June 29th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY John Setka, for all his faults, is the perfect scapegoat

FIGHTING FUND NCC president Patrick J. Byrne outlines the goals for 2019

SPECIAL FEATURE Author Rod Dreher brings St Benedict to bear on our decline and fall

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS One million protest China's attack on Hong Kong's freedom

GENDER POLITICS Vatican issues document on gender ideology

POLITICS AND SOCIETY New secularist strategies to bury Christianity

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 4: Ancient Jewish view of the cosmos

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal: An account from the live streaming

BANKING FEATURE Greed works ... at least for a while and for a few

IDEOLOGY Feminist claims for equality, Part 2: What feminism should be

IDEOLOGY WARS Roger Scruton and the Tories: a sorry tale

MUSIC Melodic abundance: John, Paul, Duke and Antonio

CINEMA The End: Staging the apocalypse

BOOK REVIEW Scenes from Dante's Inferno

BOOK REVIEW Mrs Gould: she who drew the pictures



NATIONAL AFFAIRS A Q&A to clarify issues in Cardinal Pell's appeal

HUMOUR A Western flop lob-story and that

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One million protest China's attack on Hong Kong's freedom

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, June 29, 2019

Faced with relentless pressure from Beijing to undermine the independence of Hong Kong’s legal system, one of the foundations of Hong Kong’s continued existence as a free and prosperous society, an estimated one million people rallied outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, demanding that proposed extradition legislation be withdrawn.

In response to this unprecedented opposition, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has deferred, but not withdrawn, the legislation. Supporters of a free Hong Kong are not satisfied with the Government’s position.

When Britain transferred Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, China promised to respect the economic and legal institutions established by the British, and to respect the civil and political rights of the people, under the formula, “One country, two systems”.

Despite being only 1100 square kilometres in area, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most important financial centres and commercial ports, acting as a bridge between the huge economy of China and the West.

Its economic importance is based on the fact that its independent legal system provides the environment in which Western businesses and corporations are able to enter into legally enforceable contracts with Chinese companies.


However, the Chinese Communist Party, as a totalitarian institution that resents any alternative centre of legitimacy, has constantly sought to undermine Hong Kong’s freedom, despite promising to respect it.

Over the past 22 years, it has continually tried to subvert the agreement that took effect in 1997.

Its efforts to undermine Hong Kong’s special status began even before Beijing gained sovereignty in 1997.

Its first decision was to appoint a Hong Kong businessman, Tung Chee Hwa, as Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 1997. Mr Tung’s family business, the OOCL container line, had earlier been bailed out of bankruptcy by the Chinese Government.

As Chief Executive, he tried to undermine the independence of Hong Kong’s legislature, and was eventually forced to resign over a National Security Bill that would have severely restricted freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

As a reward for his long service to Beijing, Tung was appointed vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference by Beijing, and formed the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) in 2008 to influence public opinion towards China in the United States. He remains an important political operator in Hong Kong, with close ties to Beijing.

Among other evidence of China’s interference in Hong Kong’s independence, Beijing has refused to introduce “one man one vote”, despite promising to do so in the 1990s, and controls the legislature through a gerrymander based on business and professional groups it controls.

A substantial majority of legislators elected by the population want to uphold Hong Kong’s unique status, but they are out-voted by appointees of the Chinese Government. When, despite this, pro-democracy forces in 2014 looked as if they would get a majority, the legislature, with Chinese support, disqualified six elected Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators.

In 2014, young students held protest rallies outside the Legislative Council, and subsequently, several student leaders were jailed for six months. They were eventually freed on appeal.

In 2015, five Hong Kong publishers of books critical of Beijing simply vanished. Months later, they reappeared on Chinese television, saying that they had voluntarily gone to China, although they had left Hong Kong without exit visas. Clearly, they had been kidnapped.

Later, one of them, Lam Wing-kee, recalled how he was kidnapped and forced to make a televised confession.

In 2017, Chinese Canadian billionaire businessman Xiao Jianhua was abducted in Hong Kong from the Four Seasons Hotel by mainland agents, spirited off to China and has not been seen since.

The recent protests are against a law proposed by current Chief Executive Carrie Lam which would give China the right to extradite people living in Hong Kong to China.

Pro-democracy activists, academics in Hong Kong universities, Falun Gong practitioners and others would then face extradition to China for having breached Chinese laws that entrench the power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

As the Chinese legal system is controlled by the CCP, and guilty verdicts are handed down in around 99 per cent of cases, the proposed law is a draconian intervention in Hong Kong’s affairs, threatening the “one country, two systems” foundation that was supposed to operate in Hong Kong until 2047.

The people of Hong Kong have risen up against the latest threat to their freedom, and asserted their long-established rights to freedom of association, freedom of belief and freedom of speech.

But Beijing’s determination to suppress Hong Kong’s remaining freedoms has again been clearly demonstrated.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm