By William Jones Source: CGTN Published: 2019-10-17
On October 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed on a voice vote, the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act. This legislation would give the right to the U.S. Congress to determine whether or not Hong Kong, a legitimate part of China, has maintained the autonomy granted to it by China's central government under the "One country, Two systems" principle. If they judge that it hasn't, the U.S. will reserve the right to withdraw the status of Hong Kong as a free market.
This would obviously affect the position of U.S. companies in Hong Kong, which is of significance there. But it is not clear that it would affect investors from other countries.
Secondly, the legislation would allow the U.S. to issue visas to people reckoned to be in danger of arrest in Hong Kong for their part in the so-called "democracy demonstrations." The bill would also allow sanctions on Hong Kong individuals or officials who are deemed, again by the U.S. Congress, of having undermined Hong Kong's autonomous status.
All of this is occurring with an aura of U.S. Congress' great "devotion to Hong Kong's freedom" and to their "love of democracy, and similar claptrap. Leading protesters like Joshua Wong were brought by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to Washington, masks and all, in order to portray them to legislators as great "freedom fighters." Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz went himself to Hong Kong, along with some colleagues, donning the black garb of the protesters in "solidarity,."
The real significance of the legislation, however, is rather that it is a "shot across the bow" at China to sabotage its economic development by undermining Hong Kong's position as an international financial market. Indeed, much of the so-called "democracy movement" in Hong Kong has been supported, encouraged and no doubt even bankrolled by U.S. and British "low-intensity" operations.
The House vote was probably not entirely unexpected. The anti-China climate now prevailing in the U.S. will probably not damage any of the House members politically. But the real hypocrisy of the situation in the House is that the same "democratic" House is now on a very undemocratic rampage to undo the presidential election of 2016 with the Democrats desperately attempting to unseat President Donald Trump.
This basically confirms that many members of the U.S. Congress really don't have much respect for "democratic elections at all, especially if they go against their chosen candidates. So much for the will of the people! U.S. political elites traditionally require that our "elected officials" toe the line on the policies the elites have adopted in their rather private consultations.
With the present two-party system, anyone who is running as a candidate has first to rally support from powerful groups within one of the two parties to even consider becoming the nominee. Any "outsiders," however popular their program might be with the general public, will be blackballed, slandered, sent to jail on trumped-up charges or even assassinated, if they don't toe the line.
For some peculiar reason, Donald Trump succeeded in breaking through that mold, running as a Republican without the support of the Republican "bosses," and winning clear support from the American people. But the U.S. political elites have never been happy with him. He wanted a good relationship with Russia and with China, and both were frowned upon by our own political "savants" who still firmly believe in a Pax America.,
So the Democrats, probably aware that none of the Democratic candidates can beat Trump in a fair election, hope to use legal measures to oust him, rather than risk a fair election. The House of Representatives is presently operating as a "lynch mob" and nobody seems able to stop it.
But thanks to America's Founding Fathers, the U.S. has a separation of powers built into the system. Probably aware of what the great philosopher Plato said of democracy, that one must beware of the danger of it becoming a mobocracy, the founders of the Republic set up a system of checks and balances.
In this instance, neither the Hong Kong bill nor the impeachment of the president lies solely in the hands of the House of Representatives. The bill must now go to the Senate and if it is passed there the president must sign it into law. But it is not likely that he will.
The bill, in fact, is also an attempt by the political elites, including some Republicans, to sabotage Trump's relationship with the Chinese President and he undoubtedly knows that. And there are clear indications that he has also signaled to his own intelligence people not to encourage the demonstrators in Hong Kong. But even the blatant attempt to intervene in this manner in the internal affairs of China has caused considerable damage to the China-U.S. relationship.
William Jones is the Washington Bureau Chief for Executive Intelligence Review and a non-resident senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.