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Will China mend it’s ways after Hong Kong protest ?

By N.S.Venkataraman
It is a fact that this is not the first time that the totalitarian regime in China has faced massive protest from the people, demanding political freedom, liberty and rights for freedom of speech.
(The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, have become the biggest threat to Beijing’s rule of the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city since its handover from the British in 1997. AFP-Anthony WALLACE)

Protest by residents of Hong Kong against Chinese government’s move to implement Extradition Bill in Hong Kong have been going on for around 10 weeks now.

Chinese government bowed down to the pressure applied by the protesters by suspending implementation of controversial law but the protestors in Hong Kong are not satisfied. They have extended the demand now by insisting on several other requirements, which is unlikely to be accepted by the Chinese government. However, the Hong Kong protestors seem to be determined.

With blocking of Hong Kong air port by the protestors resulting in suspension of several flights, protests have assumed serious proportion. It is not clear as to how the Chinese government proposes to deal with the on going crisis in Hong Kong. It is reported that large number of Chinese troops have been deployed in the Hong Kong border and probably the troops are kept ready and are well equipped to suppress the protestors violently. At this stage, one is not sure how the situation would shape up.

However, it is a fact that this is not the first time that the totalitarian regime in China has faced massive protest from the people, demanding political freedom, liberty and rights for freedom of speech.

While several small protests were reported to have taken place in the past, they have been put down by Chinese government ruthlessly .One of the past protests was at Tiananmen Square which was reported all over the world media. Government of China put down the protest in arrogant way .Large number of protestors were reported to have been wiped out from the world in secret cells. Finally, Chinese government “won” and the protest was “successfully suppressed”.

Uyghurs, (Islamic group) living in Xinjiang region, in the country’s north-west. have been demanding religious freedom to practice Islamic laws. However, the government of China has been ruthlessly dealing with the protesting Uyghurs and reported to have demolished several mosques and arrested the Uyghurs, who are demanding religious freedom.

Unlike the protest at Tiananmen Square which received world wide adverse publicity, Chinese government has successfully ensured so far that its aggressive action against Uyghurs protestors have been screened away from the world media. No one outside China seems to have full view of the extent of suppression and violence practiced by Government of China to put down the protestors.

In 1950’s, China entered into nearby Tibet region and occupied forcibly. Respected the Dalai Lama and his followers and disciples had to escape to neighbouring country India to protect themselves from the atrocities of Chinese armed forces. Many Tibetans who protested against Chinese aggression were reported to have been massacred, suppressed and silenced by the Chinese army. .Ever since this period, for the last several decades, Tibet has been under the Chinese occupation with enforced iron curtain to prevent the outside world from knowing as to what is happening in Tibet. No outsiders are allowed to enter Tibet to see the conditions for themselves.

In 1962, Chinese army entered Indian territory, when war took place and well armed Chinese army virtually won the war and China continues to occupy large areas of Indian land, that was captured after the war.

Now, China claims that Indian province Arunachal Pradesh belongs to it.

China has successively brought Pakistan under it’s effective control by lending huge loans and debts and launching economic corridor projects in Pakistan . Several valuable assets of Pakistan including mines and ports are now owned and operated by Chinese companies. Pakistan already appear to have become extended territory of China for all practical purposes. It appears that China will never give up it’s vice like grip over weak and helpless Pakistan.

During the last 70 years, Chinese government has been adopting aggressive postures with regard to several issues in dealing with the neighbouring and nearby countries. It appears that China is under the impression that it can view the world opinion about it’s aggressive dealings with contempt and China seems to think that the world opinion is impotent.

As a matter of fact, it appears that China’s view of world opinion appears to have been proved to be correct to some extent, as most of the countries have ignored the atrocities committed by China in Tibet and China’s violent suppression of protest in Tinanman Square. With China gaining strength in it’s economy and military power, most of the the countries want to have trade with China and are taking precautions to ensure that they would not displease the Chinese government in any way.

In such circumstances, the protest by the Hong Kong residents against the Chinese government, which now appear to be taking the shape of independent Hong Kong movement is a serious challenge that China now faces.

Unlike in the past, China has now become vulnerable to the world opinion and trade trends, as it’s economy has greater exposure to the world market and export is a vital need for Chinese economy to survive.

The question is whether China can massacre and kill the protestors in Hong Kong to suppress the protest in the way that it did in Tibet and in other places in China.

It is obvious that China is now lacking in ideas as to how to handle the protestors in Hong Kong. Perhaps, China is slowly realizing that totalitarian regime and ruthless suppression of mass protests has it’s limits.

The question is whether such realization will further increase amongst the communist leaders in China and whether Chinese government will mend it’s ways to gain more acceptability amongst the world community as a civilized government that respect human freedom and the concept of individual liberty.

The aggression by China in Tibet is remaining as a standing monument for China’s unethical ways and brutal methods to achieve it’s objectives.

Hong Kong protests would serve it’s purpose, if Chinese government would realize that it has to undo it’s past mistakes by restoring the position of Tibet as an independent country, giving up it’s claims on Indian territory and recognizing and respecting the aspirations of Hong Kong residents for freedom and liberty, even if it would mean that Hong Kong has to be assured of it’s full autonomous status for all time to come.

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

Published Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 | 10:42 AM

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