Chinese troops
Chinese troops

‘Deadly’ China warning we’re all ignoring

 

OPINION

The world is not paying proper attention. Hello???? Wake up!!!

We are sending these poor lambs in Hong Kong to the slaughter.

I was in Beijing the day after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, covering the tumultuous events for Channel 7.

The first-hand accounts of what transpired that fateful night were told to me by students and a band of NBC cameramen.

It was far worse than what was accepted by the world as the truth.

What I also discovered from these witnesses has stuck with me forever.

Tanks rolling in to Beijing's Tiananmen Square at height of pro democracy protests in 1989. Picture: Supplied
Tanks rolling in to Beijing's Tiananmen Square at height of pro democracy protests in 1989. Picture: Supplied

They'd been following the political build-up to the final crackdown against the pro-democracy students too, and knew what would unfold.

They concluded that the Chinese political leaders of the time had become too committed to winning that standoff. The Chinese persona includes a strong sense of pride and an unwillingness to ever back down for fear of losing face.

This is in their cultural DNA.

I then spent two fascinating years in 1999 and 2000 working for a French/Australian/Chinese radio network in Beijing and Shanghai and that same DNA resurfaced in the workplace and in negotiations I had with Party work-unit executives.

They will never admit error or failing at any level. Once proposed, a concept cannot be derailed.

The only exception is if a foreigner takes responsibility for the fouling of a project. I've witnessed this first hand too many times.

And that's what these current protesters, 30 years on, are facing; Beijing is forcing

Hong Kong authorities to introduce a most primitive law and with para military troops in place, it would take a miracle for the Communist Party in Beijing to reverse their actions.

In 1989 students demanded democracy in an environment which was the antithesis of an open democracy.

Their dogged and brave appearances in the Square were never going to change the harsh status quo.

What eventuated was a late night charge against students, with bodies mowed down by tanks, rapid fire, shooting dead mainly young men and a devious late night sweep of bodies to remove the evidence.

That's what really happened.

Today, the reason for resistance is even more valid. This is a conservative protest to keep Hong Kong as it is. Hardly an unreasonable plea.

Even heavy rain did not deter protester in Hong Kong last weekend. Picture: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Even heavy rain did not deter protester in Hong Kong last weekend. Picture: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

World leaders are refusing to address and complain to the Chinese about the crux of this unrest; Beijing wants Hong Kong to send selected individuals who face charges to the mainland.

Ninety-nine per cent of charged Chinese on the mainland are prosecuted. It's as crooked and as unfair as any regime could be in the modern world.

Mao would be proud of the strict control the Party is exerting on the people of Hong Kong.

Beijing wants Hong Kong to be more like communist China, not what they promised when the territory changed hands from British control to Chinese in 1997. It's a sad and disreputable return to the dark past.

Forget 1989, the international community has many more reasons to intervene today.

We have an incredibly more relevant and worthwhile cause to support and no one seems willing to stand up to the Middle Kingdom and even mention the issue.

This is a frightening abuse of human rights and is as unacceptable as any violent counter-reaction by Chinese paramilitary forces.

Chinese military trucks and armoured personnel vehicles are poised to enter Hong Kong. Picture: Getty Images/Getty Images
Chinese military trucks and armoured personnel vehicles are poised to enter Hong Kong. Picture: Getty Images/Getty Images

Where are Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison when the oppressed need them?

The US Congress is warning China against any violent response to these protests but why are we not condemning such a sly, suspicious and corrupt law now?

This week, former Hong Kong Legislative Council MP Emily Lau told the ABC that Beijing is orchestrating all of what Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is standing behind.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Picture: AP Photo/Vincent Yu
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Picture: AP Photo/Vincent Yu

She said Beijing is now unable to negotiate or conciliate because they can never lose face.

It spells trouble for the millions of protesters who've taken to the streets and the world community who are sitting on their hands.

Pay attention before it's too late.

Chris Smith has worked in television, radio and newspapers, nationally and internationally for more than 37 years. He is currently hosting programs at Sky News and talking news regularly on Channel 7's Sunrise program, as well as writing a third book, an anthology of interviews with famous people. Continue the conversation @chrissmithradio


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