China sensing Covid-19 chaos in America and Europe is upping the ante in Hong Kong

China sensing Covid-19 chaos in America and Europe is upping the ante in Hong Kong

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis erupted in China and then spread to all corners of the world. Unlike China, which is emerging from the coronavirus crisis, the same doesn’t apply to America where 100,000 deaths have been registered. Meanwhile, the nations of France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom have over 125,000 deaths collectively. Therefore, President Xi Jinping of China is upping the ante based on his power concentration policies against Hong Kong.

With America and Europe beset by death and economic uncertainty, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is intent on utilizing the situation in Hong Kong. It should be stated that violence in Hong Kong is being played out on various social media networks. Therefore, the pro-Hong Kong democracy side highlights state brutality, while China’s social media supporters show violence in the other direction.

Charles Michel, the European Council President, said, “We attach great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy in line with the Basic Law and international commitments.”

In truth, the British had little interest in implementing a democratic system when it took control of this strategic area. However, in the last few decades of economic growth under the British, new dynamics emerged. This relates to different cultural, historical, judicial, and political processes that increased divisions between Hong Kong and China.

In recent times countless clashes have erupted between protesters and the security apparatus. Despite this, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) kept its distance based on the CCP hoping that the crisis would burn itself out. Equally important, Xi had hoped to solve trade tensions with America. Therefore, a more moderate approach by the leader of China was implemented last year.

Yet with tensions being ramped up by America and China over the coronavirus crisis then growing animosity is emerging. Hence, Xi no longer feels bound to maintain restraints. Thus, with the world being focused on the coronavirus crisis – and increasing rhetoric being sprouted in Beijing and Washington – the leader of China senses an opportune time to further China’s authoritarian tentacles in Hong Kong.

The Guardian reports, “China’s military is ready and able to “safeguard” Chinese sovereignty in Hong Kong, the commander of the city-based garrison has said, amid growing anger at Beijing’s plans to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and impose national security laws in the city.”

The BBC uttered, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said other countries “have no place” interfering in the territory, as she robustly defended a controversial national security law planned by China.” 

With distrust and divisions growing in Hong Kong then further tensions appear a formality. Yet, unlike last year, the real threat of the PLA using its military power is worrisome. Especially with tensions between America and China reaching new lows.

On top of this, the power concentration policies of Xi and the consequences of the coronavirus crisis means greater confidence in China. Xi, knowing that trade and political tensions are not going away with America, is likely to use greater mechanisms of cohesion in Hong Kong.

This relates to stifling opposition and the vestiges of autonomy and democracy.


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