"HONG KONG NODE" FOR THE WEST
Only recently, there was no more important and acute issue in the world than the dangerous COVID-19 epidemic... But at the end of May this year, a new, more serious problem suddenly appeared, because of which life in many Western countries, apparently, became completely unbearable. The protesting Chinese Hong Kong (Hong Kong) and its relations with mainland China are now again on the front pages of many Western media.
It seems that now every European and every American is sitting and deeply worried about the fate of democracy in a small territory somewhere in distant China. And now, apparently, there is no more happiness in Western society until the Western order is strengthened on Hong Kong land. But in fact, all these excited politicians, journalists, and just ordinary people watching these fabricated news are often unlikely to immediately find Chinese Hong Kong on the political map of the world...
If you remove all the lyrics and humor, then the reason for such another increased attention to China was the new national security bill developed by Beijing for its Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong. The document operates with the categories of national security, counteracts foreign interference, provides for responsibility for separatism, punishment for incitement directed against the government of the People's Republic of China. The draft was put on the agenda of the third session of the National People's Congress of the 13th convocation in Beijing on May 22 this year. It would seem that this is a routine issue in the life of a sovereign state.
Hong Kong SAR is an important financial, trade and logistics center in Asia, so maintaining order on its territory is, among other things, an economically sound decision (during the protests in 2019, the economy of this region lost 2.9% of GDP). The continuation of the unrest can seriously affect the potential of the SAR. Given the strategic importance of this special region of the People's Republic of China against the background of the current turbulent geopolitical situation in the world and the experience of mass protests in Hong Kong last year, such a reaction of the Chinese leadership looks quite natural.
In addition, the still ongoing global pandemic has brought deep uncertainty to world development, it changes many foundations and traditions, life suddenly moves into a new unknown format. Against this background, strengthening internal stability, security and control on its territory is quite a natural procedure for any country with a thinking leadership.
And no state usually makes excuses for such decisions: security is an internal matter. For example, hardly anyone is interested in the development of national security legislation in Albania, Mongolia, Norway, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Bulgaria or Oman, etc. But, as expected, a stormy information wave has again risen in the West regarding China's actions, criticizing the activities of the Chinese leadership and advising on "how to live properly".
What conclusions can be drawn from the observed events?
The current political situation in Hong Kong is the second attempt of a political coup in China since 2019, inspired and supported from outside. The well-known methodology of Gene Sharp, the American "godfather" of "color" coups, is clearly traced in the played plot of events.
In particular, this is evidenced by the coincidence of many factors.
* The "number one" task is to excite the population. The continuation of mass protests in Hong Kong shows that their real goal is very different from the one that the organizers officially declared in 2019. Obviously, the main task was and is to destabilize China and create a hotbed of tension for constant pressure on the country (for example, to have trumps in economic cooperation). And the reason can be any. In 2019, it was a bill on extradition, in 2020, the reason was the law on security. There will probably be others in the future. The main thing for the organizers is to bring people to the streets against the authorities under any pretext.
* High readiness of the protesters. Life shows that ordinary citizens do not know how to build barricades on the streets, do not know how to organize themselves into mobile groups, are not ready to resist the police forces by force, they do not have prepared protective equipment and homemade weapons. These are ordinary citizens – until someone specially trains motivated leaders, selects and unites activists into a network and gives funds for the organization. As in other similar cases, there is also a clear organization and a well-directed distribution of roles in Hong Kong.
* The time of the beginning of the second wave of protests in Hong Kong - against the background of the developing attempt of the West to exert comprehensive political pressure on the PRC against the background of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, there is an obvious desire to persuade China to make profitable decisions for itself (by the way, the first wave of protests in 2019 took place against the background of trade negotiations between China and the United States). Well, the American flags often flashing in the crowd of protesters clearly reflect the sympathies of this group of people. There are no coincidences in such matters.
* Active external political support for the protesters is a very good indicator that the riots were prepared with external assistance. The initiative of the PRC was immediately opposed by the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and Australia, etc. What does this have its own specifics. If the UK's policy is still clear from the historical logic of its presence in Asia, the position of the EU, Canada and Australia is explained only by the obvious lack of these countries ' own opinion in international affairs and their dependence on London.
* Formation of the" necessary " media picture. It is interesting that in the reports of the Western media, citizens protesting on the streets are positioned as some kind of heroes and fighters for democracy. However, none of the observers asks questions, why do activists in Hong Kong simultaneously organize pogroms on the streets, simultaneously destroy the property and property of other similar citizens? After all, from the point of view of the law of any state, Hong Kong activists act as criminals (damage to property). But the Western media deliberately pay attention only to the forceful actions of the police, acting within their legitimate functions.
