By: Joseph Bosco, Opinion Contributor
The people of Hong Kong have demonstrated dramatically — and until Monday, nonviolently — that they reject Beijing’s heavy-handed tactics in eroding the territory’s autonomy guaranteed in the political handover of the British crown colony to the People’s Republic of China. Over the years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has engaged in a creeping reneging of those arrangements. When it changed the election laws in 2014, it triggered a citizen protest culminating in the Umbrella Movement.
Since Deng Xiaoping announced the “one country, two systems” concept in 1984 as the model for Hong Kong and Taiwan, the people of Taiwan have taken an avid interest in what has been happening in the autonomous polity.
Already turned off by Beijing’s treatment of the Chinese people under its direct control, Taiwanese aversion to communist rule only deepened by what they saw happening in Hong Kong. They sympathized with the plight of the population and were impressed by their spirit of resistance. In a kind of whip-sawing of democratic assertiveness, the people of Hong Kong were reciprocally inspired by Taiwan’s stand against China’s economic, diplomatic and military pressures as expressed in the 2014 Sunflower Movement.
Taiwanese public opinion had been gradually turning against China ever since the Tiananmen Square massacreexposed in the bloodiest way the despotic nature of that government. The fact that it was carried out by Deng, the leader who promised fair and decent treatment for the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan, undermined any potential attractiveness of the “one country, two systems” formula.
On the contrary, for older Taiwanese, it revived painful memories of their own encounter with murderous government brutality in the White Terror and February 28 events. Having rid themselves of an anti-communist dictatorship, they had no intention of throwing themselves into the arms of a communist one. [FULL STORY]