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The Beijing Arrests In Hong Kong Expand As America Loses Its Ability To Credibly Respond

from the democracy-on-decline dept

While we've been discussing the troubling actions the Chinese government has undertaken against Hong Kong for some time now, the movements are starting to reach a rapid pace. It was only in July that Beijing unveiled a sparkling new and impossibly vague "national security" law that was perfectly tuned to make any pro-democracy talk or demonstrations in Hong Kong offenses that would result in lengthy prison time. This was the result of months of protests that served to embarrass a Communist government that prides itself on full control. Again, that was only June. In August, the arrests of media members who were pro-democracy began, followed by the ouster and then arrest of pro-democracy lawmakers in November.

And while one can imagine the Chinese government doing a bit of breath-holding in December as the American political system buried itself in bullshit thanks to one man's inability to admit defeat, it appears January was the start date to re-kick off the attacks on Hong Kong. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, 53 Hong Kong citizens were arrested under the national security law, all accused of, well...

By late morning on Wednesday, at least 53 Hong Kong residents — former lawmakers, activists and an American lawyer among them — had been detained under Beijing’s new national security law, and their offices and homes raided. Accused of subversion, they face up to life in prison for holding a primary vote last year ahead of legislative elections that were ultimately postponed and which many of them were barred from contesting.

The raids, which involved more than 1,000 officers, marked the most dramatic onslaught in Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s transformation of once-freewheeling Hong Kong into a city gripped by fear under authoritarian rule.

This was predicted by many, me included. With Trump never all that concerned with human rights in China and now all the more distracted with a combination of rounds of golf to be played and living in some aggrieved fantasy land, the Chinese government is quite clearly going to take every authoritarian action it can now, before the new administration is in place. This should also serve as a lovely indication of just how dumb the claims are that Biden and Harris are somehow compromised by China. Were that true, China would be holding off until January 20th, and yet they are not.

The Hong Kong authorities are, as ever, playing along with their puppet-masters.

John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, lauded the police operation as “necessary” and accused those involved in the primary of attempting to paralyze the government by seeking to win a majority in the legislature.

I'll give you a moment to reread that last bit again. Those arrested are accused of trying to "paralyze" Hong Kong's government by winning elections. The argument, in other words, is that pro-democracy advocates are too dangerous to be allowed to be elected, so they are being forcibly removed from society via aggressive actions instead.

It's almost poetic, then, that these arrests came on the same day that Donald Trump and his enablers fostered and promoted an insurrection by his supporters at the Capitol, all to achieve precisely the same goal. That it failed is good, but of no material importance when it comes to America's current and future standing to apply pressure on China to cease its actions in Hong Kong. You can be damned sure that Chinese state television will be playing the videos and images of the chaos that occurred in DC on Wednesday on loop for its citizens as a way to rebut any words Joe Biden might have on the topic of Hong Kong.

And so, as authoritarian regimes light fires around the world, it's worth pausing and reflecting on just how much was lost on Wednesday in America. Our dignity. Our peace. Our moral authority. Our standing.

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Filed Under: arrests, china, democracy, donald trump, free speech, hong kong


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:23am

    Maybe that story about the goose that laid the golden egg is not well known in china.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:49am

    Hope he likes the taste of boot leather...

    John Lee, Hong Kong’s secretary for security, lauded the police operation as “necessary” and accused those involved in the primary of attempting to paralyze the government by seeking to win a majority in the legislature.

    For his sake I dearly hope that his new masters handed him that line and told him to say it or else, because if not that is just such a self-damning excuse there. 'We had to prevent the government from reflecting the will of the people so it wouldn't do what we don't want it to' is such a telling argument and defense of the dictatorial actions going on, not to mention exposing the worry that the general public doesn't actually support what the government is doing and might vote accordingly if given the chance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SirWired, 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:01pm

    This is a great example of the damage of the Capitol Riots

    With one incendiary speech (and years of encouragement leading up to it), an afternoon of Donald Trump has hamstrung the foreign policy of the United States for years. I'm sure Putin went to sleep with a big, fat, grin on his face the night after watching the news reports; he doesn't need to spend one thin dime interfering with our elections any more, since we will apparently do the all the interfering (with maximum embarrassment and ineptitude) all on our own!

    The credibility of the country is pretty much completely blown. We have little grounds to complain about civil unrest, election conduct, civil liberties, online censorship, or the legislative process. Nor can our allies can't expect useful backup from us, as our agreement or help wouldn't even be welcome.

