We owe a duty of care to Hong Kong protesters

As may be quite obvious, I am certainly not what could be considered as an open-borders advocate. But in the face of an advancing Communist threat, not just a literal one in Hong Kong but of an economic and geopolitical one around the world, we must remain steadfast in our morals and proudly act in line with our conscience.


China post-COVID has sent a number of statements of intent. They're not dwelling on the virus, which is still present in some of its cities; they're actively hitting out against the world.


Economically


China has not been slow to follow up on the world's outrage at its inept attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, if any were genuinely made at all. After Australia called for an independent enquiry a fortnight ago, China proceeded to threaten our allies down-under with a ludicrous set of sanctions. In the form of tariffs and selective boycotts, China effectively pledged to wipe $50 BILLION off the value of exports from Australia on goods and services ranging from coal and agriculture to education and tourism.


All for simply calling for an independent enquiry. But it's not just Australia...


After the US removed Hong Kong's special trading status, China has, of course, threatened to hit back. Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Hong Kong is exempted from any US sanctions applied to China, allowing it significantly more economic freedom and allowing it to become one of the most successful pseudo-autonomous regions in the world.


This is now under threat, and China, whilst asserting more and more control over the territory, has asserted that it does not have much more control over the territory.


Yes...really...


But that's still not all. After the UK announced that it will review Huawei's involvement in building our 5G network, the Communist, far-Eastern nation's leadership hit out with threats against our government for "toeing the US line".


The simple reality is, our allies in the Five Eyes defence partnership have continually and consistently expressed alarm at the earlier controversial decision to include Huawei in our network in the first place, and China's risible handling of the Coronavirus outbreak has only served to deepen our mistrust of their government-affiliated companies.


Geopolitically


It has been a busy couple of weeks for China in the geopolitical sense. Not content with throwing economic threats at anyone who dares to question any of their narrative whatsoever, they've been bolstering their military and flexing their muscles in a number of different ways, some of which you may not have heard much about.


First, Hong Kong. We've all probably heard about this; China has passed a 'security' bill in its puppet-parliament which is expected to allow Chinese security services to operate in Hong Kong.


Translation: Autonomy is all but dead in the water.


Expected to take effect in September, the bill is also expected to allow courts to impose long prison sentences on protesters and give extensive powers to the police, who are controlled by the Beijing-appointed Hong Kong government.


The powers are likely to be more extensive than those enacted in Macau in 2009, solely due to one reason; the people of Macau are much more accepting and trusting of central government rule - crackdowns simply are not necessary. With Hong Kong, however, whose people consistently display a high level of hostility and mistrust towards China, one can expect the Chinese government to come down much harder.


This leads swiftly on to another bone of contention for China. Whilst all may be peaceful concerning Macau, Taiwan is another potential flashpoint. After a prominent Chinese general threatened force against the semi-autonomous outpost, the situation is very stark. The most recent elections in democratic Taiwan produced a seismic victory for Tsai Ing-Wen and her Democratic Progressive Party.


Taiwan continues to be even more problematic for China than Hong Kong. China says it will not hesitate to use military force to prevent a push for independence or prevent reunification, whilst Taiwan's president insists that Taiwan is already an independent country and has never been part of China.


Moving swiftly on to what might be the most surprising recent geopolitical standoff; India.


In recent days, we've seen arguably the biggest heightening of tensions since the 1962 conflict, resulting in a frankly hysterical 'arm-less scuffle' - it is well worth a watch.


Whilst unlikely to lead to any significant conflict due to the two being nuclear powers and due to the extensive dispute resolution mechanisms detailed in the 1993 set of agreements, it still provides for a clear statement of intent from China.


I could have included so many more examples in this article. The point is, China has been using COVID-19 as a distraction, now that it is on the verge of ridding itself of the virus, in order to bolster its economic and geopolitical stance around the world.


This is why we must act.


The UK government is currently assessing what steps to take with regards to the people of Hong Kong. On signing the Sino-British joint declaration in 1984, Britain wrote into international law that the 'One Country, Two Systems' status of Hong Kong within China would be secure until at least 2047. But such is the mistrust of the Chinese government in Hong Kong and the reputation of the Chinese government, that this is now very substantially threatened.


Dominic Raab has recently said that Britain will extend the rights of British National Overseas passport holders, some 350,000 people. The home office then went further, hinting at a path to citizenship for 2.9 million Hong Kong residents.


We must enact this immediately, before the Chinese have chance to implement the new security legislation which they are proposing.


Why? Because Hong Kongers are exactly who we need in Britain.


It takes something pretty special to take what used to be little more than a trading outpost to a pseudo-city state with a higher GDP than New Zealand and Hungary put together. The diversity in the Hong Kong economy, its people's ability to work through a challenging geopolitical climate and their driven nature to succeed is exactly what we need to embrace.


We owe a duty of care to those who we vowed to protect back in 1984.


I'm glad the government are acting, and not flinching in the face of Chinese threats and aggression.


#LetThemIn



Jack Rydeheard, Editor for Conservative Progress and Freelance Political Commentator and Consultant

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