Hong Kong: China’s Latest Police State | Alan Leong

published on July 2, 2020

hong kong is in serious trouble

while a deadly pandemic spreads

authorities are cracking down

hard on protesters in hong kong becoming

a police state

welcome back to china uncensored i'm

chris chappell ever since the british

gave the city of hong kong to china in

1997

the chinese communist party has been

trying to subvert the freedoms of hong

kong

to make it just another chinese city but

all along

the people of hong kong have resisted

last year saw a massive protest

with people specifically targeting the

chinese communist party

but this year the coronavirus pandemic

hit

and everything changed joining me today

to talk about the current situation in

hong kong is a former member of the hong

kong legislative council

alan leung he's also the sitting

chairman of the civic party

thanks for joining me today my pleasure

so last year the international media was

focused on hong kong protests

but with the coronavirus that focus has

shifted

what's changed in hong kong since the

pandemic

public protests have

in a way reduced in number

because of the pandemic and people's

concern

about its spreading

amongst people

participating in protests i suppose

but in the past two week ends

people started coming out again to sing

glory to hong kong and to chant

uh slogans at various different shopping

arcades

and shopping centers only to be treated

by riot police uh

not this time around accusing us of

riots but of

offending what is known to be

uh prohibition against

public gathering of four people

or more so it is interesting that they

are using this

uh public health

uh special regulation to stop

people from exercising uh our right

to um to

uh sing our song in uh in shopping

arcades

so it's the same tactics just a

different excuse

yeah i think you put it rightly

do you think the lack of media focus

makes the chinese communist party feel

like it can get away with something in

hong kong

uh i think uh

this timing has been picked

for exactly the same reason

that you suggested when the world

has been fighting the corona

virus pandemic i think the chinese

communist party

thinks that they will have no time

to spare to

follow what is happening on the ground

in hong kong and that is exactly why

i uh would suggest that

the world particularly america and other

liberal democracies

should not forget about the hong kong

freedom movement

because what you are seeing on uh

happening in hong kong will happen to

you

if you do nothing to effect the cause

there are some pretty big protests

coming up in hong kong uh the june

4th tiananmen square massacre

anniversary and also

uh the anniversary of the british

handover of hong kong

do you think how do you think those

protest events are going to go with the

current coronavirus pandemic situation

and with the chinese communist party

trying to crack down more on protests

well uh the chief executive has already

indicated that uh this is not

a suitable time to talk about uplifting

those plan for uh

social gathering

so i suppose that means

our chief executive and administration

uh would

still insist on social distancing

and use that as an excuse to

[Music]

