So, if U.S. lawmakers insist on being bad guys, China won't sit idly by
or be intimidated. Hong Kong is not Tripoli.
During five months, 700 public disruptions have gripped Hong Kong,
dragging the economy into a technical recession.
The tweet immediately caused an uproar. Many questioned how, as a
foreign correspondent, he only now sees this now– despite all the
destruction the U.S. has caused in Libya, Syria and Iraq, to name a few,
by supporting pro-U.S. factions, even terrorists, in the name of
"promoting democracy and human rights."
On November 17, a chief foreign correspondent for NBC sent out a tweet
that went viral: The more I talk to sources, the more I'm hearing
America's betrayal of the Kurds, and the humiliation, "misogynistic"
"squashing" of U.S. ambassador in Ukraine for political motivations
makes people think, we, Americans, have become the "bad guys." Hearing
it was gut punch.
In the case of Hong Kong, its role in China's economy has gradually
shifted, the city is already set to accelerate its integration into
China's broader development, through the Belt and Road Initiative and
the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Hong Kong enjoys special free-port treatment from the U.S., but
remember: that's also special treatment for U.S. businesses. By holding
that status hostage, the U.S. will surely hurt its own interests.
(Doesn't this sound familiar, that the U.S. is willing to hurt itself,
in order to hurt China?) But never forget Hong Kong is not on its own:
it has the strong backing of 1.3 billion people and the 12 trillion U.S.
dollars Chinese economy. China needs HK to continue channeling
international capital and trade, but China will not blink on matters
concerning national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Yet today, I'm afraid, that list is set to grow a bit longer to include
Hong Kong. On November 19, the U.S. Senate passed the so-called "Hong
Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act," after the U.S. House of
Representatives passed a similar bill in October. The bill requires an
annual review of the city's status as a special free-trade port, and,
most crucially, allows for "sanctions on those responsible for human
rights violations in Hong Kong."
There may be some inconveniences if the free-port status is put in
jeopardy or even placed on hold. Yet China is big enough to weather the
difficulties. Just as the trade war has shown, the flexibility of the
Chinese people is a tad greater than many in the U.S. could imagine.
Fortunately, Hong Kong is not Tripoli. Note the swiftness of reaction
and level of response coming from various authorities in China, a
country that takes pride in its tradition of prudence. Within hours of
the Senate approving the act, seven official statements were released by
the Chinese legislative and political consultative bodies, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, the HK Special Administrative Region government and
three other offices – all opposing it in the strongest possible terms.
Such a swift, stern and unified response is extremely rare, in my eyes.
Obviously, China was prepared for such an event and carefully
contemplated their reaction and the possible consequences. Note the
stark warning, echoed in the statements: If the U.S. continues down the
wrong path, China will take resolute measures to fight back. What kind
of measures? I don't want to speculate. But the point China wants to
make is crystal clear: It won't swallow it.
Despite so much rumor and fake news coming out of Hong Kong, any person
with the most basic common sense and conscience can see how a small gang
of rioters have inflicted growing violence and destruction in Hong Kong.
One man was killed by a brick, another set ablaze and countless others
assaulted or intimidated. Businesses, including American ones, have been
targeted for retaliation, smashed up, set on fire, or forced to close,
either for opposing the riots or simply for being linked to the Chinese
mainland. Subway facilities have been torched, roads destroyed, the
airport paralyzed. The list goes on.
In light of all that, the U.S. Congress still chose to side with
rioters, through this bill. They are earning Americans the title of "bad
guys" in the heart of many more people. No need for quotation marks,