Cotton Speaks on Hong Kong National Security Law
What’s happening right now in Hong Kong is a tragedy, a crime, an affront to the civilized world. In an eventful year with so much happening every single day, we may look back in the near future and say this moment, in Hong Kong, was the most important event of the year. It’s not getting enough attention though because the Chinese Communist Party is using the pandemic as cover for its crimes against Hong Kong.
Under cover of night, the Chinese Communist Party’s puppets in Hong Kong have enacted a security law that threatens to sweep aside the traditions and freedoms that have made that city such a special place. While the Chinese Communist party hasn’t yet rolled in the tanks, as it did in Tiananmen Square, the effects of this law are no less chilling to democracy.
The security law imposes broad prohibitions on what it calls “subversive activities.” What kind of activities? Activities like waving flags. Or chanting a slogan like “Hong Kong independence” or “Hongkongers, build a nation.” In other words, the security law criminalizes basic elements of peaceful protest and democratic change that Hong Kongers have used for years—and that set them apart from their fellow citizens on the mainland.
The new law also erodes the rights of the accused that are essential to a fair legal system. The Chinese Communist Party though isn’t interested in “rights” or “fairness.” It’s interested in control, total control—and this law exerts total control over the people of Hong Kong.
Under the new law, protestors accused of such vague crimes as “separatism” and “collusion” could be smuggled away to mainland China to be tried in Communist courts. These so-called “crimes” don’t even have to be committed in Hong Kong in order to be punished; the new law could encompass expatriates with foreign citizenship living overseas—even here in America. So simply meeting with a United States Senator—like me, or Senator McConnell, or Senator Schumer, or Senator Van Hollen—could land a Hong Konger in prison for a lifetime. The Chinese Communist Part thus extends its iron rule beyond its own shores to our free soil.
Those convicted under the new law could face life imprisonment, alongside the many underground church leaders, Uighurs, Tibetans, Falun Gong members, and other persecuted individuals that the Chinese Communist Party has already “disappeared.”
Indeed, the crackdown is already underway. The Chinese Communist Party’s agents in Hong Kong rounded up as many as 300 protestors this week for “unlawful assembly.” Some of the protestors were arrested under the supposed authority of the new security law. Their fate at this moment is unknown.
The takeover of Hong Kong may seem like an event far away, especially when we have so many problems here at home. But the same could’ve been said after the Second World War, when Stalin and the Soviet secret police dropped an Iron Curtain over Eastern Europe. Czechoslovakia and Poland were far away, too, but the brutal repression of their people showed the world what was at stake in the titanic struggle between Freedom and Communism. We face the same sort of titanic struggle today.
And it’s not limited to Hong Kong. All across its periphery, the Chinese Communist Party is acting aggressively. It’s essentially invaded India and killed 20 Indian soldiers. In the South China Sea, it has attacked—or otherwise threatened—vessels from Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It has repeatedly and increasingly encroached on Taiwanese and Japanese airspace.
But in Hong Kong, the security law proves most clearly that the Chinese Communist Party will not abide by its commitments, whether to its people or to foreign countries. Through its actions this week, Beijing has effectively torn up the Joint Declaration it made with Britain to govern the peaceful handover of Hong Kong—just as cynically as China has broken its commitments to the United States, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, and others.
And of course, this law exposes once again the hideous nature of communism, which is so paranoid and insecure it can’t tolerate even a tiny outpost of freedom within its borders.
Bu no wonder. Freedom is an attractive, precious, and contagious thing. The way of life enjoyed by the citizens of Hong Kong could give the “wrong” ideas to the one billion Chinese yearning for freedom elsewhere in the country. And nothing could be more threatening to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule.
So now, the Party has begun the takeover that Hong Kongers have long feared. Those of us with freedom to speak and act on their behalf must do so now, as one of the great citadels of Asia slips into the totalitarian darkness. While dark days may lay ahead for Hong Kong, one day the future will return the sunny highlands of freedom to that small citadel.