The central government should stop raising national security concerns as an excuse to restrict freedoms in Hong Kong as such a strategy will only stoke anti-Beijing sentiments, according to political analysts.
Veteran political commentator and China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the Communist Party has been blaming “foreign forces” for stirring up anti-China sentiments in Hong Kong, but foreign forces have been active in the city as early as China’s republican period in the early 20th century, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
In fact, even the Communist Party was active in Hong Kong during the city’s colonial years, Lau said.
Xiong Wei, founder of a Beijing think tank, said “national security” is actually about security for the Communist Party. “For example, Beijing thinks the annual June 4 candlelight vigil in Victoria Park has been spreading an anti-communist ideology under the cover of a memorial for the 1989 student protests,” he said.
The ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have attracted the attention of many mainlanders, and may inspire highly educated and liberal elements on the mainland to seek greater freedoms from Beijing, an unnamed academic from southern China was quoted as saying.
The central government certainly doesn’t want the demonstrations in Hong Kong to spread to other parts of China, Chinese historian Zhang Lifan said.
“China’s younger generation has acquired all sorts of information from the internet, but they also face serious social stratification. As such, if something stokes [their discontent], the consequences could be serious,” Zhang was quoted as saying.
Xiong, however, believes that the pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong is unlikely to spread to mainland China, especially the northern and inland regions where people are relatively conservative and scared of protests.
Xiong and Yep Kin-man, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong, agree that Hong Kong people know very little about China and the Communist Party.
Xiong warned protesters against demonizing the party or setting the stage for a direct confrontation. “Instead, they should join hands with liberal elements in the party,” he said.
Xiong said he believes Hong Kong people cannot be simply suppressed through violent means. “Politics is not about one side beating another, it is about creating a win-win solution that benefits both sides,” he said.
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