In the tapestry that constitutes Chinese mainland politics is the glaring anomaly of Hong Kong’s comparatively democratic society.
It’s essentially a hangover from colonial rule, after the departing British garrison won key concessions from the communists who replaced them.
Of all things, the agreement between China and the UK over Hong Kong lasts for 50 years.
Not until 2047 will China legally be entitled to march into the free city, abolish it’s limited form of democracy and imposed state ownership, press censorship and installed a communist system for China’s second city.
But Hong Kong should never let it get to this.
Behind the great fire wall lies a propaganda driven command and control social system.
People are told what to think, what to say, and what kind of dangerous ideas they should stay away from.
This is the Beijing model.
But Hong Kong, despite abductions to the mainland, false imprisonment and forced confessions, still defends its right to freedom of speech and expression despite being surrounded by a one party regime.
It’s parliament, though dominated by Beijing’s cronies, still elects a number of members from the political opposition.
There are protests and dissent, questioning of authority that was last practiced on the mainland during the 1989 Tianamen Square massacre of unarmed students calling for democracy and free speech.
So Beijing crushes political dissent with an iron fist, while Hong Kong tolerates it and speaks out against any attempt to curb it’s treaty protected rights.
Make no mistake, China today is facing an ideological crisis between Beijing’s authoritarian approach and a free thinking Hong Kong.
This is a battle that the west should not ignore, at stake is a choice between freedom on the one hand and servitude on the other.
If Hong Kong stands it’s ground, it can stare down Beijing’s attempt at control and agitate for a more pluralistic form of government from Xinjiang to Guangdong.
China isn’t completely under the steel rule of President Xi just yet.
He might have had his coronation, but no one told Hong Kong.