Opinion: China’s Hong Kong threat
Instability in Hong Kong is the biggest threat China faces at this juncture. What worries China the most is the support the pro-Democratic camp of Hong Kong, which opposes Beijing’s absolute control over the territory, gets from the US. Recently, the pro-Democratic leaders of Hong Kong got grand welcome in the US.
In Hong Kong, the spark put by a controversial extradition law is still burning. Even though China has used force to contain it, the effort has not made any visible impact so far. It seems that Hong Kongers, unlike mainlanders, are far more courageous and fearless. Some says it is not the matter of courage or fearlessness. It is the matter of law. Unlike the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong has a sound legal system powered by the British laws. Hong Kongers know very well that they cannot be tortured by China using its Communist Party controlled courts.
The only opinion before China to gain absolute control is military intervention. But, it is easier to say than done. Such a move may jeopardise China’s economy, its relation with the west as well as its neighbours, and even its internal political stability.
China has an aggressive nature. So, the opinion of intervention may not be dismissed easily by the Communist Country. The Tiananmen Square experience is a clear example. Anyway, Hong Kong is not Tiananmen. It has many differences. Primarily, China does not have a trustworthy supporter network in Hong Kong. In no circumstance, China’s present supports in Hong Kong will support the option of military intervention. Recently, in the extradition law issue, they showed no interest to push the bill through the parliament. From that itself, it is clear what their stand is. Their intention is to stay on the power with the support of China, not to help China take over Hong Kong. They know very well that such an action will also undermine their political interest.
The present Hong Kong crisis has the potential to turn to the form of a trade war between the US and China. That may benefit neither China nor the US.
China should find a feasible formula to address the Hong Kong issue. The aggression is definitely not a good option. It only contributes to distance the people of Hong Kong from China.
If China can respect Hong Kong’s identity and offer a reasonable degree of autonomy, it will be the best way to attract the heart of Hong Kongers.
Anyway, the present China, though far more sensible than the China of 1989, is less likely to think about the aforesaid option.
Vignesh. S. G
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