Remember what happened, 30 years ago this week, in Beijing, China’s Tiananmen Square?
Remember the students protesting their lack of freedom? Challenging the Chinese government?
Remember the Chinese government smashing those protests, with hundreds – maybe thousands – dead and who knows how many more jailed, tortured, etc.?
Well, it is terribly sad to say, that horror show has the potential to happen all over again, this time in Hong Kong.
From Natasha Khan’s article for the Wall Street Journal, we have this:
HONG KONG—Huge crowds of demonstrators took to the streets Sunday to protest a proposed law that would allow Beijing to take people from Hong Kong to stand trial in mainland China.
The mass turnout, with crowds filling public parks and thronging roads up to six lanes wide for more than a mile and a half, heaps pressure on the city’s leaders and their political masters in Beijing to shelve the law. Unlike 2003, however, China’s ruling Communist Party under President Xi Jinping has in recent years taken a much stronger line against dissent in the former British colony.
“This is the last fight for Hong Kong,” said Martin Lee, a veteran opposition leader who founded the city’s Democratic Party. “The proposal is the most dangerous threat to our freedoms and way of life since the handover” of sovereignty, he said.
The proposed law, which would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, has sparked anger in an unusually wide swath of the population, from teachers to lawyers and business leaders. The uniting fear is that the law, if passed, would expose citizens to the mainland’s more opaque legal system, where detainees could be subject to torture and other abuses of human rights.
Yes, xi jinping is capable of smiling and showing a friendly mien when the cameras are there. But the reality is always that he, and the rest of China’s leadership, are ruthless, people who will give ground only if they absolutely, positively have to. And protests in Hong Kong, however large they are and however heartfelt the beliefs of their participants, do not come close to this criterion.
Let’s all hope we don’t see a repeat performance of Tiananmen Square, 1989.