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HK braces itself for greater challenges in 2020

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2020-01-02 09:40
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Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, China. [Photo/VCG]

As 2019 comes to an end, Hong Kong is left with four major concerns for the coming year: Can it quell the “black revolution”? Can it cripple the “black hands” of external forces? Can the SAR government markedly improve governance and policymaking? Can the city overcome the current economic recession?

Entering 2020, when Hong Kong deals with these four major concerns, we must consider and adapt to a more fundamental issue — whether Sino-US relations will take a turn for the better or for the worse. So 2020 is a critical year that will determine whether the central government and Chinese people can achieve the first goal of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation. Now that the US considers China as its major rival and is trying hard to contain China, will it kindly allow the Chinese nation to proceed with its goals?

Another closely related issue is the forthcoming islandwide election in Taiwan. Regardless of who becomes the island’s next leader and which political force takes the reins, the separatist forces on the island are bound to gather strength. If Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is to be re-elected, she is likely to take a reckless move to push Taiwan toward independence. If the Kuomintang comes back to power, the DPP is very likely to promote Taiwan independence desperately as an opposition party. In order to contain China’s rise, Washington is most likely to throw its full weight behind the separatist forces and movements in Taiwan.

The biggest challenge for Hong Kong in the coming year is, in a nutshell, to daringly cripple the ‘black hands’ of external forces

In their attempt to prevent the central government and Chinese people from achieving their first centennial goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2020, foreign forces will definitely try to further escalate the “black revolution” in Hong Kong to substantiate that the Chinese government has lost its sovereignty over Hong Kong. For Washington, it is easier for them to unsettle China by messing up Hong Kong than by creating troubles in the Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet autonomous regions. At the same time, supporting Taiwan independence and aggravating the geopolitical tension across the Taiwan Strait will increase pressure on Beijing to consider reunification with Taiwan by use of force. All these scenarios are what China, including the Hong Kong SAR, will have to face in 2020.

Taiwan’s separatist forces have brazenly served as a training base for Hong Kong’s black-clad rioters and a funding channel for the “black revolution” that broke out in Hong Kong in 2019. The separatist forces in Hong Kong and Taiwan will in all likelihood further collaborate in 2020 to promote separatism in Taiwan and escalate the “black revolution” in Hong Kong. Therefore, efforts to quell the “black revolution” and fight Hong Kong independence must go in step with efforts against Taiwan independence.

Consequently, the biggest challenge for Hong Kong in the coming year is, in a nutshell, to daringly cripple the “black hands” of external forces that have stretched into Hong Kong. This is the key to quelling the “black revolution”, and can help curb separatism in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. With this in mind, we can better understand President Xi Jinping’s messages delivered at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Macao SAR’s establishment and the inauguration ceremony of Macao’s fifth-term government, during which the State leader stressed: “After the return of Hong Kong and Macao to the motherland, the affairs of the two special administrative regions are purely China’s internal affairs, which need no instructions from any external forces. The Chinese government and the Chinese people’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests are as firm as a rock. China will not allow any external forces to interfere with Hong Kong and Macao affairs!”

In order to counteract the enactment of the US’ “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act”, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Dec 12 that China would suspend a US military ship and aircraft visits to Hong Kong and sanction several American non-governmental organizations.

Some Hong Kong commentators opine that whether to approve the entry of US warships to Hong Kong belongs to foreign affairs, and it does not require any action from the SAR government. However, there is no applicable legislation to refer to when it comes to sanctioning American NGOs. As a result, the staff of an NGO included in the sanction list can still freely enter Hong Kong and meet with the ringleaders of anti-China and anti-communist political forces in the city.

Some patriotic groups in Hong Kong have therefore urged the SAR government to enact a national security law according to Article 23 of the Basic Law. Nonetheless, it is hardly possible for the SAR government to enact such a law in the short term, given that the Hong Kong community is still heavily divided on political issues. Consequently, the SAR government has to invoke the existing laws and work hand in hand with the central government in sanctioning those unwanted NGOs. As long as the SAR has the political will to carry out these sanctions, there will be a way to implement them. Otherwise, the political situation could deteriorate in 2020.

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