“Once the world’s freest economy, Hong Kong has now been curtailed by US sanctions and the growing fear among businesses due to the worsening geopolitical relations of CCP”
Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.-Robert Jackson
This year on June 30 as the clock struck 23:00, one hour before the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China, the CCP govt passed a law that completely changed the course of HK…bringing with it the worst kind of socio-political crises since 1997.
It’s understood that governments make/change laws to steer the country towards the desired path, but as to how beneficial the path might prove…well, that’s a story told only by future. The National Security Law (NSL), which China imposed on HK with a motive to curb CCP’s critics and ward off differing opinions, took just hours to prove itself a blunder. Since then, as the police intensified their efforts to curb dissent with baseless and illegitimate arrests, the other side of democracy campaigners, too intensified their activities with renewed fervour.
One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.– Arnold Glasow
The chaos that immediately followed the promulgation of NSL has caused a significant distress to the economy of HK. What was once the ‘milking cow’ for China and the reason that prompted all the CCP govts to vouch for the speedy alignment of HK with China, has unfortunately now become reduced to a liability and a blackhole for the CCP treasury. But who is to be blamed? I once came across a line which seems apt here, “anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm, but it is at those very few testing moments when you can prove your mettle and your virtue as a great leader”. And this was one such moment, for Xi Jinping and for Carrie Lam…and they botched it up, famously!!
As per the Heritage Foundation’s 2020 index, “The ongoing political and social turmoil has begun to erode its (HK’s) reputation as one of the best locations from which to do business, dampening investment inflows”. It is a little disheartening to note, what was once the world’s freest economy that attracted businesses from all over, has now been curtailed by US sanctions and the growing fear among businesses due to the worsening geopolitical relations of the CCP government with US, Australia, Japan, UK etc.
While a group of experts have cited NSL’s Article 65 (Chapter 6) as the deciding factor that compelled foreign investors and tourists to find alternatives in the form of Singapore and India, the rest believe that it is the mass resignation of the opposition party and the sacking
resigning of various civil servants that has caused a fear of the impending CCP authoritarianism which combined with the Covid situation, no longer makes HK a very lucrative choice.
Locking up dissenters does not reduce dissent – it fosters it.– Amal Clooney
“Has imposing critical laws without debate and careful analysis backfired? Has personal vendetta triumphed over an impartial & honest judiciary? Has the Xi-Lam government, in trying to punish dissent furthered Hong Kong from a stable and hopeful future?”
However, what is thoroughly worrisome is that this environment of instability and oppression has significantly dipped morale of the HKers. Under the ambit of the new law, the HK/CCP govt has arrested and subsequently denied bail to various lawyers, artists, activists, politicians and students. Revisiting the past few weeks in HK its clear to identify that Xi-Lam’s government has been busy weeding out dissenters: the arrest and denial of bail to the 72 years old media tycoon Jimmy Lai, sentencing pro-democracy campaigners like Agnes Chow, Joshua Wang, Ivan Lam, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Wu Chi-wai, “Long Hair” etc, freezing the bank accounts of exiled pro-democracy politicians like Ted Hui..is just the tip of the ice-berg.
While we can’t deny the role of the Communist Party in shaping the growth of mainland China post her liberation in 1949, one does wonder: If imposing critical laws without debate and careful analysis might have backfired? If personal vendetta has triumphed over what should have been an impartial and honest judiciary? If the government, in trying to punish dissent is further distancing HK from a stable and hopeful future?
While the world sits and ponders, all I can think of is a quote by Margaret Mead –
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.