The Fall of Hong Kong | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 27th July 2020

 “If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!” –T. Harv Eker

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #106 :“The Fall of Hong Kong | UPSC

The Fall of Hong Kong UPSCThe Fall of Hong Kong | UPSC

James Carter | Jeffrey Wasserstrom(The Fall of Hong Kong | UPSC)

James Carter teaches history at St. Joseph’s University and Jeffrey Wasserstrom teaches history at UC Irvine

      HEADLINES:

The fall of Hong Kong

      CENTRAL THEME:

The National Security Law has turned Hong Kong into a colonial city again, with Beijing calling the shots

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2: IR

      MAINS QUESTION:

The “high degree of autonomy” of Hong Kong until 2047 promise has run out more than 25 years early.Critically Comment -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

It is important to understand three things :

  1. How Hong Kong came out of Colonial rule
  2. Decision making lapses
  3. Basic Law

Let us dive in !

      INTRODUCTION: 

 In 1982 deciding Hong Kong’s fate, Deng Xiaoping said to Margaret Thatcher, “Horses will still run, stocks will still sizzle, dancers will still dance.”

  • His line about horses, stocks, and dancers was meant to convince Thatcher that the city could become part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) without losing its distinctive features.

London’s 99-year lease over most of the colony was to expire 15 years later.   

  • Hong Kong Island and part of the Kowloon Peninsula, though, had been ceded to Britain in perpetuity.
  • Deng wanted to bring the whole territory under Chinese control in 1997.

      BODY: 

OFFERING AN AN ATTRACTIVE VISION

Deng died a few months before the Hong Kong handover of July 1, 1997.

SINO-BRITISH DECLARATIONS 1984

First came the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
 

  • ADMINISTRATION : It explained that a “one country, two systems” structure would take effect in 1997.
  • AUTONOMY : In last 50 years Hong Kong would enjoy a “high degree of autonomy” as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.
  • PROMISES : The local “way of life” would continue, while Beijing oversaw defence and diplomacy.

BASIC LAW 1990 

Then came the detailed 1990 Basic Law.
  • ATTRACTIVE VISION : It seemed to offer Hong Kong’s people an attractive vision of life from 1997 until 2047.
  • SENSE OF FREEDOM : They would no longer be colonial subjects.
  • INDEPENDENCE : Now they would retain  a more independent judiciary and free press.
  • RIGHTS ASSURANCE : People would also retain stronger rights of assembly and speech than mainland cities.
  • ADMINISTRATION : An official selected locally would head Hong Kong’s government.
  • ELECTION : Residents would even get to choose this Chief Executive.

The big question was whether Beijing would keep the promises enshrined in these documents.

  • UNDERSTANDING FUTURE : In 1984, Deng was taking China in a liberalising direction, so it was easy to feel hopeful about Hong Kong’s future.
  • MASSACRE : A year before the Basic Law Beijing crushed 1989’s protest wave and raising doubts about Deng’s trustworthiness.
  • EMBRACING LIBERALISATION : Deng continued to embrace the economic liberalisation and political liberalisation.

She also said that China’s leaders would surely respect their pledge to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy after 1997.

  • COURTS : Hong Kong’s courts remained fiercely independent.
  • PRESS : Its newspapers criticised national as well as local policies.

EXAMPLE
TV SHOW- “Headliner,” shifted from mocking colonial authorities to mocking representatives of the new order

  • CAGEY DEMOCRACY : Democracy was elusive(slippery) . Fewer than 2,000 people got to vote for the Chief Executive.
  • STRINGENT RULES : Public commemoration of the killing was forbidden across the mainland.

NATIONAL SECURITY LAW (NSL)

In 2020, for the first time, the June 4 commemoration was banned.

  • The real key difference this June 4 was Beijing’s announcement in May that local government to pass an anti-sedition law.
  • The National Security Law (NSL) makes it possible to treat various actions as sedition.
  • NSL treats various forms of expression to be treated as proof that someone is subversive.

UNDERMINING BASIC LAW

SHATTERING FRAMEWORKS : NSL shatters the “one country, two systems” framework, except insofar as there remains a separate system for making and spending money.

GOING AHEAD :  Hong Kong will remain a place where horses, dancers, and stocks behave in distinctive ways.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government.-Article 23 of the Basic Law states.

      IASbhai Windup: 

COOLING DOWN THE WAVES

  • Local courts have continued to dismiss charges against some activists arrested before the NSL went into effect.
  • Beijing presents the NSL as responding to the 2019 protests that roiled Hong Kong.

Its goal is to restore law and order.

  • Only a small number of radicals advocating independence will be affected.
  • Hundreds of Hong Kong Twitter users have raced to delete their accounts.
  • They fearing that a tweet quoting a now-taboo slogan or song title could lead to them disappearing into a mainland prison.
  • Newspapers are eliminating political cartoons.
  • It is the most extreme, but just the latest, move that undermines Basic Law guarantees.

A colonial city is what it is again, or resembles, just with Beijing rather than London calling the shots.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL | The Fall of Hong Kong | UPSC

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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