Prior to the publishing deadline, authorities released a message they will “deal with the Occupy Movement”, including a clearance. A clearance has always been expected. The question is at what time and in what way. However, a long-term problem worth paying more attention to is, after experiencing this protracted “Umbrella Movement”, will Beijing’s policy on Hong Kong change? All indications seem to suggest at least two clear trends in the future.
Beijing will take the “won’t care” policy one step further, and carry out a “no negotiation” policy. The so-called “won’t care” policy, means that whatever requests Hong Kongers make, or whatever actions they may take that are not aligned with Beijing’s interests and wishes, they will find them all rejected by Beijing, even when it seems irrational. There is nothing to restrain Beijing’s right to rule and they will deny Hong Kong demands with impunity.
The most notable example recently is the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) representatives. Holding valid Home Visit Permits (HVPs), they planned to head to Beijing to reflect the views of Hong Kong people. However, their HVPs were invalidated just before they boarded the aircraft. This is another case of Chinese citizens’ legal documents being invalidated like the “Feng Zhenghu incident” in Shanghai [an activist who was inexplicably denied re-entry to China four times after seeking medical treatment in Japan]. So far, no Chinese government has publicly taken responsibility for that matter, claiming it is only the action of “authority” under the “relevant provisions”.
Investigations show that the Chinese Government has the right to cancel HVPs or Chinese passports which have been issued, but only if one of three conditions exist. One: The person deceives or provides false information to hide the truth from authorities. Two: The person is involved in theft, violence, or similar criminal acts. Three: The holder has a psychiatric problem. However, the members of HKFS do not have the above three problems. Even if the authority believes they may violate Chinese laws after their entry, how can the authority assume they may break the law as they have not yet arrived?
In any case, with China exhibiting the “won’t care”, and the “no negotiation” attitude, the students were denied their trip to Beijing. The authorities have a taken a hard line, further illustrating the fact Beijing will neither give way in constitutional reforms nor offer even an opportunity for dialogue. The Chinese Government does not care if the US or other Western countries are concerned about the conditions in Hong Kong, because the Chinese see very clearly that these countries pay more attention to economic issues and trade relations with China. They will not fall out with China because of the development of democracy in Hong Kong and China. This is why the Chinese government can have its own way and can act unscrupulously.
In addition, there are some indications showing the situation is getting worse. Before and after the HVPs of HKFS members were canceled, other stakeholders, such as people in charge of different university unions, those involved in the preparatory work of the Occupy Movement, and even unrelated persons unlucky enough to have the same name were also rejected and could not enter Mainland. In other words, the Chinese government has in hand a black list showing who can and cannot enter China (including short-term or long-term). One wonders how the list is developed and where do they get information of the persons they seek to ban.
Dig dig dig
Sources within the industry said the information of people on the list can be obtained from public sources, such as the list of University Students’ Union. However, some information must be sought from less easily accessed sources requiring some effort. For example, for the five-hundred people arrested on July 2 this year, their names were in court and police records. But most people do not bother to access these sources. Only those with special requirements will deliberately go to the courts to collect the information.
However, if they only collect information through open channels, they can only get the names of the persons concerned, but not their identity card numbers and other personal information. Well, here, the possibility of information leakage exists. Consider this: If the current Hong Kong and the Mainland authorities have a notification mechanism, and if such information is transferred through such mechanisms, then it indirectly shows “One Country, Two Systems” is unable to protect the privacy of the people of Hong Kong.
Political ends, economics means
The second trend suggests Beijing will, in the future, find more ways to discipline Hong Kong, including by through economic instruments. During the “Umbrella Movement”, the “Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect”, long-planned to launch in October, was delayed.
According to information disclosed by the Government, it was Beijing’s concern for an out of control Hong Kong, with a compromised rule of law, that saw the launch of the Connect put on hold. Subsequently, CY Leung promised Beijing that he “can properly handle the Occupy” situation. He also made the same promise to Xi again, face to face, when he attended the APEC meeting in Beijing. He finally succeeded in lobbying Beijing to launch the “Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect”. This message originally credited CY for the progress, but inadvertently revealed that Beijing always connects Hong Kong political and economic issues to tell the Hong Kong people that the Central Government can control the city’s economic lifeline. They seek to force the Hong Kong people to face reality: Hong Kong can not go beyond the boundaries set by the Central Government, otherwise it will be punished.