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By Alienating So Many Hong Kongers, China Has Wasted An Opportunity: CBC
Even as Hong Kong becomes more like China, the former colony may have inoculated the entire country with a taste for self-government and some ideas on how to get it.
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A growing number of experts here believe that while China rejects attempts at outside coercion, developments in Hong Kong may reveal a path to domestic transformation.
While Beijing's strong-arm tactics can work on powerless Uighurs, Hong Kong may be a Chinese microcosm of what can happen when an authoritarian government runs out of legitimacy with informed and educated citizens who do not want to be imposed upon.
"People who think of South Korea and Taiwan as healthy pluralistic democracies may not realise that in my lifetime, both were run by nasty militarist -- anti-communist in those cases -- dictatorships," said Don Pittis, Senior Producer at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) business unit.
Even as Hong Kong becomes more like China, the former colony may have inoculated the entire country with a taste for self-government and some ideas on how to get it. "By alienating so many Hong Kongers, China has wasted an opportunity," wrote Pittis in an analysis.
Now, the self-exile of Hong Kong democracy leader Nathan Law harks back to earlier times when Russian anti-government leader Vladimir Lenin retreated to England and Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh hid out in France.
Without even trying, wrote Pittis, places where you are allowed to think and say just about what you like create a refuge for dissent. Canada's suspension of extradition rules is a sign that Hong Kong has strayed too far from that ideal.
Canada need not give up on China as a place where pluralism and democracy will one day help its people rule themselves.
In years gone by, wrote Pittis, North American economic sanctions may have had the clout to pressure even large countries into adjusting their policies.
It is implausible to think that China, with an economy that the International Monetary Fund says is still growing -- while Canada, the United States and Europe will shrink about 8 per cent this year -- will be pressured.
"That will be the job of its own people. Change within China must come from the Chinese people -- and not necessarily as represented by the Chinese Communist Party," wrote Pittis.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.