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Wither Hong Kong

Now the Western media has quiet down on events from Hong Kong I would like to put in my 2 cents from a totally different perspective. I have lived in Hong Kong for 2 years from 59′ to 61′ before immigrated to U.S.. I guess those demonstrators will continue to make noises to a dwindling audiences without any real objective other than the total withdrawal of the extradition bill and/or resignation of Carrie Lam. Many have applauded the success of democracy and implied rebut to China, but probably secretly polished their passports to Canada or Australia.
When Deng designed the 1 country/2 systems and 50 years transition he was hoping that China will develop and Hong Kong will converge with China mainland gradually. In the 22 years China has developed beyond anyone’s dream and many cities in China has surpassed Hong Kong economically. Yet Hong Kong has remained trying to move away from China. From the China’s view point, the extradition bill is not that important, it’s nice to have for those who committed economic crimes like embezzlement be returned to China which has frequently occurred from Europe and other parts of Asia. Hong Kong being the gateway to Western financial center has gradually eroded in importance, and China likes to integrate Hong Kong with other areas in Pearl River Delta as Shanghai did in Yangtze River Delta. Many in Hong Kong relish their role like India’s Brahmans being under their colonial lords yet much above the peons from China’s interior. Their resistance to using Mandarin as official language to educational reform placing more emphasis of Chinese history and patriotism to insults to Chinese anthem and flag, incidents like against Chinese purchase of baby milk products to negative reactions to some tourist behaviors from China. Yet the clock is ticking toward 2039 and anxiety is rising in Hong Kong. Do they really think China will allow the crossing of red line of allowing HK independence party? Of course they use the noble concepts like democracy and rule of law to cloak their nebulous unease and lack of future choices. Their choice of being Hong Kongers and not Chinese only reveal their colonial heritage.
The governor of Hong Kong is essentially a caretaker with limited power. Hong Kong is dominated by the real estate tycoons that need to keep the price of housing high and unaffordable to most. The young people know that limits their prospective in life and are rebellious, yet they don’t know what they can do other than rebel against the Big Authority, not the real powers behind the scene. Hong Kong government can use some of the surplus to construct more public housing instead wasting it on periodic dividends of a few thousand dollars to everyone. Hong Kong is one of the lowest taxed city in the world. The high cost of housing means those who have an apartment of their own costing up to millions of dollars have invested on the concept of high housing price and will resist any proposal to lower the price. If those students really studied their quandary and start to demonstrate for affordable housing I am sure they will really hit on the nail on the head.

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  1. pug_ster
    June 26th, 2019 at 21:20 | #1

    I do have a couple of points about Hong Kong. First of all, this is a pretty good article about the negotiations between China and the UK before the handover as well as current extradition treaties with other countries.

    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1139979689735278592.html

    One of the points in this article is that China’s main goal was to take over sovereignty of Hong Kong and has to make major concessions to do it. That means that China has to allow the Elites to run the city as well as maintaining the low taxed capitalist system there. China making a deal with the devil, so to speak has its consequences. The Elites within HK only cares about the Rich while the western paid pro-democracy don’t address rich/poor disparity. Pro-democracy uses the poor as pawn to protest against the pro-Beijing elites.

    https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/hong-kongs-extradition-bill-from-a-grisly-murder-to-mass-protests

    I thought that this is a good article about how this Extradition bill came to pass. All this conspiracy theories about tons of people getting sent back to China if this bill passes is just false. They even watered down the bill to exclude financial and white collar type of crimes, but only contain offenses including murder, polygamy and robbery but that got shot down too. Besides, even if someone is extradited, the person has to go thru some kind of procedure to get shipped out. IMO, this Extradition bill is hardly controversial at all, rather the western paid pro-democracy movement used it to go after pro-Beijing front within Hong Kong.

  2. Charles Liu
    July 26th, 2019 at 13:32 | #2

    Western media not reporting on the Color Revolution violence after the initial “democracy protest” narrative is established, is a fairly routine pattern of our supposedly free media knowing it’s place and voluntarily self-censor alternative facts.

    But guess what, as soon as the citizens fed up with the black shirts wrecking their city and started to fight back, MSM started the “democracy protester attacked” narrative, skipping entirely why the villagers wore white shirts to protect their neighborhood:

    https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/454123-pro-democracy-protesters-attacked-at-hong-kong-train

  3. Ngok Ming Cheung
    July 27th, 2019 at 08:14 | #3

    Western main media even South China Evening Post finally start to give some background of young people living with under 100 square feet with no privacy and no place to express anger other than demonstrations. Surely the solution is open their vista beyond HK and toward China or even elsewhere. The extradition bill was a bogus excuse by some hoping to climb up the ladder by getting votes to be leaders. HK need to increase taxes and built affordable housings and embrace the Pearl River Delta Business Plan. The same dilemma affect U.S. on question of unequal distribution of wealth. Attacking protesters will not resolve it.

