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China’s disregard for HK freedoms shows why Taiwan must take a stand

The struggle for freedom in Hong Kong just a snapshot of possible nightmare facing Taiwan under communist rule

China’s disregard for HK freedoms shows why Taiwan must take a stand

(Wikimedia Commons photo)

KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) -- On Monday, Communist China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) held a rare press conference.

Unlike the regime’s Taiwan Affairs Office which is vocal in promoting China’s false claims of sovereignty over Taiwan, the HKMAO is a much more silent and mysterious organization.

It usually has no need to address the public. After all, communist China already has its claws deep into Hong Kong and through puppet-leader Carrie Lam and many other legislators, it is already pulling the strings and dictating how Hong Kong is run.

That the protests have escalated to the level that they have is a mark of how poorly Carrie Lam is handling things in Hong Kong and the strength of feeling there about her inept leadership and the CCP's systematic interference in Hong Kong affairs.

So, having finally deigned fit to intervene in the Hong Kong situation, what pearls of wisdom did HKMAO Spokesperson Yang Guang (楊光) have to offer to calm the situation?

Absolutely nothing. In fact, his comments only served to further inflame tensions.

HKMAO’s conspiracy theories

Yang Guang used the press conference as an opportunity to air communist China’s tired old excuses for any popular uprising against their brutal authoritarianism. It is, we were told, the fault of Western countries and influences that the people of Hong Kong are on the streets.

That's right, the CCP is persisting with the line that the Hong Kong protests have nothing to do with their interference, their refusal to listen and respect the will of the Hong Kong people, and the brutal treatment of protestors at the hands of Beijing-supporting police officers and triads.

Instead, it is all the fault of Western interference. This is a line which will play well with their domestic audience. After all, they have been drip-fed a stream of anti-western propaganda for years and many will be more than willing to blame the much-demonized U.S. and its allies for any problems the CCP faces.

But there is not a shred of independent evidence to support these claims. Meanwhile proof of the failings of the CCP and its Hong Kong puppet-government can be easily found.

The truth is that the only western influences on the Hong Kong protestors are the values of freedom and democracy that are so cherished by most people and so feared by the communist leaders in Beijing.

Where are the Hong Kong protests leading?

The CCP mask slipped a little more at the HKMAO Press Conference and it became clearer how the Hong Kong protests were likely to end.

Further violence from police and triads against protestors now appears inevitable after the HKMAO fanned the flames. Protestors know this, which is why helmets are being shipped in from Taiwan and elsewhere to help protect them.

It is perfectly possible that the CCP will resort to sending the ironically-named People’s Liberation Army onto the streets to suppress the people. This action could easily lead to another Tiananmen Square with serious blood being spilt on the streets of Hong Kong.

The CCP will want to avoid this and the inevitable international backlash that will follow. But with protestors showing no sign of backing down, there is a growing feeling that this is the moment when Hong Kong’s freedom movement will either succeed or die trying.

This moment could be the endgame for Hong Kong and the notion of "One Country, Two Systems."

What the Hong Kong protests mean for Taiwan

There has been plenty of media talk about how Taiwan should be watching and learning from the experience of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, such is the extent of CCP control over Taiwan’s media that many in Taiwan are seeing little of the protests and what they do see comes through the prism of Beijing propaganda.

This reality should be another prompt for the Taiwanese Government to introduce badly-needed media reforms in Taiwan to wrest control away from Beijing. Otherwise too many Taiwanese people will be denied this insight into what a future together with the CCP would actually look like.

The situation in Hong Kong gives an insight into how Taiwan would fare in the event of a peaceful unification. If the likes of Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and his KMT allies get their way and Taiwan is “reunified” with China (as they perceive it), widespread protests would follow and so would a similar use violence from CCP officials and their supporters to try and put these down.

Taiwanese protestors could be arrested at will, condemned as violent terrorists in public, and their views and that of the wider international community would be totally ignored by the pro-communist authorities that would inevitably control Taiwan.

Unfortunately, this is a "best-case" scenario. The extent of anti-CCP sentiment in Taiwan and its greater geographic scale means that things would likely be a great deal worse. Regardless of whether Taiwan opted to be annexed by China or was occupied by force, the immediate future would look extremely grim.

Anti-Taiwan protestors would likely be arrested en-masse with many shipped back to China to face CCP-style “justice.” A guerilla war would probably ensue with anti-Chinese activists eventually being pushed back into the mountains and mounting smash-and-grab assaults and terrorist attacks on CCP positions and individuals. Such an approach would likely lead to an even more brutal crackdown from the CCP.

The chances are that Taiwan would end up far more like Xinjiang/East Turkestan than Hong Kong, with internment camps for those who oppose the CCP and the country being effectively turned into a police state by paranoid CCP officials. It would be a combination of the Vietnam War and the ongoing campaign of cultural genocide targeting Uyghurs. Bloody, ugly, and destructive.

These scenarios may be hypothetical but they are rooted in the reality currently being experienced by millions of people who have fallen under the CCP's heel in Hong Kong and East Turkestan. A reality that many Taiwanese people are completely unaware of.

How should the Taiwanese government react to the Hong Kong situation?

Domestic awareness of the reality of life under the CCP is vital. The Taiwanese government needs to act now to free Taiwanese media from Beijing’s grasp.

They should also be doing more to get the reality of life in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and China itself into people’s consciousness through online activity, events, reports, and documentaries.

Taiwan also needs to be seen to show solidarity with people in Hong Kong at this crucial point in their fight for freedom.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has already been vocal in her support of protestors and this should continue. Behind the scenes, she should also be instructing Taiwanese intelligence and military agents to provide as much logistical support as they can to protestors.

In public, Taiwan should also be supporting the calls for international sanctions against China over the situations in both Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

And the Taiwanese government should be clear that anyone who no longer feels safe in Hong Kong or Xinjiang has a place of sanctuary and refuge in Taiwan, as well as an opportunity to share their experiences with the world.