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Are Hong Kong’s Protestors More ‘American’ Than the Socialist Democrats?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Vincent Thian

It was hard not to notice the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protestors participating in massive demonstrations in the past weeks against China, including many holding American and Gadsden flags as well as signs referencing 1776.  


To the protestors, America is the shining example of liberty and freedom, throwing off tyrannical British rule to earn her independence. What many of the protestors fail to recognize, is that America no longer exists. In a strange twist of irony, since 1995 Hong Kong has had a higher economic freedom index score than the United States for years.  And while Hong Kong millennials seek to maintain the freedoms guaranteed to them under their form of a constitution, many of America’s millennials are chasing exactly the opposite - their utopian dream of a centralized socialist America bolstered by the new brand of socialist democrats.

Hong Kong has always been known as a shining example of one of the bastions of free market capitalism and individual freedoms. Hong Kong has one of the largest concentration of billionaires, shining skyscrapers, investment firms, and the highest concentration of Rolls Royces per capita in the world. According to the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong ranks No. 1 in the world, while the United States lags behind at number 12.

Established as a British Colony in 1851, Hong Kong has thrived as a major port and financial center as its government, much like the United States was based on English Common Law. In 1984 the Sino-British Joint Declaration Treaty was signed by Britain, Ireland and the People’s Republic of China to transfer the sovereignty of Hong Kong back to China after Britain’s lease expired in 1997. Over a gradual 50-year process fundamental rules were established making Hong Kong a Special Administration Region, or what is commonly known as “one country, two systems.”   


Hong Kong could continue in a capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged until 2047.  The Joint Declaration provides for fundamental policies of governance, separate from China under Hong Kong Basic Law, which is essentially their constitution. Similar in some respects to our Bill of Rights, basic tenets of the Basic Law were designed to be their citizens’ pillars of freedom, including; prohibition of socialist systems, a guaranteed capitalist system for 50 years, equality of persons before the law, freedoms of religion, demonstration, association, assembly and speech. It also includes protections from unlawful arrests, detention or imprisonment and spells out the autonomy of Hong Kong courts and elections free and separate from China.

Hong Kong has seen a steady decline in their freedoms as China began to impose impediments to those freedoms using coercion of government officials, propaganda, wrongful arrests and imprisonments. In 2014, Hong Kong rebelled (also known as the Umbrella Protests) in protests to Chinese interference in their electoral system, which allowed the Chinese Communist Party to pre-screen candidates and limit electoral choices to those hand-picked by the communists.

The most recent protests, fueled by Hong Kong’s Chinese-controlled leaders proposed allowing for the Chinese to extradite a Hong Kong citizen with a very low-level (if any) suspicion of a crime. While not directly implying an extradition could include “thought crimes” or invented crimes against the Party, the citizens of Hong Kong know all too well that being designated an “enemy of the state” could have dire consequences if China was able to pluck a citizen from Hong Kong at will. This directly conflicts with the Treaty of “one country, two systems” as Hong Kong courts have the exclusive jurisdiction of the administration of law in Hong Kong.


Hong Kong’s citizens reacted with swift and significant actions by demonstrating and shutting down the Hong Kong airport and many major thoroughfares. The Chinese have responded by rattling their sabers, stationing troops across the border, arresting pro-democracy organizers, infiltrating the demonstrators with mafia-like thugs, and using police and military violence against peaceful protests.

The citizens of Hong Kong know exactly what liberty is, as they’ve enjoyed it for decades and more likely a higher level of it than any other country. It’s sad and ironic that Hong Kong looks to America for that same sense of liberty as they sing our national anthem, wave Old Glory and recite the Declaration of Independence.

While the citizens of Hong Kong only wish to be left alone, and demonstrate not for any “new” rights, but only to the rights they have been guaranteed, many in America - and especially Generation Z and Millennials, at the behest of the Socialist Democrat presidential candidates - wish for even more government control of our lives.

While China may be the poster child for someone losing all their liberty, or in many cases their lives for being politically incorrect, America steams ahead with encroachments to our liberties like a slow-moving glacier, inch-by-inch until suddenly we realize they’re gone. Well-intentioned government programs like The Patriot Act, NSA spying on private citizens, meta data collection, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are all promoted by elected officials for our safety, yet Hong Kong citizens would be stunned by the level of liberty encroachments we have allowed here. Even our tax system is based on Marxist ideology and we lose all the Bill of Rights in related tax matters.


While the Hong Kong protestors wave American flags in pro-democracy demonstrations, the socialist Democrats are embarrassed by and hostile to that same flag and, unlike Hong Kong, want more government in every aspect of our lives. Americans are like the frog in the pot of boiling water, not realizing their fate until it’s too late.

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