What’s Going On in Hong Kong?

One country, two systems.

In 1997, Hong Kong was transferred back to China after Britain’s 100 year lease expired. The British-Chinese transfer agreement stated that, while Hong Kong would from that point on be under the sovereignty of the Beijing government, it would remain “untouched” in that certain civil liberties and democratic ideals which were not realized in mainland China would continue in Hong Kong for the next 50 years. 1997-2047.

One country, two systems.

What would happen in 2047 remains unknown, but perhaps the current demonstrations in Hong Kong are giving us all clues as to what is to come. And should it really come as any surprise?

In a country where anti-government demonstrations are not welcomed and free speech must toe-the-line with official Beijing policy, different pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong are protesting Beijing’s resistance to true democracy in the HK government’s administration. The protesters are demanding that those who want to run for office should not be vetted or chosen by Beijing, ensuring that the top HK administrators are pro-Beijing.

The protests are intense and the images of the Chinese security force flashing their muscle and threatening crackdowns are ominous. The thoughts of the Tienanmen Square Massacre linger easily in one’s mind, even though this is a different situation.

But is it really that different? The main difference is, perhaps, that those living in Hong Kong were under the impression that they had certain democratic rights and civil liberties when in actuality they do not. The pro-democracy students of Tienanmen knew they didn’t have the rights but were demonstrating for them.  Is there really any difference between the two? Not much.

Once again it comes down to power. The communist politburo is afraid that real democratic reform will threaten their power. If only they could realize that power from government is not derived by the gun one wields, it comes from the consent of the governed, and when a government deprives the citizens of their God-given civil liberties, the people have every right to make their demands known and to ask for redress of grievance.

What’s going on in Hong Kong is a struggle of political philosophy. It might end bloodily by the end of a rifle, but that will not be the ultimate ending because people will always strive to be free. It’s their right.

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