Prior to the year 1997, Hong Kong was a British territory in Southeastern China. However, after 1997, China gained Hong Kong and has since eroded and demolished democracy in Hong Kong. China’s capital, Beijing, has finessed a strong political framework to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy by abandoning civil liberties and separation of powers, which is important in a successful democracy.
To successfully form a democratic state, Hong Kong must split from Beijing. However, China has tight reigns across every social and political aspect in Hong Kong. This, of course, has led to electoral difficulties. Moreover, many pro-democracy activists have been convicted, and or were given jail time for expressing their political beliefs in having a democracy. According to the New York Times, one member of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong wrote,” I was imprisoned for four weeks in June after being charged with “unlawful assembly” in the Legislative Council — Hong Kong’s parliament — when I was still a member of that body. In 2016, China’s intervention in a court decision resulted in pro-independence lawmakers, including myself, being removed from office for taking our oaths improperly. The “unlawful assembly” occurred as we attempted to push our way into a conference room to retake our oaths.” Therefore, in the “name of national security”, separatist Hong Kong National Party has been banned. This notion is meant to crush the pro-independence group. Henceforth, the government in Hong Kong does not tolerate opposing views of the Chinese Communist Party. Those who oppose the Chinse Communist Party are seen as terrorists. This is also prevalent in “How Democracies Die” written by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. In “How Democracies Die”, the authors write, “The process often begins with words. Demagogues attack their critics in harsh and provocative terms-as enemies, as subversives, and even as terrorists” (Levitsky and Ziblatt).
Due to China’s autocratic government, Hong Kong refuses to suffer from China’s power to control propaganda and infrastructures because if they allowed China to alienate them like it does their own country, Hong Kong will not be able to interact with a democratic world/society. Moreover, many Hong Kong citizens are scared to discuss democracy due to the country telling them, “splitting from Beijing would best ensure the city’s survival” (Yau Wai-Ching). According to the “Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way, “In authoritarian regimes, elections either do not exist or are not seriously contested. Electoral competition is eliminated either de jure, as in… China” (Levitsky and Way).
Many activists who believe in democracy are often belittled by the Beijing and Hong Kong government. This is done by hellacious rumors being spread about them. Often times, activists are undermined by being called, “separatists” or a “betrayer of the Chinese nation” which, of course, causes the credibility of democracy to demolish.
Unfortunately, many civilians are now realizing that Beijing did not tell the truth about allowing Hong Kong to eventually have a democracy with open elections. According to the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s political-legal text since 1997), When Beijing took control, it promised that by 2017 the city would be able to elect its top leader. Many residents fought hard for this in 2014, however, nothing changed, and autocracy still remains, and pro-independence candidates have not been allowed to run in the political race since 2016. Having those who oppose authoritarianism usually, are not allowed to run for office in many autocratic governments because the legislation says so. New laws have since been placed by the government in which lawmakers in parliament risk criminal charges when debates over a bill arise because the government has high influence over the judiciary system. Therefore, checks and balances in China are non-existent, even though having checks and balances is crucial for a democracy. Democracy thrives due to checks and balances, according to Levitsky and Ziblatt in “How Democracies Die” the authors write,” … our constitutional system of checks and balances are designed to prevent leaders was designed to prevent leaders from concentrating and abusing powers” (Levitsky and Ziblatt). The only way Hong Kong can have a democracy that it craves, it must secede from China.
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