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Hong Kong’s Slippery ‘Red’ Slope Finally Touches Christian Residents



This past weekend, while Americans celebrated “Fathers’ Day,” hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Hong Kong to protest new policies that will allow the city’s residents to be extradited from the former British colony to mainland China.

Demonstrators told Western press and news media that they’re protesting to “preserve the freedoms that were promised when Britain returned control over Hong Kong to China in 1997, something that’s been increasingly at risk given the increasingly dictatorial nature of China’s Communist Party,” reported the New York Times.

“Protesters poured into the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday with renewed determination and a lengthening list of demands, rejecting the government’s retreat on a contentious extradition bill and extending the political crisis gripping the semiautonomous territory,” America’s “paper of record,” wrote in today’s edition.

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“Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, shelved the bill on Saturday and followed that up with a rare apology the next day, actions that pro-democracy activists dismissed as too little, too late,” TheNYT continued.

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How many people were necessary to force an apology from a de facto Communist-controlled government, despite “special economic zone” status?  Organizers gave an unverified estimate of close to two million of the territory’s seven million people.

“She only did it under pressure,” said Leo Cheng, a 19-year-old student, said of Lam’s public apology.

When Britain withrew from Hong Kong in 1997, honoring a 100-year-old agreement with China, the transfer of sovereignty was only to move forward if certain prerequisite conditions were met.

One of these conditions contained the governing principle, dubbed “One Country, Two Systems” by comparative political science experts. That principle was to govern relations between Hong Kong and mainland China for the next 50 years.

Under the stipulations of Britain’s exit agreement, Hong Kong’s domestic affairs would contine to be governed by legacy systems it inherited from centuries of British rule, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and free elections.

But less than 20 years into the agreed-upon 50 years, China began undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy by “pre-screening” candidates in the 2014 elections.

The response from Hong Kong became known as the “Umbrella Movement,” and included nine days of protest against Beijing’s violation of the agreement, reports Christian Post. At least three of the founders of the “Umbrella Movement” were Christians, including the eventual and ascendant face of the movement, Joshua Wong.

In April, 2019, several Christians, including Joshua Wong, were arrested and imprisoned for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

The Christian component is so central to the movement, that even the secular Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 on “an undercurrent of another, much older tension: Between Christianity and Communist China.”

“Hong Kong churches have long tried to spread Christianity in China. Protestant pastors based in Hong Kong have helped propagate the evangelical brands of Christianity that have alarmed the Chinese leadership in Beijing with their fast growth,” TheWSJ reported then.

And now, much like in 2014, Bejing wants to drive the car further down the slippery slope (more like mud-slide), by permitting the political extradition of Hong Kong citizens to mainland China for prosecution.

As the New York Times explains, laws like those advocated by Lam are intended to “extend China’s reach into Hong Kong and strip its residents of the protection of the law.”

And the first protections to be stripped will likely be those of Hong Kong’s Christians, critics state.

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Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?

America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad



Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.

Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards  questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy. 

In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”

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Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.

That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.

Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:

Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”

Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans. 

After looking at the list of people who have been tapped to join the Biden administration, Hawley tweeted, “What a group of corporatists and war enthusiasts – and #BigTech sellouts.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”

The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change. 

Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.

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