HONGKONG AND TIBET – CHINA’S VULNERABLE SPOTS

N.S. Venkataraman

Ever since Britain ended its 156-year rule in Hong Kong and handed over the territory to China, Hong Kong continues to remain as a vulnerable spot for China. This is more than evident from the recent speech of Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip to Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of Britain handing over Hong Kong to China.

During this visit, President Xi Jinping issued a sharp warning, in the manner that Chinese government leaders are known for, stating that a divided Hong Kong that challenges China’s rule would not be tolerated. He said that any attempt to challenge China’s sovereignty or use Hong Kong to carry out sabotage activities against mainland China would be impermissible. By making such observations and issuing such warning, the Chinese President has admitted that the relations between Hong Kong and mainland China continue to remain under strain even after 20 years of China taking over Hong Kong.

It is well known that mainland China is ruled by President Xi Jinping with an iron hand and with one party rule by ruthlessly suppressing freedom of speech and any movement for democracy. Obviously, Chinese President wants to impose similar conditions in Hong Kong, which are resisted by the natives.

When taking over Hong Kong, China gave an assurance that Hong Kong’s autonomy including personal liberty and free speech and independent courts would be protected. But, this has not happened. There has been no direct election so far for Hong Kong city’s leader, and the new Chinese interventions in Hong Kong’s legal affairs have caused surprise and resulted in protest. Apparently, Hong Kong continues to remain a vulnerable spot for China.

While China’s takeover of Hong Kong remains an incomplete story as residents of Hong Kong are demanding freedom and liberty which Chinese leadership does not want to give, China’s aggressive takeover of Tibet also continues to remain a vulnerable spot for China.

Unlike Hong Kong, China has suppressed freedom in Tibet and is keeping the Tibetans under full control by threat and militant leadership. Unlike Hong Kong, no news about happenings in Tibet are allowed to be leaked out to outside world, and Chinese occupied Tibet remain as an iron curtain.

While the world is not questioning the takeover of Hong Kong by China, the people in Hong Kong are questioning such takeover, which is amply proved by the outburst of President Xi Jinping that any dissent in Hong Kong would not be tolerated.
In the case of Tibet, the world has not reconciled itself to the forced occupation of Tibet by China, though the world governments mostly remain silent on this grim issue, given trade and investment opportunities that China offers.

As President Xi Jinping is striving hard to project China as world super power and has not concealed the ambition to dominate other countries in Asia by fair or foul means,  Hong Kong and Tibet are two territories that are coming in the way of China’ efforts to occupy world leadership role.

As it has done in the case of the mainland. The Chinese government would continue to keep Hong Kong and Tibet under its vice-like grip by suppressing free speech. But, these two spots are bound to haunt China for a long time to come.

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