No escape from Hong Kong

Pro-Chinese supporters fly flags of the People’s Republic of China to mark the Chinese National Day in Hong Kong on October 1.


Billy HC Kwok / Getty Images

The hallmark of a truly oppressive regime is that it will not let its people go. Think of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, or Cuba. Now it is becoming the fate of the once free people of Hong Kong.

Witness the fate of 12 Hong Kong people who tried to escape to Taiwan by boat in August, but were intercepted and seized by the Chinese Coast Guard. All 12 but one were arrested for participating in pro-democracy protests, and the youngest is 16 years old.

Chinese authorities refused to repatriate the 12 to Hong Kong and waited 37 days before charging them. They were held incommunicado and denied the opportunity to meet lawyers hired by their families. You can bet their interrogations were not gentle and they could be locked up in the Chinese Gulag for years.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that, under President Trump’s leadership, the United States will “place special emphasis” on admitting Hong Kong refugee claimants, and the United Kingdom and Taiwan have also accepted. to welcome them. guarantee that China will let the Hong Kongers go.

Meanwhile, October 1 was the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which in recent years has been a date of protest in Hong Kong against China’s gradual strangulation of the autonomy promised to the territory. This year, the Hong Kong government, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijing, banned a proposed Civil Human Rights Front for Democracy march and deployed some 6,000 police officers to patrol the streets on Thursday. to intimidate Hong Kong people into remaining silent.

Several hundred people still showed up to protest, and police arrested at least 86, including four district councilors. Other Hong Kongers have expressed their dissent by ostensibly reading Apple Daily, sometimes in front of the police. Jimmy Lai, the founder of this pro-democracy newspaper, was arrested in August under the draconian new national security law and faces life in prison if convicted. No wonder tens of thousands of people want to flee Hong Kong.

Main Street: When a billionaire becomes a dissident, the takeover of Hong Kong is total. Image: Apple Daily

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