“Hong Kong is part of China. They’ll have to deal with that themselves. They don’t need advice.”–President Donald Trump.
“Only one capital is responsible for what is unfolding in Hong Kong: Beijing……It is critical to recognize that the dynamics that led to this crisis didn’t begin in Hong Kong and won’t end there. The turmoil is the result of Beijing’s systematic ratcheting up of its domestic oppression and its pursuit of hegemony abroad.”–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I wish President Trump hadn’t said what he did and that he had said loudly what Sen. McConnell has written because, actually, China does need advice–stop crushing legal dissent and civil rights in Hong Kong! McConnell is right on point also when he says that China’s trading partners, including the U. S., should make it clear that any crackdown on the protest will have immediate and serious consequences for China.
And don’t give me this conversation about how tricky things are in our relationship with China vis a vis trade issues. The Chinese leadership knows full well that another Tiananmen Square-type debacle is an existential threat to the regime and they are paranoid about this threat, much more so than with the trade deal outcome. Trump does know that this is about freedom and the rule of law and he has at least suggested to China that the matter must be resolved “humanely”; he needs to express it more forcefully and demand that our partners join him. And the strength that we show here will not be lost on the Chinese as we negotiate on other matters. This core message should be loud and not simply through back channels and the only messenger to deliver it is the President. It’s overdue.