American democracy may be immersed in crisis at the present time, but the various claims of its death are, as Mark Twain might have quipped, greatly exaggerated. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said on the other side of the world.

“We can no longer tell the world that we still have ‘one country, two systems,’ ” Wu Chi-wai, chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, told reporters last week. “This declares its official death.”


“This” was the decision by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to force the removal of four pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, which brought about the resignation of the parliament’s entire pro-democracy bloc in protest. As a result of those 19 resignations, Hong Kong’s 70-seat parliament is now virtually without any dissenting voices for the first time since 1997—the year that China and the United Kingdom, the former administrative power in Hong Kong, came to a historic agreement that enabled Hong Kong’s return to China with its democratic political system intact (“one country, two systems”).

That agreement is technically scheduled to run until 2047, but China’s crackdown in Hong Kong has already reduced it to tatters. Back in June, the Chinese regime passed a far-reaching national security law in the face of several years of pro-democracy and anti-Beijing protests, further reducing Hong Kong’s autonomy and making it easier to punish demonstrators. The law criminalizes “secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces”—in true Communist-style, all categories of crimes sufficiently wide-ranging to punish pretty much anything that furrows the brows of the regime. As Carrie Lam, the Chinese regime stooge who runs Hong Kong, memorably put it, while she “welcomes diverse opinions in the Legislative Council,” these must be expressed in a “responsible manner.”