God Save Hong Kong, the Achilles’ Heel of China’s Communist Party

Heated emotions outpour in the streets of Hong Kong today.

After the massive rally on Sunday did not produce a satisfactory response from the Government, many understand that those in power in an undemocratic system will always find a way to think themselves above public opinion. 

What is clear is that the situation is a damning indictment on China’s rise. Distrusted by its own citizens, the People’s Republic of China has become a juggernaut — a beast of a polity hellbent on trailblazing everything that stands in its way. The inhabitants of the most prosperous city in the country, Hong Kong, who unlike their cousins up north were born free, would rather tear each other apart than be subjected to the full jurisdiction of the Beijing authorities. 

Not everything is on the line, however. A pragmatic solution to this impasse would be to exempt Hong Kong permanent residents from the draconian law being proposed. After all, its raison d’être is to repatriate fugitives from the Chinese state, a minuscule percentage of which are bound to be Hongkongers, all of whose crimes would anyhow be triable in this city. A fair settlement too: the PRC does not extradite its own citizens. Will the Hong Kong government heed the call of their own? The youth of Hong Kong have shown their mettle to make it so. This, for many, is their last stand. 

A line in the sand has been drawn. After decades of witnessing impotently the cronyism and the mismanagement of the city’s land resources, Hong Kong youngsters have come to realize they are sacrificial lambs in Beijing’s geopolitical games. Hong Kong’s role is not to be a place for Hongkongers to enjoy, but for the rich across the border to let off steam and park their money in local assets. It does not require much wisdom to predict the consequences of having a city of 7 million people play the role of an oasis of sanity in a continent-sized nation of 1.4 billion people.

The civil liberties that Hongkongers of this generation have always enjoyed are amongst the last and most cherished remnants of an old order that produced one of the most prosperous metropolises the world has ever seen. The current leadership of China’s Communist Party, however, is fighting an increasingly uphill battle to deliver Chinese supremacy at the world stage while keeping together a society that has become too sophisticated to control with simple slogans. This territory’s sui generis status, and its freethinking people, have become the Achilles’ heel of the current Chinese administration. Hong Kong, long a gate for commerce to China, is now a gate for ideas, including anti-Communism and even the anti-Chinese localism that leaving the city’s fate to ultra-chummy property developers has bred. 

It was not suddenly bred,
It will not swiftly abate …