    (Nor, for that matter, can they apparently even count on us to stick to basic agreements; our word as a country is no longer any good at all.)

    Donald Trump was the Andrew Jackson of the 21st Century. And that's not a compliment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NoLongerBreathedIn, 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:07pm

    It’s a good thing I’m not President. Otherwise I’d probably precipitate a war by snubbing the Chinese ambassador while inviting the Taiwanese ambassador to everything, putting 200-300% tariffs on everything made in China, barring all CCP members from the country (except ambassador, UN ambassador, and minimal staff) and making moves to eject them, and moving towards nationalizing and selling off all Chinese-business-owned property in the country, then telling them they can have it back when (and only when) they undo 1997.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:20pm

      Re:

      Will you also create incentives to manufacture in the US and to make up the lost revenue from not being able to sell in China? Because that's the only way the Business community will be on board. It' s not impossible, but it is indeed a heavy task to accomplish…

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      putting 200-300% tariffs on everything made in China

      Which would do what exactly? Tariffs on those goods don't hurt china, and the legal benefits are significant enough that there is a lot of tolerance for tarrifs that can be passed on to consumers with a shrug.

      barring all CCP members from the country (except ambassador, UN ambassador, and minimal staff) and making moves to eject them.

      How are you making that determination?

      moving towards nationalizing and selling off all Chinese-business-owned property in the country.

      So ending the mutual economic ties between America and China which are the core of our best defense against war since you already dumped diplomatic ties?

      Definitely a good thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SirWired, 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:56pm

      Yes, it's a good thing you aren't the president

      Nationalizing property owned by entities in other countries has worked out so well for the economies of those Bastions of Freedom like Venezuela and Cuba.

      And we need buy Chinese products way more than China needs to sell them to us. They are enmeshed enough in our supply chains at this point that many items cannot be manufactured at all without Chinese content. (Though certainly the reverse is also true.) I'm not sure what you think throwing the economies of both countries in the shitter would accomplish.

      Not even Donald Trump is this stupid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      "It’s a good thing I’m not President."

      Donald?
      Is that you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 4:59am

      Re:

      "It’s a good thing I’m not President."

      Probably yes. You wouldn't invite a war. The world would simply watch in disbelief as you voluntarily tanked the US economy, turning the US dollar into a currency about as serious as the Elbonian Eye-Crud overnight.

      I think what you meant to say was;
      "Gee, I'd go back in time to 1970 and put serious stops to US businesses outsourcing all manufacture to China by any means necessary, thus ensuring we'd never end up in a situation where any aggression against that nation beyond a mildly worded squawk of protest meant harming ourselves worse by far than we do them!".

      THIS might cause a war though; "..and moving towards nationalizing and selling off all Chinese-business-owned property in the country..."

      Creating an international precedent that every nation in the world is allowed to seize US businesses every time they find US policy to be inconvenient or upsetting is not a good move unless your plan was to have China gleefully taking up the "good guy" role against the new rogue state of the US.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 12:17pm

    Dont worry, no moral authority or standing was lost by the US, as long as bombing campaigns in Yemen and war crimes by us soldiers continue to happen unpunished (collateral murder with obama, revoking visa to international criminal court judge with Trump and so on). It is very strange that you think that starving children in Libya will change their opinion about americans because... a bison. They will just continue to die because of US initiated wars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Man_in_PA (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:49pm

    China owns Biden. They gave his worthless, crackhead son $millions. Hong Kong is doomed. Taiwan is doomed. Biden will do nothing to stop the communist takeovers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 6:51pm

    ...and so the we show the chinese the way to fight different thoughts/free speech is through censorship... everyone that agrees with censoring speech from the conservatives and then claims china is going too far is a blind fool... all speech is free speech, whether you agree with it or not.. you cant condemn speech because you are afraid of what it will do... that only reinforces china's ideology..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Carolyn Hunter, 13 Jan 2021 @ 7:48pm

    Facebook. Twitter. Instagram

    How can I speak with an interested firm who will help start a Class Action Lawsuit against the social media providers who have deliberately Sensored our President and anyone with Conservative views on their links BUT have done nothing to PREVENT cat fishing hundreds of victims life savings, OR arranged pedifile activitives and kidnappings on these SAME technology systems with NO interference or prevention taken on their part. Im a retired 40 year police officer who would love to help start this Class action lawsuit and bankrupt these social media titans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:44am

      Re: Facebook. Twitter. Instagram

      Let me suggest a few simple preliminary steps that may help in achieving your ultimate goals:

      • Learn what a class action is
      • Get better facts
      • Improve your English skills

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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