Turmoil in Hong Kong

By: Engr. Edgar Mana-ay

FOR four months now, there is increasing violent pro-democracy and massive street protests all over Hong Kong. The protests are staged mostly by students ages 14 to 24 plus and a sprinkling of professionals mostly below 40 years of age. These black-clad young protestors are armed only with umbrellas to fend off tear gas thrown at them by the Hong Kong police.

Hong Kong is the financial and commercial hub in Asia and its economy is now reeling from the effects of the turmoil that even its international airport now operates at only half its normal capacity.

The Qing Dynasty ceded Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842 through the Treaty of Nanjing, making HK a British Crown colony. In 1860, Kowloon was also ceded to the British for 99 years from 1898.

On July 1, 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule on the CONDITION that China adopt the existing Hong Kong government system as established by the British in a formula dubbed as ONE COUNTRY – TWO SYSTEMS.

In 1949, when Mao Zedong established communism in China, almost all rich Chinese fled to Hong Kong bringing with them their wealth and that started Hong Kong as the financial center of Asia. As of February 2019, there are 332,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong, of which 174,000 are documented Filipinos and maybe another 20,000 undocumented ones.

Sporadic unrest began as early as June over fears that the territory’s freedom and citizens’ rights are slowly being eroded. Protest escalated with the passage of the extradition law allowing criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trials in communist party-controlled courts.

In view of the mounting protests, Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, withdrew the extradition bill but that did not stop the protestors from continuing its movement. Sensing blood in the extradition bill withdrawal, the movement has morphed into a more violent anti-China campaign for direct election of Hong Kong leaders, now being appointed by the Communist Party in Beijing and police accountability in view of the latest police brutality to quell the protest.

Why should we be concerned with what is happening in Hong Kong? It is because we are also dealing with the same bully China in the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea in particular which China is illegally claiming ISIS caliphate style. As the unrest in Hong Kong worsens, we see the unfolding of the true character of bully China in dealing with the crisis. It is countries around the world that has religion and acknowledgment of God as enshrined in its fundamental laws or constitution that honors human rights, adheres to the rule of law and fully respects its constituents and neighbor. But not bully China because it is ruled by the Communist party which does not recognize a higher deity that provides the moral guidelines for any nation.

Another very important concern is for the nearly 200,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong, that if its economy collapses, even assuming only half of Filipinos domestic workers will be sent home, the economic toll on our country would be devastating.

The speech of Xi Jinping in Beijing during the 70th year communist anniversary of China takeover is ominous: “No force can stop China or the Chinese people and nation from marching forward”. That was a diplomatic way of saying that the Hong Kong protestors will NEVER get its pro-democracy demands even if it means blood flooding the streets. This character and mentality of China is already proven in the 1989 Beijing Tiananmen Square uprising for democratic reforms which was brutally quelled by the police and army. It is believed that 20,000 Chinese were killed including those during the purges in the months that followed. If the Chinese communist party is capable of doing that to its own party members, it will have no qualms in doing the same to the people of Hong Kong who are not a member of the communist party.

Hong Kong’s older generations (now in their 60’s and above) have been watching from the sideline with awe and admiration the seemingly tireless zeal and bravery of the tens of thousands youngsters as they risk their lives to battle the police for democratic reforms. The oldies are now blaming themselves that during their time they weren’t as vocal when their future was being negotiated, most preferring to leave for Canada and the US instead of fighting it out with the Communist party.

Just like Jeremy, 45 years old, who followed his parents when they emigrated to Canada but has since returned to make Hong Kong his home again and now actively participating in the demonstration.

69-year-old Gloria Chao is a microbiologist whose father, a banker, fled Southern China when Mao Zedong’s communist party took power in 1949, finding a safe haven in British-administered Hong Kong. She recalled how proud and comfortable she was growing up in the golden years of Hong Kong even after China took over. “We did not learn from our parents. We were so dumb and stupid to trust and believe that Communist China will maintain the one country two systems without slowly eroding our human and democratic rights”.

We should view with deep concern the Hong Kong turmoil because of Pres. Duterte’s many dealings with China. There is that numerous financial aids to the build- build programs that will led us to a financial quagmire and most important, the joint venture agreement to exploit oil and gas at Recto Bank.

We should be watchful and wary of the behavior of bully China in Hong Kong like the massing of its troops near the Hong Kong border ready for a brutal and bloody crackdown Tiananmen Square style. For according to Peter M. Leschack: “All of us are watchers – of tv, of time clock, of traffic on the road – but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.”