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Op-ed

As Hong Kong fights for civil liberties, leftists in America fight to take ours away

The region is on an ideological collision course between liberty and autocracy.

Alexander Somoskey/Blaze Media

"Our police shot us, government betrayed us, social institutions failed us. Please help us." — Hong Kong protesters

On Aug. 12, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong waved four American flags and sang the American national anthem in unison on the streets through a megaphone.

They were dressed in all black and their faces were covered with black, thick cotton mouth masks.

They could have easily been mistaken for left-wing militants in the "anti-fascist" group, Antifa, based on their clothing, but what these young people are fighting for couldn't be more different.

The young pro-democracy protesters are up against a much greater evil than what Antifa here in America believes they're up against – and that's Marxism.

While the left is busy seeking ways to suppress those who disagree with their rigid ideology and instill the very Marxist ideas that led the young protesters to revolt against the Chinese government's influence over the region, protesters in Hong Kong tussled with police at the Hong Kong International Airport for universal rights incompatible with Marxism.

And while liberal college professors sit in cozy classrooms with air conditioning and soy lattes grooming future leftists to hate America and idolize Karl Marx, protesters 8,000 miles away in Hong Kong are raising the American flag in the streets and writing wills as they prepare to die for democracy.

The left, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), are willing to toss out and trample our founding principles, our Constitution, and an economic system that has lifted millions out of poverty while Hong Kong demonstrators are seeking to break the chains of Maoist doctrines that are on the verge of robbing them of the civil liberties they've enjoyed that citizens in mainland China have not.

While executives at Google manipulated search results in the 2016 election to favor Hillary Clinton and sway millions of Americans into voting for a candidate on the left, protesters in Hong Kong are fighting for the very values Americans once agreed upon: free and fair elections.

While multimillionaires like former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick protest the national anthem and shame rapper Jay-Z for not being a social justice warrior for the left, 2 million protesters in Hong Kong organized the largest protest Hong Kong has ever seen.

Just this week, 1,000 Google employees signed a petition requesting that Google not do business with the United States Border Patrol or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement citing the government's "mistreatment" of asylum-seekers while protesters in Hong Kong fear "legalized kidnapping" by their own government.

Hong Kong is indicative of what the world witnessed 30 years ago at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, when students flooded the streets and demanded freedom and democracy.

Tiananmen is the same square where artist Ge Xiaoguang erected six large portraits of Mao Zedong, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Sun Yat-sen, and Friedrich Engels in 1971.

It resulted in a bloodbath the Chinese government refuses to acknowledge to this day.

Yet today, once again, the Chinese authoritarian regime is slowly chipping away at the freedoms the semi-autonomous southeast region has enjoyed under the "one country, two systems" model established in the 1980s by Deng Xiaoping.

Through this framework, Hong Kong has been able to freely govern itself thanks to a local constitution that is guaranteed until 2047 called the Basic Law.

But protesters fear that what little freedoms they have are quickly being eroded by the Communist Party of China and pro-Beijing sympathizers in Hong Kong.

According to a Freedom in the World 2019 report, Hong Kong is "partly free" based on a 59/100 score.

China received a "not free" grading based on a pathetic 11/100 score while the United States maintains an 86/100 score and is classified as "free."

China also has a low rating when it comes to press freedoms. They're currently ranked 177th out of 180 countries on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index while Hong Kong is ranked 73rd and the United States is ranked 48th.

Due to Chinese interference, Hong Kong was downgraded on the press freedom index in 2018 because of an incident with Victor Mallet and Andy Chan, which had major implications for freedom of speech.

Mallet, who is a British journalist for the Financial Times in Asia, was denied a visa by the Hong Kong government for what many believe was his participation in a Foreign Correspondents Club discussion in which Mallet was the vice chairman.

The topic of discussion was Hong Kong's independence.

The talk that never took place was to be hosted by pro-independence activist Andy Chan who founded the Hong Kong National Party that advocates for Hong Kong's independence from China.

The event was canceled after Hong Kong authorities received pressure from the Chinese government that cited concerns over the nation's sovereignty.

Mallet was detained and interrogated by immigration authorities and no formal explanation was ever given for the cancellation of his work visa months later. After the ordeal, he was forced to leave Hong Kong and said the situation had produced "an impossible working environment for the media."

This is one of the many reasons Hong Kong's proposed extradition law, which set off the wave of protests two weeks ago, is so unpopular. Much like no explanation was given to Mallet for the cancellation of his visa, no explanation will likely be given to those facing extradition to the mainland.

The proposed law would allow the Chinese government to extradite local and foreign criminals and try them under Chinese laws that are notoriously murky and unjust.

The protesters fear that this Beijing-backed amendment to their constitution will only serve to the benefit of the Chinese autocratic regime that they fear will use the law to target political dissenters, activists, and entrepreneurs.

As the protesters look to Western ideas of dignity and liberty, Ocasio-Cortez says we must do away with the genius design of our Constitution and the Electoral College that afforded us the very rights people across the world are willing to die for.

While AOC and radical Democrats seek to abolish the very ideals that made our republic the envy of the world, protesters in Hong Kong cry for an electoral system that represents them.

If the Communist Lites here in America want to continue down a path that abandons liberty, they should consider a lesson from an ex-Black Panther who wanted to kill Ronald Reagan in the 1960s.

Eldridge Cleaver's motto was "total liberty for black people or total destruction for America." He hated everything about America including baseball and hot dogs and mused about it all in a book he wrote titled, "Soul on Ice," in 1968 following a prison stint.

In the 1960s, Cleaver and his comrades cozied up to Maoist politics, which ultimately led to violence including a shootout with the Oakland police.

To avoid jail time for his involvement, Cleaver fled to Cuba and spent seven years living under communist rule in several countries including China, North Korea, and the Soviet Union. Soon enough, he was discontent with life behind the iron curtain.

In 1975, he came home, converted to Christianity, and denounced his former life. He was now an anti-communist and the Black Panthers saw him as a traitor.

What Cleaver's realization tells us about life under communism is something Marxists, socialists, and communists in America should consider.

Upon his return to America, Cleaver said in an interview with "Firing Line" in 1977 that "I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else."

One last thing…
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