China and Iran think they will have more freedom of action once Trump’s presidency has finished
It is surely no coincidence that, at a time when American leadership appears paralysed by disputes over the presidential election result, China’s communist rulers have chosen to launch yet another assault on Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms.
Having effectively crushed the rights of pro-democracy protesters to stage demonstrations over Beijing’s draconian security laws, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has now passed a resolution allowing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing rulers to dismiss any politician deemed to be a threat to national security, a move that has effectively extinguished the flame of democracy in the territory.
Within hours of Beijing passing the resolution, the city’s government dismissed four prominent members of the legislative council, prompting the remaining 15 pro-democracy legislators to resign in protest. Officials in Beijing responded by declaring that “the political rule that Hong Kong must be governed by patriots shall be firmly guarded”.
Had Beijing embarked on such a transparent attempt to crush the last surviving remnants of democratic rule in the territory a few weeks ago, it would have been met with a robust response from the Trump administration which, to Britain’s shame, has become the most active defender of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement…
Iran is another rogue state that, to judge by its increasingly belligerent conduct over its nuclear programme, has reached the conclusion that it no longer has to concern itself with upsetting Washington. Apart from resuming work on enriching uranium – a clear breach of the 2015 nuclear deal – UN inspectors recently revealed that Tehran has begun to build a new network of underground bunkers at its Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.