Hong Kong’s protests will roll into history’s footnotes
The mass resistance of Hong Kongers may come to be seen as a symbol of what much of the world may have to do in a more structured manner against the global variant of the “China dream.”Updated: Jul 08, 2019 08:10 IST
Hong Kong police have begun arresting protestors after the vandalisation on July 1 of the island-state’s legislative council building. The fringe group that carried out the attack unfortunately overshadowed the half a million-strong anti-government protestors, who were largely peaceful. All indications are that Beijing will begin a slow-motion crackdown on the movement, painting all demonstrators with a similar brush. Beijing has also accused the United States and the United Kingdom of being behind the protest.
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, the movement will, like previous demonstrations in Hong Kong, be relegated to the footnotes of history. But the protests will probably result in the shelving of the extradition law that triggered the upheaval in the first place and the premature replacement of the chief executive. Not much else is likely to happen. While the protests in Hong Kong have been remarkable for their size and discipline, they are taking place under against the backdrop of China’s superpower status and in an age of international indifference to people’s power.
The real lesson the rest of the world should take from Hong Kong is the degree to which China’s Xi Jinping is extending his iron-fisted rule beyond the borders of the Middle Kingdom. He has undermined Hong Kong’s parlous special status, incarcerated as many as a million Muslim Uighurs and declared his intention of re-absorbing Taiwan. Both Hong Kong and Taiwan are part of what Mr Xi sees as “greater China.” Beijing has also peddled its surveillance State model and its Uighur mass incarceration to other governments as a solution to their problems. The mass resistance of Hong Kongers may come to be seen as a symbol of what much of the world may have to do in a more structured manner against the global variant of the “China dream.”