We Can No Longer Pretend the PRC Respects Hong Kong’s Autonomy

In July 1997, I was in Hong Kong when the United Kingdom surrendered that colony to the Communist Chinese. The totalitarian PRC thereby achieved the bloodless conquest of millions who enjoyed great freedom and prosperity under British rule.

That moment was particularly demoralizing since – despite formal commitments by Beijing to respect the non-Communist political “system” in Hong Kong – clearly its people would inevitably be deprived of their liberties. Sadly, that has come to pass, most recently with the announcement that the Chinese will compel Hong Kong to extradite so-called “fugitives” without due process, sparking immense popular protests this weekend.

The United States has long allowed China to enjoy free trade access to this country’s markets via Hong Kong on the condition that the Communists respect the former colony’s autonomy. The PRC’s heavy-handed behavior precludes a continuation of this undeserved sweetheart deal.