Monday 2 September 2019

“The People of Hong Kong Will Not Be Cowed by China” | NYT

No thanks 
Your readers are ill-served by publication of the overheated rant from Joshua Wong and Alex Chow. (The People of Hong Kong Will Not Be Cowed by China, 2 September). 
"If we burn, you burn with us", they crow. This is scary rhetoric indeed. 
Wong & Chow head up an outfit called Demosisto, whose 25 members would seem to command outsized attention for their program to make Hong Kong "independent". This aim is shared with ProgressUST of the University of Science and Technology which calls for mainland Chinese to be sent back to China, for their companies to be de-registered and for a wall to be built against China. On such an exquisitely bigoted platform rest the allegedly educated minds of our youth. Surely such suicidal vanities are worse even than the perfervid posturing of Mr Trump. 
We must ask: is there a more suicidal program than this one? I can't think of one. 
China will never allow independence for Hong Kong if only because of the implications for Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia and Taiwan. Oh… and the fact that China's sovereignty over Hong Kong is recognised by the whole world. China would no more allow the independence for Hong Kong than America would that of New York. 
China has simple means to throttle such aspirations. It supplies 70% of our water, 23% of our electricity and 93% of our food.  A simple turn of the "off" switch is all it would take. 
Not to mention its vast army. 
Wong & Chow paint a grim picture of Hong Kong that I don't recognise, and I've lived here for forty years. Hong Kong is a wealthy society with a per capita income of over $US 64,000. We have freedom of assembly, freedom of the media, freedom of thought and freedom of conscience. When not blocked by protesters, we also have freedom of movement. We have widespread freedom to vote for representatives to our Legislative Council, just not the freedom to vote for the head of government (a valid gripe, but hardly helped by widespread vandalism by Wong's cronies). 
Unlike Wong & Chow, I have studied and worked in China. I was there in the seventies, late in the "Cultural Revolution" when our food and clothing were rationed. I've watched its rapid rise with my own eyes. I hate the authoritarian bent of Xi Jinping as much as Wong & Chow. But I don't pretend or hallucinate that, since the 1997 handover, Beijing has been the bully that they paint. Yes, two booksellers were kidnapped (and later returned), a foolish caper that was likely not endorsed by the top leadership.  But overall Beijing has been remarkably hands off. 
The danger to our dear city now is not from Beijing but from the misguided millenarian fantasies from the likes of Wong & Chow. 
Yesterday their thugs vandalised my local subway station. They terrorised friends of mine. 
It is they who will burn up the beloved city. Not Beijing. They. 
I condemn the New York Times for giving space to their dangerously demented delusions. 

Pf, etc … 

LATER: published online on 4 Sep