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Don't Fuel China's Paranoia in Hong Kong

December 2, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The denizens of Zhongnanhai have never understood democracy. In the People’s Republic of China, people are expected to do and believe what they are told. Few disobey, especially under Xi Jinping, who has moved Chinese society back toward Maoist totalitarianism.

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Dictating to others does not work overseas, however. In 1996 Beijing’s leaders attempted to use missile tests to intimidate Taiwanese voters, who instead increased their support for Lee Teng-hui’s reelection.

In recent days the Xi government insisted that the Hong Kong authorities crackdown on democracy demonstrators and expected support from the special administrative region’s “silent majority.” Instead, the recent local election resulted in a popular tsunami against the PRC’s tightening noose. Even areas considered to be pro-China chose young freedom activists to dominate local councils.

Beijing was uncharacteristically stunned into silence. Eventually, the regime fell back on blaming America for manipulating public sentiment. As if pontificating diplomats convinced thousands of young Hong Kongers to create chaos on the streets and fortify universities against the unpopular, unrepresentative SAR government.

Such dedication comes from inside the person. In fact, despite having radically different perspectives, Mao Zedong and other early revolutionary leaders probably would have understood Hong Kong’s protestors. Why did the former sacrifice everything to make a revolution? Not because a Soviet diplomat urged them to do so.

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In contrast, the current Chinese Communist Party is dominated by ambitious, self-serving careerists. Membership long has been viewed as an important if not the most important means to rise and prosper. Xi took on the pervasive corruption which had dragged down the CCP’s reputation, but conveniently targeted political opponents. He may truly believe that the Chinese people are best served by reviving the party’s brutal authority, but much of his support undoubtedly comes from those who just want to be on the winning side. If he stumbled, many now serving him would effortlessly shift their allegiance elsewhere.

Which helps account for Beijing’s apparent surprise at the electoral wipe-out. PRC officials can’t imagine such outrageous …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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