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Ken’s Thought of the Week: Hong Kong implications are big



By Ken Abramowitz, President & Founder, SaveTheWest

The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong is a very positive development for democracies worldwide. The people there, most of whom were born and raised in the freest economy in the world, are terrified at the prospect of their freedom and prosperity being surrendered, piece by piece, to China’s dictatorship. Here is a video summary of the background of the protests, by the Wall St. Journal; see more in Additional Reading:

For those who are unfamiliar with Hong Kong’s transformation from an impoverished sea port in the 1950s, ruled by a tyrannical government, to one of the world’s economic powerhouses — in less than 40 years — this 15-minute documentary provides an excellent introduction:

For a background on the jarring difference between free Hong Kong, and the brutal tyrannies that have ruled China for millennia, here is an expansive documentary, produced by the CIA in 1967:


Democracies now represent approximately 50% of the world’s population and 65% of the world’s GDP. The remainder of the world’s population is controlled by dictatorships.

Democracies don’t know this, but the dictatorships have declared war on them. China, in particular, is pursuing a breakneck military expansion, with the objective of undermining and ultimately overtaking America as the world’s top superpower.

Michael Pilsbury, Director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, is considered  by many to be one of America’s premier experts on China’s strategic thinking, which he describes in a new book, The Hundred-year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America As the Global Superpower. In this video, Pilsbury discusses his book, and what America must do to protect itself.

Given what is at stake — of remaining free, or being taken over by Chinese tyranny — the people of Hong Kong are risking their lives to stand up for freedom — and the U.S. is obligated to stand with them, and indeed, all other people standing for freedom and democracy, everywhere, and every time.

A successful resolution to Hong Kong’s quest for democracy and autonomy (not independence) is very important to the U.S. for five reasons:

(1) When the U.K.’s 99 year lease over Hong Kong expired, it turned over responsibility to China. For 50 years, until 2047, China agreed to set up a “special administrative region” for Hong Kong, under a policy called “one country, two systems.” The U.S. and U.K. should hold China to its own agreement.

(2) As the U.S. seeks to conclude a trade deal with China, the US will obviously have to negotiate a strong enforcement mechanism.

(3) The U.S. must set a further example by strengthening military relations with Taiwan.

(4) The U.S. must stay strong to set an example to nearby North Korea.

(5) The U.S. must set an example for other dictatorships, including Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.

In international relations, all eyes of the world are focused on the behavior of the key powers. Hong Kong is a flash point for democracies and dictatorships alike. We have a huge responsibility to stay strong and support democratic movements everywhere, so dictatorships could be defeated.  It will take time, but the alternatives are unacceptable.

Additional Reading

The Hong Kong protests

Why Hong Kong has a right to self-determination – Washington Times

What Will China Do with the Hong Kong Protests?

How Months of Protests Have Unfolded in Hong Kong – Bloomberg

Hong Kong Protests Force Companies to Choose: Their Employees or China – WSJ

How Hong Kong’s complex history explains its current crisis with China – National Geographic

Cathay Pacific: A storied carrier bruised by Hong Kong’s protests – The Indian Express

More airline staff fired as Hong Kong protests enter 12th week – Financial Times

Hong Kong’s transformation from tyrannical, destitute sea port into freedom & prosperity

The Man Behind the Hong Kong Miracle – Foundation for Economic Education

Meet the invisible hand behind Hong Kong’s rise – Adam Smith in the finance ministry – The Economist

John James Cowperthwaite bio – Wikipedia

Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report; Hong Kong is ranked as freest – Fraser Institute

VIDEO: Economic Miracle of Hong Kong- Milton Friedman, Johan Norberg

VIDEO: Stossel: Exposing Students to Free Markets; Hong Kong’s free economy

History of China’s oppression, violence and mass murder

China Finally Snuffs Out a Beacon of Liberal Thought and Democracy – WSJ (August 27, 2019)

Why Did China Lease Hong Kong to Britain? – ThoughtCo

The Hundred-year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America As the Global Superpower, by Michael Pillsbury

Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘killed 45 million in four years’ – The Independent

China: Confessions of a Red Guard – CNN

VIDEO: Still ashamed of my part in Mao’s Cultural Revolution – BBC News

VIDEO: Mao’s Great Famine

VIDEO: Mao’s Bloody Revolution

VIDEO: Mao’s Red Guards

“Political Correctness and the Ideological Struggle: From Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault” by Ellis, Frank – The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies