Fear of Communism Post-2047 Puts Hong Kong on the Brink
Last updated on August 29th, 2020
Tanks. Troops. Fighter jets. Missiles. Drones. Along the Chang’an Avenue in Beijing, China’s military might and its people’s obeisance was on full display to mark the communist country’s 70th anniversary on Tuesday. President Xi Jinping, with that ubiquitous half-smile that both mocks and embraces, appeared satisfied at the parading blaze of glory. 1949 seemed like a millennium back in the past.
Sadly, anniversaries are not about showing how far a nation has come in terms of growth and human development. It’s not about displaying humility. It’s not about positive, friendly vibes. China’s show of strength was meant to signal to the United States and other countries that the country and its leader are prepared to fight. It was confrontational in nature.
But it’s the build up to the D-Day that truly reflected China’s character. Since early September, the regions around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City were put on lockdown. The police imposed curfews. Residents were instructed to be back home by 5 p.m. They were ordered to lock their windows and close curtains by 8. Police officers hovered around residential complexes, eager to punish any deviation.
Behind the pomp and majesty and the cheering crowds waving Chinese flags, which underpinned the anniversary, lies large-scale despair. But it hardly finds a vent for fear of retribution. Many in China are angry, cynical or despairing. In Xinjiang, over 1.5 million Rohingya Muslims live in restricted areas in camps, which the Communist Party of China innocuously calls vocational training centres.
No wonder Hong Kong wants to be independent. It is no longer satisfied with the ‘one country, two systems’ philosophy. Hongkongers do not want to be part of China because of their contempt for communism.
It’s an unusual situation. Hong Kong is not communist in nature. It has a capitalist economy. As part of its return to Chinese control, China agreed that the political and the economic systems in place in Hong Kong would not be changed for 50 years following the transfer from the British in 1997. This means that Hong Kong will remain a capitalist state until 2047.
But once it’s handed over, communism will swamp their lives, disrupting over 150 years of a certain type of lifestyle that Hongkongers have become accustomed to. It’s a scary prospect. The ongoing protests that have engulfed Hong Kong for the past four months are, perhaps, an act out of premonition.
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