Hong Kong, with its Sino-Western heritage, lies on the fault line of the intensifying confrontation between the Western Empire and China. The conflict is likely to be the defining international affair of our time. That’s a fundamental reason the former British colony and current Chinese special administrative region has been wracked by turmoil the past two months.
In a fundamental way, Hong Kong is undergoing a crisis of values. The contest is between the Empire’s ideology of Freedom, Democracy & Human Rights (FDHR), which has been instilled for 155 years by British rulers, and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Unfortunately, the systematic inculcation of FDHR in Hong Kong has focused solely on the dogma’s ideals, not their application in the real world.
There, FDHR has largely sacrificed the interests of the 99% majority for those of the 1% elites at home. Abroad, it is a spearhead of the Western imperium’s predatory domination of the world — and a beachhead for influencing, subverting and even regime-changing governments that the West doesn’t like. Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, meanwhile, serves the 99% rather than the 1% domestically. Globally, it promotes peace and mutually beneficial development. But nobody told Hong Kong’s FDHR admirers about any of that. And most don’t have the minimal intellectual curiosity and capability needed to find out for themselves.
Indeed, many Hong Kongers have embraced the West’s Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights with a religious fervor. As “Absolute Truth,” it is beyond challenge via rational debate. Worse, it confers on many acolytes an overweening sense of self-righteousness. With God-is-on-my-side conviction, they feel they can do no wrong. Wrongdoings and crimes are understandable, even acceptable if committed in the name of FDHR. These transgressions range from lying incessantly, rioting and violent vandalism to trashing people and property and damaging the livelihood of others. All are excused if they are committed to advance the cause of Free, Democracy and Human Rights.
It is this collapse of good sense and ethical bearings that’s perhaps the most nefarious feature of Hong Kong’s continuing turmoil. When so many minds have been poisoned by an aggressive faith in a false god, it is hard to be optimistic about a community. That’s especially so when most of the believers remain willfully ignorant about realities in their motherland, as well as about Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Instead, they grasp tightly China’s image as the repressive ogre depicted by the omnipresent Western propaganda machinery and their anti-Beijing peers and mentors in the special administrative region.
The conflict in Hong Kong is in fact a microcosm of the one the world will be facing in the decades ahead. Led by the United States, the Western Empire is pushing countries to choose between itself and China — the Western way or the Chinese way. That is not a choice Beijing is obliging anyone to make, however.
Alert, forward-looking individuals and nations can see that the predatory, zero-sum paradigm of the Western Empire is headed for the dustbin of history. For Hong Kong as for all humanity, the only viable way forward in the 21st century is peace, mutual understanding and cooperation, and win-win. China is blazing that particular path.