On May 22, Singtao Daily published a lead article praising the Chinese regime’s new national security legislation, which aims to crack down on the democracy movement in Hong Kong. This major Chinese-language media outlet serves Chinese communities in the United States.
The article, titled “Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPC) Takes Action to Make Hong Kong National Security Law,” was published on the opening day of the NPC’s annual meeting in Beijing. The NPC is Chinese regime’s rubber stamp legislative body. During its annual meeting, it passes whatever new legislation is proposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Hong Kong is supposed to have its own legislative process under the principle of “one country, two systems.” The West views the NPC making legislation for Hong Kong as Beijing’s breaching this principle.
While Western governments and media are still waiting to see the details of the new legislation, Singtao Daily states that China’s NPC has the highest authority in the nation, and NPC’s actions to make new security laws for Hong Kong is from a national standpoint “completely necessary” for maintaining Hong Kong’s political system.
It has been widely reported the new legislation will define the criminal acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and activities related to foreign forces interfering in Hong Kong.
Western countries also have similar laws dealing with these kinds of crimes. However, China is a country ruled only by the CCP—in China, the word “country” is often synonymous with the ruling party. “Crimes” such as secession, subversion, and terrorism are the common labels used by the regime to persecute political dissidents and minority ethnic or religious groups.
If the NPC’s new legislation is to make Hong Kong follow the laws currently effective inside mainland China, then the result of the new legislation will be a serious drawback to Hong Kong’s political system.
Westerners may not understand why Singtao Daily, a newspaper headquartered in Hong Kong, published a lead article giving a positive gloss to the new national security law. But to many Chinese-Americans, Singtao Daily’s article is not a surprise.
Charles Ho Tsu-kwok, chairman of Singtao News Corporation, is a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). This kind of membership and social status in China can only be granted to the CCP’s top allies.
The CPPCC’s annual conference is currently taking place in Beijing, alongside the NPC’s annual meeting. According to reports from China’s state-run media, Charles Ho spoke to the conference in support of the new security legislation. He accused Hong Kong’s protesters and foreign forces of plotting “dark political conspiracies” to challenge the principle of one country, two systems.
The reports from China’s state-run media did not detail what Ho said about the “dark political conspiracies.” But in the same edition as Singtao Daily’s article on the new security legislation, the newspaper also published a separate article on the White House’s new policy to “confine China.”
The principle of one country, two systems was developed in the early 80s, when Beijing and the UK government started preparations for transferring Hong Kong back to China. From Beijing’s standpoint, the principle was to accomplish two main goals: 1) to secure the peaceful transfer of the ruling power, and 2) to set an example for Beijing to unify Taiwan in the future.
While the first goal was already accomplished, the second one looks now like a mission beyond the reach of Beijing’s leaders.
Last year Hong Kong’s six-month-long pro-democracy protests prompted many events and activities in Taiwan to support the Hong Kong protesters. It is also widely believed that Hong Kong’s protests became a major factor that helped Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen win a landslide victory in her bid for a second term. Tsai has been viewed by Beijing as a politician who is pro-independence, while her political opponent was more in line with Beijing’s principle of one country, two systems.
Pundits have suggested that Beijing is pushing to tighten its control of Hong Kong because Hong Kong can no longer serve as an example for Taiwan’s future.
The CCP has penetrated many media outlets in the West, especially the Chinese-language media. A March 2019 report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) states that the Chinese regime has waged a war against global media under the guise of “combatting ‘hostile’ Western forces.” In November 2018, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution published a report documenting the extent of China’s influence operations inside the United States.
Both RSF report and Hoover report have said the CCP controls Singtao Daily.