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  • Writer's pictureXiaodong Fang

Democracy Invasion vs. Military Crush: Some Thoughts on Hong Kong

While many signs showing that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will enter Hong Kong to crush the protests, I would rather argue that the priority of PLA is defending the invasion of democracy into the Mainland than suppressing the unrest in Hong Kong.


Power play between Hong Kong and the Mainland

The battle in Hong Kong means more than the economy, military, and politics. It's a rival between democracy and authoritarian, between liberty and suppression, and between rule of law and rule of one man. On the surface, Hong Kong is in a weaker position where its hard power is unmatchable to the Mainland. However, in terms of soft power, the most powerful weapons of people in Hong Kong is the norm of democracy. China is destined to lose the soft power war. The well-trained and practiced civil society, the backup from the international society, and people's will to fight for freedom are the advantages of Hong Kong, and they are undeprivable.


Can the weak Hong Kong defeat the strong China?

Yes. Mao Zedong already gave you the answer. In "On Protracted War", Mao said that

"...Japan has great military, economic and political-organizational power, but that her war is reactionary and barbarous, her manpower and material resources are inadequate, and she is in an unfavourable position internationally. China, on the contrary, has less military, economic and political-organizational power, but she is in her era of progress, her war is progressive and just, she is moreover a big country, a factor which enables her to sustain a protracted war, and she will be supported by most countries."

The current situations of Hong Kong vs. China are similar to those of China vs. Japan in World War II. On the Hong Kong side, the longer the people of Hong Kong keep their protests, the greater chance they have to gain more international support and fulfill their claims. On the China side, the more coercion and threats the Chinese Government imposes on people's expression for freedom, the less morality and legitimacy it retains to continue its pressure on Hong Kong and refrain the diffusion of democracy.


What the Western should do?

As mentioned by Mao, and suggested by the Chinese history in modern times, the changes of China are, to some extent, depending on the Western interference. Soft power is important to resist, but the hard power is still necessary to win the war. The ultimate victory of democracy relies on the solid backup from the free world. Some two hundred ago, it was the British who explored Hong Kong and then triggered a series of revolutions in China. Today, the free world, led by the U.S., has the duty to defend the norm of democracy and the current events in Hong Kong could become a start point to spread democracy in China.



To encourage and save the people of Hong Kong who are defending their freedom at present, and to enlighten and help the people of China who have never enjoyed freedom in the long run, actions should be taken by the powerful and influential politicians, candidates, media, interest groups, and other players in the U.S.


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