Hong Kong is worth im­i­tat­ing

The Korea Times - - OPINION - By Jay Am­brose Gwynne Dyer (gwynne7631­[email protected]) has worked as a free­lance jour­nal­ist, colum­nist, broad­caster and lec­turer on in­ter­na­tional af­fairs for more than 20 years. He is the author of “Grow­ing Pains: The Fu­ture of Democ­racy (and Work).” Jay Am

Oh, Hong Kong, won­der­ful, mag­nif­i­cent Hong Kong. It is stand­ing up for con­sent of the peo­ple, for free­dom, jus­tice and per­sonal rights. Mil­lions have risked their fu­tures through protest.

But then look from east to west for a dis­may­ingly dif­fer­ent story. Look at the United States where too many want to get rid of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump no mat­ter what and are busily for­sak­ing such prin­ci­ples, rewrit­ing our his­tory and sub­sti­tut­ing utopi­anism for thought.

Hong Kong has never known all the demo­cratic de­lights we’ve known, of course, but the Bri­tish, dur­ing the is­land’s colo­nial days, said, hey, here’s cap­i­tal­ism, grab hold. The peo­ple did, be­com­ing won­der­fully pros­per­ous while given more of a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence lib­erty.

Colonialis­m ended, fear of China in­spired an ex­o­dus, but au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism did not then squash the is­land. The Chi­nese govern­ment said it would make Hong Kong a part of China, but with re­strained in­ter­ven­tions al­low­ing mag­nif­i­cent piles of moolah to come Bei­jing’s way.

Nev­er­the­less, guar­an­teed rights eroded and China got a Maoist im­i­ta­tor as its leader, Xi Jin­ping. He took de­bil­i­tat­ing com­mand of China’s own semi-cap­i­tal­ist, en­rich­ing econ­omy, aimed at su­per-power sta­tus and be­gan re­in­sti­tut­ing tyranny’s re­cent lapses.

Work­ing through Hong Kong’s un­elected leader, China sought a bill al­low­ing the ex­tra­di­tion of Hong Kong res­i­dents ac­cused of crimes, mean­ing it could bet­ter con­trol dis­si­dents. It was a fra­grant foul that in­structed more than a mil­lion Hong Kong res­i­dents to take to the streets even as China parked troops and tanks across the bor­der.

Here’s wishing more Amer­i­cans were re­act­ing with dis­tress to what’s hap­pen­ing here.

We’ve had govern­ment of­fi­cials em­ploy il­le­git­i­mate means to un­seat a le­git­i­mately elected pres­i­dent, and, yes, loud voices have said this was ter­ri­ble.

But more peo­ple ap­pear to be shrug­ging their shoul­ders with many buy­ing the line that the mir­a­cle of cap­i­tal­ism is a farce and that slav­ery built Amer­ica. Our bril­liant, coura­geous, en­light­ened founders, now min­i­mized by left­ists as noth­ing much, are said to have en­dorsed this abom­i­na­tion.

We are told our Amer­i­can creed is a farce. Sev­eral of the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, evad­ing rea­son­able routes, fa­vor dic­ta­to­rial cli­mate change plans likely cost­ing tril­lions to achieve noth­ing much.

With vari­a­tions, the top of the heap also fa­vor col­lec­tivism, im­prac­ti­cal­ity, re­stricted rights, ju­di­cial ac­tivism al­ready in play and spend­ing maybe meant to bribe vot­ers when it could ul­ti­mately im­pov­er­ish them.

What might emerge could be a pro­tracted, dev­as­tat­ing ad­ven­ture in so­cial­is­tic me­an­der­ings worse than Trump’s flam­boy­ant flubs ame­lio­rated by such poli­cies as en­abling a flour­ish­ing econ­omy, go­ing af­ter the evils of mass in­car­cer­a­tion and nom­i­nat­ing as Supreme Court jus­tices two men who truly be­lieve in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

What’s scary at the mo­ment is that he isn’t ad­dress­ing the cri­sis-prone debt and could top­ple his eco­nomic achieve­ments with his tar­iffs on Chi­nese ex­ports.

There isn’t much doubt about China’s Cold War an­tics and crim­i­nal mis­do­ings aimed at world mas­tery. It has dig­i­tally in­vaded our fed­eral govern­ment, stolen our in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and taken over South China Sea prop­er­ties claimed by other na­tions.

Trump should still get it that a trade al­liance with other Asian coun­tries is the way to go, but lots of Democrats don’t like ver­sions of that idea, ei­ther.

And the valiant Hong Kong peo­ple? Three months of protest have forced their leader to back down on ex­tra­di­tion but not on other de­mands for such things as di­rect elec­tions or re­leas­ing pro­test­ers from jail. The free world should help them in ev­ery valid way it can, and the United States should do more to help it­self.

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