Friday, November 13, 2020

Hong Kong Opposition Leaders Resign in Protest

Democratic opposition members have resigned in protest from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council over Beijing’s new ruling that authorizes the region’s CCP-controlled “chief executive” to dismiss Council members without trial if they are deemed to be a danger to “national security.”

Once again the mainland has imposed its judgment and procedures without regard for Hong Kong's constitution, and in violation of China's international treaty obligations to respect the "One-Country-Two-Systems" agreement until at least 2047.

It has been a year since pro-Democracy candidates won a historic landslide in elections for the local-area administrative "District Council," which has no real political power. Nevertheless those elections were seen as a referendum on the Hong Kong protest movement's struggle against Beijing's encroachment.

Ever since, the CCP has continued to encroach more rapidly and openly. Dissent was outlawed by a mainland-imposed "national security law" in June. Then, the Legislative Council election scheduled for this Fall was "postponed." And now four currently seated pro-Democracy LegCo members have been removed from office allegedly in the interests of national security. This prompted the remaining 15 pro-Democracy LegCo members to resign in solidarity with their colleagues and to make clear that Beijing's abuse of power has removed every vestige of legitimacy from Hong Kong's constitutionally guaranteed legislature.

This is a setback, of course, for now. But the air has been cleared. The CCP can no longer even remotely pretend it respects Hong Kong's political structures. It was inevitable, in any case, that those who favor Hong Kong's "self-determination" were going to have to play the long game. There are not many options immediately at hand. Street protests have been effectively muted, and it remains to be seen how law enforcement and the judiciary will handle the many cases that have yet to be prosecuted against recent participants in the movement.

Now is the time for Hong Kong people to cultivate deeper growth and greater vision, whether they continue to live as they can within the region, or are forced into exile, or locked up in prison. Time is not exclusively the realm of those who use power to oppress the weak. Time can also strengthen the patience and widen the perspective of a concrete, non-violent, personalist and communitarian alternative for politics in Hong Kong (and elsewhere in the world of the 21st century that so desperately needs it). 

Time allows the resources of the human spirit to come into play. In time, cries for justice, human dignity, and love will be heard.