Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a recent internal meeting: “Economic development is the only golden key to resolve all sorts of problems facing Hong Kong today.”
This statement truly reflects the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) habitual way of thinking and governing. Instead of dealing with the root cause of a problem, the CCP avoids it and uses other tactics to appear as if they are fully equipped to deal with the situation.
Hongkongers have staged mass protests since June in opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would allow the Chinese regime to seek extradition of individuals to be trialed in mainland China, where there is no rule of law. The protests have now evolved into a pro-democracy movement fueled by fears that China is taking away Hong Kong’s freedoms, which were guaranteed under a “one country, two systems” formula introduced with the 1997 handover from Britain.
Xi’s remark was revealed by Andrew J. Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University, in an article titled, “How China Sees the Hong Kong Crisis,” published in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs.
The solution Xi proposed indicates the CCP plans to deal with the Hong Kong through the following tactics.
One: Avoiding the Real Issue
Hong Kong protesters’ five demands are meant to resist the CCP’s sabotage of Hong Kong’s freedoms and rule of law. The five demands are: the full withdrawal of the extradition bill; an independent inquiry into police brutality; the release of all arrested protesters; a complete retraction of the official classification of the protests as “riots;” and universal suffrage of the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive.
The ongoing protest has nothing to do with economic issues. In fact, the CCP knows it well. Chinese authorities purposefully try to avoid discussing the root cause of the Hong Kong crisis in their internal meetings.
For instance, Xinhua News Agency claimed that Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement is “a reflection of deeply-rooted social conflicts arising from extremely high property prices.”
The CCP’s propaganda not only shifts the focus away from the real problem, but also belittles the protesters who are fighting for freedom and the rule of law by denigrating them as a group of low-income residents venting their anger at the city’s expensive housing market.
Two: Constantly Creating Conflicts
The CCP certainly does not plan to address the root cause of the Hong Kong crisis because it is the one causing the problem by undermining Hong Kong’s freedom and rule of law. Pointing at the need for so-called “economic development” is to create yet another social conflict. The discussions in Chinese state media are not about creating more social wealth, but to sow discord between the rich and the poor. In other words, the CCP is always the one creating the problems, not the one solving them. When it proposes to solve a problem, it is actually creating new ones.
Three: Creating a ‘Stockholm Syndrome’
In the last century, Hong Kong’s economy developed rapidly, and the city became the largest financial center in Asia. Its past economic success had nothing to do with the CCP.
After Hong Kong was handed over to China from the British in 1997, Hong Kong’s freedom and rule of law have been gradually eroded by the CCP, and the local economy began to decline. The CCP, which should be held responsible for the deterioration of Hong Kong’s economy, now poses as the “savior” and makes it appear as if only the CCP can save Hong Kong’s economy. In actuality, the CCP aims at threatening Hongkongers and creating an atmosphere of fear.
The CCP has been playing this game in mainland China for years with much success. As a result, some Chinese people still feel good about the CCP in spite of it acting like a terrorist group that has wreaked havoc in China. In Hong Kong, however, the CCP’s deceptive propaganda is destined to fail.
Four: Promoting Money Worship
The CCP’s main tactics of controlling people are violence and seducing people with money. These two methods have indeed proven effective to a certain extent, because the CCP believes that fear of violence and love of money are basic to human nature. The CCP has 100 percent confidence in these methods. That is why it considers economic development as the “golden key” to resolve the crisis in Hong Kong.
Nonetheless, the CCP’s seduction through money is not merely about making a group of people rich. Instead, the CCP attempts to control all resources to the extent that Chinese citizens rely on the CCP for all their basic livelihoods. In mainland China, the CCP controls all aspects of society. As a result, whoever chooses not to comply with the CCP will have a hard time making a living, attending school, seeking medical treatment, renting an apartment, and traveling inside and outside of the country. Even family members are affected.
Presently, the CCP and Hong Kong government are proposing to reclaim privately held land to build affordable housing on a large scale for Hong Kong residents. And just as current affairs commentator Wen Zhao has pointed out, in the future, if any of the tenants in these affordable housing projects don’t comply with the CCP, they will either have to pay much higher rent or be evicted.
Five: Inciting Hatred Through Deceptive Propaganda
By dramatizing the problem of high property prices in Hong Kong, the CCP’s propaganda machine not only diverts attention from Hongkongers’ demands, but also incites people’s hatred towards local real estate developers.
The CCP is a master in this kind of tactic. It first of all pretends to deeply sympathize with Hong Kong residents, saying that the majority of Hong Kong people suffer extremely low quality living conditions, and despite working so hard every day, it is unfair that they are unable to reap the benefits of Hong Kong’s economic development.
Next, the CCP disguises itself as bearer of justice, and claims that it is now making painstaking efforts to solve the housing problem.
Then, the CCP blames it all on the real estate developers, turning people’s anger to the developers. It’s just like a recent Xinhua article which stated: “Some special interest groups still try to maximize their profits. The multitude of Hong Kong people will need to actively get involved to help the government push the housing program forward to be able to realize their goal of living in government-subsidized housing.”
The beautiful vision depicted for the people to “push forward” to realize the goal is nothing but blatant deception and inciting them to violence! As a matter of fact, the CCP started all its past political movements in just this manner.
Six: Getting Rid of Collaborators When the Job Is Done
Hong Kong’s business elites, including real estate developers, were once treated as VIP guests by the CCP. The purpose was to make use of their influence in Hong Kong to control the city. However, as the CCP gradually strengthened its control over Hong Kong, these elites are no longer of any use. Instead, their influence in Hong Kong has become an obstruction for the CCP to further control the city. For the CCP, whose standard practice is to get rid of collaborators when they become useless, it is time to get rid of these real estate developers.
Seven: Calling on ‘Social Stability’
When the CCP talks about economic development, it always tells the public that “social stability” is the prerequisite. The so-called “social stability” the CCP is concerned with is actually the stability of the Chinese communist regime. The CCP can commit all kinds of outrages and take advantage of communist officials’ privileges to accumulate illegal wealth, while ordinary Chinese citizens cannot even protect their basic legal rights. Moreover, Chinese people are forced to sing praises to the CCP, and even the way they sing praises has to comply with the standard formats set by the CCP.
With regard to the Hong Kong protests, the CCP, who should take the blame, criticizes the Hong Kong people for disrupting the social order and negatively affecting economic growth.
But now that the CCP has proposed that it will focus on economic growth to solve the problems in Hong Kong, it doesn’t mean that it plans to give up its brutal suppression. On the contrary, the CCP will use economic development as an excuse to intensify the suppression so as to achieve the “stability” it requires.
To solve a problem through negotiation, both parties must be sincere. This is the prerequisite for any successful negotiation. However, be it the handling of the Hong Kong protests or the U.S.-China trade war, the CCP shows no signs of sincerity at all. In dealing with the protest, the CCP mobilizes fake police and mobs, uses tactics such as violence, averting, intimidation and spreading rumors. It is not merely an issue of lacking sincerity; in the CCP’s dictionary, the word sincerity has never existed.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.