Hong Kong Democracy Legislation – What is Next for China with Russia’s Backing?

  • Hong Kong went back to China in the 1997.
  • US President Donald Trump singed democracy legislation to allow China and Hong Kong to open a dialogue to find a peaceful solution.
  • Vladimir Putin is backing China.

US and China tensions continue to escalate. President Donald Trump signed Hong Kong democracy legislation, which clearly angered China. The US never truly had any dealings with Hong Kong. Historically, Hong Kong was involved in the First Opium War in the mid 1800s. In 1841 Britain entered the island of Hong Kong and made it its military staging location. The island of Hong Kong became a British Colony.

Originally a sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world’s most significant financial centres and commercial ports. It is the world’s tenth-largest exporter and ninth-largest importer, and its legal tender (the Hong Kong dollar) is the world’s 9th-most traded currency (as of 2019). Hong Kong hosts the largest concentration of ultra high-net-worth individuals of any city in the world. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, there is severe income inequality.

Hong Kong was given to China on July 1, 1997, after 156 years of British rule. After the handover, Hong Kong was promised a “one country, two systems” style of governance. China was supposed to implement one system in 2047 but it has been doing so early with its draconian totalitarian style of rule. Hence, Hong Kong became plagued by protests and violence to fight against dictatorship.

The reason behind Trump’s signing the democracy legislation is to allow China and Hong Kong to open a dialogue and mediate their differences to establish peace in line with a democratic system. However, the Chinese might interpret that Trump does not see Hong Kong as part of China. This adds to the ongoing tensions due to the trade war between the US and China.

Nevertheless, it was disadvantage for Hong Kong to be given back to China. China’s communist style of governance and having zero freedom of speech is a valid reason for locals to be disappointed. The Great Firewall of China and social credit scoring system alone is enough to be concerned.

The law pertaining to Human Rights and democracy in Hong Kong has provisions to allow the US once a year to confirm that the island maintains its autonomy. Therefore, the new legislation would be in line with this law. Additionally, local police are not allowed to use any type of gas to disburse demonstrators.

Hong Kong demonstrators welcomed the news of US legislation as their saving grace. They been exposed to cruel, horrible treatment and many have sustained injuries.

China’s response to the legislation is predictable and full of negativity, including blaming the US for interfering in Chinese domestic affairs. Russian media tend to support China’s position. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a strong series of statements claiming ‘today it’s Hong Kong, tommorrow Kaliningrad’ and offered full support to China.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam refuses to offer any further concessions to the opposition. Lam is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th and current Chief Executive since 2017. Needless to say, Carrie Lam should resign, as she has failed to maintain and negotiate a peaceful disbursement of protesters for some time.

The attack on democracy in Hong Kong by China is real. The same applies to Russia and it reveals the totalitarian ways under Putin.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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