Hong Kong's fight against white paper preludes much greater war on Chinese imperialismTranslated by Vivian L., Written by 孔誥烽 (Hung Ho-fung)
Beijing's white paper officially denounced the end of the one country, two system policy. Widely regarded as the main author and mastermind of the Hong Kong white paper, Jiang Shigong, Peking University Law School Professor, is recently on the hype among China's state media such as People's Daily where he explained Beijing's thoughts behind the white paper in interviews. In one interview, Jiang went so far as to state as fact that the Basic Law came from China's constitution, not from the formally signed Sino-British Joint Declaration. Such statement is a total disregard of the treaty made between two heads of governments, essentially writing the city's constitution off as a trifling matter one can doodle as one pleases.
Who is the author of the white paper?
Who is Jiang Shigong? What is his philosophy regarding Hong Kong affairs? And what does that have to say about Beijing? To put it simply, Jiang's philosophy is a hybrid of extreme-right fascism and extreme-left Maoism of this age. His work in political theorising and in shaping of the public discourse is pivotal in Bejing's quest for a modern imperialistic China. The law professor had penned his philosophies into his book titled "Hong Kong China: Political and Cultural Perspective" (Hong Kong Oxford University Press, 2008).
Chan Koon-chung, a liberal China-loyalist, and Wan Chin, a principal proponent of the Hong Kong City-State Autonomy Movement, have both systemically critiqued Jiang's book from their respective standpoints. But their criticism had gone on without causing a ripple in the public intellectual sphere.
Relentlessly criticised the American imperialism and neoliberalism as a means to defend PRC's party-state capitalism since 1990s, the Chinese New Lefts had grown ever more radical, advocated assimilation of right-wing nationalist beliefs such as Marxism, Maoism and Neo-Confucianism, and the assertion of Leo Strauss and Nazi legal theoretician Carl Schmitt. Jiang Shigong is among those in the new left intellectual community. He served as a conduit for the Schmitt philosophy and the Nazi science of law into Chinese politics: The primary of role of politics is to draw a distinction between friend and enemy, and to defend sovereignty by being in a continual state of emergency. The rule of law and the parliamentary system are just an unnecessary hindrance.
Jiang was appointed researcher in Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong from 2004 to 2007, a position that he took advantage of to expand his network locally. Many so-called pro-democracy scholars have had a few luncheons with, and pulled a few strings for their friend from the north. During his term in the liaison office, Jiang published a series of articles in a Beijing journal detailing his views on the Hong Kong problem, the revival of Confucianism and a new Chinese empire in the making. These articles paved the way for the writing of his book. Although Jiang's opinions did not particularly stand out among the new left, the notable positions he held in Peking University law school and the liaison office had made him an exemplar of a new left who managed to work his way up in the party-state hierarchy.
The promise of "One Country, Two Systems" could ensure the successful handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, Jiang asserted. But since the handover, such a promise has become superfluous. The notion of "One Country, Two Systems" did not offer much help to Beijing as China sought to tackle the most challenging conundrum to its sovereignty over the city—the question of Hong Kong people's national identity. Jiang held that the solution called upon politics and ideology, rather than the law. Beijing must think outside the one-country-two-system box, and use direct political and ideological intervention to turn Hongkongers into patriotic Chinese. Otherwise, China's sovereignty over Hong Kong would exist in name only.
"One Country, Two Systems": an ad hoc promise to shun opposition of "returning to China"
From Jiang's point of view, most Hongkongers, who have familial roots in mainland China, have the heart of patriot that may have been buried deep down (Hong Kong, China, pp. 142-5). Thus, Beijing's first priority is to help Hong Kong's ethnic Chinese to discover their true hearts. Jiang claimed that the British colonial government was good at "brainwashing and winning people's hearts", one tactic that Beijing should follow. Particular attention should be drawn to how Jiang had translated "winning hearts and minds" into Chinese as literally "brainwashing and winning hearts", changing the nuance of a concept universally acknowledged (ibid., p. 31). Beijing must implement ideological work in Hong Kong and at the same time wipe out any local identity, Jiang implied. In hindsight, Beijing's agenda on Hong Kong—the 'patriotic' national education, teaching Chinese language in Putonghua, etc.—closely echoed Jiang's judgement and recommendations.
Jiang argued that Hong Kong's "One Country, Two Systems", modelled after the 1951 seventeen-point agreement between Tibet and Beijing, not only catalysed the handover, it also signified the comeback of the Chinese imperial epoch (ibid., pp. 123-58). The prosperity of the Chinese empire during the Qing dynasty was built upon a Confucian culture that radiated outward and unified surrounding regions, all the while maintaining the empire at the very centre. When a newly acquired territory has a marked culture and a self-governing leader, the Qing emperor would allow the local elites to exercise partial autonomy for a while—until its culture is assimilated and its autonomy confiscated. At this point, the empire would expand even further and acquire more new territories, repeating the same assimilation process. Now that The People's Republic of China has resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and that it has eye on Taiwan are both signs pointing to China's bid to rekindle the imperialistic expansion in the 21st century. Jiang's intentions are obvious: Hong Kong's "One Country, Two Systems" was merely a ploy and a transitional plan. When the time comes, Hong Kong would be reconstructed into the post-1959 Tibet—forced to be assimilated with PRC and be ruled under Beijing's suffocating rule. When assimilation is over, Beijing is safe to resume its conquest for new lands.
Connecting Jiang's theory on Hong Kong, his ideals for the "celestial empire", with Beijing's white paper, we can get a glimpse into China's plan for Hong Kong: the first step of its quest towards the rebirth of a celestial empire. In exercising comprehensive control over Hong Kong, China shows the world that it has the power to deter intervention from the United States and to deliberately taunt Britain—the cosignatory of the Joint Declaration—as lacking in courage and competence. Once established, Beijing's comprehensive control over Hong Kong will sound a warning to Taiwan and other countries around Asia. On that note, Hongkongers' fight against Beijing's white paper is not merely a dispute over domestic affairs, but a prelude to a much greater war of Asia and the rest of the world against the reincarnation of the Chinese Celestial Empire.