Historically, Britain leased Hong Kong from China. However, in 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang negotiated the underlying plan for the lease to end, such that Hong Kong would remain a semi-autonomous region for a 50-year period after the lease ended. According to that agreement, Hong Kong would remain free and semi-autonomous until 2034. Unfortunately that is not what is happening.
Yesterday The Federalist reported that Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were arrested and sent to prison on Wednesday following their involvement in a series of protests created in resistance to the Chinese Communist Party’s tightening control of the territory.
The article reports:
Joshua Wong received the heaviest sentence with 13 and a half months in prison, Agnes Chow was sentenced to 10 months, and Ivan Lam received seven months. While Wong has been charged in other cases, Chow is still facing potential charges of inciting secession and all of the activists are subject to further scrutiny from the Chinese government.
…Wong, Chow, and Lam were all part of a pro-democracy political party Demosisto, which disbanded shortly before the communist National People’s Congress passed a new “security” law in July that criminalizes regular protest activity as “terrorism” for disrupting traffic, “subversion” for disrupting any government agents, and “secession” for groups speaking of potential independence. Any attempt by protest groups to work with the members of the international community was also made a criminal offense.
Violators of the new legislation were subjected to harsh punishments including potential life in prison.
The activists previously pleaded guilty for participating in what was deemed an “unauthorized assembly” in front of police headquarters in June of last year when the pro-democracy protest movement first began to gain international attention.
As noted by the New York Times, both Wong and Lam, eventually joined by Chow, were influential in organizing and lifting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement off of the ground. Nearly 10 years ago, the activists recognized the influence the Chinese Communist Party was having on their generation and began to coordinate protests against a “national education curriculum in Hong Kong schools, which they considered ‘brainwashing.’”
The young activists also helped organize the Umbrella Movement, a series of campaigns and protests against “limits on direct elections in 2014.”
When urgency and awareness picked up about the Hong Kongers’ fight for freedom in 2019 following protests over China’s intention to extradite criminal offenders to be tried in mainland China, they rose into the international spotlight as leaders of the movement.
This doesn’t sound as if China is living up to its part of the bargain. The really sad part is that no country in the world will stand up to China on this matter. In that case, we can expect a total end to freedom in Hong Kong.