Human rights are an anathema to the gray men in the Communist Party of China.
As for civil rights, it is a challenge to their right to rule and must be drowned out by a media megaphone of propaganda.
Everything and everyone is subservient to the Party, with autocracy the new democracy.
Earlier this week, the Thoughts of Chairman Xi Jinping were brought into sharp focus less than a week before the centenary anniversary of the CCP.
In Hong Kong, the city’s independent judiciary looks increasingly at risk while Press freedom has been silenced after pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily was forced to close on Thursday.
The tattered remains of the “One Country, Two Systems” model were effectively consigned to the trash bin of history. Finally, foreign inference has been rooted out, according to Beijing’s line.
“The arrests of Apple Daily staff, seizing of journalistic materials and freezing of its assets will send a shiver down the spine of all media outlets operating in Hong Kong,” Yamini Mishra, the regional director of Amnesty International in the Asia-Pacific, said as reported by the Reuters news agency.
Dominic Raab went even further. “The forced closure of Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities is a chilling blow to freedom of expression in Hong Kong,” the secretary of state for foreign affairs in the United Kingdom said.
“It is crystal clear that the powers under the National Security Law are being used as a tool to curtail freedoms and punish dissent – rather than keep public order,” Raab added about the former British colony.
- Hong Kong is just one of a catalog of issues that has strained relations between the United States and its allies with China.
- A sweeping Beijing-imposed National Security Law has silenced and imprisoned pro-democracy activists in the vibrant city.
- The ruthless closure of Apple Daily by freezing company assets, arresting senior executives and jailing owner Jimmy Lai has ended Press freedom in Hong Kong.
- Yet this is just the latest crackdown as China flexes its authoritarian muscles.
- Earlier this month, Amnesty International revealed that the Communist Party is creating “a dystopian hellscape” for ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang.
- At least one million Muslims have reportedly been held in detention camps in Xinjiang with reports of torture and sexual abuse.
- China has denied the allegations, calling them “lies.”
- Taiwan is another area of diplomatic concern amid the build-up of naval power from the People’s Liberation Army.
- China considers the democratic island a “rogue province” and has threatened to take it by force if necessary.
- Rising tension in the South China Sea between Washington and Beijing has also increased, fuelling the risk of armed conflict.
Poison Apple: “Washington has never really cared about the welfare of the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Most of the time, the US hijacks the international community’s right to define democracy, freedom, and human rights,” China’s state-run Global Times stated in an editorial this week.
Delve deeper: Hong Kong, Taiwan and challenges in the South China Sea are not the only problems facing Xi’s autocracy. Pressure has also mounted on Beijing to allow an independent investigation into the Covid-19 outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019. Nearly 17 months later, the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 strain still remain a mystery despite growing evidence that it might have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Antagonism and security: “Underneath the hardening of Chinese views on the United States lies a deeper, older source of antagonism. In Chinese eyes, the most significant threat to China’s sovereignty and national security has long been US interference in its internal affairs,” Wang Jisi, of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, wrote in a commentary for China-US Focus.
China Factor comment: These “hardening views” are self-inflicted wounds by the CCP. Its draconian grip now extends not only across the media landscape in China but also academia as we pointed out on June 21. With the Party holding all the levers of power, political debate has been quashed. In its place is the shrill sound of nationalism and a rallying cry around the Red flag.