Cheng Xiaonong: The extinguishing of the candlelight in Victoria Park is the dimming of the light of Hong Kong

June 4 has become increasingly unfamiliar to young people on the mainland, but it is still fresh in the minds of Hong Kong people. For the first time in 31 years since the National Security Law took control of Hong Kong, the Victoria Park, where major commemorative events have been held every year, was tightly surrounded by the police and people could only wander outside. The Hong Kong government has been ordered to carry out Beijing’s directive to prevent the June 4 memorials in Hong Kong, just as it has on the mainland. The annual candlelight in Victoria Park was extinguished.

The candlelight in Victoria Park is a manifestation of conscience, a basic human conscience that Beijing is eager to extinguish; the candlelight in Victoria Park is also an inter-generational transmission of conscience.

After June 4, although the Chinese Communist Party increased its reform and opening up, and joined the World Trade Organization, the economy was once prosperous, but the direction of China’s reform from the 1990s to the beginning of this century was actually bound by the June 4 crackdown. Regardless of how the CCP’s economic reforms have advanced, the CCP has already set the ruling policy of keeping power to the death and never letting go of it after June 4. Not only will there be no “velvet revolution” like the one in Central Europe, but there will also be no relaxation of political repression due to economic liberalization. If some people had some expectations that the CCP would follow the democratization trend of the former communist camp, the death of Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” process actually gave a clear answer. When China’s economy succeeds, the CCP will not let go; when the economy does not succeed, the CCP will not let go even more.

Hong Kong’s traditional rule of law guarantees the political freedom and property security of Hong Kong people. Today, the Chinese Communist Party’s rule of law (which is essentially party rule over the people) has replaced the original rule of law in Hong Kong, depriving Hong Kong people of their political freedom, and depriving them of the right to dispose of their private property in the name of national security laws. Julie Zaugg, a journalist for the French newspaper Le Figaro, has also recently analyzed this issue.

As the freedom of assembly and demonstration, freedom of speech and freedom of election are being suppressed one by one and gradually abolished, the Apple Daily, the only representative organization of press freedom, is a symbol of the survival of the last press freedom in Hong Kong. For readers of Apple Daily, it is not only a symbol of a free source of information, but also the last breakwater for Hong Kong’s mainlandization; if this breakwater does not exist, Internet control in the mainland will follow. If this continues, Hong Kong will be reduced to Shenzhen. The mainland also has lotteries and dance halls, the above freedoms are lost, only “horse running, dancing” in Hong Kong, is not the basic naturalization of the mainland city?

Beijing may not care about shaking Hong Kong’s economic status

Now, the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to eliminate Hong Kong’s political freedom is clear, and it seems to have the intention of not giving up until the goal is achieved, regardless of the international view. Of course, there is another possibility, that is, the CCP has already assessed the future status of Hong Kong as a financial center and does not think it should care if Hong Kong’s economic status is shaken by the political suppression. Such a judgment would be based on the assessment that Hong Kong’s economic role in the mainland is no longer what it used to be, and would even be linked to the prospect of a difficult mending of Sino-U.S. relations.

The military confrontation between the U.S. and China seems to have temporarily ended, with each other’s aircraft carrier fleets staying away from the East China Sea and South China Sea, and the saber-rattling momentum has been slightly restrained. But it remains to be seen whether the arrival of U.S. C-17 transport planes in Taiwan will cause another ripple. The Biden administration has recently had two conversations with Beijing on economic issues, which have slightly eased bilateral economic relations. But at the same time, the domestic and international investigation of the origin of the epidemic is still going on, and even unearthed the issue of the funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research by the relevant U.S. agencies, and the resulting domestic political pressure must make it difficult for the Biden administration to talk business. While inflation in China is currently squeezing private manufacturing profit margins and Beijing is eager to expand its exports to the U.S., the future of U.S.-China relations may not allow Beijing to get what it wants. This in turn further affects the economic light of Hong Kong.