The rise of China has been talked about a lot during the last few decades, but while they used to seem a bit shrouded in secrecy, more and more we now see the totalitarianism of their regime has led to even greater death and destruction. Tiananmen Square happened 30 years ago and China suffered no backlash for it. Now we see Hong Kong having protests on a mass scale, supposedly the largest ever in terms of population percentage. The images and videos convey the absolute heroic natures of the people protesting against Hong Kong moving further under the control of a tyrannical regime.
The protests were initially about an extradition law that would essentially give the Chinese government the ability to extradite anyone who breaks Chinese law, setting a dangerous precedent for how Hong Kong exists as a Chinese territory. As this has all developed though, the protests have become more and more about the awful brutality of the police and the Hong Kong government, to the point of the government getting pro-Beijing gangs to come in and violently beat people in an attempt to suppress the protestors, which has been utterly savage and cruel.
A horrific video came out in early October showing Hong Kong police breaking rank and running into a group of protestors, pistol raised high, firing point blank at a teenager. It’s the most despicable thing I’ve seen in my lifetime as an entire city rallies against the dying light of its democracy. It’s actually strange how this is all happening now; one of the biggest protests in history, thousands injured, thousands arrested, eight people dead, and it’s barely being reported, it’s barely being talked about.
I think it’s an interesting discussion that could be had about what Britain’s role in all this is, as our nation was meant to have some level of a custodial role with Hong Kong after the 1997 handover, with part of the agreement being that the UK would help to ensure that Hong Kong operates in a way that is beneficial for their citizens. Instead, the UK has sat back as China steamrolls Hong Kong’s citizens and tries to take away their rights and privileges by helping figurehead leaders into power and forcing laws beneficial to the Chinese government to be legislated.
In modern China, it’s essentially a system where the Government has universal control, there are no free courts, there isn’t free speech, and now they’re trying to do the same thing to Hong Kong, despite promising that it would remain separate with the ‘one country, two systems’ ideal under which the handover happened.
The awful history of Britain can’t be understated, even going far into the 20th century, Britain treated subjects of the empire disgustingly while trying to maintain power. However, now we have the chance to actually make up slightly for it and try to push China to act in a way which protects the rights of people living in Hong Kong, but we’re not doing anything.
There’s a lot of reasons to be unhappy with the British government, not so much that we go out into the streets to protest a tyrannical government, but there’s a lot to be unhappy about. But in the future, possibly very soon, I think the most glaring will be that we left Hong Kong in the wilderness for China to just come in and tear apart, and we did absolutely nothing about it. Absolutely nothing.