As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary of its return to the Chinese motherland, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be there. This would mark the first instance when the Chinese leader would step out of the mainland, which he hasn’t do0ne since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. His visit comes at a time when Communist China has fully demonstrated its true feelings for Hong Kong and is conducting the task of integrating the international hub with the political system that the CCP has established. It’s veritable that his presence would be a confirmation of that.
Hong Kong has undoubtedly undergone changes since the large protests which had rocked the city in 2019. This proved to be the last straw and was interpreted by the CCP as the moment where it now felt bound to give effect to its long-standing desire to tighten its grip over Hong Kong. It was clear that the region had to reflect the manner of rule which Beijing follows. The passing of the National Security Law through the legislature was complimented with effective implementation.
What we see in 2022 is that the government of Hong Kong is simply another extension of the authority which rules mainland China. Dissent has been snuffed out and history is being repatterned for the younger generation so that they are fully made to believe that Hong Kong’s future lies with the Communist mainland, to the extent that some history books have emerged where it is denied that Hong Kong was a British colony, since this hurts Chinese pride. To say regarding the privileges which the residents of Hong Kong used to enjoy, it’s unlikely that they would resurrect, probably as long as the Communist party remains strong.
Thus, with this backdrop, the visit of President Xi carries weight. After all, this decision possesses reasons of its own. The first is that President Xi would seek to convey to the rest of the world that with his visit, Hong Kong is ‘officially’ under his iron grip. Its fate has been sealed. When the Chinese leader is visiting to mark an anniversary which succeeds such changes, it acts as a confirmation. Subsequently, this move also adds to the defiant attitude that President Xi’s rule has cultivated successfully, which always seems to say that China under him would accomplish its goals and the other powers cannot obstruct it from doing so.
The other reason is parallel to the need to give a message. But this one is implied in character and the important part is that it just isn’t confined to Hong Kong. It is well known that China has goals of its own. It yearns for power and it cannot be denied that the dragon is becoming ready to establish itself at the global stage. The island of Taiwan forms an integral part of the quest for power.
It is not unknown that China is desirous of occupying the self-governed state of Taiwan. Not only would its capture fulfill in technical terms the meaning of the ‘One China Principle’, but it would also give a raise to China’s position in global affairs. Its economic strength would be complemented with its strong military. It must be mentioned that every powerful nation in the world has had to use its military to heighten its stature. An apt example can be the United States of America which has deployed its armed forces in different corners of the globe and this forms an integral part of its status as a superpower.
It would not be an error to remark that the People’s Republic of China is attempting to develop precisely the same capability. A level of modernization which can be considered large in size is being done within the Chinese armed forces, so that they could achieve a status similar to their American counterparts. The Indo-Pacific region is an active witness to the challenges which Beijing has been throwing to its opponents, and is becoming a strong contender in this area. The building of fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea, regular amphibious assault exercises simulating an attack on Taiwan or a US naval base and the vigorous pursuance of security agreements with several Pacific Island nations are a testament to the efforts of China to achieve a status once enjoyed by the Soviet Union.
It is essential to remark that the world hasn’t seen the capabilities of the Chinese military machine in the 21st century. The invasion of Taiwan, which is bound to happen, will be the demonstration of the military might. If it is successful, that the world will see the rise of another global power backed a formidable military and this would effectively send a message to the rest of the world that Beijing needs to be taken seriously. At present, it cannot be clearly stated whether China would succeed, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine provides an excellent case study to ensure that it does not commit the same mistakes which Russia made.
It would not be too much of a necessity to state the blow which The United States and its allies would suffer at China’s success and especially if they remained hesitant in saving its ally and made a response similar to what they have done in the Ukrainian crisis. A response of such a measure would only whet Beijing’s appetite and then who knows, what shall take place?
It’s clear thus, that President Xi’s presence would also convey the fact that with one goal accomplished, he is now aiming for the next one.