Hong Kong: jail for Umbrella activists
Three years after the Umbrella Revolution for more democratic co-determination, three Hong Kong activists have been sentenced to several months in prison. The Chinese leadership accuses the students of calling for illegal protests. Thousands of people have demonstrated against the senctences, which commentators also condemn.
Beijing wants to nip democracy in the bud
The verdicts are purely a demonstration of power on the part of the Chinese regime, Le Monde comments:
“It seems like like a long time since Beijing wanted to play up to Hong Kong after Britain returned the territory in 1997, in a bid to convince Taiwan of the advantages of returning to the fold. Now, by contrast, President Xi Jinping has made no secret of his unrestrained, dominant hold on power. On the Chinese mainland he doesn't hesitate to oppress lawyers, journalists, activists and other members of a civil society who want nothing more than respect for the constitution. In Hong Kong, not content to avenge the insult of the revolt of autumn 2014, he is also determined not to give the people - who have a huge number of rights compared with the rest of the population - the chance to serve as an example of democracy.”
China putting its credibility on the line
China is violating the treaty negotiated with Britain on the future of the former crown colony, the Financial Times criticises:
“The encroachment on Hong Kong's freedom also raises a stark question for a Chinese government with increasing ambitions on the world stage: what is its word worth? If a bilateral treaty, signed by two heads of state and registered with the UN, can be unilaterally ignored, what is stopping China from trashing any other treaty it does not like? Picking which treaties to uphold is not a recipe for global leadership. What happens now in Hong Kong is a crucial test of Beijing's good faith.”