Nicholas Gilby, author of Deception in High Places, discusses the latest protests which have broken out in Hong Kong and the role that the UK arms trade is playing in supporting its repression.
On Sunday, serious unrest broke out in Hong Kong and large-scale protests still continue. A student-driven movement drew tens of thousands on to the streets of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, calling for a truly free election for the Chief Executive of the territory in 2017. The police used considerable amounts of tear gas on the peaceful protesters, in an attempt to disperse them. Sadly, it appears that some of the tear gas used in the attempt to crush the pro-democracy protests may have been licensed for export by the UK Government, the former colonial power.
When, after 99 years of British rule, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 it was agreed that “the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years”. In practice this means the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) enjoy much greater civil liberties than those in Communist-run China, including, for example, unhindered internet access and freedom of speech. Further, the rule of law of prevails, and corruption is not nearly as widespread as in mainland China.
The Chinese Government had previously promised that universal suffrage would be used in the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2017 and in the election of all legislators in 2020. But, in August, the Chinese Government decided that all candidates in the election for Chief Executive had to be approved by Beijing. In other words, Hong Kong’s citizens will not have a free choice to elect who they want. Read the rest of this entry »