Atop its masthead, the Washington Post warns that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” That may be true in certain instances, but democracy can also die in direct sunlight, right before our eyes. It’s been happening for months in Hong Kong.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) systematic assault against freedom of speech and assembly, plus other restrictions on Hong Kong’s citizens if they dissent from Xi Jinping’s one-party communist orthodoxy, is a remarkable development with global implications. The CCP abrogated China’s 50-year agreement with the United Kingdom, signed in 1997, that guaranteed Hong Kong citizens’ basic rights, freedoms and political self-determination. China has also imprisoned human-rights advocates and other pro-democracy “dissidents,” claiming that its actions are purely an internal matter needed to assure domestic “stability.”
Hong Kong has long been a major global financial center. Its demise will have significant international ramifications. Western democracies have an obligation now to stop this looming disaster.