China follows White Russia in forcing down airliner, exiles and Danish politicians call for severe punishment as an example

The forced landing of an international flight in Belarus and the arrest of opposition figures has shocked the international community. The focus of attention has begun to extend to the Chinese government, which has remained silent. Hong Kong residents in exile and foreigners suspected of being wanted by the Hong Kong government fear that if Belarus acts without consequences or sanctions, its ally China is likely to pressure other friendly countries to repeat the same tactics against dissidents.

Like other Europeans, Thomas Rohden, president of the Danish China Critical Society (DCCS), has additional concerns, despite the fact that he has no ties to Belarus and the impact of the plane landing is only psychological. ) is still more than a little concerned. He fears that the Chinese government will follow the example of Belarus and put pressure on a friendly third country to use warplanes to intercept his future landing on a cross-border airliner, and then escort him to China or Hong Kong for trial.

Roden was one of the Danish politicians involved in facilitating the visit to Denmark last year of former Hong Kong Democratic Party lawmaker Xu Zhifeng, now in exile in Australia. After completing his visit in early December last year, Hui then publicly announced that he was in exile and would not return to Hong Kong. According to a Jan. 9 report by Hong Kong online media outlet Standpoint News, Roden is wanted by the Hong Kong government for allegedly having a role in arranging Xu Zhifeng’s visit to Denmark and creating a false itinerary, thus violating the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law. Although the Hong Kong government did not formally name him in its response, Rudd admitted to VOA that he has since been required to make a risk assessment every time he leaves the country after being approached by Danish intelligence.

Roden: Worried about China following Belarus’ example

Roden said the crash landing of a passenger plane in Belarus is unthinkable and beyond normal understanding, but for leaders of authoritarian dictatorships, they will do anything to achieve their goals. He said that the international community, especially the Western democracies, should not just make a verbal condemnation, otherwise authoritarian countries, including China, will only follow suit and the use of warplanes to land airliners to arrest dissidents will soon become the new norm.

He said: “Yes! We (the international community) need to be tough in our response. If we don’t respond forcefully, this approach will become a new paradigm. China will do it; Russia will do it; Iran will do it. So it’s very important to respond forcefully.”

Roden’s concern that China will follow Belarus’ lead this time is based on the country’s friendly relations with Belarus, coupled with a series of past arrests of alleged criminals suspected of crossing the border outside China or in Hong Kong, making him particularly attentive to China’s every move.

Belarus represents 70 countries at the UN to support “Hong Kong version of national security law”

Unlike the European Union, which condemns China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Belarus is a vocal supporter of China’s Hong Kong policy. On March 5 this year, at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Belarus made a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries, stressing that Hong Kong’s affairs are an internal affair of China and calling on Western countries to stop interfering, without naming them.

Latest example of China’s alleged foreign pressure: Wang Jingyu incident

The latest incident in which the Chinese government is accused of pressuring foreign countries to extradite Chinese nationals to their home countries came only a week ago. Wang Jingyu, a 19-year-old Chongqing resident who was convicted of speaking out, was threatened with a deadline to turn himself in after making online comments critical of the Chinese Communist Party military while traveling overseas. Last Thursday, Wang was arrested by local police and faces deportation after a stopover in Dubai on his way to the United States.

Guo Baosheng, a Chinese dissident in the United States, spoke with Wang in detention and said his local lawyer later discovered that the case was actually being manipulated by the Chinese embassy to extradite him to China.

“Causeway Bay bookstore case a lesson from the past

In addition to the above-mentioned cases, the disappearance of Hong Kong people in the past few years has also been blamed on China’s “presence” behind the scenes. The well-known cases of the Causeway Bay bookstore in 2015 included the disappearance of businessman Gui Minhai in Thailand and Li Bo in Hong Kong, both of whom later appeared on Chinese television to confess their guilt.

In response to these accusations, the official Chinese media Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television (CCTV) published separate articles and reports on January 17, 2016, stating that Gui Minhai had first flown to Thailand and then sneaked into mainland China on his own to turn himself in. In an interview with Phoenix TV, Li Bo said that he was “smuggled” back to the mainland and was not involved in the kidnapping of Chinese people.

Roden will not choose to fly over Chinese territory in the future

He said that even though he still cannot confirm whether his name is on Interpol’s list, he will be extra careful in the future based on the above-mentioned history. When leaving the country to buy a ticket, in addition to paying attention to the airline’s country of origin, transfer location, and of course not to choose a flight over China, which will certainly be difficult when traveling abroad in the future. He called on Western democracies to be sure to be alert to the developments of this incident.

We have to be very, very vigilant about how these dictators are using words to land airliners on their own soil under the threat of terrorism and using international rules,” Roden said. They are only trying to achieve their own ends. Among all democracies, we have to be careful in dealing with it.”

Lo Kwun Chung: Will consider avoiding flights over Chinese territory in future

Former Hong Kong legislator Law Kwun-chung, who is currently in exile in the United Kingdom, also took to his personal Facebook page to express his surprise at the forced landing in Belarus. He said that this practice, which is close to “hijacking and kidnapping”, has apparently not been used by dictators in the past, but after the successful demonstration in Belarus, it is feared that it will encourage more people of the same ilk to repeat the same tactics against dissidents.

Luo Guancong wrote: “The punitive sanctions Belarus will face in the future will more or less determine whether more authoritarian countries will use similar tricks to forcibly imprison those who resist the regime.”

He said that in the face of the threat of the ‘powerful country’ (China), although it has avoided all friendly countries, will it be necessary to investigate the flight route of the airliner and avoid flying over Chinese territory in order to be completely safe?

Luo Guancong concluded that, in the face of the ever-changing methods of repression by the powers that be, there is no time to let up despite being overseas. He hopes that Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old Belarusian activist currently in detention, will soon be returned to Lithuania, where he was granted refugee status, and that the Belarusian dictator will be duly punished.