Hong Kong was under British rule for as long as 150 years. During this period, on and off, China has been claiming that Hong Kong should be part of China. However, there were equally strong arguments as to why Hong Kong should not be part of China and should be independent region.
In 1997, the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made a historical mistake by handing over Hong Kong to China, even after knowing that China has a dictatorial regime with personal liberty and freedom of speech severely suppressed. It was shocking that British government did not care to remember the atrocities carried out by China in Tibet after occupying the region and could not anticipate that similar condition would happen in Hong Kong also.
While handing over Hong Kong to China, the British government did not care to ascertain the views of the Hong Kong citizens but took them for granted. If Britain would have cared to conduct a complete poll in Hong Kong, the citizens of Hong Kong would have voted to remain as an independent nation. Hong Kong is now paying the price for Britain’s careless and thoughtless decision to hand over Hong Kong to China.
During the long period when Hong Kong was under British rule, the citizens of Hong Kong developed their own behavioural culture, administrative ethos and business capabilities, which is far different from that of China and which made Hong Kong to be the financial hub of the world. The citizens of Hong Kong enjoyed freedom of speech and action and some people think that the administration of Hong Kong could be a model for the world from the point of view of quality governance. Though a small region by territorial size, Hong Kong commanded wide respect around the world and tourist and business men thronged to Hong Kong, considering its unique value system.
Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, which was like feeding a live lamb to a wolf. China greedily accepted the offer of Hong Kong by Britain as it contributed to its territorial expansion strategies.
The act of Britain faced criticism around the world for sacrificing the interests of Hong Kong and assuming that Britain has the right and authority to decide the fate of Hong Kong by virtue of its colonial rule in Hong Kong for 150 years. Britain took the decision on Hong Kong, as if Hong Kong was its property and people of Hong Kong were soulless automatons.
Facing a barrage of criticism and perhaps, pricked by her own conscience, Margaret Thatcher put forth the condition to China that autonomous status of Hong Kong should be preserved by China for fifty years and the governance style should be preserved as an independent region within China.
China, known for not adhering to ethical practices or international regulations and agreements, has now violated the agreement with Britain and has passed a national security law for Hong Kong, which is a sweeping national security law, tightening the grip on Hong Kong. Now, after the passing of this law, virtually the citizens of Hong Kong would face similar conditions like the citizens of China with personal freedom and liberty being denied and protestors on any issue would be tried as indulging in national security crimes such as subversion, secession etc.
Henceforth, Hong Kong would become an iron curtain region and protestors for any cause in Hong Kong would be slaughtered like what China did a few decades back in the case of protestors in Tiananmen Square and protestors in Tibet. China would not care about any adverse opinion or reaction among the world community about its brutal suppression in Hong Kong, just as it did not care about it’s brutal acts in Tibet and Tiananmen Square.
In the case of Tibet and Tiananmen Square incidents, China thinks that it has the last laugh and world opinion and criticism of other countries have been proved to be impotent.
Now, after China imposed the national security law for Hong Kong, the European Council, Japan, Britain, USA and Taiwan have voiced strong protests. Several other countries including India are maintaining a stoic silence on the matter – as hey did in the case of Tibet earlier.
Is it possible that these criticizing countries would do nothing beyond advancing paper criticism? Obviously, the future of Hong Kong is doomed under China’s totalitarian regime and Hong Kong would undergo the agony similar to the agony that Tibet is under going, if the world community would remain unconcerned.
At this time, we should remember what happened to Tibet around six decades back, when China entered Tibet aggressively, massacred the protestors and now firmly holds on to Tibet territory. This would be the fate of Hong Kong also, if a strong anti-China force is not organized in the world to make China behave and respect liberty and freedom.
Similarity in China’s behavior with regard to Hong Kong and Tibet should be seen by the world, where China thinks that it can have its way by use of force and imposing stringent laws, unmindful of the sufferings of the occupied region and world opinion.
Hong Kong and Tibet are two case studies showing China’s attitude and greed and unless both Hong Kong and Tibet would be liberated from China’s control and enabled to become independent countries, China cannot be controlled and it could become the ultimate villain in the world, threatening world harmony and peace.
The United Nations Organisation has become a toothless body and is nothing more than a fruitless debating forum. The issue relating to Hong Kong and Tibet need not be taken to UNO, as it has shown that can do nothing in the matter.
The countries who understand the threat from China should organize their own strategies to combat China and the success of such strategy would be determined by the emergence of Hong Kong and Tibet as independent countries.
As a victim of China’s aggression, India should unhesitatingly join the anti-China force and clear its conscience for wrongly approving China’s occupation of Tibet earlier.