China Finalizes Hong Kong Police State By Installing Man Who Led Crackdown On Protests As Its Next Leader
from the Hong-Kong-finally-gets-its-own-Judge-Dredd dept
The country that promised to allow Hong Kong to choose its own leadership until at least 2047 is putting the finishing touches on its ahead-of-schedule oppression. Pro-democracy protests greeted China’s incursion into the area, alerting the world to the fact the ultra-profitable region was being invaded by forces indistinguishable from those that had turned China into a quasi-socialist nation by murdering millions of people who disagreed with the government’s means and methods.
Hong Kong never really had a chance. It takes a nation of millions to hold a nation of billions back, but the current Chinese government doesn’t really care what the rest of the world thinks about it or its actions. While pretending Hong Kong was still a democracy, the Chinese government not-so-quietly installed its own leaders and laws, criminalizing pro-democracy activity and bypassing what little was left of Hong Kong’s democracy to put its preferred representatives in charge.
Carrie Lam, a pro-China stooge, was given the reins to Hong Kong. She was very useful to the Chinese government, advancing its laws and efforts without questioning the damage to the electorate she no longer needed to be worried about. The Chinese government then made it clear “police state” wasn’t something theoretical and/or metaphorical by moving up former Secretary of Security John Lee to second-in-command. It also promoted a former police commissioner to fill Lee’s spot.
Lee’s pedigree had apparently impressed his Chinese handlers. Lee was instrumental in the crackdowns on pro-democracy protests, heading up police efforts to enforce Chinese laws written specifically to punish protesters, critics, and dissenters.
To further rig things in its favor, the Chinese government decided its version of “democracy” would only pertain to “patriots” who supported its premature takeover of Hong Kong. Instead of counting votes cast by unhappy Hong Kong residents, the “election” of new officials would be handled by a Chinese-appointed “committee” that would handpick 40 or 90 city legislators, including the most important position: Chief Executive of the region.
Carrie Lam, the useful stooge, approved this move away from anything lightly resembling democracy, claiming it was important that Hong Kong be led by “patriots.” Her period of usefulness appears to be over. Lam’s kowtowing to China managed to set off the region’s largest ever demonstration after she proposed rewriting extradition laws to make it easier for China to disappear Hong Kong residents opposed to its actions. Having failed to live up to the Chinese government’s oppressive standards, Lam is stepping down.
She will be replaced by her second-in-command, John Lee — an official best known for his overseeing of law enforcement brutality targeting pro-democracy protesters. Lee obtained his position thanks to the Chinese government’s recently installed “patriot” committee that allows the puppet government to appoint pro-China legislators and officials.
John Lee, who became the face of the national security law and who oversaw the arrests of dozens of activists and raids on newsrooms, is set to replace outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam when she finishes her five-year term at the end of June.
In what the government billed as an “open, just and honest” election, a largely government-appointed, pro-Beijing committee of 1,461 people appointed the next leader for the city’s 7.5 million residents on Sunday. Lee was the only person in the running, in contrast to previous years that saw run-offs between multiple candidates.
Engage in enough intimidation and violence and you can pretend to uphold democratic ideals while ensuring the election process is a forgone conclusion. Lee also supported the revamped extradition bill that would have given the Chinese government the ability to spirit away Hong Kong residents at will. While protests raged, Lee gave the Chinese government what it wants: more violence against protesters and more public proclamations that demonstrators were “radicals” and “terrorists.” For this show of loyalty in the face of widespread condemnation, Lee has been awarded the keys to the region.
The Chinese government will also see its oppressive stock rise with Lee’s appointment. It now has a true loyalists installed, rather than an interim loyalist (Carrie Lam) who failed to demonstrate she could secure the submission of Hong Kong residents.
At the unveiling of his policy manifesto on April 29, Lee emphasized the need to integrate Hong Kong with other economically important Chinese cities. There was no English translation provided, despite English being one of Hong Kong’s two official languages – in striking contrast to most government events to date.
He also vowed to bolster security legislation and introduce “national identity” education. Both proposals have long been controversial, with previous attempts to introduce legislation foiled by protests and pushback – much to Beijing’s frustration.
There will be no independence for Hong Kong. The Chinese government has amply demonstrated it won’t be deterred by mass protests or worldwide condemnation. All that’s left to determine is how much the government can profit from Hong Kong’s position as a center of world commerce… and how long it can retain this position once its pro-democracy proponents have exited the county, either through self-exile or at the hands of John Lee, its new, unelected, thoroughly compromised Chief Executive.