With Hong Kong coming under the Chinese government's control, a pattern reminiscent of the happenings in Tibet in 1959 is becoming apparent, according to a Hong Kong political scientist.
Writing for The Diplomat, Dr Simon Shen in an article titled 'Hong Kong's Present Echoes Tibet's Past' points out that the current socio-political re-engineering in Hong Kong -- termed as the "Second Handover" -- is following a script reminiscent of the happenings in Tibet in 1959.
The polticial columnist refers to "1959 Tibet Rebellion" and the "2019 Hong Kong riots" and says with regard to both these regions, China was eager to remove the possibility of foreign influence. While Tibet was under the British and Indian influence, Hong Kong was seen as being under the US-led western influence.
In 1951, China had captured the Tibetan border town Chamdo and later a Seventeen Point Agreement was signed between the two governments.
While the Chinese sovereignty over Tibet was affirmed with the signing of the agreement, Tibet was granted regional autonomy.
According to The Diplomat, this autonomy - an early version of "one country, two systems" - was instituted out of necessity, as it would take time to dissolve the existing network of local interest groups.
Similarly, in the case of Hong Kong, the "one country-two systems", which was part of the Sino-British Declaration, was in reality "means to buy time to get rid of the complex, interdependent interest groups in British Hong Kong" that otherwise would have hindered Hong Kong's "reunification with the motherland."
Meanwhile, Beijing had begun implementing socialist reforms in these two regions.
According to The Diplomat, the land redistribution in Tibet was implemented to promote communist ideology, assimilate the region to meet China's geopolitical needs, and dismantle the local establishment to allow outside interest groups to enter and share local resources. A strong opposition was met by the Chinese government from the Kashag government.
In Hong Kong, 50 years later, Beijing attempted to mpulate the power balance by promoting "integration" between the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the government, but was met with strong resistance from local civil servants and elites, The Diplomat highlighted.
A similar pattern seen with both these regions was that both the 1959 rebellion in Tibet and 2019 anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong had provided China the justification it needed to scrap off the earlier agreements.
While at the end of the Tibet rebellion China ended the Seventeen Point Agreement, dissolved the Kashag government, implemented land reform, and established Tibet Autonomous Region, in 2020 Beijing imposed the national security law in Hong Kong, thus, overriding all the present institutions.
On the future of the Tibetans and Hong Kongers, Shen has opined, "For the Tibetan people, their hopes lie in passing down Tibetan culture by spreading it globally. For decades, the unique culture of Tibet has captivated Western audiences, but hopes for regaining their homeland remain bleak. As for Hong Kong, despite the mass emigration, millions of people will remain in the city to witness the post-national security law era."
( With inputs from ANI )
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