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A Bloomberg article describes Hong Kong as a failed state, amidst the Wuhan Virus pandemic. According to Britannica, a failed state, “cannot project authority over its territory and peoples, and it cannot protect its national boundaries. … Often, the executive barely functions, while the legislature, judiciary, bureaucracy, and armed forces have lost their capacity and professional independence.”[1] Hong Kong and mainland China´s official would probably dismiss Bloomberg´s judgement with its infamous tag line: “foreign intervention of China´s internal affairs”. To be fair, foreign countries have all the rights to intervene as joint signatories of international treaties with Hong Kong, let alone in times of humanitarian crisis solely originated from the inept administration.

In years leading up to 1997 handover, aligning Hong Kong to universal value was a joint Sino-British political effort to ease the perceived fear of communist aggression to free market. Hong Kong dollar continued to peg to US dollar after 1997; while still under British rule, the city became signatory of International Covenant on Civil, Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1995 and further sealed other bilateral agreement such as visa-free travel arrangement with Schengen States and Japan to underscore the unimpeded individual freedom of movement, one of the fundamental rights, available in the city. That said, to apply international standard on Hong Kong is nothing arbitrary, but on the contrary legitimate.  Along that line, I measure the frailty of the city by the standard of the international organization to which Hong Kong affiliates and that in private sector.

 

A Potential Genocide in Hong Kong

When United Nations attempt to predict genocide so to implement timely prevention, it turned to Artificial Intelligence. It returned with the result that:

[W]hen somebody important, or somebody has a Wikipedia page, as the algorithm says, in (the) country calls a minority in that country (…) “mice, or cockroaches”, the probability of a genocide will triple in the next three years.[2]

The prognosis is arrived at by matching historical patterns. The software was developed by data scientist, Kira Radinsky who was former Chief Scientist at eBay, and her team. The software predicted extreme violence occurred in Sudan in 2013 and the first outbreak of cholera in Cuba in 130 years in 2012.[3] They fed the database with news of past 150 years, with sources from search engine and social media to analyze patterns, and match patterns of history. Data informs us that history repeats itself. Unfortunately, this time in Hong Kong, marching in with a foreshadow of genocide.

For months, protestors in Hong Kong are labelled as “cockroaches” by the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF). But this is not the only humiliating label to refer to the protestors. As the former Education Bureau chief Fanny Law ´confirmed´ in a radio show that teenage females were available for protestors for sexual pleasure, the demoralization of the activists orchestrates with the dehumanized label to frame the protests as some hideous act. This whore-and-pest rhetoric produces an unmistaken echo to holocaust. The government showed no reaction to it and its non-action is a de facto endorsement on propagation of hatred. To make things worse, Hong Kong government has adopted a culture of impunity despite the law enforcers´ blatant violation of human right. The right is protected by domestic law that embodies the spirit and, to a large extent, the text of ICCPR.

Human Right Watch revealed in a report in December 2019 that 70 per cent of the confrontation between the Hong Kong police and protestors involved disproportionate use of force.[4] Added to that, there were many silenced victims of sexual violence during police detention. In September 2019, during the US Congress hearing on Hong Kong Human Right Act 2019, Sunny Cheung of Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation testified that one of their members was told by the police during detention that “it was reasonable for them (note: the police) to rape some female protesters when they frequently worked overtime.”[5]. These victims can never see justice be done because a) evidence was cautiously removed after the abuse and b) the route to justice is largely obscured. By the end of 2019, towards the seventh month of the movements, more than 7,000 were arrested, among them 40 per cent are secondary and university students, 1,092 were charged. [6]

UN Action Network Against Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict affirmed that “gender-based violence, including sexual violence, is a violation of fundamental human dignity and rights”.[7] Rape as a form of torture, was first entered into conviction in international court at The International Tribunal for the Former Yugloslavia.[8] Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) pointed out that crimes against humanity does not necessarily have to be committed during armed conflicts but can be committed in times of general peace.[9] We should not forget that these two courts are products of genocide in the title countries. This gives us some perspective to approach sexual violence in times of conflict, like what is happening in Hong Kong. Read this way, sexual violence on Hong Kongś protestors IS NOT PART of police brutality. It is a direct consequence of the whore-and-pest rhetoric that can potentially loom into genocide. If it still sounds like a conspiracy theory, we don´t need to look further than the reeducation camp in Xinjiang where female bodies – sexual abuse and enforced contraception are machinery to shame, suppress and exterminate the targeted group, namely, Uyghur community.

 

A Negative Inertia

Again, it is not an arbitrary nor remote association. In 2017, news came out that the Heckler & Koch no longer sold MP5 submachine to HKPF.[10]  It was believed to be resultant from an internal policy implemented since 2016 that the German arms manufacturer no longer sells to countries that are “corrupt, undemocratic, or not affiliated in some way to Nato”. On the list are Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, India and even Nato member Turkey[11]; and Hong Kong was ranked among those with dubious human right records. The lack of confidence in the CCP-controlled government is only an earlier sign of the failed state of Hong Kong. The legislative and executive branches of government are characterized by a degree of “inertia”, as noted in Moody´s statement accompanying the rating institution´s downgrade of Hong Kong´s credit rating (from Aa2 to Aa3) in January 2020.[12] This financial news serves as a convincing circumstantial evidence of the failing state.

This article reflects on Hong Kong as a failed state, triggered by a Bloomberg article headline amidst the Wuhan virus pandemic. The government´s dysfunction ironically does not immediately lead to the failure of the city – thanks to Hong Kongers´ self-organizing ability. But resistance and resilience will not last vis-à-vis the government´s systematic and ruthless abuse of institutional and financial power. A lesson learned from the pandemic is that disasters are better prevented than controlled. A plague could have been prevented should all parties have some decency to fulfill his duty of care. In the same vein, Hong Kong was misguided in its path to democracy, public health and personal safety are gambled away by politicians´ agenda. Hong Kongers must capitalize on Hong Kong´s international relationships to realign the city to its original political design. The first step for international society to take is to keep human right issue in Hong Kong on agenda. It could hopefully fight back the prophet-ed genocide in another CCP-ruled city.

 

Reference

[1] “Failed-State” Britannica, URL=https://www.britannica.com/topic/failed-state.

[2] “Kira Radinsky: Using Data to Predict Genocide, Disease, Riots, Drug Effects, and More” Jewish Funders Network (2018), URL=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72S6bMMkm2E.

[3] Burns, Rhona. “#45 Dr. Kira Radinsky – Hi-tech’s young pioneer”. The Jerusalem Post (2017), URL=https://www.jpost.com/International/Hi-techs-young-pioneer-Dr-Kira-Radinsky-504880.

[4] Lavoipierre, Ange. “Hong Kong police “violating their own rules””, Washington Post, (2019), URL=https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/hong-kong-police-violating-their-own-rules:-washington-post/11832962.

[5] Washington D.C., “Hong Kong Activists Joshua Wong, Denise Ho Testify Before Congress” (2019), URL=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufVputv5ig4.

[6] Pang, Jessie & Saito, Mari, “Arrested Hong Kong protesters stuck in limbo as cases grind forward”. Reuters (2020), URL=https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests-arrestees-insight/arrested-hong-kong-protesters-stuck-in-limbo-as-cases-grind-forward-idUSKBN1ZM0LD.

[7] UN Action Network Against Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, URL=https://www.unsystem.org/content/un-action-network-against-sexual-violence-armed-conflict-un-action?page=2.

[8] “Crimes of Sexual Violence”, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, URL=https://www.icty.org/en/features/crimes-sexual-violence.

[9] “Review of the Sexual Violence Elements of the Judgements of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Light of Security Council Resolution 1820”, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, URL= https://www.icty.org/x/file/Outreach/sv_files/DPKO_report_sexual_violence.pdf .

[10] Cheng, Kris. “German firm refuses to sell submachine guns to Hong Kong police force, as lawmaker blames decline in human rights”. Hong Kong Free Press. (2017), URL=https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/11/17/german-firm-refuses-sell-submachine-guns-hong-kong-police-force-lawmaker-blames-decline-human-rights/.

[11] Forster, Katie. “German arms company Heckler & Koch to ‘no longer supply undemocratic, corrupt countries’”. The Independent (2016), URL=https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/heckler-koch-saudi-arabia-german-arms-trade-undemocratic-corrupt-nato-a7444981.html.

[12] “Moody’s downgrades Hong Kong debt, citing government “inertia””. Aljazeera (2020), URL=https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/moody-downgrades-hong-kong-debt-citing-government-inertia-200121012456089.html.

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