Hong Kong: a country, a system
Since June 9th, Hong Kong has experienced a wave of unparalleled protests. Monster demonstrations swirl over the asphalt among the many skyscrapers overlooking the city: residents want to retain the little freedom they kept after the surrender of the territory to China in 1997.
SAccording to the Hong Kong Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 by China and Great Britain, Hong Kong needed to preserve the values and peculiarities of the city, including freedom of expression, an independent judicial branch. and the free capitalist market before integrating into the Chinese socialist regime.
This interim period was to last 50 years from 1997, applying the doctrine of one country, two systems, developed by Deng Xiaoping, Chinese President from 1978 to 1992. Then, in 1990, a quasi-constitutional law was created, Hong Kong Basic Law, containing an article stating that Hong Kong would eventually obtain universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive of the territory. The first, with political imprisonments on the order of Beijing and the progressive establishment of socialist institutions in the city, seems more and more threatened. With regard to the latter, it is almost unimaginable in the current context. Xi Jinping is clear in his intentions, and there is no question that he allows long-term survival of a Hong Kong exception. The city must as soon as possible submit to the codes of conduct of the new Sino-continental empire.
From the outside, the cream of the Communist Party seems a little zealous about this small administrative region – it represents 0.5% of the population of China, and barely 3% of its GDP. In addition, the city has always been a bastion of societal calm and economic prosperity. Freedom of expression, a fair trial and the right to vote in this hyperfunctional portion of the country seem like a small price to pay for eliminating all the bad publicity that China receives this summer. Yet she will not give up this little gained easily. A recent military exercise by the Chinese army on the Hong Kong border demonstrates this.
It is not only an affront to the values of the Communist Party with those of Hong Kong, but rather an affront to those of Western democracy. Beijing is caught between the hammer and the anvil. On the one hand, if China suppresses protesters with force or coercion, it will prove to the world that its totalitarian model is not really a more effective alternative to contemporary globalized democracies, no matter what its president proclaims loud and clear about government television channels. On the other hand, if China concedes to the protesters the rights they claim, it exposes itself to an internal questioning as to the validity of its political system, and its ability to maintain it through the whole of his territory.
Greater China includes Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. Each of these entities has a different political system, although their populations, mostly ethnically Han, are similar. Taiwan has a healthy democratic culture, with universal suffrage since the 1990s. Although China regards Taiwan as another region of its territory, the island state behaves like any independent country. A large part of its inhabitants do not want reunification with mainland China. The latter, for its part, maintains a totalitarian regime with few individual freedoms. In Xi Jinping’s Thought, on Chinese socialism of the new era, his political theory in fourteen points, the twelfth point states: “Maintain the concept a country, two systems and promote total national reunification. It is necessary to understand by this ideological point that Xi wishes to gather under a flag Greater China, to make it a single state under the influence of the Communist Party uniting the four entities.
In this digital age, where international communication is becoming easier than ever, Xi’s Chinese are no longer the Chinese of Mao. They see what is happening in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Some of them might even think that there are other political paths for the future of their people, that the totalitarian aspect of their society is not intrinsically Chinese. Despite communist government propaganda, the word will be that it is possible to challenge the authority of the Communist Party, which can generate political effects in already unstable Chinese regions, such as Tibet or Xinjiang, and probably push Taiwan to an independence fully assumed.
Martin Lee, a Hong Kong lawyer famous for his involvement in the pro-democracy movement, claimed that one country’s doctrine, Deng Xiaoping’s two systems was a transitional measure for mainland China to catch up with Hong Kong economically and politically from 1997 to 2047. events of the last few months seem to confirm that Hong Kong will catch up with China.
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