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The "power to run local affairs" remains -- but only "as authorized by the central leadership." In other words, your liberty stops when we say so. The White Paper offered other reinterpretations of the 1997 Accord, including the notion that the territory's judicial decisions must "take into account the needs of China," a vague requirement but crystal clear to Hong Kong.
On the core issue of democracy, one that has repeatedly brought Hong Kongers from all walks of life into the streets, the White Paper speaks of introducing universal suffrage as promised in the Basic Law by 2017 -- but the requirements to run in the elections are that a candidate must be "patriotic" and "love China." Of course, it is Beijing who determines which candidates meet that criteria. Beijing defined what those requirements mean in a decision on September 4, namely that all candidates must be chosen by a "nominating committee" comprised of pro-Beijing local elites. The disappointment in Hong Kong was palpable, sparking the "Umbrella Revolution" that reached record numbers of tens of thousands in the streets on China's October 1 National Day holiday.
In the event of an outcome that leaves the status quo in place in Hong Kong, the U.S. administration needs to address its own China dilemma with a China policy that seems to be tilting less toward cooperation and more towards competition: how to impose costs on Beijing for unacceptable behavior.
Beyond Taiwan, China's assertiveness toward territorial claims in the East and South China Sea has made its neighbors fearful of the implications of China's re-emergence.
“I think given the fact that there’s a lot going on in the world that we’re still making these visits and still having these discussions speaks volumes about how important we believe the Asia Pacific theater is,” Kirby told reporters. He also pointed out that “more than 350,000 American troops are based somewhere in the Pacific, 200 ships, the majority of the Navy is in the Pacific. And we have five of our seven treaty alliances are in the Pacific region. We’re very committed to that region.”
fund the radicals