The resistance has compelled China and its handpicked administrators in Hong Kong, led by the embattled Carrie Lam, to make tactical retreats at times, but never for long. At her weekly news conference, Ms. Lam dutifully argued that the proposed legislation would not curtail the rights of Hong Kongers, which under the 1997 agreement with Britain were to be unchanged for 50 years, but rather was a “responsible” move to protect the law-abiding majority.
Nobody believes that. Least of all, evidently, those behind the new measures. A Chinese representative in Hong Kong declared that freedom of the press would not be limited, and then warned against using that freedom as a “pretext” to undermine security. Ms. Lam [was] equally Orwellian: “We are a very free society, so for the time being, people have the freedom to say whatever they want to say.”
Strong editorial, but I can’t see why they posed the headline as a question.
What a historical debacle that 50-year agreement was. We’re only 23 years in and Hong Kong freedom is already teetering. The assumption in 1997 was that if we opened trade relations, China would inevitably bend to the ways of the West, and that 50 years was plenty of time. It turns out the way of the West is capitalism, China is a huge market, and we’re bending to China, not the other way around.