Cheng Xiaonong: The death knell of “one country, two systems

The forced closure of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily not only marks a dark period in which Hong Kong, once the “Pearl of the Orient,” has gradually lost its freedom of expression and the Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorship is in full swing, but also means that the Chinese Communist Party’s “one country, two systems” policy toward Hong Kong and Taiwan has shown its true colors. It also means that the “one country, two systems” policy of the Chinese Communist Party towards Hong Kong and Taiwan has shown its true face of “the dagger in the eye”. The policy of “one country, two systems” is no longer deceptive, and it has now gone to bed.

A. The dagger in the diagram

On June 24, the Apple Daily, the last bridgehead of freedom of expression in Hong Kong, was forcibly shut down by the Chinese Communist Party, which means that the death knell of the “one country, two systems” policy has been sounded, and the Chinese Communist Party has completely shown its true face of tyranny in Hong Kong.

Over the past years, most of the former free media in Hong Kong have been gradually taken over by the Chinese Communist Party and turned into mouthpieces to help the Chinese Communist Party. When the basic political freedoms of Hong Kong people were suppressed one by one and even gradually disappeared, the Apple Daily, the only representative organization of press freedom, symbolized the last “candlelight” of press freedom in Hong Kong. Now that the Apple Daily has disappeared, many Western media believe that the closure of the Apple Daily in Hong Kong represents the complete loss of press freedom in Hong Kong.

The Communist Party’s authoritarian rule is based on the denial of freedom of thought and freedom of expression to the people. The CCP does not allow any piece of land within its jurisdiction that it cannot fully control, so freedom of expression in Hong Kong has always been a thorn in the side of the CCP. Therefore, the Chinese Communist Party eliminated the Apple Daily, the last bridgehead of freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

In fact, what Hong Kong has lost since then is not only the freedom of press, but also the freedom of speech; and without the freedom of speech, Hong Kong people no longer have political freedom. Political freedom is based on freedom of thought and free speech; and free speech, if published through a free media, is manifested as freedom of the press. For Hong Kong people, after the last free media in Hong Kong are wiped out, they can no longer see the expression of freedom of speech in the local traditional media; thus, only social media are left to express free speech, and sooner or later, the Chinese Communist Party will control the speech in Hong Kong’s social media, as it did in the Mainland. The only thing left for Hong Kong people, like mainlanders, is the possibility of insinuation and slander.

Seizure of private property as a means of political persecution

The traditional rule of law that has been in place since the opening of Hong Kong has always guaranteed the political freedom and property security of Hong Kong people. Now, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has replaced the rule by law (rule by law, which is essentially the control of the people by party rule) with its own authoritarian regulations. Under this state of affairs, not only the political freedom of Hong Kong people is deprived, but also their right to dispose of their private property is also deprived by the national security law just implemented by the CCP in Hong Kong.

In the process of suppressing Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, the Chinese Communist Party has twice imposed measures to deprive private property. First, it froze the private assets of the owner of the Apple Daily, Lai Chi-ying, in order to force the Apple Daily to close down. The Chinese Communist Party took the second step and simply froze the bank account of the Apple Daily, so that the newspaper could not spend money and private support could not be remitted.

This practice shows that after a free society falls into the hands of the CCP, the people of this place will sooner or later be forced to bow down and kowtow to the CCP, and whoever displeases the CCP, his personal safety and property security will be threatened at any time. This tactic is what the Chinese Communist Party did to the citizens back then after the occupation of the mainland. As I described in a commentary I wrote for Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, after the outbreak of the Korean War in the early 1950s, the CCP launched a nationwide campaign to donate money to help the war effort, asking the business community and the public to donate money to buy fighter planes. According to an article on the website of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s China Studies Service Center, a PLA quartermaster at the time went to the Da Kang Pharmacy in Shanghai several times to forcibly demand 500 million yuan (the value of the currency at the time) in medicines and medical equipment, and refused to pay the money owed. The owner of the pharmacy, Wang Kangnian, was unable to cope with the blackmail and refused to take further credit, so he was arrested by the authorities and shot on trumped-up charges. This is one of the historical records after the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party.

Journalists and Editors Jailed for Running Newspapers

On June 17, more than 500 people were deployed to search the building of Apple Daily, and the police took the posture of an enemy; not only did they randomly go through the contents of the desk, but they also took away dozens of computers and hard drives for future charges. The police claimed that the newspaper had violated national security laws by publishing dozens of articles since 2019, so they searched the “crime scene”. This is a standard Chinese Communist practice. Hong Kong’s national security law only came into force on June 30 last year, and the Chinese Communist Party included the long-standing freedom of the press in Hong Kong before the implementation of the national security law as evidence of the crime. Clearly, it has no qualms about treating Hong Kong’s previous rule of law as a shackle to its current dictatorship of Hong Kong, and has begun to do whatever it wants nakedly in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong police have also been ordered to arrest a number of Apple Daily executives one after another. First, One Media CEO Zhang Jianhong and Hong Kong Apple Daily editor-in-chief Luo Weiguang were arrested and charged, and the court denied bail; then, on June 23, the police arrested the paper’s chief writer Yang Qingqi (pseudonym Li Ping), 55, at his home, and arrested Apple Daily’s former chief writer and executive editor of the English edition, Feng Weiguang (pseudonym Lu Feng), 57, at the airport late at night on June 27. Both were charged with “conspiracy to collaborate with foreign countries or forces outside the country and endangering national security.

