Fight For Freedom. Denmark Stands With Hong Kong.
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Dear Mr. Jeppe Kofod,
For the first time in history, a one-party dictatorship is poised to become the world’s biggest economy. Where does Denmark stand – and where is it heading?
I am writing in regard to the early symptoms of a looming global crisis as China is ready to overtake the U.S. as the world's top economy by 2030, according to HSBC.
You might have already heard of the peaceful protest of 2 million HongKongers in June calling for the withdrawal of the controversial Extradition Bill. However, the Hong Kong Government refuses to address the people’s demand. Instead, it has resolved to rely on the illegal use of force by the police to suppress demonstrators, resulting in wide-spread injuries among civilians, including first aiders, teachers, lawyers, and democratically elected members of the Legislative Council and District Council. The ongoing police brutality and suppression are deemed a violation of international human rights law by Amnesty International. These violations are not abating, with over one million Uyghurs minorities held in concentration camps in Xinjiang. We believe Hong Kong and the Uyghurs are only among the first to suffer the consequences as China’s power expands.
How far is China willing to go?
Hong Kong was China’s second largest export market, taking up 12.2% of its total exports in 2018. Things are about to change as Washington is considering the withdrawal of tax privileges granted to Hong Kong should the city’s democratic development remains stagnant, if not deteriorating. Yet, China seems willing to risk the economic damage and jeopardize Hong Kong’s special status just to consolidate its authoritarian rule.
The story does not stop there. While the Sino-British Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty registered at the United Nations and signed between China and the UK to protect the rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, China has openly dismissed it as a mere “historical document that no longer has any realistic meaning”. As soon as Beijing decides Hong Kong is part of its sphere of influence, it stops at nothing to exert its authoritarian rule over Hong Kong.
Where does Denmark stand?
Even in Denmark and the Scandinavian region, Beijing tries to influence events and control the news. Recently Danish journalists have revealed that the Copenhagen zoo removed Taiwan from its map to appease Beijing. Beijing Government tried to ban the use of Tibetan flags and warned the Danish Government against meeting their spiritual leader Dalai Lama, closely followed by the agreement between Copenhagen and Beijing to become sister cities in June 2012. In 2013, the Chinese Embassy in Denmark threatened to sabotage trade and political relations and cancel Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II 's visit to China, just to prevent certain films from screening at a documentary film festival. Outside the Danish capital, Beijing eyes Greenland as a way-station on its polar silk road and a step towards its mining interests.
China’s invisible hand can be felt in Sweden also, when a Swedish national, Michael Gui, went missing in Thailand in 2015 and was later found in the custody of the PRC after a murky abduction. Despite initial condemnation by the Swedish Government, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International about the incident, China has turned a deaf ear to all the criticisms. Gui’s current situation and location remains unknown after Chinese agents abducted him (again), this time on a Chinese train in the presence of two Swedish diplomats. This year, former Swedish ambassador to Beijing, Anna Lindstedt, was found to be involved in arranging an unauthorized meeting between Gui’s daughter, Angela Gui, and unidentified Chinese businessmen in an attempt to stop Angela’s campaign to rescue her father.
Various Danish Governments have reassured us that Denmark has a vital interest in a well-functioning, rule-based international cooperation built on human rights and liberal values. I truly believe that the Government of Denmark will continue this policy, but I urge our Government to address this looming global crisis in the EU Parliament while we still stand a chance. Hong Kong's fight is the fight of the free world. And I believe it is our national interest that Denmark stand with the free world.
"There is only one way to deal with a totalitarian country—by resistance, not appeasement."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
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