At the same time, it is clear that the international pressure on China itself, although well organized, is absolutely not covered by any well – thought-out arguments and conceptual grounds for fighting. Apparently, among the main tasks is simply to create a big stir around Hong Kong and China, ignite a conflict in society and force the government to use force. And none of the external organizers thinks about the fate of the activists who are now promoting their tasks: objectively, the Chinese government will eventually restore full order, the activists will be neutralized by various methods. And the activists will turn out to be just puppets in a big game.
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There is another side to this story. Today, China, which is pursuing an active foreign policy, attracts extremely increased attention of the world community. And the current political situation around Hong Kong very well reflects the double standards in world politics. What are they expressed in?
So, at its internal annual event, China officially announces the expansion of the national security law in the territory controlled by Beijing, which is officially part of the PRC. At the same time, a certain group of local activists with the support of the world community (mainly well-known Western countries that are supposedly hiding behind "support for democracy") They openly and harshly oppose such a decision of the legitimate government of the People's Republic of China.
Most Western media immediately position Beijing's actions as an"aggressor". But why? After all, the new law reflects China's right to ensure security on the territory of Hong Kong (which is part of the PRC). Is there any logical discrepancy in this from the point of view of the functions of public administration and the duty of the state to ensure the protection of its territory? Such laws have been adopted and are in force in all countries of the world, and according to the ability of the authorities to ensure their security, they evaluate its effectiveness and strength (for example, the well-known Failed States Index).
And there are still no such precedents in world practice when any capable sovereign state would bring the issue of measures taken to ensure its security to international discussion. Therefore, the decision of the Chinese government to strengthen the protection of its territories is a natural reaction to the events taking place in the world and the desire to ensure its national interests. Besides, is the case of Hong Kong unique and deserves such unhealthy increased attention from the world community?
After all, you can draw many analogies with similar situations.
For example, what would be the reaction of the White House if the American state of Alaska (the territory became part of the United States in 1867 following the sale of the territory by the Russian Empire) suddenly refused to obey the law on national security of the United States (National Security Act of 1947 or Homeland Security Act of 2002), and neighboring Russia would suddenly support the leadership of Alaska, which historically was once Russian...
Or let's simulate the course of historical events, in which tomorrow California or Texas will decide to secede from the United States (and there are signs for this), how will Washington act then? And the current statements of the United Kingdom with its experience of historically difficult relations with Scotland and Ireland, or Canada with Quebec, where separatist sentiments are strong, are generally surprising. It is also unclear why Belgium is meddling in China's affairs, which artificially and hardly holds its territories with its well-known Flemish history. Each of the Western states has its own "Hong Kong" with its own specifics.
In general, one thing is obvious behind all this openly politicized information hype in the media: the West is clearly overplaying "democracy", and China is acting on its own, historically Chinese territory, where ethnic Chinese live and which is now part of the PRC (according to the formula"one state – two systems"). And the statements of individual foreign states on Hong Kong are called nothing else than direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country (there is no other name for this). And the second is an attempt to distract its own population from big internal problems due to the pandemic (a classic political ploy).
The real reason for the political scenario unfolding before our eyes in Hong Kong lies in the fact that in the XXI century China has become too large a global player (in fact, in all spheres). And it is clearly not possible to curb it either in direct competition or by the traditional tricks of the West in the form of trade wars and sanctions. Hong Kong SAR plays a significant role in the economic development of China and Asia, so provoking political unrest there will scare away investors and capital needed for the development of the economy of the vast region.
In addition, the PRC began to form its own conceptual view of international development (an alternative to the West), and it began to receive the support of many other countries. Therefore, since 2019, a classic version of political destabilization from the outside is being played out in Hong Kong (in order to distract Beijing from globalism and from affairs on the world stage). The peculiarity of the moment is that these Western methods are already well known, and the PRC is ready to counteract them: therefore, a complete solution by Beijing to the Hong Kong issue is only a matter of time, and everyone also understands this well.
Well, traditionally, since Sino-American relations are one of the key factors of modern international relations (the future of world development will depend on the format and nature of interaction between the first and second economies of the world), it is worth considering the Hong Kong case in the refraction of American foreign policy separately. And, as always, when the Trump administration enters into any business, it is not without political humor.
What did the United States immediately do against the background of the PRC's decision and the beginning of street protests in Hong Kong? As expected, they immediately threatened Beijing with sanctions. And what exactly-as always, they did not say, because they do not know themselves yet (or apparently they themselves have not yet understood what they said). Brussels, by the way, also addresses a clear warning rhetoric to Beijing. The European Union also does not yet make it clear what it will actually do to support Hong Kong, and what risk it will be willing to put its relations with China at.