not granting permission

for hong kong people to

come out in big numbers to commemorate

the june 4th

in the usual form of the candlelight

vigil

to take place in victoria park

uh in fact anniversaries

i mean first anniversaries of very

significant

events in the anti-extradition movement

and in the freedom movement

will be coming up very soon you will

recall

that the hong kong

government uh planned

to have the end the to have the

expedition bill sending hong kong people

back to the mainland for trial passed in

our legislature

on the 12th of june last year

so uh come the 12th of june

this year we would be commemorating the

first anniversary

of a series of very significant events

so i imagine they're going to try and

prevent these protests with the

excuse of public health it's very

convenient

i think so so they are they are using

the coroner

virus pandemic to serve their political

agenda so it seems like the chinese

communist party

is working really hard to turn it into

turn hong kong into one country one

system

they've gone after pro-democracy

legislators they

have uh in one day in april they

arrested 15

pro-democracy activists are you

concerned at all about

your own future well of course we are

very concerned

but uh we are not

uh in despair uh

not only that 15 of

our seasoned

political figures in the democratic camp

were arrested in high profile

on the 18th of april we also had

the central people's government liaison

office

in hong kong redefining

article 22 of the basic law which is

i see to be the most crucial article

which provides for

the central people's government and all

its departments

uh not to interfere with

matters within hong kong's autonomy

but the liaison office director actually

said oh no no no no

that had been a misunderstanding of the

part of hong kong for the past 23 years

we the liaison office in hong kong

were not a central people's government's

department in hong kong we

actually are the central people's

government in hong kong and we can

exercise supervisory powers

over every aspect of

hong kong including

how legislators should conduct

themselves in the legislative council

and also what shops

we should patronize there is a movement

in hong kong

running parallel to the freedom movement

which is what has been known as

the yellow economic ring movement

meaning that all of us who

supports democracy

freedom rule of law

human rights would patronize

those shops that share

the same ideologies and support the same

values and the liaison office

went out of his way to say oh this

does not sit well with a

free market economy and you

are actually

using politics

to hijack

economic activities so this is very

worrying

if the central people's government

the chinese communist party

they are putting their finger in every

pie in hong kong

and where is the autonomy promised us

which

is supposed to last until 2047

well leave it to a communist official to

explain the

principles of the free market uh what

were the reactions

to what the liaison office was saying

well uh hong kong uh democrats

of course uh reacted uh

quite violently to

uh this latest interpretation

of article 22 by the liaison office and

also by the central people's

government's

uh hong kong account office

we actually

said in so many words that if

such a supervisory power as claimed by

the ccp

and the central people's government did

exist

that in scrapping the one country two

systems constitutional order

all together well at the end of the day

if that's

what the chinese communist party wants

what really can the people of hong kong

do to stop it

well if that is exactly what

uh the chinese communist party wants

then

i'm afraid uh what hong kong people can

do

is to stand and fight until the last

man's ending

that we want to hold the ccp

to his promises now i think it is here

that perhaps the international community

particularly

the democracies of the world can come in

hong kong is the only place

flying the five-star red flag

throughout the entire country that

has a

history dealing with liberal democracies

for the past

century or so hong kong is also

the only international financial center

of

the country uh hong kong

um shares

with liberal democracies uh

same core values like

freedom human rights rule of law

separation of powers and

a civil service that is apolitical etc

if liberal democracies

are not forgetting about what they

want to achieve by supporting china's

ascension to wto about 20 years ago

in 2001 then hong kong is probably

uh their only possible foothold

in the entire country that you can

continue

with that original idea of

uh winning uh china over

as a member uh of

uh the of of

of a world citizen right that shares the

same value as liberal democracies

[Music]

and you must know that the national

people's congress

and also the chinese people's political

consultative

conference will soon hold

their

annual meeting in beijing

now let us see what comes out of these

two meetings

you must have heard from

your secretary of state mr pompeo

that he wanted to

delay the making of a

report required of him

under the uh uh

recently passed hong kong human rights

and democracy act

uh and he gave as uh

the main reason for delaying

uh the making of that report to be

exactly waiting for

the npc and the cp

or cppcc

to have concluded the annual meetings so

that he can

uh then tell whether uh the ccp

is doing anything that would worsen the

situation on the ground in hong kong

in fact to americans

and to liberal democracies of the world

they have only one of two options option

one

is to maintain a foothold in hong

kong hoping that by continuing to deal

with china under the auspices of wto

world trade organization they can still

win over china to one day

uh adopt a rules-based

game the second option is of course for

them to pull out of hong kong completely

so hong kong will no longer be

a trusted world

international uh financial center

now i think this letter cause of

pulling out operating completely from

hong kong

will not only harm hong kong and china

it will also harm

yourselves so this is probably the last

option that uh hong kong

uh china ccp and west western liberal

democracies would want to see

but whether this is really uh a viable

option

when you see some hope in opting for

such

a a way to deal with hong kong

it all depends on how much

hope and good will that the ccp is

prepared to express in

these two annual conferences

that are due to take place in about

10 days time well you mentioned the hong

kong human rights and democracy act

uh part of that bill mandates an annual

review process to assess whether hong

kong is still truly autonomous

from mainland china if it's not the us

will treat

hong kong economically just like the

rest of mainland china which would

include trade tariffs

now hong kong already is facing a really

serious recession because of the

coronavirus lockdown

if if the us were to

[Music]

