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Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 23:29
Hong Kong has special role in the ‘new Cold War’
By Zhou Bajun
Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 23:29 By Zhou Bajun

Addressing a symposium on Sept 3 commemorating the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) and the World Anti-Fascist War, President Xi Jinping underscored five “never-allow” scenarios, of which the Chinese people will never allow any individual or any force to distort the history of the Communist Party of China or smear the Party’s nature and mission; distort and alter the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, or deny and vilify the great achievements the Chinese people have made in building socialism; separate the CPC from the Chinese people or counterpose the Party to the Chinese people; impose their will on China through bullying, change China’s direction of progress, or obstruct the Chinese people’s efforts to achieve a better life; jeopardize their peaceful life and right to development, obstruct their exchanges and cooperation with other peoples, or undermine the noble cause of peace and development of humanity.

At the National Commendation Conference for Fighting COVID-19 last week, President Xi indicated that an important aspect of measuring the success and preeminence of a governing system was the ability to mobilize manpower and resources to jointly respond to major threats and challenges. He said that China’s socialist system had demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in organization and mobilization, overall planning and coordination, as well as implementation of initiatives, giving full play to its unique advantages of tackling major, difficult and urgent tasks. He attributed the success of combating COVID-19 to the preeminence of China’s national system and governance.

Although there was no mention of the United States in Xi’s speech, the international community understands that was a solemn declaration to resolutely oppose the “new Cold War” launched by the US against China.

Hong Kong should do its best in supporting and participating in the Global Initiative on Data Security once it is launched

Speaking on Sept 8 at the International Seminar on Global Digital Governance, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would like to propose a Global Initiative on Data Security and looked forward to the active participation of all parties. The initiative comprises eight principles, and is deemed to be a response to the Clean Network program put forward by Washington.

The “new Cold War” against China consists of a fundamental objective and two priorities. The fundamental objective is to form a global anti-CPC alliance; while the two priorities are high technology and finance. One of the high-tech battlefields is the 5G telecom network. The so-called Clean Network program aims to build an international network system that excludes China. For the US, the first step is to decouple with China in the construction of 5G networks, in which America lags behind China. As for finance, the US is not in a hurry to decouple with China because it holds undeniable dominance in that area, and its financial institutions have enormous strategic interests in the opening-up of China’s financial market.

Some people in Hong Kong still believe the special administrative region can stay out of the Sino-US rivalry. The reality is that Washington is sanctioning the SAR’s chief executive and treats Hong Kong the same as it does the Chinese mainland.

On the other hand, as a response to the “new Cold War”, Hong Kong can still play a special role for the country that other mainland cities cannot. To do so, however, it must be realistic first.

The SAR government should team up with people from all walks of life in helping the international community know and understand the Chinese system better. The fight against COVID-19 has exposed the flaws of Hong Kong’s system: too much emphasis on individual freedom at the expense of society as a whole. The lack of means to take full control of the emergency situation has hampered the SAR government’s efforts to establish a system of containing the pandemic while normalizing socioeconomic development with a matching execution mechanism to boot, and make it the new normal going forward. If Hong Kong speaks from its own experience, other countries or regions should find it easier to face their own demons in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and to revive their economies. Of course Hong Kong must reckon its system is flawed to begin with.

Furthermore, the Hong Kong business community and professionals should proactively convince their American counterparts to stay in Hong Kong and on the mainland. Even though Washington threatens to decouple with China, Beijing remains committed to welcoming American investors with open arms. Besides, most if not all American firms are against leaving China at their own expense. If they make an effort to stall the decoupling process, no matter how many US firms stay in Hong Kong and on the mainland and for how long, it will go a long way in protecting their own interests as well as China’s, including the Hong Kong SAR’s, and contribute to global peace and development.

At the same time, Hong Kong should do its best in supporting and participating in the Global Initiative on Data Security once it is launched. Western countries are forced by the US to ban 5G network hardware made in China but will have to keep the software compatible with China’s somehow. Case in point, most US firms doing business with and/or in China are strongly against Washington’s plan to ban WeChat in America.

Last but not least, in addition to assisting the motherland in bracing for the financial decoupling that Washington threatens to initiate, Hong Kong must convince US financial institutions to resist the order to leave China and delay as long as they can.

The author is a senior research fellow of China Everbright Holdings.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 

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