June 10, 2019

Riots, Protests in Hong Kong

Timothy Birdnow

Hong Kong erupts in violence as China begins process of ending autonomy for the city. The protests were spurred by a new law that would extradite citizens to mainland China for trials. Hong Kong has enjoyed a fair amount of independence from China since being absorbed in the last century.

According to Reuters:

The demonstration capped weeks of growing outrage in the business, diplomatic and legal communities, and human rights groups, which fear corrosion of Hong Kong's rule of law and the the lack of an fair and open legal system on the mainland.

The former British colony was handed back to China in 1997 amid guarantees of autonomy and various freedoms including a separate legal system, which many diplomats and business leaders believe is its strongest remaining asset.

The unusually broad opposition to the rendition bill displayed on Sunday came amid a series of government moves to deepen links between southern mainland China and Hong Kong.

Chants of "no China extradition, no evil law" echoed through the streets of the high-rise city as marchers snaked through the Causeway Bay and Wanchai shopping districts.

Organizers say over a million people joined the protests, which turned violent leading to police pepper spraying the crowds. Police estimate 240 thousand. Either way, it was a huge turnout.

I doubt this would have happened had Barack Obama been President. The trade war with china is putting pressure on that regime and Hong Kong is the canary in the coal mine for China as it has never been fully absorbed. While this was over extradition, I suspect it wouldn't have happened had we continued our accomodationist policies toward the Red Dragon. We've been putting the screws to China economically with the tariffs and the people of Hong Kong can read the tea leaves. We must not forget the Tianamen Square protests, which were crushed by the Chinese; they illustrated that, despite economic prosperity, there is still an underlying discontent, the kind that any totalitarian state will foster. Squeeze hard enough and the public will rebel. We abandoned the Tianaman protesters because too many in America were more interested in making money off the Chinese than in doing what was right. And a lot of people thought commerce would change China (Newt Gingrich recently admitted he was wrong on that score, for instance.)

I think this illustrates that the hardline policies of the Trump Administration are having an effect. Whether it will have enough of an effect - or if we'll stay the course - is another matter.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 07:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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