China Hong Kong -Even in part of its territory, the ruling party is still an underground organization, but as it celebrates the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party this week, there are signs that it is emerging from the shadow of the former British colony of Hong Kong and becoming China’s most turbulent city.
More importantly, the party, which is feared and hated by many Hong Kong people, is demanding their love and absolute loyalty.
Lv Xiaolong, a senior lecturer and senior political commentator at Hong Kong Baptist University, said: “For the CCP, the most important thing is that the people of Hong Kong recognize China’s achievements under the leadership of the party.” “Those who can’t do this just don’t. Love the party and the country.”
In early June, despite restrictions on COVID-related gatherings, more than 350 people gathered in a public square in Hong Kong to sing the patriotic song “Without the Communist Party, there would be no New China.”
Two weeks ago, a symposium on the centennial of the party was held in the heavily guarded convention center in the city center. Political elites including past and current CEOs participated in the symposium.
On the weather radar at one of the highest points in the territory, the slogan “Obey the Party” is faintly visible in the skyscrapers below.
In the past few years, the CCP’s status in this former British colony has become higher and higher, and it has declared its existence in the territories ruled by China in 1997.
For more than half a century of the last century, Hong Kong has always been refuge Generations after generations of mainland Chinese who have fled Communist Party rule.
After the civil war ended in 1949, the Communist Party took over the nationalists who retreated to Taiwan, first of all the wealthy class. Industrialists, landlords and merchants from Shanghai and nearby prosperous coastal cities moved south because of concerns about the prospect of collectivization.
The next to arrive are the intellectuals, who were the targets of political cleansing in the 1950s. What followed was an exodus of civilians driven out by the violence of famine and the Cultural Revolution.
Between 1952 and 1965, at least 1.5 million people fled to Hong Kong for asylum, accounting for nearly half of the population at that time.
For many people, the dash for freedom and the trauma of life under communism are etched in family legends.
But even during the colonial period, the Communists never stayed away from Hong Kong.
Communism supporters played a role in the large-scale strikes in the British colonies of the time in 1922 and 1925. In 1967, the Communist Party-supported trade unions instigated riots, resulting in 51 deaths and 848 injuries.
Thereafter, the colonial authorities decided to eliminate the communist groups by compulsory government registration, thereby pushing all these groups underground—except for one.
Xinhua News Agency as the party’s front
According to the book “Underground Front”, after Communist fighters played a key role in defending the Japanese-occupied rural areas of Hong Kong, Xinhua News Agency was established at the end of World War II as the party’s liaison office and was allowed to operate legally. “The Communist Party of Hong Kong” is composed of Christine Lu, a former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
Before the handover in 1997, Xinhua News Agency will serve as the de facto Chinese mission and the party’s command center in the city.
However, in 1987, three years after the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, Xu Jiatun, then president of the Xinhua News Agency, chose a party member who worked incognito at the school as his deputy. Shocked Hong Kong society. Xu thinks this is an urgent reminder of political reality.
“This is what Xu said to me:’Now that Hong Kong wants to return to Chinese sovereignty, it is best for Hong Kong people to get used to the fact that the CCP is in Hong Kong,'” said Cheng Xiang, a long-time China commentator. In politics, he was the chief editor of Wen Wei Po, one of the Hong Kong daily newspapers controlled by the official media group.
Two years after the handover, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government formally replaced Xinhua News Agency. The Liaison Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China said that Beijing strictly requires the Liaison Office to comply with “One country, two systemsThe framework agreed with the United Kingdom does not interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
However, in 2003, after 500,000 people took to the streets to oppose Beijing’s anti-incitement legislation and won, the Liaison Office found an excuse to intervene, although it was still an agent.
As the Chinese economy began to take off, the campaign resources of the two pro-Beijing parties in the region became more abundant. They were brought together through the Liaison Office and donated by local tycoons who were eager to please Beijing.
About 10 years later, as Chinese President Xi Jinping continues to consolidate his power, the Communist Party he leads as general secretary is strengthening its dominance on the mainland. In Hong Kong, the public mostly regards the party’s quiet existence as an afterthought.
However, in the past year, liaison office statements have become more frequent, such as: “patriot Hong Kong must be governed. No one who opposes the party can be called a patriot. “
At a symposium two weeks ago, it reminded the participants: “There is no Communist Party, there is no’one country, two systems'”. The framework aims to ensure the colonial status quo of civil liberties and rule of law 50 years after the handover.
“The party’s supremacy message is clear,” Lu told Al Jazeera. “No longer use vague words like’Central’ and warm words like’Motherland’ to express party leadership.”
At the handover ceremony, it was agreed that a committee would elect the chief executive of Hong Kong, and the candidates must first pass the review by Beijing. In the legislature, only half of the seats are directly elected to ensure that Beijing can maintain control while providing Hong Kong people with some political voice.
but New election rules The policies imposed by Beijing have drastically reduced the number of directly elected seats, and pro-democratic politicians have also been affected. Disqualification under National Security Law Implemented last year.Most people are in jail, while others escaped exile.
More and more people speculate that the party is focusing on making new progress in Hong Kong’s electoral politics.
Just after the pro-democracy camp won the 2019 district council elections, a mainland academic and party mouthpiece disparaged pro-Beijing parties as “loyal losers”. landslideLast December, a new political group, the Bauhinia Party, appeared out of thin air.
The Bauhinia Party, founded by immigrants from mainland China, claims to have a membership target of 250,000, although the main pro-Beijing party managed to acquire only 50,000 members in 30 years. This ambitious goal has raised suspicions that the party is a guise for the Communist Party-seeking to place members in elected positions while maintaining the appearance of “one country, two systems”.
Commentator Cheng estimates that at least 400,000 Communist Party members are waiting in Hong Kong, although no one really knows who they are or whether they joined the Communist Party locally or on the mainland.
“Beijing concluded that it is not feasible for Hong Kong people to manage Hong Kong,” Cheng said. “So now the party wants to play a direct role.”