By Majid Gafoor
In my first article on the Hong Kong protests about the extradition bill, I had ended with:
Beijing may feel that the “One country, two systems” experiment has failed and decide that it may be best to have Hong Kong run like a province of China. This, Beijing can achieve with a mere stroke of a brush.
It seems that I was prescient and that is exactly what has come to pass.
The new security law draws Hong Kong closer to the “one country” model than the “two systems” ideal. And yet who is to blame for this drastic change in tactics by Beijing? There is no doubt in my mind that it was triggered by the unfettered lawlessness exhibited by the so-called “democracy” protesters. Instead of pursuing their goals through legitimate means, they opted for violence and destruction. No amount of reasoning, logic or persuasion could deter them from their destructive efforts.
Well, you reap what you sow.
It was naïve from the get go that a challenge to Beijing would succeed, yet the protesters persisted. It is a given that “independence” for Hong Kong is a non-issue. Yet the protesters persisted. It is a fact that since 1997, Hong Kong has become a part of China and so the masters of Hong Kong’s fate rests in the hands of Beijing. Yet the protesters persisted.
It is ironic that the new security law is, in fact, a reintroduction of the extradition bill.
That bill was abandoned due to the strong protests in Hong Kong. As I said then, that was the time to end the protests. They had won. Now move on and live by the laws in place for Hong Kong. But no, reason flew out the window and violence, destruction and impossible demands spurred on the protesters. The writing was on the wall. It was just a matter of time before Beijing said, “Enough is enough” and stepped in. By opening the door to Beijing to enact this new law, the protesters have played right into their hands. And that is where we stand today.
Some foreign governments are taking issue with Beijing for passing the new law with such futile statements as “they have no legal rights to pass such laws”. Really? How many sovereign governments in this world are not allowed to pass laws over their own countries? The easy answer is zero. So where is this coming from?
It’s a fait accompli. Live with it, people of Hong Kong. Live with it – foreign governments.
Hong Kong could have pursued a different path over time, but the protesters put an end to that dream.
Majid Gafoor is a former journalist from Hong Kong. He now lives in Canada.