But then it's even more interesting.
The other day, US presidential adviser Robert O'Brien in an interview with NBC generally stated that "the seizure of Hong Kong by China may lead to sanctions from the United States" (!). Reuters also quotes the words of an American adviser: "... It seems that with this national security law they are going to basically seize Hong Kong, and if they do, then Secretary Pompeo will most likely not be able to confirm that Hong Kong retains a high degree of autonomy, and if this happens, sanctions will be imposed against Hong Kong and China...". This statement is interesting only from the point of view of its complete political absurdity.
Apparently, this vague statement does not make a very good attempt to reflect the specifics of the unilateral US policy towards Chinese Hong Kong: for some reason, the Americans treat the SAR as an economic partner separate from China. In addition to the fact that Hong Kong is an independent member of the WTO, special relations are also enshrined in a special American law that the US Congress approved back in 1992 (United States–Hong Kong Policy Act). But after all, the relations reflected in the American document affect purely trade and economic issues, not political ones. And China, in its new law on Hong Kong, does not address economic issues – its task is to ensure the security of the SAR as its territory.
Apparently, this adviser to the American leader does not know at all the history, geography of the world, or the politics of his country, talking about the situation around Hong Kong as China's seizure of its own territory (?). This looks not just ridiculous (everyone knows the very limited knowledge of Americans in geography, which they themselves laugh at), but in general it looks stupid – especially if it is publicly stated by a political official of such a high rank. Or is there a third version: this is the deliberate dissemination of lies in order to form the necessary opinion among its population to justify its actions that go beyond the framework of international law.
In general, against the background of such specific statements, a steady sense of degradation of the current political regime in the United States is created. This is especially strange given the fact that the United States is well known for its powerful intellectual potential and the presence of several thousand "think tanks" focused on foreign policy. It can be concluded that the famous American analytical structures today simply do not want to spoil their reputation by interacting with the Trump administration and advise him to build US relations with China as pragmatically and profitably as possible (especially in the new conditions).
Many American intellectuals and entrepreneurs clearly have a radically different vision regarding the development of US relations with China. The authoritative Brookings Institution says that it is necessary to search for a rational model of relations with China (https://www.brookings.edu/.../the-us-and-china-need-to-relea.../), an influential Center for Strategic and International Studies (https://www.csis.org/.../fragile-and-costly-us-china-trade-pe...), and the competent Society for Asian Studies (https://asiasociety.org/.../saving-lives-america-china-and-ar...) and many many others. But their voices are deliberately not heard in the White House.
As for possible sanctions... Over the past 4 years since the 45th US president came to power, this country has imposed sanctions against various states so many times that Washington itself can no longer quantify them or assess their effectiveness. Now the United States of the" Trump format " is so often threatened with sanctions for any reason that it seems that the sanctions mechanism itself (as a coercive measure) loses its political meaning. Apparently now the White House is acting like this: the main thing is to threaten quickly and terribly, and suddenly they will be afraid? At the same time, behind such statements there are no calculations, estimates of the likely effect, screenwriting and other fine traditions of the American public policy sphere.
In addition, there is a feeling that the current White House lives in its virtual world of "Pax Americana" and does not realize that reality has already changed a lot. The United States is certainly a developed and leading country in a number of industries – but new states are confidently rising in the world and the United States will be only one of the major countries tomorrow. This, by the way, is also claimed by smart heads from the United States itself – in the US intelligence report "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" from 2012 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/GlobalTrends_2030.pdf and in its brief review https://rg.ru/2012/12/10/budushee-site.html.
Therefore, Washington will still have to change its diplomatic measures tomorrow: it is clearly counterproductive to threaten countries of equal weight with sanctions…
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Thus, we repeat that the current political situation in Chinese Hong Kong from the point of view of political technologies is not new. All the methods and tools used in relation to ATS are well known and studied. Experts in the field of international relations can present dozens of similar examples of effective and not very external interference (Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Russia, Turkey, Venezuela, etc.). And historically, the claims of a number of Western countries to Chinese Hong Kong are far from new (and Beijing knows this well).
But the novelty of the Hong Kong events in the XXI century is that now a much stronger China is resisting attempts at external manipulation (and these efforts to put pressure on it directly demonstrate how much Western elites are nervous about this). Moreover, the current Chinese state is no longer just a large country, it is a systemic factor of the world economy and international relations. In this regard, the modern "Hong Kong node" for the West is unlikely to be an example when it is possible to "rush and quickly" achieve a result, as it was once...
The world is inevitably changing, the global axis of influence is shifting to the East...
China Studies Centre,
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