Twenty years ago tomorrow, I was present in Hong Kong to witness Britain’s surrender of that tiny bastion of freedom to Communist China. Like many of the Hong Kong people around me, I sensed that we were watching the inexorable snuffing of liberty’s light there. Two decades later, that ominous premonition has been validated.
Ostensibly, Beijing’s promise of “one country, two systems” would protect the democratic traditions that the one-time British colony had developed and practiced. In fact, from the get-go, it was clear that the Chinese Communists had no intention of permitting their favored candidates and “system” from losing in Hong Kong.
Tragically today, China exercises unrivaled control over Hong Kong’s people and vast financial equities. And the vestiges of what was once a Chinese democracy pose no threat to the Communist Party’s absolute and ruthless dominance of its own population.