treat hong kong just like the rest of

mainland china

wouldn't that just hurt hong kong

well hong kong would definitely be hurt

and in fact will be hit very hard

but not only hong kong will be hit

i think mainland china

who has been depending on hong kong as a

place

to attract foreign direct investments

into the country and also

to a place to exchange renminbi

for internationally traded currencies

will also be hit

but at the same time i think

the us and european countries

who decide to uproot themselves from

hong kong will

also be hit the fact

is that china and hong kong

are already very much part and parcel of

the world economic setup and

for hong kong i think uh

american and european interests are

really very deep rooted in hong kong it

cannot

be updated without

you feeling the pain overnight

so i think let us hope for the best

that there will be some reason

for you to be hopeful that

the process that you started

20 years ago in supporting china's

ascension to wto

uh will uh have

a chance to

continue uh to be pursued

with fruitful results and that will give

you

a reason to maintain a foothold in hong

kong and hong kong can

remain a international

financial center serving not only

ourselves but also the interests of

liberal democracies and china

at the same time you were also

the vice chairman of the independent

police complaints

council how well do you think the hong

kong police force is accepting criticism

these days

well i acted in such a capacity uh

a long time ago but

in fact the brutality

shown by hong kong police in the past

seven months especially the past seven

months

is totally unacceptable hong kong has

really become a

police state of salt

um the police can actually abuse

their powers without consequences

and being actually protected

by the law enforcement authorities

but this is something that i feel

particularly upset and sad

about um

[Music]

we have called for

the uh appointment

by the hong kong government of a

independent commission of inquiry

to look into police brutality and police

behavior

from june last year onwards

and you know this is one of the five

demands

that we have been

asking for and

so far this demand has fallen on deaf

ears

and with our chief executive

declaring that she did not have many

friends

and the 30 000

uh police men and women

who were her only friends so

that would be actually suggesting that

anything both

with police behavior

and their

brutality committed on our young

protesters

and that is something that i feel

particularly

fed about well speaking of hong kong

becoming essentially a police state

uh one thing the liaison office has

pushed recently is a national security

law article 23

which would essentially make criticism

of the chinese communist party illegal

in hong kong

why do you think they keep pushing this

when hong kongers

have reacted really negatively against

article 23 for years now

well you must know that

in 2003 the first of july half a million

people

took to the streets of hong kong in the

most peaceful manner

to protest against the making of

the article 23 national security laws

because we always

thought and we still think that by

making such

a law and requiring us to sacrifice our

human rights

and freedoms hong kong

will no longer have the rule of law as

we know of the institution

before the reversal of sovereignty

and it is really unbelievable that the

ccp would want

to uh have another oh

at making such a law when

compared to 20 years ago the trust

level uh of hong kong people

in the ccp in the central people's

government

and in the hong kong government

have become

uh so low that

i really do not think that any chief

executive

will be able to

live through a an attempt

to push through such a bill in our

legislature

but ccp is doing it nonetheless

probably is just

a show of the determination

to review or to

really tell hong kong people

and also maybe the world as well what is

president xi jinping's bottom line

[Applause]

but talking about it is one thing

whether the ccp will actually do so

is quite another and that is exactly why

i was telling your audience at the

beginning of this

interview that don't

move your eyes away from hong kong

hong kong can provide you

with illustrations and

our experience in dealing with the ccp

for the past 20 or 30 years

could be something

that you can find

inspirations uh

on how to deal with the ccp

in time to come uh in short

if i may leave you with this uh

thought that if you if you

do not learn from the hong kong

experience

dealing with the ccp then today's hong

kong can easily be your tomorrow

so i hope that hong kong people

is not simply fighting

our freedom movement and

our freedom our rule of law our human

rights

on our own i hope liberal democracies of

the world

will also stand with hong kong

in this freedom uh movement

and the fight to sustain the core values

and institutions that we share

with america and liberal democracies

well it sounds like there's a lot

americans can learn from hong kong thank

you so much for joining me today

my pleasure and thank you for watching

once again i'm chris chapple

see you next time

[Music]

you

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