  4. pug_ster
    July 28th, 2019 at 10:38 | #4

    @Ngok Ming Cheung

    I agree with you that HK needs to increase taxes and build affordable housing and embrace the Pearl River Delta Business Plan. The problem is that these protesters don’t seem to share your view, instead they are protesting against mainlanders and the mainland itself.

  5. Ngok Ming Cheung
    July 28th, 2019 at 13:04 | #5

    We both knew the problem, but do most of those protesters bother to think through rather than just to vent their frustration? The question is those on the top in Hong Kong surely realize it’s not in their interest for anarchy to prevail. It’s in the interest for U.S. to foment trouble for China and Hong Kong while mouthing democracy. What’s the point for Jack Ma to buy a useless South China Evening News which preaches freedom of press bromide while not taking a stand for law and order. Even if Carrie Lam surrender or resign the protesters will continue and demand more. It’s time for majority of Hong Kong citizens to wake up in their own self interest not to mention their investments and livelihood.

  6. Ngok M Cheung
    August 4th, 2019 at 20:39 | #6

    After listening to Carrie Lam’s news conference I feel she does not know how to deal with the problem. She was correct she cannot give in or even has the power to give in to the 5 demands except the first 2 which she already did other than semantic nit picking. Her resignation will not resolve the crisis other than embolden them. My suggestion is not PLA, but mobilize citizen volunteers or even pay them, hundreds to each MTA station, with the power as militia to make citizens’ arrest against those obstruction the subway doors, remove their masks and photographs them for future prosecution. Any government workers will be warned against call in sick without doctor’s note subject to firing. Traffic controllers can be temporarily imported from China as backup against shortages, any refusals will be fired a la Reagan firing of traffic controllers. Law and order need force as backup, not empty persuasion.

  7. Ngok Ming Cheung
    August 12th, 2019 at 06:07 | #7

    Hong Kong is facing a choice, so does the central government. I suggest a 2 pronged response to solve the dilemma. Accept the general election by local Hong Kongers for governor general and local councilors, but with stipulation of loyalty to 1 country/ 2 systems with emphasis of transition to 1 country by the end of 2047. The qualification for citizenship will be restricted to 1 nationality, those with dual citizenships will have to make a choice by election time. Those with dual citizenships as most oppositions will not be qualified for voting or holding office. Those in present office with dual citizenship will be given a transitional period of 5 years to make their choice including all judges. The extradition treaty will be withdrawal but will be reintroduced in 5 years as a referendum. Also the education reform will be introduced as referendum question with emphasis on mandarin, Chinese history and de-colonization. Certainly the question of police performance will subject to a commission for review 1 year after the peace returns. China will given some land to Hong Kong jurisdiction as they did for Macau University for housing construction for qualified young couples a low cost to alleviate housing shortages.

  8. Wang Qishan
    August 22nd, 2019 at 18:33 | #8

    The title is a clever pun indeed—the flower of Hong Kong withers by the day. But one wonders, whither China with a withered Hong Kong?

  9. da5id403
    September 8th, 2019 at 09:27 | #9

    It would seem that the facts of the underlying extradition case are horrible for basis to protest the relationship of Hong Kong with China. I would expect the anti-protest elements of Chinese and Hong Kong society to co-opt the family of the murder victim. Regular press conferences with weeping parents pleading for justice for the victim: leaked photographs of her mutilated body, prominent lawyers rushing to the aid of the family and the murder victim, etc. That this has not happened is puzzling.

    A quick review of the documents (the Sino-British Joint Declaration) underlying China’s relationship with Hong Kong provides: “The [HKSAR] will be directly under the authority of the Central People’s Government of the [PRC and] will enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs.” Extradition treaties can be loosely compared to contracts between sovereign nations and, by their nature, are reserved to China over Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration’s “foreign affairs” clause. Obviously, few people in Hong Kong are looking at this as a dry legal matter. Maybe because one of the significant results of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (Annex II) was the promise of a independent judiciary.

    There are things China could have done in the very beginning (to voluntarily turnover the murder suspect?) to have diffused the issue. But that is all water under the bridge. I find the latest call by the protesters for help from Trump to be very cynical. And dangerous too. Trump is as unstable as an abandoned landmine. I am reminded of the wise adage, be careful what you wish for.

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