Finishing with our “Lessons from Abroad” series, I wanted to take a look at Hong Kong right now and the dispute with China. For the future, the biggest thing abroad for Libertarians is in Cuba with Jose Marti (Cuban Libertarian Party) and their fight for freedom, which is where our international focus should be right now.
Starting in 1997, the city of Hong Kong has been in the hands of the People’s Republic of China, the most ironically named country in the world. If you haven’t heard, Hong Kong has been in unrest since the handover, with a renewal of protest occurring because China has taken away self-governance from the city. China says that Hong Kong can appoint an executive (similar to a city or province mayor) but only from an approved list appointed by China’s ruling body. This doesn’t sit well with Hong Kong citizens, who want freer trade, more autonomy, and to stay away from China’s economic crises.
What We Can Learn
Hong Kong’s desires for independence from China are not a one-to-one with Libertarians in America, but the free-market principles that they demand (in oppositions to China’s more socialist structure) do mirror some of the same values. Self-governance, especially for a city, is still governmental-governance, but Hong Kong has had much more personal freedoms for its people than those of Chinese citizens. Hong Kong has been an economic hub for free trade in the sea of socialism that is the mainland.
Libertarians can be a voice of reason, especially when juxtaposed against governments who attempt to control almost every aspect. Hong Kong citizens have protested for almost a decade and fought against governmental pressures. It’s a stance we can definitely admire and come together on. Libertarians here can continue to protest when they see what they perceive burdensome governmental over-reach, but also be politically minded and active like Hong Kong citizens.
Our current two-party system does something similar to what the Chinese government does. Republicans and Democrats choose the candidates that they want for the entire country to vote for in most major elections, instead of allowing third- or fourth-party candidates to be seen on the main stage. They have set up a near-impossible standard to overcome, and have actively fought against other voices who want equal time. Libertarians fighting against this has become a bit of a lightning rod for third-party advocates. We should strive to push as much as the people of Hong Kong for true, free, open elections.
Live free. Always.