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.

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


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:11pm

    Is good rant, Teemy. But is why you'll never be a writer.

    by Saul A. Packer-Lies

    You started by selecting target -- FAR off your topic: Trump, whom you regard as focus of evil in all the world, then free associate, NO objectivity, NO empathy, only a barrage of pejoratives so extreme as can contrive.

    You make too many lies to oppose, that's your technique. But vehemence doesn't convince. You just look oddly inarticulate, no real point.

    In short, you're a hack, and will be stuck here forever on tiny Techdirt, needing the "safe space" that Masnick provides, can't handle opposition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:11pm

    Apple, Google, Amazon; all corporations adore Commies.

    First, anyone who believed that the murderers of 70 million people would leave Hong Kong even semi-free are beneath contempt. Hong Kong was lucky got 20 years.

    All "capitalists" just overlooked the murder of 70 million people and the practically slave labor to actual slave labor conditions so that the already filthy rich of the West can gain yet more money from cheaper products -- and to hell with our own workers, besides compromise our systems with Chink goods. -- That includes GOOGLE with Huawei, many times the subject of pieces here, besides Masnick's general advocacy of "Free Trade" with known Commie murderers.

    The Rich of the West for decades deliberately pursued trade policies that are far more responsible than Trump for the rise of a powerful China -- which was certain to be authoritarian, not ease into democracy -- but of course hateful little Timmy now projects all blame onto Trump, because "orange man bad".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:36pm

    State your own position. -- Do you support trade with China?

    Put some skin in the game, Timmy. You Techdirt cloons avoid condemning the Commies, just attack Trump.

    So back up your (false) outrage with actual statement on some response to tyranny.

    Despite knowing that is run by the same Communists who murdered 70 million people? Does your notion of Free Trade include any sort of moral outrage at actual murderous totalitarian Communists?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:36pm

    Re: State your own position. -- Do you support trade with China?

    Who now extend tyranny to Hong Kong? -- Are you just going to blithely overlook the very cause of your piece here, now that you projected all the evil onto Trump?

    Who's the REAL evil between Chinese Communists to Trump, Timmy? State some proportion.

    You won't. You'll just go into more off-topic ad hom so that you don't have to deal with China, instead kick Trump around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Is good rant, Teemy. But is why you'll never be a writer.

    I'll just clarify that my first comment IS on-topic because Teemy spends about half the piece railing at Trump -- and never actually gets to blaming the Commies for anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    AC Unknown, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re: State your own position. -- Do you support trade with Ch

    Your assertions lack proof. Please provide it or your assertions will be considered untruthful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:54pm

    Half hour without any other comments, guess I'm out.

    You kids are (probably) now safe to ad hom without me responding.

    The reason I rarely do (I'm just killing time at the moment and may inform the always hypothetical new readers) is that exchange of ad hom is waste of time. No one is going to change position here. Techdirt is the most ideologically uniform site I've ever seen -- even its Zombies never vary from the leftist agenda. -- See Teemy's rants above for that: it's come down to all just blame Trump.

    Also, as practical fact, I'm disadvantaged because MY comments are near always hidden -- by the opaque but unerring "community voting" system that according to Maz's lack of answer for years doesn't have an Administrator actually deciding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: State your own position. -- Do you support trade wit

    Your assertions lack proof. Please provide it or your assertions will be considered untruthful.

    Which assertions? That Chinese Communists murdered 70 million of their own people? See Wikipedia, but the figure is actually unknown because the criminals hide it. -- But it's HIGH. -- And definitely better established than The Holocaust figure of 6 million.

    Now, your threat is to be "considered untruthful"? -- You don't matter in that, kid. The Truth is independent of your opinion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Saul A. Packer-Lies, 12 Nov 2020 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Half hour without any other comments, guess I'm out.

    Having answered the one dippy "AC" with wimpy threat, I'm out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Nov 2020 @ 10:15pm

    I'm out.

    Don’t make promises you know you can’t keep.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    AC Unknown, 12 Nov 2020 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: State your own position. -- Do you support trade

    Your assertions lack sources again, Bob. Provide them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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

    Re:

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Bloof (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 4:51am

    Straight out of the authoritarian playbook, if lies, smears and fear mongering aren't enough, find ways to disqualify the opposition from running entirely. Look forward to new and exciting state laws designed to remove democrats from the ballots over the next four years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re:

    You fail to account for the power of gravity. He doesn't need to pull.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    That's asking a bit much from Baghdad Bob.

    The funny bit is that here he condemns "communist" China but anytime he starts railing about free speech he starts quoting Chairman Mao.

