tirsdag 16. juni 2020

Hong Kong and the National Security Law: Why Now?

The series of iron-fisted moves last month in Hong Kong may seem sudden to international observers: Hong Kong government’s earlier reinterpretation of the China-Hong Kong relationship, the election of a pro-Beijing legislator to be a Legislative Council chair through a controversial mechanism, and Beijing’s recent decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. The desire to bring Hong Kong under the banner of “one country, one system” is not impulsive. Quite the contrary, it’s a calculated campaign to initiate a so-called “second reunification with Hong Kong” — since the first reunification after the handover, using a lenient soft-power approach, has supposedly failed.

What are Beijing’s calculations that motivate this bold campaign now? And more important, will the campaign work?

While I remain highly skeptical of solely applying the realist framework to study Hong Kong, Beijing’s mentality is nonetheless entirely realism-driven. It is therefore essential to use this lens to understand more of their thoughts.