Hong Kong’s democratic agreement struck in the 1990’s is slowly unbuckling. Almost 7 years after the initial Umbrella movement in 2014, what happens next.
Anglo-Chinese negotiations started in 1984, which culminated in the handover of Hong Kong from Britain, to China. It was agreed, per-se, reforms would take place to ensure Democratic integrity remained a core tenet of Hong Kong. The reforms debated and proposed did not ensue after 1997 after the handover, and many have argued, China would slowly resume control under their homeland status quo. The eruption of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution put substance towards that argument, with the visible showing of millions of pro-Democracy Hong Kongers categorically backing this stance.
Although protests and ‘resistance’ have not faded since 2014, certainly international awareness of the identity battle has faded, but awareness rose back in 2019 when, in essence, the Umbrella Revolution reignited after the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) to push forth with the proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system. Joshua Wong, seen by many as the energy behind the rallying, just yesterday plead guilty to a charge from the protests in 2019, and now faces a 13 1/2-year jail term, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
This sentencing is important. Following the June 2020 ruling, passing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, otherwise known to global audiences as the Hong Kong Security Law, the identity of a leader who can carry on the fight for Hong Kong’s independence is up for question. Many debate that Hong Kong can cling to democratic ideals and independence if in all circumstances those who publicly announce they are leading the response and generating mass support are immediately seized upon by the State security establishment.
This leaves a question, what is next for Hong Kong. The financial centre of APAC lives within the aura of Hong Kong, and if cracks start to appear, can Hong Kong keep it’s long-standing appeal to an international community of Expats. If it can, is finance really the linchpin of why China may reel back from its expansionist security laws. The Chinese State has long held the view an independent Hong Kong leaves a gaping hole for Western Intelligence agencies to access the Southern most tip of China, and infiltrate into the mainland. Whether this is still the concern, or not, is yet to be seen. Although publicly this concern may never be openly debated, especially as Chinese State politics does not tend to carry out through microphone diplomacy.
Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/12/britain-failed-hong-kong/