Published June 24, 2021
China’s crushing of the pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily shows that this Communist leopard will not change its spots. The West, and especially the United States, should not sit idly by.
The paper’s decision to shut down was forced by a Chinese-sponsored crackdown on its leadership and financial backing. With some of its executives and editors in prison and its financing tied up, the paper simply could not continue. China’s leaders surely believe that Hong Kongers will slowly reconcile themselves to living in a prosperous tyranny once they see the pro-democracy movement will not win.
It’s clear that today’s Chinese government will not give Hong Kong the freedoms it was guaranteed when the United Kingdom turned its colony over to the mainland in 1997. China promised it would maintain its liberties for 50 years; Hong Kong is instead experiencing political strangulation in less than half of that time. Nothing the United States or its allies can do will reverse that fact in the near term.