If you looked on your GPS for the exact location of the global frontline in the battle for democracy and freedom, it would be Hong Kong. A months-long series of protest demonstrations against attempts by the Chinese government in Beijing to reduce Hong Kong’s autonomy and suppress dissent in the former British colony shows no signs of weakening, much less ending.
What was promised on paper in the One Country/Two Systems agreement on which the UK’s handover of power to China is most definitely ambiguous, but fulfillment of those promises has most unambiguously been reduced under the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
What does that mean, to Hong Kongers and to American advocates of freedom? Perhaps no more than it means to continued diplomatic and economic development for China and to the personal prestige and political survival of Xi Jinping.
Benjamin Haas is a freelance journalist and was formerly a foreign correspondent based in China, Hong Kong, and South Korea. He has published his reporting on Hong Kong in The Nation.