Chinese President Jiang attended the celebration for the fifth anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China on July 1, as well as the inauguration ceremony of the second Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government. Although both Beijing and the SAR governments put serious effort into hosting extravagant festivities, nothing could hide the fact that the situation in Hong Kong has deteriorated since the handover. Five years ago attention was focused on how Hong Kong might maintain its prosperity and stability. Now the focus is probably going to be on when Hong Kong's "one country, two systems" might end. Once that happens -- and China loses a role model for its unification propaganda -- what kind of new propaganda Beijing will cook up is a key question.
Before July 1, the SAR government's suppression of human rights became increasingly apparent. Not only were a Chinese-American Falun Gong [practitioner] and several dozen other Falun Gong [practitioners] from Taiwan barred from entering Hong Kong, but some were actually forcibly put into sacks and loaded onto planes to be deported. Chinese-American dissident Harry Wu [...] was among the individuals barred from entering the territory. Princeton University's Perry Link, who co-edited The Tiananmen Papers, was also detained and questioned by immigration officials when he landed in Hong Kong.
These violations of human rights demonstrate that, after five years of experimenting with "one country, two systems," Hong Kong has fallen and is no longer the former colony known for liberalism and openness. Link used his own experience as an example and said that the "one country, two systems" has proven to be a failure. The truth of the matter is that what the experience of Hong Kong in the past five years proves does not end with the failure of "one country, two systems."
Red alerts have started flashing over Hong Kong's judicial independence and respect for human rights. Five years ago, the Chinese government vowed that after the handover "people will continue to dance in parties and the horses will continue to run in races" [...]. In other words, it would be business as usual for at least 50 years. Now this former "pearl of the Orient" has been superseded by Shanghai. Even the territory's economy has been marginalized.
Let's use the Falun Gong as example. In the past, when Beijing was [suppressing] Falun Gong [practitioners], it had to turn a blind eye to the group's activities in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the Central People's Government Liaison Office [Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong] and the pro-China media still demanded that the territory's government re-examine its policy toward the Falun Gong and terminate the group's organization registration.
The conduct of these Beijing mouthpieces has worried the Hong Kong media and people. They felt that such moves were essentially seeking to destroy "one country, two systems." [...]
It is noteworthy that less than one week before the anniversary of the handover, Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen [...] said that the Hong Kong government must enact legislation, based on Article 23 of the Basic Law, to ban certain activities, including those of the Falun Gong. Qian often engages in peaceful unification propaganda to push for the "one country, two systems." His statement has essentially tolled the bell for "one country, two systems." [...]
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