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Their freedom - and ours

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For any libertarian, the Chinese gangster regime is an anathema. Micro control of citizens, the extinguishing of democracy, suffocation of freedoms of thought, movement and expression, mass executions, organ harvesting, state-tolerated piracy, officially sponsored cyber crime, corruption, injustice and the endemic mendacity of one-party propaganda. And I can write that without a scintilla of hyperbole – we have actually grown to accept this monolithic behemoth and its manifold and hateful repression of the human spirit as normal.

Hong Kong is the possibly the first time in modern history that pro-democracy protesters have waved the Union flag not as a symbol of colonial oppression but as a symbol of hope and freedom, the symbol of every freedom that is hateful to the gangster regime in Beijing. There are some 300,000 BNO passport holders in HK and we must welcome the moves by the FCO to extend their rights to live and work in the UK from six months to a year, and to unlock for them an easy path to full citizenship and permanent residence. The success they have made of HK betokens their economic vitality, agility, tenacity and appetite for hard work and application. Our universities should be filled not with the products of the PRC and the financial control that has enslaved several Oxford colleges and Russell group institutions to Huawei, but with the children of the free entrepreneurs of HK. They would add immeasurably to the common wealth of our nation, strengthen the reach and status of the City of London and add dynamism, innovation and thrusting growth to our economy, in exactly the way as did the Ugandans expelled by Idi Amin.

Already Brexit is allowing us to return our view back to a perspective we had almost lost, to the Anglosphere. The joint UK / US / NZ and Australian approach to China’s moves in HK is absolutely crucial – in effect the Five Eyes nations confirming their solidarity. Boris’s thrown-out notion of a D10 – a group of ten democracies – formed of the G7 plus India, South Korea and Australia to challenge China on specifically 5G to start with but potentially much more, is a clever move to not only re-orient UK foreign policy away from Europe but to give Germany, France and Italy a thump to the head to divert their own focus away from their collective navels and out towards the world.

Above all we must rapidly re-engineer the economy to supplement or replace reliance on China for anything. Diversification. At a time when we will have, in six months, the capacity to allow British Internationalism to blossom – including our unilateral ability to impose sanctions, form treaties and alliances and so on, our place as the world’s fifth largest economy will not be insubstantial. In diplomatic terms we already box above our weight, and that ability will grow and mature as the FCO learns for the first time in forty years to think for itself.

China’s actions over HK could well blow-back at the gangster regime in more ways than one – and could be the dawn of a new era for a Britain free from the EU.

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