The incoming Biden-Harris administration should hold a strong stance on Hong Kong’s democracy, freedom, and liberty, when the Chinese government has been tightening its grip on the city’s autonomy.
On November 11, 2020, all pro-democracy lawmakers in the Hong Kong Legislative Council resigned from their seats, after a number of them, who are seen as a threat to national security, had been ousted from the locally elected council. A recent resolution of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee granted the local government power to bypass judicial reviews and to remove lawmakers.
The political rights of Hong Kong people enshrined in the city’s local laws, known as the Basic Laws, is vanishing. Looking at what happened in Xinjiang and other autonomous regions, everyone who believes in democracy and liberty, including me, is greatly worried about our home city, soon to suffer from re-education camps and be fully controlled under the Chinese autocracy. It is no joke, and the world already sees it happening.
During the election campaign period, it is interesting to see many Hong Kong people prefer President Donald Trump to Vice President Joe Biden, and some Hong Kong news outlets highlighted Trump’s anti-China agenda. When the election result became obvious, my friends from home were upset that Trump lost and Biden won. Sometimes calling him “China Joe,” the pro-democracy allies in Hong Kong and Taiwan share a negative sentiment of Biden’s close relationship with China in his past years in politics. Biden is too soft, bureaucratic, and diplomatic - this is another claim that some Hong Kong people challenge the ability of Biden to confront the ruthless Chinese government in human rights issues.
Honestly, I do share the worries that my people have. It is worthy of concern that the Chinese government once thought Biden as a “good old friend.” Without Trump as the president, the U.S. countermeasures might not be extreme as they used to be in the past four years, directly shaking the Chinese economic power. Some Hong Kong political analysts believe that the best deterrence to the Chinese government is to be haphazard. This is probably not what Biden will act like.
However, it is also worth optimism that both the Democractic and Republican Parties agree on stopping China’s unethical human rights abuses and erosion of democracies. Among all of Trump’s policies the Biden administration would like to revoke, those related to the U.S.-China issues are not the very top priority. Ironically speaking, restoring the situation of what Trump had done in the U.S.-China relation also takes time.
Despite all, I hope Joe Biden, now the president-elect, and his team do not betray millions of Hong Kong people who put their faith in democracy, but rather be proactive in deterring the autocratic regime, and keep up a hardline towards the Chinese government in Hong Kong.