Armando Armas: Is Hong Kong the New Tiananmen?

What follow is the English version of an article by Armando Armas, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of Venezuela and honorary member of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella”, published on June 7 in La Gran Epoca on the repression in Hong Kong, and the abuse of violence by the Chinese Communist Party and disinformation tactics.

Over the last weeks protesters took to the streets claiming African-American rights, after the police brutalities that shocked the world following the killing of George Floyd, outraging not only the afro-descendant community in the world, but also all of us seeing the injustice against life as a possible threat for all the humanity and democratic principles.

Curiously, this movement is taking place at the same time of the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing and I consider appropriate, in such a favourable moment for the consciousness-raising, to raise my voice for the people of Honk Kong.

1989 was a year of telluric movements for the global order. The Iron Curtain collapsed, new democratic movements were born all around the world, as well as social and political protests.
Tiananmen Square that year, became the icon of the struggle for liberty. Different social groups that demanded deepest reforms, undertaken 10 year earlier by the former leader Deng Xiaoping, got out into the streets to protest. Despite we talk about hundreds of killings, thousands of detainees and hundreds of thousands of wounded, we don’t know the correct number of what happened. We cannot know the numbers because under Communism there are not institutions where to claim them. Power is imposed above all and the Law is only a mere instrument for its implementation, contrary to what happens in democracies where laws are implemented to control power.

Tiananmen Square protests left us, among other things, one picture: the guy facing the tanks. That picture inspired since the early days all the people, like us, that are fighting for human rights, liberty and democracy. In the following years the economic global system allowed China to become the second world power. The countries that were defending democracy and freedom, as the legacy of occidental political culture, closing one eye – and sometimes the other too – succumbed to the temptation of doing business with the “Asiatic giant”.

Someone believed that China economic growth would bring political openness and eventual democracy to the country. They were absolutely wrong. The Communist Party of China (CPC) today is showing the expansionist face of its project, that is not only economic but also a political one. Communism essence is expansionism. As Trotsky once said “the revolution will be international or it will not be.” The incredible amount of money collected by the CPC during these years, plus the new technologies and the globalization dynamics, led to a possible Cyber Totalitarianism.

The three Ts and now Hong Kong
Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen are taboo in China. China developed a soft power, through academic researches funding, opening of Confucius Institutes all over the world, media propaganda and credits to developing countries, that is part of a censure scheme of the 3 Ts.

The same is going on in Hong Kong, where people are protesting because they feel closer to principles and democratic values, respect for the law and freedom of press due to their colonial past, in contrast with communist values that Beijing is trying to impose with the force.
“One country, two systems” was the principle adopted by China since 1984 to determine “special economic zones” where to apply capitalist economy principles. In the 1985 Sino-British Joint Declaration stated that since January 1997 and for the following 50 years, Hong Kong would be part of China, even if under a different economic system from the socialist-communist one.

All lives matter
The recent killing of George Floyd is an outrageous and shocking fact and I fully condemn it. However, there are reasons to think that these event could be an opportunity for the enemies of the democracy to manipulate the system. Like 31 years ago, the present moment is full of movement in the economic and political international system. This is the perfect context for those who like to fish in troubled waters.

The lives of Syrians, Iranians, Cubans, Somalis or Bangladeshi, who raised their voices in the last years, matter too. As well as the ones of people from Yemen, South Sudan, Libya, Nicaragua or Venezuela, just to mention where oppression and injustice prevail.

Today I am raising my voice for the people of Hong Kong. While I write these few lines, thousands of people are still gathering in Victoria Park, challenging the police, in order to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre. I would like to quote Tom Tugendhat’s words, my counterpart in the House of Commons, who recently tweeted: “if you are not ready to defend freedom everywhere, you cannot expect to enjoy freedom everywhere”.

Is Hong Kong the new Tiananmen?
Despite the persecution and incarceration in Hong Kong in the last years, we clearly cannot talk about the massacre that happened in Tiananmen. At least until now, we hope it won’t happen. But with Communists you never know, their history is about massacres, invasions, starvation and death.

We have to protest the CPC and its steadfast unwillingness to comply with the international law, increasing its political control while censuring medias and journalists, promoting disinformation campaigns and propagandistic attacks that are empowering western vandalism to consolidate itself internally and externally as the best governability model (politically and economically) for the post COVID 19 world.

If the struggle that the people of Hong Kong are carrying out, as the Tank Man in Beijing 31 years ago did, act as inspiration to stand up against the today’s Totalitarianism, it means that we are facing a new fight and resistance icon, a new Tiananmen.

Armando Armas

Translation: Lorenzo Domizi

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