Beijing Ends Democracy In Hong Kong By Ousting Pro-Democracy Lawmakers

from the game-over dept

In the aftermath of our recent election, with all of the exuberance on one side and the laughable claims of stolen elections on the other, one underlying concern discussed before the election seems to have gone by the wayside: what happens in the last days of the Trump presidency if he loses? You heard the most prevalent concerns in the immediate runup to election day, which typically amounted to wondering aloud what unhinged or corrupt shit Dear Leader would get up to when his Dear-Leadership suddenly carried an expiration date? It was, frankly, a fair concern to have.

But there is a flip side to that fear: what will other countries do in the final days of the Trump presidency, particularly those that have gotten used to his lax attitude towards authoritarianism, human rights abuses, and most of the goings-on around the world? Would Russia attempt to gobble up more previously-Soviet territory, a la Crimea? Would Saudi Arabia carry out more brutal attacks on journalists critical of the Saudi Royal Family? Would China give up its slow-crawl dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong and just try to take over?

Well, on that last one at least, we now know the answer is yes. In fact, it was only in the wake of the election in America being called for President Elect Biden that China rushed through a resolution to oust four pro-democracy members of the Hong Kong government, seemingly for being too anti-Beijing.

The Chinese Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution that pushed out four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong, prompting more than a dozen of their colleagues to resign en masse.

According to The Associated Press, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed a directive stating that any lawmaker may be removed from their position if they support Hong Kong’s independence, refuse to recognize China’s authority over the city, threaten national security or call for external intervention in its affairs.

Pay no mind to that language in the directive. As with all things mainland China, one must look at all of this through Orwellian eyes. The language in the directive is meant to sound just reasonable enough to remain full vague, which allows Beijing to yank away any lawmakers that say things the Communist Party doesn't like. Those sorts of utterances include anything pro-American, anything pro-democracy, or anything that promotes independent governance of Hong Kong. That the ouster of four members of the government immediately prompted fifteen more assembly members to resign, leaving literally zero assembly members that are not Beijing sycophants should tell you everything you need to know.

It's hard to overstate how brazen a ramp up of aggression this move represents. It was only months ago that protests in Hong Kong were raging and Carrie Lam pretended to back off from the mainland's odious new laws over the island city. What changed?

Well, between the COVID-19 pandemic gobbling up all the world's attention for a good chunk of the year combined with the vacuum left by a man-baby refusing to leave office gracefully, the Chinese government has probably determined that now is the time to make a move before the new administration sits in power. But if Beijing thought Hong Kong would go quietly, it hasn't been paying attention these past few years.

During the news conference, the lawmakers reportedly held hands and chanted, “Hong Kong add oil! Together we stand!” According to the AP, the phrase “add oil” is a direct translation of a Chinese expression of encouragement.

“My mission as a legislator to fight for democracy and freedom cannot continue, but I would certainly go along if Hong Kong people continue to fight for the core values of Hong Kong,” one of the disqualified members, Kwok Ka-Ki, told reporters, according to Reuters.

The protests will rage once more. And, whereas the American government as it currently stands once gave lip service to those protests, now the Chief Executive for the next several weeks is far too busy golfing and raging at election results to concern himself with democracy abroad.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: china, democracy, donald trump, hong kong

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. identicon
    AC Unknown, 12 Nov 2020 @ 10:32pm


    And he never gave me any sources. I guess that proves he's probably pulling shit out of his ass.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.