Two prominent Chinese activists speaking in New Delhi
Hong Kong’s Pro-democracy demonstrators are left to fend for themselves, as Beijing continues to crack down on popular uprising
“When two million citizens out of a total population of 7.2 million come out on to the streets of Hong Kong to challenge the tyranny of mainland China, the world must understand its real meaning” says one Chinese scholar. And, “ the people of Hong Kong are shocked at the indifference and incapability of the western world to stand up for democratic values as they find themselves alone facing a tyrannical Beijing government”, says another internationally acclaimed democracy activist of China.
New Delhi had a rare chance of listening to two prominent Chinese scholars and activists who spoke on “Dimensions of Hong Kong movement and its meaning for democracy movement in China” at Constitution Club lastThursday. The event was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE), Delhi Journalists Association (DJA), and Research and Development Foundation for Integral Humanism (RDFIH).
Prof. Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, a veteran political scientist of China and currently Honorary Rector at the ‘New School of Democracy’ at Hong Kong, said that the uprising in today’s Hong Kong does not only reflect people’s anger towards the new policies of the local government, lead by Ms. Carrie Lam, but it actually reflects loss of people’s faith in Beijing which controls it.
“In Hong Kong where business community has been a big beneficiary of Chinese policies, it is interesting to note that this community too stands with the people’s uprising. This simply reflects the loss of faith of Hong Kong people in the legal and political system of China”, he said.
“Current studies show that over 70 percent of people of Hong Kong have sympathy for the ongoing public movement. Over 50 percent people have just ‘zero’ confidence in police and more than 40 percent have zero confidence in the governments of PRC and the Carrie Lam led government of Hong Kong”, he adds.
Analyzing the reasons behind the unending chain of popular public demonstrations in Hong Kong since past five years Prof. Cheng says, “Young people are very unhappy about the vast gap between the rich and the poor and sharply declining chances of upward social mobility caused by Chinese policies. Even basic needs like housing have become unaffordable for young people of Hong Kong”, he said.
Mr. Chin Jin, a renowned Democracy Activist of China and Secretary General of the Joint Working Committee for Chinese Democratic Movement which represents three major organizations of overseas Chinese, said that “While handing over Hong Kong to China in
July 1,1997 neither UK nor the rest of free world had proper understanding of Chinese communist leaders, especially about their attitude towards agreements”.
In the context of ongoing uprising in Hong Kong, Mr. Chin Jin discussed three probabilities for China in near future. First is that the Communist Party leaders would tighten their grip over the system and the people to enslave them further. But in the modern world where communication technology and democratic awareness are consistently increasing, Communist leaders of Beijing may not be able to maintain such a grip indefinitely.
The second probability is that either as a tactic or under world pressure Beijing leaders may open up China and bring reforms. But this looks quite unlikely because of pressure from the 500 families who form the clique that controls the Communist Party of China and the system, will not let the power go out of their hands.
The third probability presented by Mr. Chin Jin relates to China getting into the centre of a trade war with major rival economies which can pull down the Chinese economy. The CPC and its leaders may find it impossible to handle the uprising from its own people and this may lead to splitting of China into many aspiring parts. “This is the situation when People’s Republic of China may take to democracy. Not as a united China–but as a China minus occupied countries like Tibet and Xinjiang”, says Mr. Chin Jing.
However, Mr. Chin Jin’s major regret was about the western democracies. “Although major western governments claim to stand for democratic values yet they have consistently played a major role in failing the democratic aspirations of Chinese people. All these years they have been supporting the Communist regimes of China with their misplaced hope that economic prosperity in China will lead to more respect for democracy by the Beijing regime”, he said.
In his presidential address Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Chairman RDFIH said that the root cause of Chine colonialism lies in the concept of political nation state which replaced the traditional idea of cultural nation state which was practiced across the world since time immemorial. This modern concept of geographic countries lead to political division of nations, colonialism and exploitation.
Senior journalist Vijay Kranti, who is a veteran China watcher and Chairman of CHASE moderated the event. In his welcome note he expressed concern over lack of frank and fair discussion on China in India. “Unfortunately the entire field of China studies and public discourse about Chinese affairs has been nearly monopolized by the leftists of India for over six decades. This unfair and incomplete narrative has dominated the minds of opinion makers and policy makers on most matters related to China and India-China relations”, he said. Branding this intellectual aberration as ‘Mira Sinha Syndrome’ he recalled how diplomat turned China-scholar late Comrade Ms. Mira Sinha Bhattacharjea indoctrinated at least two generations of Indian China scholars and foreign ministry recruits with her Marxist and pro-China ideology.
In his welcome address Mr. Manohar Singh, a veteran journalist and President of DJA underlined that this was first time in past many years that audience in New Delhi had a chance of listening to two prominent Chinese scholars who hold independent opinion and have shown the courage of challenging the autocratic authority of Communist rulers of China. He assured the intellectuals, present in the audience that DJA will continue its tradition of educating fellowjournalists on new and important issues.