Beijing should think twice about its iron-fisted Hong Kong move


Beijing should think twice about its iron-fisted Hong Kong move

ANALYSIS | Xi Jinping must be shown how much he still needs the West – it’s the only way to protect the territory

Malcolm Rifkind

Nothing illustrates better the ruthless intolerance and insensitivity of Xi Jinping than his refusal to allow the people of Hong Kong even to see the details of the new, draconian national security law until it had already been passed by China’s rubber-stamp “parliament” this week.

No discussion or negotiation with Hong Kong’s own parliament was permitted. No amendments to the proposed statute could even be considered. Against that background it is impossible to be anything but very pessimistic about the future of Hong Kong as an island of freedom in a China ruled by despotism over the years ahead.

Hong Kong, for the time being, will, however, remain different to the rest of China. Its people will continue to have far greater freedom of movement; they will have a choice of candidates in local elections; they will have, unlike the mainland, uncensored access to the internet. On all but “national security” issues, their courts will remain largely free of political interference and their judges will remain independent. But even this will only be for the time being...

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