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  • Norman Young

The West Lost the Right to Protect Citizens of Hong Kong in 1997


I feel for the Hong Kong protesters. Hong Kongers are accustomed to Western freedom, and that freedom has shaped their souls. Their oppression by the Chinese Communist Party must feel like a foreign invasion, because, in many respects, it is.

Most conservative pundits share this feeling with me. In many cases, the feeling leads them to advocate running political interference against the CCP's crack-downs on the political protests that continue to crop up in the region. The Hong Kongers' occasional usage of American symbols of freedom in their protests only tugs harder at these conservatives' heart-strings. For ⁠David French, the fact that the CCP will likely crack down on Hong Kong's churches turns American meddling in the region into a moral imperative.

This shared, completely understandable sentiment should be resisted by reason. No Western nation has a right to interfere in Hong Kong, and any political meddling on our part will only make things worse.

The West had the right to protect Hong Kong's citizens. We gave that up when, in 1997, Britain⁠ willingly handed the colony over to China in exchange for nothing but a feeling of supreme moral virtue. Until 1997, Hong Kongers were citizens of the West with all the rights and protections that come with that designation. After 1997, they became citizens of China⁠—Western souls trapped in an Eastern autocracy.

Make no mistake about it, those ad