Photo courtesy of Lam Yik Fei/The New York Times
It has recently come out that China is taking a new step in attempting to further bring Hong Kong under its boot by passing a resolution at the new session of the National People’s Congress. While China has shown signs that it would try and bring Hong Kong further under its authoritarian hold prior to the end of the transition period that was established after the United Kingdom seceded Hong Kong to the British, it has caught many of us off-guard that they are doing it now. By attempting to stamp out the autonomy of Hong Kong in the middle of a pandemic, China is not only violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration by essentially ending the “One Country, Two Systems” early, but it is also attempting to do so while the rest of the world is pre-occupied with the COVID-19 Pandemic. By considering legalizing Article 23 of the Basic Law, China is violating a U.N.-backed declaration that it agreed to and attempting to end the current state of democracy in Hong Kong. I am calling on the Chinese government to halt the implementation of Article 23 and stand by the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the “one country, two systems” rule that it has used since the end of British rule in Hong Kong. Violating this agreement endangers the freedoms and civil liberties of everyone in Hong Kong and would be a violation of a treaty that the Chinese themselves signed on to. While it is important to continue diplomacy with China and to respect them as a vital trading partner, this does not mean that the United States should sit idly by while they violate international treaty and oppress people. The US serves as a balance to China’s aspirations of dominance and peaceful relations in East Asia. The world needs our strong and measured response, in collaboration with global and regional partners.