For anyone keeping count, Hong Kong has scored another couple of banana-republic-dictatorship points: Beijing is already looking to stitch up Jimmy Lai, Long Hair and Joshua Wong on spurious ‘national security’ charges, and Mainland teachers are coming to show Hong Kong educators how to indoctrinate the kids correctly.
The Hong Kong Police devoted yesterday to the tireless pursuit and heroic mass arrests of highly dangerous 14-year-old schoolgirls. They also found time to fire pepper balls at office workers in Central at lunchtime, and engage in assorted rampaging around Kowloon, detaining over 360 people. This was apparently in response to LegCo’s debate on the National Anthem (Compulsory Veneration) Bill, though it looks more like an opportunity to test a new tactic – arresting the entire public.
One theory is that the cops are compiling a database of protesters/dissidents/schoolgirls for Mainland security agencies to use in future. Cue a suggestion that the US offer refugee status to Hongkongers – something Taiwan is looking into.
This morning we wake to find that the US government has determined that ‘Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997’. A State Dept press briefing confirms that a variety of sanctions are possible.
The White House will also now consider sanctions against China for human rights violations against Uighurs. Euro-weenies tentatively join in the criticism of China’s suppression of Hong Kong. And a Canadian court dashes Beijing’s hopes that Huawei’s Ms Meng will walk free soon. You’d almost think Xi Jinping is massively screwing up everything. There’s so much to go berserk about, Beijing’s wolf-warrior panda-tantrum department doesn’t know where to start.
Annoyingly, the Hong Kong government has not (as of 10.30am) issued its own inevitable whiny defensive press release accusing the US of ‘interfering’ in local affairs. Presumably Mainland officials are dictating the wording to ensure it meets their exacting standards of idiocy and petulance.
The State Dept’s notification (to Congress) that Hong Kong no longer qualifies for its separate status is in the short term perhaps mainly symbolic. We must
drool over wait to see if sanctions against local leadership materialize. But even if they can still get visas to visit the US, our local bureaucrats will see this as a further humiliation.
For reasons of self-preservation, these officials are having to give themselves a drastic image make-over. They have always been pro-business and cosmopolitan, at ease among the Davos types, reassuring the globalist titans of their commitment to the market, small government and an open economy. Now, nearly every day, they must learn a new, insular language about ‘our motherland’ and ‘foreign forces’, and at least be seen to mimic the CCP’s attitude of hypersensitivity and mistrust, if not hostility, toward the international community they once swanned around in.