The only way for Hong Kong people to win is patience and tenacity

The “anti-China” protest movement in 2019 and the crackdown after the enactment of the National Security Law in 2020 have been described by many as the “endgame” of Hong Kong.

But is Hong Kong really that easy to end? Xinjiang and Tibet, which had no financial value to the Communist Party, were completely subjugated by Beijing to the “endgame” of one country, one system in the early 1950s and 1959, respectively. With the benefit of hindsight, what was then called the end game was actually the beginning of a long conflict. At times these conflicts went underground, at times they exploded, and at times they manifested themselves in growing overseas movements with increasing international support, and more recently in a major shift in policy toward China.

Many have pointed out that after the CCP successfully suppressed the pro-democracy movement in 1989, it was replaced by a stable and repressive rule. After the opposition movement died out, there was no way to continue it except for sporadic individual rights defense. So will the opposition movement in Hong Kong follow the footsteps of the pro-democracy movement in Beijing and die in asphyxiation? One fact that we have been unable to recognize is that from the Beijing Spring to the 1989 pro-democracy movement, what really pushed many people and intellectuals to join the movement was not a sense of democracy, but a sense of nationalism and strong nation that wanted China to be rich and strong. They mistakenly thought that freedom and democracy would make China rich and strong, so they joined the democratic movement. When the Communist Party proved to everyone that China could be rich and strong even with an authoritarian and iron fist and by playing rogue in the international arena, those nationalists in the guise of “democracy” became apologists for the totalitarian regime and the new Chinese empire.

This sense of rationalizing the violent totalitarianism of the state in terms of national wealth and power is very effective for Han nationalists, but it is completely ineffective for the Uyghurs and Tibetans, who have rejected their Han nationalist identity from the beginning and developed their own national consciousness and pursuit of autonomy and even independence, which is one of the reasons why the more powerful countries rise, the more vigorous the resistance movements in Tibet and Xinjiang become. It is no coincidence that the Beijing Olympic flame was met with Tibetan protests around the world and clashes with Han Chinese who were caught up in the nationalist hysteria of the flame.

Whether the 2019 “anti-China” protest movement will be more like the 1989 Beijing pro-democracy movement or a Tibetan-Vietnamese resistance movement, we all know. The “Light Time” slogan and “May the Glory Return to Hong Kong”, which have been banned now, reflect the generation of a political consciousness in Hong Kong. Once this consciousness is formed, it is like growing up, it can be suppressed but it is irreversible. This year’s June 9 and June 12 anniversaries were marked by a silence of commemorative activities in Hong Kong under the strong police force, but there was an enthusiastic commemoration by overseas Hong Kong communities around the world, which is worth noting.

What impact will the National Security Law have on Hong Kong’s economic and financial situation? What damage will it do to the vested interests of the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong? It is still too early to tell. The famous Hong Kong KOL Liang and some suspected pro-democracy commentators, as well as friends of the Chinese Communist Party around the world, keep emphasizing that Hong Kong’s property and stock prices have risen in the past year and have not collapsed, proving that speculation has failed, that U.S. sanctions are useless, and that the National Security Law is a good law. But this kind of talk is both ignorant and short-sighted.

The implementation of the National Security Law by the Chinese Communist Party has caused foreign investors in Hong Kong to consider withdrawing, and a large number of middle-class people are selling their assets and preparing to emigrate. From March 2020 to March 2021, the world’s fastest growing housing markets include Turkey at 32%, Slovakia at 16%, and the U.S. at 13%, while Hong Kong has only risen 2.1% over the same period, ranking 46th in the world, which is actually very bad. It should be considered a warning sign.

The effectiveness of the National Security Law and the U.S. sanctions against Hong Kong may not be evident in a short period of time. This is like the siege of a city in war – if it is really a siege, even if it is effective, it will take a long time for the initiating party to complete the siege net after the evacuation of people inside the city; after completing the siege net, it will take some time before the supply inside the city will start to get tight.

The protests and repression in Hong Kong from 2019 to 2020 have kicked off a long conflict. It is too early to say what the outcome will be, but what is certain is that patience and tenacity are essential for anyone who wants to win in this conflict.