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China Time and again has tried to impose various laws on its specially Administrative region “Hong Kong” be it in 2003, 2014, 2019, and now in 2020 but all earlier laws enforcement before 2020 gone bankrupt due to humongous protests by the Hong Kongers.

Taking lessons from the previous failed attempts, now the Chinese Government is enforcing laws in such a time when including Hong Kong the world is dealing with the Pandemic and it is quite impossible for the millions of people in Hong Kong to register their protest due to social distancing like they had done previously particularly the massive one in 2019.

Recent Eye-Catching Event

Including China, the entire globe has been doing its bit to contain the “N CoronaVirus”, meanwhile China has been deliberately flexing its muscles everywhere, be it in “Ladakh’s Pangong Tso, Sikkim’s Naku la, South China Sea, Taiwan Straits, Japan’s Senkaku Island, and Hong Kong”.

Recently, when the Chinese Parliament (“National People’s Congress (NPL)”) started their sessions after the months-long Lockdown, the Chinese government very smartly proposed a Draft to Curtail the “Autonomy of Hong Kong” which was agreed upon by the Chinese in Sino Britain joint declaration in 1984, when Hong Kong was given back to China by the British administration.

History

In the 19th Century,  when India was a Colony of the British empire and was one of the greatest producers of “OPIUM” , the British would sell the opium produced by Indian Farmers to various corners of the world and get the desired monetary benefits.

But, it was in the early 1800s when Chinese people got badly addicted to the consumption of Opium coming from British India, hence the various Dynasties of China,  particularly the Qing Dynasty had imposed restrictions over the Opium.

Seeing a heavy loss from the embargo, the British Navy attacked the Navies of Chinese dynasty around the South China sea and near the Pearl river of China, being a superior force, British India won against Chinese dynasties and the truce was reached between them in 1842 which stated that China must make sure that they would refrain from putting an embargo on the Opium trade coming from Indian territory and must give coastal Chinese land to British to ensure their proper trade via the sea.

Hence under this Truce, The trade resumption happened and British administration got Hong Kong under lease for 99 years starting from 1898 till 1997.

This Treaty between them came to be known as the “Treaty of Nanking”

But the time passed very quickly, British empire had gone back from India in 1947 and China had also united to form the People’s Republic of China in 1948 but the administration of Hong Kong was still being controlled by British Parliament till 1997.

As in 1984 when the period of lease was at the brink of its end, The British and Chinese administration met and reached  a joint declaration forming the way ahead as to how Hong Kong would be given back to China and what rule of law must prevail there to govern Hong Kong which came to be known as the “Sino British declaration of 1984.

The Sino British Declaration

In 1984, the declaration had been signed between China and British and set standard operating procedures to make Hong Kong an extended territory of China in 1997 under 1 Country 2 systems.

The 99 years  long British administration in Hong Kong completely changed the mindsets of Hongkongers from following the European lifestyle to be very fluent in British English to enjoying Democracy and freedom of speech to being very pluralistic mindsets to being very liberal in the thought process which was far opposite from the basic cultures of China where their dictionary won’t have words like democracy, freedom of speech, liberal thought process, expressing dissent towards the government, etc.

Hence, by respecting the culture of Hong kong which has a huge bit of influence from the west, the declaration had reached where Hong kong would be given a status of “Specially Administrative Region of China (SAR)” and 1 country 2 system followed.

1 Country 2 System

Since Hong kong was a democratic setup of the British, hence in the declaration, the People’s Republic Of China agrees to give Hong Kong a proper autonomy to follow its old democratic set up and it must refrain in the future to meddle in any independent political events of Hong kong at least for the period of 50 years.

Hence, Unlike the Chinese mainland which is not a democracy, Hong kong after becoming a special administrative region of the Chinese Mainland still continues to follow the democratic system where a multi-party political system continues and the citizens have got full-fledged voting rights.

This is known  as ” 1 country 2 systems”.

Hence, even being constitutionally a part of China, the political setup is entirely different in Hong Kong.

The constitutional rule under which an autonomy given to Hong Kong by Chinese administration is known as “The Mini Constitution or The Basic Law of Hong Kong” which gives special rights to Hong Kong.

Hence, to run the administration in Hong Kong, they consist their separate Police, Independent Judiciary, The independent democratic Political parties which formed their own rule of laws passed by their own legislation but except for the rules pertaining to the National securities, their Armed Forces, and the Foreign Affairs which must be owned by the Chinese mainland.

                                         CHINA                                                 HONG KONG

Political setup              Communism                                             Democracy

Currency                      Yuan                                                         Hong kong Dollar

Language                      Mandarin                                                 British English                                                     

Visa Norm                     Independent Visa                                      Independent Visa

Police                             Independent                                               Independent

Judiciary                       Independent                                               Independent

Trade                             Independent Norm                                     Independent Norm

Annexure iii of Basic Law

The “Basic Law” provides Hong Kong autonomy to formulate their separate rules from legislative assembly but the  Annexure 3 of Basic Law states that all the issues of National security, Foreign Relation, Terrorism, Extremist in the land of Hong Kong must be treated by the mainland political party of China and hence the Chinese parliament  have got all rights to make rules pertaining to these issues which will be applicable to entire China including Hong Kong.

