Protest against new security law for Hong Kong

China's leadership plans to pass a new security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Thursday. Among other things the law prohibits secession, foreign influence and insurgent activities. Protests have already taken place in Hong Kong. Must Europe rethink its relations with China? And is the US support for the protests counterproductive?

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Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Using the corona crisis to tighten its grip

China sees the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to crackdown in Hong Kong, Helsingin Sanomat suspects:

“Many governments have taken advantage of this situation. China, ruled by the Communist Party, believes it can now increase is influence in Hong Kong. ... Among other things, the security law would punish, "activities against the People's Republic of China". Understandably, similar projects have led to protests in Hong Kong in the past. China's leadership is apparently betting that both the international community and the people of Hong Kong will now be less able than before to resist this new measure.”

Le Monde (FR) /

US intervention harming democracy movement

Washington's support for the insurgents in the former crown colony is counterproductive, Le Monde warns:

“In increasing its provocations against Beijing in recent months, Washington is losing any credibility it had. The more the White House claims to help the Hong Kong democrats, the more the Chinese people back their government. Beijing's argument that the Hong Kong democrats are being 'manipulated' by the US is not credible, but the Trump administration's use of the insurgents has seriously harmed their cause. Beijing's renewed violence is both the reaction of an increasingly nationalist Chinese government to Donald Trump and a measure aimed at restoring calm in Hong Kong.” (DE) /

This Beijing cannot be trusted

Not only will the law spark new protests and violence in Hong Kong, it will also increase distrust of Beijing's communist leadership around the world, believes:

“That's exactly what we're now seeing in Europe: more and more politicians from all parties are rightly warning against lame compromises in the planned Europe-China investment agreements. Because it has long been clear to many that if China's leadership can break an international treaty like the Sino-British declaration on Hong Kong - keyword 'one country, two systems' - why should it stick to trade agreements with Europe? The question is justified and deserves to be discussed in detail in Berlin, Brussels and elsewhere in Europe.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Europe must become less dependent on China

Hospodářské noviny wonders how Europe should react if US-China relations worsen as a result of the dispute over Hong Kong:

“One answer could be to provide incentives for European companies to move production out of China. Japan is already doing just that. ... Although the cost of relocating is unclear in terms of geopolitics and supply chain security, it would make sense for Europe to relocate production to neighbouring European countries. The countries of the EU's Eastern Partnership [Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine] would be particularly suitable for this.”