong Kong is no longer the standout jewel in the Chinese Empire’s free market crown. There are now many cities in China that have long been giving Hong Kong a run for its money — and doing so without Beijing having to pander to the sort of “activism” Hong Kong hosts. In effect, Hong Kong’s activists are doing their economy in on two fronts: (1) making Hong Kong unstable and, as such, less attractive to investors and (2) making other, more “cooperative” Chinese cities, better options for setting up shop in China.
The fact is, capital flows to wherever not on the basis of liberal goodness but on the basis of where the profits lie. Ultimately where there is money, there will be rewards. Indeed, China is proof by itself that there is money to be made where there is no freedom. That single fact is what will decide the fate of this Hong Kong “issue”.
For now, Hong Kong’s activists are proving useful to feed the fantasies of Filipino “activists” who, by their own doing, have irrevocably dulled the gloss of their fomerly glorious “people power” tradition. Enjoy the show. While it lasts.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.