What started being called the Peace & Love demonstrations to protest Beijing’s electoral law for Hong Kong was so mismanaged by China who wont tolerate any sort of dissent that the organizers decided to occupy strategic parts of the city in what was then known as the Umbrella revolution organized by a movement called Occupy Central, operated on Ghandian principles of non-violence.
The “one country, two systems” notion promised complete self-rule in Hong Kong as Britain wound down its control over its former colony in 1997. But the recent clashes in the streets seemed to have ended any hope that Beijing would let the city’s long-established democracy continue to thrive. China insists on handpicking a slate of candidates for an election expected in 2017, while the demonstrators demand that anyone should be allowed to stand for election.
Mainland China has been trying to persuade Taiwan to return to the Motherland with the promise of the “one country, two systems” but the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are sending a grim signal to businesspeople in the region. After years of improved commercial ties between Taiwan and its giant neighbor, many Taiwanese sense that the thaw is moving too fast for comfort. The clashes in Hong Kong between the Beijing-backed authorities and demonstrators bode ill for Taiwan’s advocates of further integration with the mainland.
Xi Jinping, not yet two years in office as China’s leader, seems “unpredictable.” The way he has handled the Hong Kong crisis to a conclusion is a proof of his inability to handle internal affairs but also China’s relations with its neighbors. Force and suppression seem to be the only policy he knows as China seems to have unilaterally reneged on the “One country, two systems” in Hong Kong.
The leader of Taiwan, has publicly said that “Now that the 1.3 billion people [in mainland China] have become moderately wealthy, they will of course wish to enjoy greater democracy and rule of law. Such a desire has never been a monopoly of the West, but is the right of all humankind.” Xi Jinping and his thugs are not amused.
The one country, two systems concept was initially developed by China’s then-premier, Deng Xiaoping, in the 1980s as a plan to peacefully integrate Taiwan into the mainland. It was only later adapted for Hong Kong, and to this day it remains Beijing’s official plan for Taiwan, which Beijing still considers to be part of China.
But as Beijing is now making it clear it will not allow Hong Kong to maintain its democratic system after all, any illusion that Taiwan would one day agree to a similar arrangement has quickly evaporated.
It is clear that both Hong Kong and Taiwan are Chinese, but over the years they have each developed an identity separate from that of the mainland, a fact that is apparently lost on Beijing.
Beijing for the moment has crushed the pro-democracy movement in Beijing but at the same time has managed to alienate the people of Taiwan who do not want unification to the mainland until it has a full fledged democracy. The leadership in Beijing has once again shown its true colour: it is a brutal dictatorship who mistreats Tibetans, Ughyers and its other minorities within the mainland and now has shown that it wont tolerate any form of democracy in Hong Kong!