Support Freedom in Hong Kong
By David Holcberg (South China Morning Post, Jan. 5, 2003; Detroit News, Jan. 16, 2003; San Francisco Examiner, June 18, 2003; Chicago Sun-Times, July 9, 2003; U.K. Daily Telegraph, July 2, 2003)
The United States should give its full moral support to the tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents who took to the streets last week to protest the "anti-subversion" laws China wants to impose on them.
The new laws, which make illegal "treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion" against Beijing's government, are designed to extend to Hong Kong the same censorship and control China imposes on individuals on the mainland. Given China's record of considering any criticism against its government to be treason or subversion, the new laws will, in effect, abolish freedom of speech on the island.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the American administration and the media do not seem concerned with this ominous event. But they should be. When China took over Hong Kong in 1997, it made the empty promise to give its people 50 more years of freedom. Now it threatens them with endless oppression.
It is imperative that America protest China's move and support the pro-freedom citizens of Hong Kong to whatever extent possible. The United States should, at a minimum, offer to take in any immigrants from Hong Kong who wish to flee China's rule.
While it is probably too late to save Hong Kong from China's oppression, it is never too late to speak out in defense of freedom. Not doing so means abandoning not only the people of Hong Kong, but our own deepest values.