It has been raining a lot in South-East Asia lately. I know. I am currently sheltering from the fifth successive day of torrential rain and powerful thunderstorms that have rocked the corner of Taiwan where I am currently sat.
In the city where I am sat, people have been battening down the hatches, catching up on Netflix, digging out their dusty old board games and waiting for this epic storm to finally blow itself out.
But in another great Asian city, not a million miles away from here, the people have been doing the exact opposite. Today in Hong Kong, an incredible 1.7 million people took to the streets to protest against Chinese Communist Party interference in their great city.
It is fitting that it was the so-called Umbrella Revolution that saw Hong Kongers first indicate their genuine anger at how Communist China was systematically undermining their rights and contravening the legally-binding Sino-British Joint Declaration that initiated the handover of this strategically vital former British colony.
The Umbrellas were out in force again today as they have been for the past 11 weeks as the people try to prevent their Beijing-puppet government from forcing through a new law which would allow Hong Kong to extradite people to the human-rights-abusing, totalitarian, Communist dictatorship next door. Why might they object to that I wonder?
China’s response has been typical of a regime that tolerates nothing less than slavish obedience from its people and meets out horrific punishments to anyone who deviates.
The Hong Kong Police Force has morphed into a rampaging mob firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors and committing many outrageous and unprovoked acts of violence. Some of these ‘police officers’ illegally disguised themselves as protestors, many more failed to show numbers fuelling suspicions that they had been drafted in from China to swell the force’s ranks.
Meanwhile, gangs of Hong Kong gangsters long loyal to a Beijing regime that tolerates all manner of crime and corruption as long as it doesn’t threaten the Party, roamed the streets with clubs and sticks attacking protestors with impunity while the police stood by and let them wreak havoc.
Then last week it was confirmed that troops from the ironically-named People’s Liberation Army were massing on the Hong Kong border. The new bridge between Hong Kong and China conveniently means they can now get into Hong Kong in less than ten minutes. Little wonder that many are speculating that another massacre along the lines of Tiananmen Square could be imminent.
The word from inside Communist China suggests that the regime has already okayed military intervention in Hong Kong. This suggests it is now only a matter of time.
Such a move would be far from atypical. Let’s not forget that this is the same regime which currently has between one and two million Uighur Muslims locked up in concentration camps in East Turkestan / Xinjiang Province (depending on your interpretation).
This is the regime which has suppressed the Tibetan people to the point of extinction. It is the regime that has militarised coral reefs in the South China Sea to boost a sovereignty claim that is based on 12th Century dynastic territory. It is the regime that has prevent the 25 million people of Taiwan from being represented at such forums as the World Health Organisation to defend its utterly false claims of sovereignty.
It has done, and continues to do, all of this while the world stood by and did nothing. While instead governments and companies from across the world fell over backwards to get access to what is seen as a highly lucrative market. No compromise, it seems, has been too great to get Chinese money into the coffers.
We were told it was only a matter of time before China modernised. As they came out of economic isolation, they said, greater freedom and democracy was only going to be a matter of time.
Well, now it is China which is the great economic power and, guess what? Under Xi Jinping, Communist China is closer now to a Maoist State than at any time in the past fifty years. In many ways, this modern-day surveillance state, this Orwellian nightmare made real, is a great deal worse.
Is it any wonder that the people of Hong Kong are so willing to risk so much to secure their freedom? Is it any wonder that here in Taiwan, such a huge number of young people who identify as Taiwanese, not Chinese, are terrified at the very real prospect of a pro-Beijing government putting them in a similar, or worse, position?
The protests in Hong Kong look likely to be a defining moment for the modern Chinese Communist Party. The way they are handled and resolved will define how the Communist regime is viewed by the world for a generation.
It may seem like a long way away. But the future of the Chinese Communist Party is extremely relevant to Britain and Europe too, especially in a post-Brexit world. Like it or not China matters, economically, politically, and ethically. Communist China is a threat to global peace and security. It is a threat to global democracy. It is a threat to global economic stability.
Which is why, in the next few weeks, a new project will be launching which all of us at Barndoor Strategy are delighted to be involved with.
We can’t say too much yet but suffice to say it will shine a much brighter light on the actions of the Chinese Communist Party, its actions, and our interactions with it.