The Libertarian Party — which still hopes to become the third serious, big party in the United States — has released a tweet in support of the protesters in Hong Kong. “The people of Hong Kong are taking a serious stand for their liberty,” the party writes. “We wish them the best as they resist oppression.”
— Libertarian Party (@LPNational) August 14, 2019
The protests originally started, the Guardian reports, in opposition to a bill that would have made it possible to extradite people from Hong Kong to China. Obviously, since the Communist Party controls the courts in China, the protesters knew that any extradited persons would not receive a fair trial.
Many Hongkongers feared the law would be used by authorities to target political enemies and that it would signify the end of the “one country, two systems” policy, eroding the civil rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents since the handover of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997. Millions of people joined street marches against the bill, paralysing the city. The protests have gone from weekly to almost daily.
The authorities reacted with great anger to the protests, however. Rubber bullets and tear gas were used. One lady likely lost an eye because of all the police violence. Rather than putting down the protests with violence, the protesters only became angrier and started upping their demands. It’s now a much wider pro-democracy movement.
Although it’s quite normal for us Westerners to sympathize with the protesters, there is one major problem: the Chinese government has a history of using brutal violence to put down any and all democratic movements. Yes, it is very courageous what the protesters are doing. But history teaches us that there is no way they are going to win this battle. Quite the opposite is true. If history is anything to go by — and it usually is — these people will end up with less freedom than they currently have.
That’s why I’m very critical of the Libertarian Party’s and other Westerners’ public support for the protesters. Do they actually know what they are doing? It goes without saying that the protesters are extremely courageous. It should also be clear that I hope they’ll get what they want. But the sad fact of the matter is that it’s far more likely that China will step up its oppression of Hongkongers. This will not end well.
As for those who call on Western leaders to voice support for the protesters: again, history has shown that Beijing does not respond well to international pressure. Rather than taking a step back, it only causes the communist leadership to step it up a notch or ten. It’s sad — it’s terrible even! — but it won’t help Hongkongers one bit to have President Trump, Prime Minister Johnson, or President Macron condemn China’s government. If anything, it’ll just make matters worse.