Between East and West: as the “Maidan” in Hong Kong pushed the US and China

Между Востоком и Западом: как "майдан" в Гонконге столкнул США и Китай

For more than 9 months in Hong Kong boils “Maidan”. Although technically the main demand of the Protestants – the abolition of the law, the extradition was performed, the action and clashes and do not think to stop. The conflict has long gone beyond the trivial disputes around the law and gradually draws in other countries. So, because of the support of the protests, China has imposed sanctions on the United States. “Apostrophe” tried to figure out what could end the confrontation.

Hong Kong against the Hong Kongers

The protests in Hong Kong broke out due to the attempts of local governments to adopt a new law on extradition, which, according to the rebel Hong Kongers violate the right of their city to autonomy, which is the basis of the Chinese principle of “two systems – one country”. Hong Kongers are protesting against the actions of the Hong Kong government, and clashed with the police in Hong Kong. Beijing remains on the sidelines, “friendly” watching the situation and keeping troops around. Once the troops even entered the city, however, the soldiers were unarmed and cleaned garbage from the streets. “Hong Kong is an administrative region of China, which limits the ability of China to influence the situation. So long as all actions against the protests was from the side, in fact, the Hong Kong police. To send troops to the town of China, according to the laws, is allowed only in case of external aggression. However, to fully refrain from interfering in Beijing also may not, and in various ways supports antiprotestnye forces, which is a gross violation of the principle of “one country, two systems” – the “Apostrophe” Arthur Kharitonov, the chief coordinator of the Free Hong Kong Center.

This Hong Kong mainland Protestants it mode see their main enemy, and pressed “Pro-China” forces in the city on all fronts. So, as a result of the elections in November, the representation of “Pro-China” forces the authorities of the region fell to a historic low. In addition, for support, the protesters are turning to external players and the conflict is gradually emerging outside of China.

First, the rebel Hong Kong to appeal to the support of the US and do not hesitate to use American flags, which act on the Chinese authorities like a red rag to a bull. And turning to the Tramp with calls to “liberate Hong Kong from China.”

Second, Americans do not remain on the sidelines, and although more symbolically than practically, but still support the protest. In particular, recently the U.S. Congress approved the law on democracy and human rights in Hong Kong than allowed the government to impose sanctions against those who infringe on the freedom of Hong Kong. And these decisions slowly turn Hong Kong from a Chinese domestic Affairs in the regional problem.

Sanctions against the United States is a real step or return?

Although the legislative initiative in Hong Kong the problem belongs to Congress, the first shot in the sanctions of the duel came from China. Beijing once again banned the activity of the international organization Human Rights Watch in its territory and has suspended consideration of applications of U.S. ships calling at the ports of Hong Kong. Now U.S.-China relations and not in the best condition, so suspicions in Beijing that Washington is “muddying the waters” in Hong Kong can become the next challenge for the two powerful Nations of the world.

“Of course, Washington provides the Hong Kong protests, with some support, though she in any case is not straight. And regimes such as Beijing and Moscow just don’t understand that the initiative can come from people, from society and not from hidden acts of foreign enemies. Therefore, they constantly emphasise Western support for the various speeches and protests. But American support is important for Hong Kong as a gesture. As, for example, was important for Ukrainians the support of the West during the Maidan. But China sees this as interference in internal Affairs and acts accordingly,” explained “Apostrophe” Makar Taran, sinologist, Professor of Kyiv national University named after Taras Shevchenko.

However, Chinese intentions by sanctions to cut off Hong Kong from external support, there is one major obstacle is the guarantee of special status of the city. “The situation is quite contradictory. After all ports of Hong Kong are its territory and are subject to a special status does not allow China to deny being there someone else’s courts. The same applies to sanctions against Human Rights Watch. To ban their activities in China could on its territory, but not in Hong Kong. Thus, China is demonstrating its dissatisfaction with the situation than making real steps,” said Arthur Kharitonov.

Hong Kong as a hope for the bright future of China

Quite delicate and respectful attitude of Beijing to the Autonomous status of Hong Kong is unusual for China. Because China does not stand on ceremony with the national outskirts. Good examples are the Xinjiang-Uiguria, where indigenous Chinese authorities actually build concentration camps, and Tibet under military occupation. Obviously, Hong Kong as a city of global importance and a conductor of international investment, too important for China, not only from the point of view of economic interests.

From the public success of the principle of “one country, two systems” depends on the future decision is very important for China’s problems – integration of the Republic of China in Taiwan, whose independence is guaranteed USA.

“One country, two systems” is a very General principle, even the slogan, which now requires a revision on the part of China. After all, the current situation, when it faced the mainland controlled Hong Kong partocracy and democracy, is a serious challenge for China. In Taiwan and in Washington after her closely and draw conclusions. Actually, this is one of the main factors that hinders Beijing from the use of the repressive apparatus in relation to Hong Kong,” – said Makar Taran.

Thus, if Beijing “slips” and force will suppress the Hong Kong performances, on favorable toward Taiwan, the position of the “collective West” will be forgotten. But the Western “supporters” of the rebel Hong Kong also are not interested in unnecessary escalation of the situation. The gap between Hong Kong and Beijing will lead to the closure of the channel through which is possible if you do not “export” democratic principles in a closed authoritarian China, then at least to encourage regional elites to loosening of the centralized regime. “Hong Kong will certainly affect the political life of China, and this process continues for quite a long time. In China there is no unity. Of course, the party and government machinery China is extremely centralized, but a huge number of subjects actively consume content that is produced by Hong Kong – democracy, human rights, territorial autonomy. Moreover, we are already seeing cases in the most developed southern provinces, which are economically and geographically close to Hong Kong, taking place protest actions. And therefore the scenario when Hong Kong will be able to stimulate change throughout China, remains real,” explains Makar Taran.

But the duration of the Hong Kong protests suggests that the situation is a stalemate. Hong Kong remains very important though, but still only one city in polutoramilliardnoj the state is not able to quickly change the country. The most simple solution from the point of view of Beijing – the violent suppression – is too risky from the point of view of international consequences. And to show uncharacteristic flexibility and creativity of the Chinese regime until you can. And given that the conflict is already out there and draws into its vortex the US to solve it in the future will be even more difficult.