Divided World Can Do Little As China Tightens Grip On Hong Kong

japantimes.co.jp
2020-07-02

From Tokyo to Brussels, political leaders have swiftly decried Beijing’s move to impose a tough national security law on Hong Kong that cracks down on subversive activity and protest in the semi-autonomous territory.

But the rhetoric has more bark than bite. For people in Hong Kong, the question is: Will international anger and statements of concern make any difference?

Individual countries have little leverage over Beijing on human rights, experts say. A joint effort could make a difference, but coordinated action seems unlikely given strained ties between the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump and many of Washington’s traditional European allies.

“The U.S.A. and EU are moving in different directions in many areas. It is perhaps to China’s advantage that that should be so,” said Rod Wye, an Asia-Pacific associate fellow at the Chatham House think tank in London. In particular, Europeans do not want to be drawn into the U.S.-China trade war, he said.

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