“INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
The quality of rights and privileges of a person can never be estimated by the heights of buildings, broadness of roads and plentiful environment of a place in which he/she resides. It directly depends on the type of government which rules the place. The type of government of a place plays a crucial role in setting examples for its citizens which leaves its imprints for generations. There are many cases where people of certain area of a nation demand separate identification. For example; Taiwan, Catalonia, Kosovo, Kashmir, Kurdistan, Hong Kong, etc. Hereby, looking at the nuances of the “NATIONAL SECURITY BILL” proposed and enacted by mainland China against the autonomy of people of Hong Kong.
Going back to 18th century, Hong Kong was a strong economic destination. Geographically, it was a spot for the cultivation of tea and silk. Its tea had special demand in Britain. It was a gateway of import-export for China. Later, when Chinese King rejected the offer to make trade of Indian Opium legal in China; it led to the “First Opium War” between UK and Qing dynasty of China. After the defeat of China in the war, ‘Treaty of Nanking’ was passed on 29th August, 1842. Under this treaty, Hong Kong island was formally given to UK. After the series of wars and treaties between China and UK, there came JOINT DECLARATION in 1984. Through this declaration, Hong Kong was transferred back to China with the view of ‘one country, two systems.’ It was asked that Socialist system of China would not be practised in Hong Kong. Right to freedom, speech, press and legal rights will remain same. The PRC agreed to let Hong Kong govern autonomously for 50 years (till 2047). On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was set free from Britain’s rule after whole 156 years.
Hong Kong emerged as a great centre of tourism, business and trade for the whole global world. To signify Hong Kong’s oneness with mainland China, the longest sea bridge was constructed to join these places. In contradiction; Hong Kong has got separate flag, separate government, separate chief, separate language, separate passport and even separate currency. These created a sense of difference between mainland China and Hong Kong.
But, as we all know, Communist government of China is very much evident related to its power and authority all over the country. Few years back, five booksellers in Hong Kong who sold material banned in mainland China suddenly disappeared. In 2016, pro-democracy opposition leaders were thrown out of the Hong Kong’s parliament for insulting China when swearing their oaths. Likewise, there are many instances that prove the suppression of rights granted to people of Hong Kong at the time of Joint Declaration in 1984.
Last year, there were many anti-nationalist protests against the extradition bill in Hong Kong. This could be the reason to enact the so-called Security Bill in China against the rights of people of Hong Kong, much before the prescribed year, i.e., 2047. This has erupted as protests and movements by the people of Hong Kong. After the Tianamenn Square Massacre, these types of protests were never seen in China, lately. This security bill will criminalise conduct in Hong Kong which will harm ‘national security’ and allow China’s national agencies to set offices in Hong Kong.
Chinese President, Xi Jin Ping, stated this bill as the strategic measure for risk management. After the interference by the US President Donald Trump regarding the issue, Hu Xijin proclaimed that “The US has no jurisdiction over Hong Kong. Human Rights and Democracy Act will not entitle such a right to the US. If Washington hopes to turn Hong Kong into an area of China-US game, it needs to bear moral responsibilities for the potential losses of Hong Kong people”. Lijian Zhao also demonstrated on his twitter handle that “US disregarded facts and distorted truth. It openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on rule of law and jeopardized social order. The egregious and malicious nature of its intentions is fully revealed”. On a similar account, Chinese Embassy in US also stated that “We urge the US to not continue going down the wrong path, or China will take countermeasures, and the US must bear all consequences”.
The National Security Bill of China has put great impact on the lives of people of Hong Kong. They see this Act as an unjustified one which will prevent them from exercising their rights of freedom, speech and press. To counter act against this security bill, civilians of Hong Kong gathered on the streets and collectively protested against this decision of Chinese Government. They raised their voices in unison against this bill. The numerous clashes between police and protestors have been noticed on the streets of Hong Kong on May 24. Police deployed water cannon to disperse people and adopted other violent measures to stop them such as blowing of tear gas on public, beating the civilians who stood against them, etc. Hong Kong’s activists call for protestors across the city. Beijing claimed this National Security as “defenceless” Hong Kong. This Bill has following features as mentioned below:
· - Tackle secession, subversion, terrorism, foreign interference.
· - Set up Beijing intelligence agencies in the city.
· - “Improve” one country, two systems style of governance.
Now, in a nutshell, I would like to conclude by saying that it always takes one to see one. So, every other person can have different views regarding this issue. Some people might agree to the fact that Chinese government did the same for security purposes. While, on the other side, some might think that this act is groundless and infringes the rights and liberty of people of Hong Kong. But now this is the time to see that whether Chinese government bends its knees in front of the protestors of Hong Kong or remains rooted with its point of view?