Hong Kong ‘Getting Darker’ as Security Chief Promoted to Second-in-Command, Says China Expert

June 28, 2021 Updated: June 30, 2021

The communist Chinese regime is changing the semi-autonomous financial hub of Hong Kong into another mainland Chinese city as Beijing installed a security official as the city’s senior leader, according to a Chinese academic.

Chen Kuide, a China scholar and editor-in-chief of the magazine China in Perspective, said the communist regime was replacing officials “incongruous with the hard-line orders, or in other words, Xi’s Hong Kong policies,” suggesting that the city is transforming into another jurisdiction under the regime’s thumb.

Chen noted the semi-autonomous city is losing its independent legal system, which had been based on English common law due to its British colonial history, after the enactment of the Beijing-imposed national security law last August. But Hong Kong won its financial reputation based on its valuing the rule of law.

“Hong Kong has almost lost its particularity in the world,” Chen said in an interview with The Epoch Times on June 25.

Beijing appointed security chief John Lee to the second-highest ranking position in Hong Kong Government on June 25. Lee is in charge of enforcing Beijing’s national security law.

It came a day after a local pro-democratic newspaper, Apple Daily, printed its final edition. The publication was forced to cease operations following the freezing of its key assets and the arrests of its executives, who Lee accused of using “news coverage as a tool” to endanger national security.

Chen told The Epoch Times that Beijing is “rapidly transforming Hong Kong into another mainland Chinese city, with even tighter controls in some parts.” Chen interpreted Lee’s speedy promotion as a signal that the communist regime will further implement its sweeping national security law.

“Hong Kong is getting darker,” Chen said.

However, Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat, said the “communization” of Hong Kong is “the Chinese Communist Party’s first step.”

“The next is Taiwan,” he told The Epoch Times in the interview on June 25.

The Chinese regime has long claimed Taiwan, a de facto independent nation, as its province, using Hong Kong’s autonomy as a showcase to entice Taiwan to accept control from Beijing under the same “one country, two systems” model.

When Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed over from the United Kingdom to China in 1997, Beijing promised that it would allow the city to enjoy a degree of autonomy and keep its way of life within the communist regime’s system for 50 years.

However, “Hong Kong is under control now. Obviously, using force is the only [way] to deal with Taiwan,” Chen Yonglin said.

He added that clear U.S. support remain crucial to the island’s safety, and any “strategic ambiguity” could risk seeing Taiwan repeat Hong Kong’s story. Chen suggested the Biden administration clarify that the United States will aid Taiwan if Beijing launches a war.

He said that if Taiwan falls into the hands of the communist regime, Beijing’s next target would be the United States.

Since the Clinton administration, Washington has kept to its policy of strategic ambiguity when asked whether it will back Taiwan in the event of an attack from mainland Chinese, although its stance against the Chinese regime is becoming tougher since former President Donald Trump.

Luo Ya contributed to this report.