    It's already at the point where you can't even start from what ought to be the top and explain how China is still in all practical aspects a feudal autocratic empire run by the same bureaucratic system they've had in place for two and a half millennia. Only lately without a formal emperor for a figurehead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Nov 2020 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Is good rant, Teemy. But is why you'll never be a writer

    "I'll just clarify that my first comment IS on-topic..."

    It's really not. The US is the one superpower which used to have the clout to check Russia and China, both of which always used times when the US was distracted or inept to move their agendas forward - Putin re-absorbing the breakaway republics into the russian "federation" under GWB and China eagerly obtaining vast leverage over the US by becoming the biggest US creditor during the Iraq/Afghanistan war and the 2008-2009 recession.

    Trump was an incredible gift to both, with the Kurds, possibly the greatest US allies in the ME, betrayed in a way which pushed them straight into Putin's arms, ensuring that from now on if anyone wants intel or operations in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, or anywhere else in those conflict zones they'll have to turn to Russia rather than the US.

    And China escalated it's attempt to fully assimilate Hong Kong. I guess they'll wait until the next Trump before they re-take Taiwan.

    "...and never actually gets to blaming the Commies for anything."

    We know reading comprehension isn't your thing, Baghdad Bob. I'd argue you should see a therapist about that dyslexia. Here, what do you think; "It's hard to overstate how brazen a ramp up of aggression this move represents." means?

    And finally, we all know your grasp of words is shaky but when talking about China there are a few things you ought to know;

    1) For all their pretense otherwise they're not communists. They're a feudal ultra-autocratic bureaucracy which has been running with more or less the same system of government for 2,5 millennia. Lately they've just stopped pretending they need an official figurehead - though Xi's lifetime appointment as Chairman comes close.

    2) Genuine communism is what you usually keep advocating every time you start conflating private property with public property when it comes to what you think private platforms should be forced to do or not. In Karl Marx old communist manifesto called seizing the means of production. And the particular focus on what the state should force private media to display or not comes right out of Chairman Mao.

    It's ironic that you're sitting here railing about chinese not-really-communists while staunchly advocating Maoism whenever Big Tech comes up.

    Not that I expect you to understand any of this but it will no doubt be useful to other readers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 6:58am

    dont worry, HK, the UK has registered it's disapproval at what China has done and 'summoned the Chinese Ambassader'! what the fuck they think this will achieve, God only knows! what id happening is 27 years too soon but if China dont care about that does anyone really think it's gonna worry about anything the UK says or does? no other nation has done/is doing anything to stem this or really back the UK. until there is much more definitive action taken, those people in Hong Kong are basically screwed, big time and China gets to extend it's arm. if HK thinks this is the end, think again and i bet Taiwan needs to watch itself too. China wants to increase it's terratories, extend it's grip and no one, i doubt, will do anything to stop it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Is good rant, Teemy. But is why you'll never be a wr

    For the Kurds you are wrong. Someone made a count and stated that Trump betrayal was the 7th in the foreign policy of the US of recent memory. They have all the good reasons to mistrust Americans independently from Trump. As for the article - Saudi did not need Trump to start their genocidal war in Yemen, because that was under Obama.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 9:55am

    fwiw: China has lost its preferential trade position as a result, and it seems they are not too happy about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2020 @ 4:10pm

    Re: look forward

    Beijing’s on a clock.
    It might take years or generations but you can see the cracks forming if you have to keep doing this over and over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Nov 2020 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is good rant, Teemy. But is why you'll never be

    "Someone made a count and stated that Trump betrayal was the 7th in the foreign policy of the US of recent memory. "

    Well, no. The US has, somewhat tactfully sold out the kurds before. Never, however, in a way which directly let their direct enemies go after them in a major way.

    I seriously suggest you go ask a kurd about those last six times. And about this latest one. They will never trust the US again, and that's saying something when that message comes from a people who, for the last twenty years or so, have been the only power in the ME to stand besides US soldiers in almost every battlefield.

    Or you could ask old, long-entrenched republicans coming out screaming against Trump for the first time ever, in shock and disgust. What Trump did has guaranteed that from now on the US no longer has easy access to, well, most of the middle east. Putin says thanks, because with the US having sunk the dagger, Russia's the logical nation to step in and start helping.

    "As for the article - Saudi did not need Trump to start their genocidal war in Yemen, because that was under Obama."

    Obama didn't have much power left to do much of anything with both senate and congress locked against him in his second term. Trump, on the other hand, actively encouraged the saudis and vetoed every attempt to encourage the saudis to pull back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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