Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
This week, China laid claim to even more foreign territory. Two nuclear superpowers battled in the mountains, yet it garnered barely a blip in the national consciousness. The same can be said for its expansion into the South China Sea, it’s concentration camps full of Muslims waiting to be “re-educated” and it’s attempt to violate the Sino-British Joint Declaration; the latter of which garnered barely a two minute long expression of unhappiness from the British Government on Facebook and a largely meaningless pledge on the immigration status of BNO Hongkongers.
In a fortnight where Churchill’s legacy has come under such huge scrutiny, we have lost sight of the biggest lesson that must be learnt from his premiership: that appeasement must never be the answer. The world stood by and watched the Nazis annex Austria and the Sudetenland. They watched the first concentration camps be erected in 1933, laying the groundwork for mass genocide, and vowed: never again. Yet, less than a century later, the west continues to conduct business with another authoritarian, expansionist, genocidal dictatorship .
Chinese-Indian relationships have been strained over the desolate Galwan Valley before, but it has been 45 years since there were any casualties in the region. This new development that saw as many as 60 casualties is no surprise. Xi Jinping has had his eyes set on the Indian border since he rose to power in 2012 with incidents in Depsang, Chumar and Doklam over the past 8 years. China has no intention of backing down over the Galwan Valley and has claimed absolute sovereignty over the Indian territory, as the Nazis claimed sovereignty for the Rhineland.
About 1 million Muslims are estimated to be held in concentration camps in Xinjiang. The Chinese Government claims that they offer voluntary education and training, this is not the case. The BBC, amongst others, have found that the camps are built on a regime of indoctrination, brutal punishment and imprisonment. Leaked documents in 2017, sent by Zhu Hailun, second in command to Xi Jinping, to those who run the concentration camps laid out their status as brutal prison camps. Almost more distressingly, it is considered likely that many of the concentration camps across China are also used for organ harvesting, especially from those individuals who belong to the spiritual group Falun Gong, who the CCP pledged to eliminate 20 years ago. For too long, the west turned a blind eye to the brutal reality of Nazi concentration camps, resulting in the horrific deaths of over 6 million people. In a country over 10 times the size of 1939 Germany, the death toll in China could be beyond anything humanity has ever even contemplated.
Hong Kong has often been held up as the crown jewel of Asia. It is steeped in heritage and tradition and, under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was ceded back to China and its historical government, yet would remain a twinkling democracy on the edge of a brutal and oppressive regime. That is coming to an end. Thatcher explained the importance of upholding Hong Kong’s democracy as something for the ordinary citizens of China to work towards. A wealthy democracy that maintained its social and cultural roots, everything that China could have been, she thought. China has had enough of it. Both Taiwan and Hong Kong may prove too tempting for its citizens. The ordinary man may begin to experience that lust for freedom that resides deep within all people. Thus, the Hong Kong that exists today may be no more, it will slowly see those freedoms that make it so special
dissipate until it is little more than a shell of it’s current self. Until it is simply another arm of a genocidal, expansionist, communist state.
The world has sat on its hands for too long. It has forgotten the lessons of the past, that, once you give an inch, evil will take a mile. The world must stand up for democracy, for liberty and for freedom.