Beijing claimed it is prepared for a “long-term” conflict with the U.S. after it effectively stripped Hong Kong of its sovereignty this week in an editorial published in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper Global Times on Wednesday.
The editorial read:
Since China is determined to push forward the national security legislation for Hong Kong, it has been prepared for any possible reaction from the U.S. Many Chinese people have realized that some U.S. politicians are seizing China by its throat. A long-term rivalry between China and the U.S. is inevitable. In the face of U.S. aggression, China should … be prepared to engage in a long-term battle with the U.S.
On Thursday, the CCP’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed a draft law terminating Hong Kong’s historic autonomy from mainland China. Under the proposed law, acts that Beijing deems as inciting “secession” or threatening “national security” may be punished as crimes. World leaders have condemned the move for violating China’s international obligations. On Thursday, the U.S. and some of its allies — the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada — issued a joint statement denouncing the legislation and expressing “deep concern” for Hong Kong’s future:
“China’s decision to impose the new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally binding, U.N.-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the statement read. This refers to Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework, which allowed the former British colony certain freedoms after it was transferred back to China in 1997. Since then, “Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom,” the statement said.
In a separate article on Thursday in the People’s Daily, another Communist Party mouthpiece, Beijing argued that the United States’ “failure” to properly address its Wuhan coronavirus outbreak demonstrates the shortcomings of American democracy, suggesting that this proves America’s political system is incompatible with that of the Communist Party. The framing further bolsters Beijing’s claim in the Global Times on Wednesday that a “long-term rivalry between China and the U.S. is inevitable.”
“[T]he … practices of the U.S. politicians have not only hurt the life and health of the Americans and led to the global spread of the virus, but also exposed the true colors of the American democracy,” the People’s Daily article stated. “[T]hey tried every means to seek selfish political gains, such as … downplaying the COVID-19 [Wuhan coronavirus] pandemic at home and fantasizing that the virus will disappear. These conducts have revealed the indifference and cold-bloodedness of the U.S. politicians and ran completely against democracy.”
On May 10, CCP authorities detained Zhang Xuezhong, a constitutional law professor, after he openly criticized the CCP’s political and legal systems. Zhang was abducted from his home in Shanghai after writing an open letter to the Chinese government in which he condemned its handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak and decried the CCP’s suppression of free speech. A former defense lawyer for Chinese human rights activists, Zhang had long been a vocal critic of the CCP.
In his letter, Zhang argued that the absence of scrutiny inherent in China’s political system allows the CCP to suppress information, limiting the peoples’ ability to protect themselves.
“[T]he outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 [Wuhan coronavirus] epidemic is a good illustration of the problem,” he argued. The lawyer also denounced China’s “backward” system of governance for lacking a modern constitution. Zhang was released by authorities on May 11.
The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic — which originated in Wuhan, China, late last year — is now responsible for at least 361,270 deaths worldwide. The Communist Party’s cover-up of China’s initial outbreak in Wuhan has been universally condemned by global health authorities and world leaders, who blame the CCP’s lack of transparency for allowing an isolated epidemic to evolve into a pandemic and global economic crisis.