This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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New Democracy in East Asia?
In 1773, two hundred and forty-six years ago, we see something eerily similar to what we are witnessing today in Hong Kong. In that year, an oppressive government was taking away the freedoms of the people in a colony not connected directly to the empire. Free speech, free assembly, and free press were being denied to millions of people in the thirteen colonies. This problem came to a head when the crown placed a tax on tea, the drink of choice for colonists, which drove many to dress up as Mohawk Indians and raid the harbor.
We are beholden to the axiom that “until all are free, none are free.”
At this time the harbor was the main port of commerce in the area. The masks were to protect their identity. Their struggle was to assert that they were free persons and not slaves. This was the conception of a nation, the Boston Tea Party.
Independence Day For Hong Kong?
Now in colonial China, we see a similar thing happening. An oppressive government is taking people away from their own nation and jury of their peers for extradition on charges that do not have to be revealed to the public. The voice of the individual is being squelched by the voice of the crown, or in this case, the omnipresent communist political machine. Free speech, free assembly, and free press are being denied to millions of people around the island nation of Hong Kong.
Now young people and their elders dress with facemasks and peacefully protest the oppression at the Hong Kong airport, shutting it down for a second day. Their struggle is to assert that they are free persons and not slaves to Beijing. Once again, we see the conception of a nation, and the world stands by to see if it will be allowed to live.
The Hong Kong situation has been an embarrassment for the Western world since Margret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of Brittan, capitulated to the threat of Communist China marching the People’s Army of China into Hong Kong if the UK did not agree to end it’s lease in 1997. Twenty-two years have passed since the people, who in their mind had grown up British during the 99-year lease because it was the only life that they had ever known, were abandoned by Thatcher- abandoned to second-class citizenship in China rather than the independence the UK could have given them in 1996.
The World on Standby
Now, the whole world has stood by idly as right after right, freedom after freedom and little piece of humanity after piece of humanity were taken from the people of Hong Kong. The same is so deep you can see the faces of the people denied entry into ports in the United States, Australia, Brittan, and Africa during the Holocaust in the faces of those who were denied their Passports and exit out of Hong Kong in the months leading up to China’s retaking of the Island Nation.
These were not people illegally assaulting borders because they were not happy with what they had in their own country, they were people who were fleeing a crackdown; the loss of freedoms they grew up with because of an agreement made between people long since dead. Politics was chosen over humanity, as, just like with the Jews, human beings were left to be “disappeared” on that cold rainy night, June 30, 1997.
The Union Jack and The Stars and Stripes
It is time for the Western World and China to correct this injustice. The people of Hong Kong deserve to be free. It is not the flag of Antifa or Communism that protesters are waving in their quest for recognition, but the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. These people do not want something handed to them that they have not earned.
As a colony, the people of Hong Kong built a market economy, a free government, and a hope for the future that was crushed in 1997. They are a problem for Beijing, as people who have tasted freedom cannot be ruled by the fist of an oppressor. Freedom which was known cannot be broken out of those who love it; they will rise against oppression. China should cut its losses and give the people of Hong Kong the freedom they deserve.
Until All Are Free, None Are Free
The West has a duty to admit that they created part of this situation. When the world looked the other way in 1997, they condemned a generation of people to oppression. It was less than a decade since Tiananmen Square shocked the world, then was quickly silenced by the Chinese State-Run Media. How many of the former British citizens of Hong Kong were silenced in Chinese prison camps, stolen from their families in the dead of night for not agreeing with the communist agenda?
The West must put pressure on China to give freedom to Hong Kong. The United States should offer them statehood. For the rest of the West, we need to put sanctions and tariffs on China until it acts as a developed nation should. We cannot condone oppression simply because it is profitable; rather, we must fight this evil wherever we may see it.
China cannot exist without trade with the democracies of the West; Isolation and restriction will cause its capitulation to the democratic forces already rising within the Middle Kingdom. If we are the leaders of a free world, such as we like to believe, then we are beholden to the axiom that “until all are free, none are free.”
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.