It is clear that the CCP is not only holding the newspaper’s director and chief writer for trial in order to find charges to convict the newspaper so that it can seize its private assets, but is also trying to find foreign or mainland commentators with ties to the newspaper’s commentary team, either outside the country to frame them for “collusion with hostile forces,” or in mainland cities to The arrests were made. The Chinese Communist Party regards all disobedient people as “enemies” and “hostile forces” and adopts the tactic of “strict treatment of enemies” to eliminate the root of the problem and to intimidate Hong Kong society. This tactic is a genuine political persecution, and the arrested people are facing a political punishment case fabricated by the Chinese Communist Party.

The word “hostile” was used in the indictment prepared by the Hong Kong administration long before the arrest of the Apple Daily staff. This is a political charge that has been used by the Chinese Communist Party since its establishment on the mainland, and its predecessor was “counter-revolutionary crime,” which means that any voice that says no to the Chinese Communist Party is a “political opposition crime. Now, “political opposition” is as common in Hong Kong as it is in the mainland, and the CCP’s “one country, two systems” policy naturally exists in name only.

The Apple Daily buried “one country, two systems”

The occurrence of a series of incidents in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily means that the so-called “one country, two systems” promise is a lie that will sooner or later be exposed by the CCP itself in front of a communist regime that is full of international ambitions, completely ignores international integrity, and defies international regulations.

In the international community, China has never taken advantage of international rules and conventions when they benefit it, but never intends to abide by them. For example, it has never taken international human rights conventions seriously, and has similarly defied international courts. The Chinese Communist Party ignored an international tribunal in The Hague that ruled that it was illegal to build a series of artificial islands in the high seas in the South China Sea for use as military bases. The Chinese Communist Party argued that the 50 years of “unchanged” rights in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, including freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration, are no longer valid, as the Chinese Communist Party argued that they are historical documents.

Judging from the relationship between China and Hong Kong, the CCP’s claim of “one country, two systems” is in no way a guarantee for Hong Kong’s future, but more like a “tightening spell” put on Hong Kong by the CCP. In this regard, the people of Hong Kong are very much like the “Monkey King”, while the CCP is like the “Monk”, and “one country, two systems” is the “hoop” put on the head of the “Monkey King”. The “one country, two systems” is the “hoop” on the head of the “Monkey King”; the “Tang Monk” does not recite the “tight hoop spell” when he is happy, but recites it when he is slightly unhappy, and the “Monkey King” is in pain. Sun Wukong” would be in pain and could not live. There is no “agreement” or “document” between the “Longevity Monk” and the “Monkey King”, nor is there The “Bodhisattva” can really supervise the “Longevity Monk” at any time. The “Monkey King” has nowhere to reason with the Tang Monk after he has recited the “tight-string spell”.

The lesson of the deterioration of the status quo in Hong Kong is actually a demonstration of the truth of “one country, two systems”. The Chinese Communist Party has also talked about “one country, two systems” to Taiwan, but this promise is also not credible. There are always people in the international community and in Taiwan who expect the CCP to “give up the darkness and turn to the light” and move towards democratization. In fact, no matter what the CCP does at the economic level, it will not change its rule to keep its power and never relax its political oppression. Therefore, not only will China not have a “velvet revolution” like the Central European countries, but it will also not relax its political oppression because of economic liberalization. The death of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong has given a clear answer: if China’s economy succeeds, the CCP will not let go; if the economy does not succeed, the CCP will not let go.

In 1997, most Hong Kong people did not expect that the evil rule of law would come so quickly. Today, Hong Kong has been reduced to the Shanghai of 1950. When the Chinese Communist Party occupied Shanghai, the smiling faces of the business community and the promise of “business as usual” when they entered the city turned into the face of dictatorship in a flash; the Communist Party first took over the security and judicial system, then controlled all the media, then cracked down on businessmen, and finally promoted communism. Hong Kong is the rapid rise of Shanghai, replacing Shanghai. Now the “unchanged” political system in Hong Kong has come to an end, and Beijing has started to take over, and the same thing that the Communist Party operated in Shanghai and Guangzhou has been moved to Hong Kong step by step. “One country, two systems” died in Hong Kong, and it is no longer possible to cheat in Taiwan.