Opinion

Hong Kong, Taiwan, China

China and Hong Kong

The success of Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen in the fight against the pandemic has set off alarm bells in the Chinese communist regime, which has been unable to restore its lost international image with shipments of medical supplies and with advances in research for a vaccine against COVID-19. The lack of transparency in the face of the figures of victims and now the nebula around the social and economic consequences that hide the messages of the National People's Congress about the need to prioritize employment, have transformed the "Chinese miracle" into a succession of words and letters that do not manage to reactivate confidence in the only credible thing that kept the Chinese Communist Party on its feet: its economic figures. Without them, and with the international trade scene slowing down, the Chinese oligo-bureaucratic system is faltering. While Taiwan or other strategic rivals, Japan, for example, emerge strengthened from the fight against the pandemic thanks to the implementation of democratic, solvent and economically competitive measures. 

Weakness, not strength, now lies in China's decision to tighten security laws in Hong Kong, to avoid protests that did not damage its credibility in the years of global prosperity and leadership. And for this reason, and because of Hong Kong's succulent capacity to attract investment, they were responded to with prudence and proportionality. But the coming months portend a resurgence of demonstrations that could well have a different effect in other regions within China, or within the network of strategic allies and partners battered by the pandemic. The solution found by the Chinese "politburo" has been to threaten the Hong Kong people, unintentionally turning the citizens of the booming city-state into victims of a repression that has not yet taken place. 

The ghost of Tiananmen and the Communist army's brutal repression of protestors in 1989 hovers over a regime that has not been able to disengage sufficiently from its repressive heritage in 30 years of economic development. But today's China cannot even think of a regression towards the territory of totalitarianism when in these 30 years it has finally managed to make international society assume the authoritarianism of its leaders for the sake of global, peaceful and sustained growth. The great leap into the past would be both a wrong decision and a suicidal one at a time when every Chinese effort to give its system credibility is met by the reality of a crisis caused by a pandemic in whose management the Xi Jinping government casts more shadows than lights. For the moment, as Ana Alonso tells in her analysis in El Independiente, the scapegoat of the millenary calamity has been the former vice-minister of public security, Sun Lijun, who is akin to what they call the "clan" of former president Jiang Zemin. He has paid the price for Wuhan and the previous protests in Hong Kong, so that the 3,000 representatives of the National People's Assembly can return to their respective bureaucratic posts with a clear horizon. 

The brief experience of Chinese democracy exists and is manifested in the political results in Taiwan and in the streets of Hong Kong. In no case in the People's Republic of China where its millennial history has never conceived of a democratic system or a similar experiment. However, the Communist Party has managed to integrate the Chinese bureaucratic experience accumulated in long years of subjecting its people to the dictates of the lyrics - the mandarins - of the weapons - the Ming or the Manchus - and of the purges - the Maoists. Their perpetuation in power will depend now, as so often in history, on how they know how to make their knowledge count in the time in which they have had to live. The time of our days, determined by a tiny organism from Wuhan and defeated in Taipei.