GUEST Column BY Charles Onunaiju
By Charles Onunaiju
Despite chaos orchestrated by radical protesters in the nearly past six months that have paralyzed the iconic city of Hong Kong residents of the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China had their chance to vote in district elections. Notwithstanding the wolf cry of radical protesters and their foreign handlers, the unique way of life of the Hong Kong residents enshrined in the basic law or charter, that weaned off, the territory from hundred years of British colonial rule as it re-united with her motherland continue to subsist. The imaginative framework of one ‘country two systems,’ under which the unique way of life of the Hong Kong people are preserved, respected and upheld within the sovereignty of the People,s Republic of China. At the weekend, over 3 million residents poured out to exercise their franchise to elect district councils, clearly indicating that despite orchestrated slander and barely disguised antics to undermine China, the unique way of life of the Hong Kong residents is in full bloom. Last month, the American Congress crafted an elaborate provocation, the so-called “Hong Kong human right and Democracy act,” a flagrant affront to the basic norm of international relations. Yet Puerto Rico, a neo-colonial backwater of Washington, lacking in the basic right of a defined political status and lags behind in functioning primary economic infrastructure, do not exercise the creative legislative overdrive of the U.S Congress to mend the dark hole in America’s opulence.
In fact, U.S Congress, the rabid practitioner of extraterritorial legislation has turned deaf ear to the clarion appeal the UN special committee on decolonization just recently in June, 2016, which called on the United States “to allow the Puerto Rican people to take decisions in a sovereign manner and to address their urgent economic and social needs, including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency and poverty.” Yet for all its indifference to its neo-colonial backwater with one of the most notorious poverty index in the Americas, the U.S Congress find time to legislate on China’s Hong Kong and encourage rioters to take down one of the most prosperous and stable cities in the world.
The sullen conditions of Native Americans, the aboriginal red Indians came to light recently, when some American high school students despised and openly mocked a native American man at a Washington rally held by indigenous communities to call attention that their rights need to be respected.
The Native Americans who rallies periodically to draw attention to their historic marginalization in a land, they were original inhabitants has yet to get the benefit of the legislative exuberance of the U.S Congress.
Legislating to boost young radical protesters in Hong Kong to hold their city by the jugular and ruin its reputation as international center of commerce and finance, as an orchestrated strategy to undermine China would have little or no effect. Since the protests began in June over a piece of legislation that would only serve to seamlessly integrate a process or network where criminal suspects fleeing from justice in any part of China, including the special administrative regions of Macao, Hong Kong and the region of Taiwan could be extradited to the territory of the crime to answer charges, hell has let loose. Orchestrated claims of politically motivated rendition filled the air in Hong Kong, with local accessories to Washington’s manipulation wreaking havoc in the streets of one Asian’s most stable and thriving cities. Yet the Hong Kong local administration in concession upon concession to appease the restive agitators, through temporary withdrawal the bill and then out rightly scrapping it, have even more lethal violence unleashed on the street. In the orchestrated melee of the radical protesters, nothing is sacred including the central government office in the city, trampling on Chinese national flag and state insignia and damaging building housing key institutions like the regional police headquarters, legislative council chambers. Yet the local ring leaders of the mayhem got openly invited to Washington to address the U.S congress and return safely to Hong Kong. But a U.S army private first class, Bradley E Manning was convicted for 35 years for cooperating with Wikileaks in sharing US diplomatic cables. Had the young Hong Kong radical, Mr. Joshua Wong who testified to the U.S congress in September, been American who had gone to testify at China’s National people’s Congress, he would be charged of high treason of aiding the enemy. And would certainly be renditioned from any part of the world to face charges of treason in the U.S Mr. Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and subcontractor who blew the whistles on the U.S worldwide covert surveillance scheme that targets even U.S traditional allies, was desperately hunted by the Washington and only managed to escape to Russia, where he continued to like in relative safety.
China clearly understood the historic circumstance for the unique way of life of her Hong Kong compatriots. In 1949, the then, Soviet Union had urged the CPC to capture Hong King by force. But Mao Zedong had refused, arguing the Hong Kong issue was not one of attacking or not but one of how to guarantee its stability and security and added that it would be better to preserve the status quo than to recapture a devastated city if force was used. While clearing the remnants of counter-revolutionary elements after the victory of the Communist Party in 1949, in nearby Shenzhen, the Peoples liberation Army would have swept into Hong Kong and forcibly terminated the British colonial rule in the territory but the Chinese Central leadership exercised restraint in appreciation of the territory’s unique history. The late venerable premier Zhou Eula personally oversaw the supply of basic staples including vegetables to the Hong Kong residents under British colonial rule. The Chinese central government waited for a hundred years for the British “rent” of the territory to expire before returning to the original sovereignty of the Peoples Republic of China. The creative formula of “One country, two systems,” is a unique contribution of China to solution of the vexed issue of colonial question and had such unique and original measure reflected in the decolonization of Africa, where specific and unique indigenous ways of life would reflect the institutional expression of the post-colonial states, conflicts and even wars that vitiated the hope of national independence would have given way, much earlier to stability, inclusive and sustainable development.
The radical protesters calling for democracy should only understand that democracy is possible if there is a territory or country where it can be practiced.
Since the Benghazi based pro-democracy agitators as they were called by western media and political establishment, who helped burnt Libya to smithereens they have neither a country worth the name, let alone one, where to practice democracy. Western cheerleaders of pro-democracy militancy in Libya have cut and run, leaving Libyans to carry the weight of a failed State.
It took the United States, more than two hundred years to give women the vote and even longer to grant voting rights to its blacks and other minorities.
Even America’s democracy where popular votes is trumped by a concave of few State delegates is considered a specific context of America’s local democracy, without a global reproach of why the will of the majority is replaced by the concave a small delegate assembly.
Despite the vicissitudes of its travails, Hong Kong as the rest of China is resilient and will even soar much higher in prosperity and stability, when it finally emerges from the trauma of its recent history.
Mr. Onunaiju, director Centre for China Studies, Utako Abuja.