In Hong Kong, It’s US Versus China Now
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,
At first glance, it would appear that five months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong had produced a stunning triumph.
By September, the proposal of city leader Carrie Lam that ignited the protests — to allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China for trial — had been withdrawn.
And though the protesters’ demands escalated along with their tactics, from marches to mass civil disobedience, Molotov cocktails, riots and attacks on police, Chinese troops remained confined to their barracks.
Beijing wanted no reenactment of Tiananmen Square, the midnight massacre in the heart of Beijing that drowned in blood the 1989 uprising for democratic rights.
In Hong Kong, the police have not used lethal force. In five months of clashes, only a few have perished. And when elections came last month, Beijing was stunned by the landslide victory of the protesters.
Finally, last month, Congress passed by huge margins in both houses a Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act that threatens sanctions on Hong Kong authorities should they crush the rebels.
When President Donald Trump signed the bills, the protesters now had the U.S. as an ally, and the Chinese reacted viscerally.
An enraged Foreign Ministry declared:
“The US … openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on the rule of law and jeopardized social order.
“This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people … further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot more doomed to failure.”
Thus do the Hong Kong protesters appear victorious, for now.
Sunday, black-clad masked protesters were back in the streets, waving American flags, erecting barricades, issuing new demands — for greater autonomy for Hong Kong, the release of jailed protesters and the punishment of police who used excessive force.
This confrontation is far from over.
Instead, it has escalated, and the U.S. government, having given up its posture of benevolent neutrality in favor of peaceful demonstrators for democracy, has become an open ally of often-violent people who are battling Chinese police inside a Chinese city.
On Monday, China retaliated, suspending visits to Hong Kong by U.S. military planes and Navy ships and declaring sanctions on the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and half a dozen other …read more