Clash of Civilizations in Hong Kong over Pursuit of IndependencePosted: November 9, 2016
Centralism has been Chinese traditional culture for more than two thousand years. It is natural for Chinese government and people to oppose split of the country so fiercely. They would never allow any part of China to become independent.
That is why China is determined to take Taiwan by force if it dares to declare independence. That is not a threat. It is what Chinese military has been making preparations for a long time.
That is why Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen dares not declare independence as she and her party desire and why the United States supports her though it openly declare that it opposes Taiwan independence.
That is why Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), interpreted on Monday Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, to prevent those who advocate Hong Kong independence from becoming Hong Kong’s legislators.
Western culture, however, advocates self-determination. If most people in a region want independence, they shall be allowed to establish a new nation separate from the nation they originally belong to. That is why Britain says it is concerned.
In its November-7 report on Britain’s response titled “Britain says concerned by Chinese National People’s Congress’s decision on Hong Kong”, Reuters quotes British Foreign Office spokeswoman as saying, “We urge the Chinese and Hong Kong SAR Governments, and all elected politicians in Hong Kong to refrain from any actions that fuel concerns or undermine confidence in the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle”.
She implied in what she said that Chinese government’s action (interpretation of the Basic Law) has fueled concerns and undermined confidence in the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle so that she calls on Chinese government to refrain from such actions.
Hong Kong lawyers responded strongly due to their values from Western Culture. Reuters says in its report “Hong Kong lawyers march to condemn China’s legal ‘interference’” on November 8, “More than 1,000 Hong Kong lawyers dressed in black marched through the heart of the city in silence on Tuesday to condemn a move by China that effectively bars two elected pro-independence lawmakers from taking their seats in the legislature.”
Reuters quotes a Hong Kong solicitor as saying, “In the guise of putting forth an interpretation, they really have attempted to legislate for Hong Kong…”
The solicitor regards judicial independence as complete independence from Chinese central authority. That is true in the US with Western democracy but not in centralized China. China also advocated judicial independence but not independence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s leadership.
Therefore according to China’s traditional centralism, no one is independent from the central authority, which now is the CCP under the collective leadership with Xi Jinping as the core.
By setting the Basic Law as Hong Kong’s mini-constitution and stipulating that Chinese parliament the NPC has the power to amend and interpret the Basic Law in Articles 158 and 159 of the Basic Law, China retains some power of legislation. The solicitor complained as he failed to really understand China’s “One Country, Two Systems” policy.
What is most important is in Clause 3 of the Joint Declaration, China begins its declaration with subclause (1) “Upholding national unity and territorial integrity”, China decides to set up Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the subclauses below that stipulate the “One Country, Two System” policy. If national unity and territorial integrity are broken by Hong Kong independence, there will be no “One Country, Two Systems” at all, not even the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Reuters’ report mistakes “One Country, Two Systems” as agreement between China and Britain. No, there are some clauses of joint declaration between the two but some unilateral declarations by Britain and some by China in the Joint Declaration. Clause 3 is China’s unilateral declaration. It is not an agreement but a promise.
Breaking a promise is much less serious than breaking the obligation in an agreement especially when the promise is broken due to the breaking of the condition of national unity and territorial integrity under which the promise is made.
The clash of civilizations in Hong Kong will not give rise to a war but may cause China to break its promise and put an end to its “One Country, Two Systems” policy.
We, Hong Kong people, must be careful to avoid that. Otherwise, I will be punished for what I have written when the freedom of speech I enjoy in Hong Kong now will be deprived.
However, my greatest worry is the clash of civilizations between China and Taiwan, which may give rise to a cruel war.
President Tsai upholds Taiwan people’s right to determine their future, but China says that the 1.3 billion Chinese people do not allow that. If the clash intensifies and if the US continues its decline and become so weak as unable to protect Taiwan, China will take Taiwan by force.
Can I allow others to sleep soundly by the side of my bed?
Emperor Taizu of Song when he annexed South Tang
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed respectively at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-china-lawyers-idUSKBN13315Q