2014 Umbrella protest

In 2014 the Communist govt. of China had proposed a law for Hong Kong to screen the leaders standing as candidates for the position of the supreme leader of Hong Kong (known as Chief Executive) . But this had been undermining the autonomy given to Hong Kong back in 1997 and ensuring the meddling of the Chinese communist party in the Independent election of Hong kong.

Hence the mammoth protest had erupted back then known as Umbrella protest and the proposed idea had been reverted back by the Chinese.

2019 Extradition Bill

The specialty of Hong kong is that the citizens have got the right to express their dissent against the govt. of Hong kong as well as communist govt. of China by even showing dissents.

But the same has not been allowed in the mainland Chinese territory and the press and judiciary systems are even so opaque showing the “Authoritarian” nature of Chinese Government.

So, last year the Extradition bill was presented, and had it been passed, it would have given Chinese Communist party power to extradite people from Hong Kong to mainland China for trial in their judiciary if they found them showing dissent for Chinese Communist.

The so-called “criminal” who was being extradited to mainland China would have faced extreme opaque judiciary, hence this Bill would have been a trial by China to make Hong kong under its authoritarian system, but following this, a huge protest erupted and The so-called Strong Chinese Government had to take a step back yet again.

Present Bill

Taking all the lessons from the previous failure, the Chinese Communist Party decided to present yet another Bill for Hong Kong as soon as their Parliament resumed recently to curtail the special provisions given to Hong Kong like the Freedom of speech, Freedom to show dissent, Freedom to protest, etc but this time more Smartly in the time when it is impossible to congregate on the street and also  have proposed this bill under the “Annexure 3” of Basic law which gives consent to the Communist government to formulate laws in the name of National security. Hence, this law is named as “The National Security Law”.

The National Security Law

The National security law had been presented in the Chinese parliament and had recently been passed almost unanimously getting  opposed merely by 2 Parliamentarians after bypassing the legislative assembly of Hong kong. Hence , now they will target secession, sedition, terrorism, extremism, and foreign interference in Hong Kong.

It would also prevent the local political organizations from having a relationship with the foreign entity and restrict citizens to express their dissent for the government in the future.

It has also given power to Xi Jinping to set up their Intelligence unit in Hong kong  which is indeed a  blatant attack on the Autonomy given in 1997.

Under the cover of such issues, the Chinese Communist Government has been flexing its increased control over Hong Kong and in future, it would be impossible for the Hong Kongers to register the protest against mainland China if any more illegal provisions would be enforced on them like it happened in 2003, 2014 and 2019 and the Greater autonomy given would be compromised.

US Angle

In 1992, the US had passed a bill in their Congress named ” Hong Kong Relation Act” which states that the US would treat Hong Kong as a separate entity from mainland China and hence the trade relations would be different for Hong Kong.

Under this Act, the US, unlike China, has always given preferential trade benefits to Hong Kong business traders and in most cases, the trade between both has been done with almost “miniscule” import duty, which defines greater cooperation of the US for Hong Kong.
Also, this act also gave power to Hong Kong as Hong Kong would not have trapped itself in a trade war between China and US.

But, last year under the chairmanship of  POTUS Donald Trump, US Congress had revised the 1992 Act when the Chinese supremacy had been looming over Hong kong.

The revised act states that the US bureaucrats every year must investigate the autonomy of Hong Kong and must inform the policymakers then with that only the 1992 Act would remain enacted for the particular year.

Now after passing the National Security Bill, Recently the secretary of state Mike Pompeo stated that they have been withdrawing the 1992 bill and would treat China and Hong Kong as a single entity and would enforce more sanctions on China and their leaders.

Hence it would certainly take the relations between US-China which already have been at low to even more lower points and probably would attract the ” US Sanctions “.

Even after facing the brunt of US sanctions amid the Trade war, the Chinese administration is still enjoying their credits from Hong Kong but now with the withdrawal of the 1992 act of US, it will give major loss to Chinese Officials.

Opinion

China,  ever since 1997 has been very desperate to merge Hong kong completely under its command,

what is important here is that they are striking the Iron when it crosses its recrystallization temperature by which the shape would be given so easily with the least resistance.

Time is crucial when at this Juncture, the world shows solidarity with each other in the pandemic, Chinese Blatantly disobeying the treaty with Britain and enforcing command over Hong kong.

It’s high time, the British Government must take cognizance of the matter because they are one of the stakeholders of the 1997 return of Hong Kong to China.


Colonel M.M Nehru

Col. MM Nehru, Director at NFA, is a Personality Developer. He is an experienced trainer and has orchestrated numerous sessions around leadership, time management and personal effectiveness for corporate clientele. He holds a master’s degree (PGDM) in Defence Studies and Business Administration and was an Arts Graduate. If you want to know more about Colonel Nehru Click Here

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