Here is the biggest irony of it all. Hong Kong’s youth are protesting because they believe Hong Kong is special. Why do they (and the rest of the world) believe Hong Kong is special? Simple. Because it was once a British colony and, following that brief break from being Chinese, came out as a postergirl of capitalist prosperity as the West fought a Cold War to contain the communist threat gripping East Asia.
Times have changed but not China’s principle that there is only ONE China. While the communist threat retreated from Indochina and much of southeast Asia (except, perhaps, the Philippines), the West have seen the People’s Republic of China as less of an enemy and more of a business partner. While much of the West gleefully allowed their industrial bases and political clout to slip away from right under their feet, China went on to chart a course towards world political, military, and economic domination.
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Hong Kong is pretty much left with nothing. Its specialness is a mere vibe in the minds of a community of idealistic but seriously-misled youth. The reality is a bit more stark. Hundreds of Chinese cities have risen as strong alternatives to Hong Kong since the Cold War days. They are not Hong Kong clones, however. They are in line with the One China the rest of the world is sheepishly beholden to and they are delivering results to Beijing the way Beijing wants it done.
Not Hong Kong. Its people hang on to the illusion that the prosperity their “special administrative region” enjoys is owed to the ideological vestiges of British rule. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. The rest of the world know it, Beijing knows it, and Hong Kong’s own administrators know it. The kids rioting on Hong Kong’s streets today seem to have missed that memo. Perhaps they had become cocky that their “activism” is giving Beijing pause and “forcing” China to exercise some retraint. It seems they are mistaken. The “restraint” we see today is not because of any particular concern on the part of Beijing for the wellbeing of Hong Kong’s people and certainly not because of any deference to any liberal Western notion of “individual rights” and personal freedoms. The People’s Liberation Army is holding back because of a bigger picture more relevant to the bigger China Hong Kong’s “activists” seem to have forgotten actually exists.
Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong says that Chinese President Xi Jinping “isn’t even going to consider” sending in the army before October 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. “Any deployment of the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] in Hong Kong before that date would spoil the festive atmosphere,” says Lam, and Xi would “lose face”. Besides, it suits Beijing to wait because the most aggressive of the protesters are growing more violent, week by week.
Those in the West, these snowflakes cheering on Hong Kong’s protesters, are doing something fundamentally irresponsible. They are influencing children. These are kids who lack the maturity nor the discipline to think far enough ahead to see the ramifications of the anarchy they are fomenting. They are essentially destroying their own future. The snowflake “activist” community watching the show at the bleachers and giving one another high-five whenever a barrage of Molotov cocktails light up the sky from yet another toched Hong Kong street are no different to common bloodsport fans.
It is increasingly evident to China that they do not need to “beat” these Hong Kong protesters. These kids are already doing that dirty job for Beijing — with the help of Western “activists” staring into and tapping on their iPhones half a planet away.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.