Saturday, July 2, 2022

Can bitcoin save the Hong Kong Protestors from China’s sword of Damocles?

The Takeaway:

Hong Kong protests show no signs of subsiding without the fulfillment of the protesters' demands. Along with traditional demonstrations, Hongkongers have opted to withdraw their money from the banks. This step safeguards people against the devaluing HKD and exploits the Achilles' heel of China and Hong Kong- their economy. Can Bitcoin help these protestors to bypass the surveillance state and serve as a store of value?

The protestors of the controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong have apparently entered a battlefield. Not only have they challenged the future of their region but also countered one of the most powerful nations on Earth: China.


Bitcoin to the rescue

The political conditions peak to worsen in this “special administrative region” as the Hong Kong dollar is constantly sliding to downfall post the protests. Surprisingly, to save themselves from the risks arising with their currency, the investors have turned to Bitcoin. The economic crisis up swinging worldwide is certainly an explanation of Bitcoin’s price rise.


If you lash out, we Cashout!

The protestors have now turned to another non-violent tactic – withdrawing money out of ATMs and banks, en masse. To protect their assets, the public of Hong Kong has decided to convert their HKD to USD. The latest “Cashout HKD to USD” protest aims to hit the Hong Kong CE-Lam, and the People’s Republic of China, right where it hurts. Also, as the reports unveil, over 70 million Hong Kong dollars had been withdrawn.


You take one step, the Government jumps one.

However, the public is bound by a specific limit of up to HKD 20,000 or USD 2,500 withdrawal of cash in one day. To manage the limitations, the citizens have started taking out the money in advance. But, the government marches ahead. Chinese banks are likely to bring their ATMs out of order and might also seize the cash upon arresting its possessor on suspicion of causing riots.


Bitcoin – I can be your hero.

Here, if we dive deep, Bitcoin might play a crucial role and rise to be a hot property in the city. Shifting to bitcoin can seemingly end the boundaries, enabling people to convert their fiat currencies directly into the digital coin. Moreover, a single bitcoin attains a value higher than any real money. If the bitcoin trend leaks down to every citizen participating in the bank run, the crypto coin possesses fair chances of trading up.


Killer, the spoiler

The massive stone of protest fell on the government when people rebelled the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition bill. The reforms were motivated by the appalling case of a Hongkonger who was indicted for strangling his girlfriend and stuffing her body in a suitcase in Taiwan last year. Shockingly, the suspect flew back to Hong Kong and couldn’t be sent back to face prosecution because of the absence of an extradition treaty of the region with Taiwan. The Hong Kong government seized on this case and made it the grounds to propose amendments that would yield case-by-case extraditions to countries that lack formal extradition treaties with Hong Kong. Critics arose in fear and panic fretting about the advantage that the dominant nation, China, can take through this law.


The Government is smart but are the protestors smarter?

The dissent took off in early June with as much as one-seventh of the population. The government has kept their eyes wide open to get hold of the protestors in some or the other way. A 22-year-old protester was found through the social platform- Telegram and taken under custody just within two days of the disorder. The oversight has what made the protestors very careful in concealing their identities. They now maintain a low profile on social media, communicate only through secure apps, and delete the conversations. Besides this, using a pre-paid SIM, disabling locations, and most significantly – using paper money instead of digital payment methods live up to their efforts of veiling themselves from the governments. Government surveillance has forced people to cease the use of their “octopus card,” leading to queues for payments, parking, and purchases. Also, to serve their protection, the protestors are further cautioned to wear face masks to avoid any pictures.


China says what? Our nation our rules!

The dissenters met with the violent acts of the authorities involving firing tear gas, rubber bullets, and beanbags at the crowds during the protests. However, the projection of these acts on social media and television networks portrayed a flipped image. When a projectile struck a woman’s eye earlier this month, China stepped into the wrong ship of information or maybe built the boat itself. The news networks reported that the woman was hit not by the police but by a protestor.

The assertion was just a spin which did nothing more than inaugurating another factor in the protest. People stood together with a bleeding eye image and opposed the fake report.

Police in its defense of firing live round stated that 86 people were arrested over the weekend, including a 12-year-old child for transgressions like unlawful assembly, the hold of offensive weapons, and assailing police officers.

Moreover, censors are established on the Chinese social media platforms to cloak or delete the pictures of the dissent and their messages of sympathy. I think China is, really, capable of doing anything!


Donald Trump: Let me fuel the fire.

The US president had voiced his concern for the protestors. Though he did never favor the protests yet expressed amazement over the mass number of people supporting the act. He did insist that he supports liberty and democracy.

Where the marchers felt the loss of their freedom since Xi came to power, Trump praised him as a great leader.

China is already exasperated by the US guiding its authorities on “how to run their country,” but Trump believes in sprinkling salt on the wounds, doesn’t he?

In his most extensive comments on unrest in Hong Kong, the US president stated that China must “humanely” tackle the situation before reaching a trade deal and suggested Xi organize a personal meeting with the Hongkongers to end the subsisting crisis gracefully. He also said, “China is not the problem though Hong Kong is not helping.”

“I think it would be much harder for me to sign a deal if he (Xi)┬ádid something violent in Hong Kong,”

Trump said. Also, he hinted that violence could pressure the odds of reaching a trade deal and rectifying a settlement after a violent crackdown would not go down well among the US populace.


Protestors’ demands

The dissidents hold five needs:

  • The complete withdrawal of the extradition bill. The bill is currently suspended, but people demand its absolute removal.
  • The establishment of a separate body to investigate the police brutality against the protestors.
  • Exemption of the arrested marchers.
  • The recommencement of executive functioning to grant the free election of Hong Kong’s administration and council.
  • Last but not least, the protestors demand the cessation of referring to protests as riots.


China – the Hidden Opportunist

Tautness is high in Hong Kong. The city sees week after week of the disaster, but the Chinese forces have not yet stepped into the extending crisis. Is China profiting by being distant? Maybe. Some ways can benefit the country by not involving in the protest.

Hong Kong is an administrative region whose citizens enjoy more freedom than China. It has its separate legal system and free press. Maybe China is waiting for a call by the Hong Kong authorities to act in the dissent. If the nation itself rolls out to control the situation, there are chances of using violence, which would ultimately harm its image and business. However, it can argue that its merely standing by Lam’s side if approached for any assistance. If the political system damages or destabilizes in Hong Kong, China can swoop in and reform Hong Kong in its image, that it has desired since forever.

Secondly, the US-China trade war is harming the nation’s economy. To attain a deal with the US, the country must take careful steps.


You get it, but you don’t!

Nevertheless, on the contrary, China’s army in Hong Kong released a three-minute video showing troops carrying out anti-riot exercises. The video starts with a soldier shouting: “All consequences are at your own risk.” Further, it shows the arresting of protestors, tanks, and water-canons, as if hinting to the emergence of supreme violence is one the way. Though the Chinese Government refused to answer any concerns directly, the Beijing foreign ministry stated that only the military could interpret the decoded message in the video.

China is well-known for its overt and covert behavior. Either it can listen to Trump and swallow the rage against him. Or dress as the power it is and take Hong Kong protests under its control. What do you think the protestation will lead to?

Disclaimer: The article reflects the opinions of the author and is not representative of Chaintimes’ views.
The article does not offer any investment advice. User discretion is advised when investing in or trading with cryptocurrency. Extensive and diligent research should be carried out by the reader before making a decision.

Harry Finnerty
Harry Finnerty
After completing his graduation from Strayer University, Harry started to work in the real estate industry. However, soon he realized that his real interest is in the financial industry and once he came to know about bitcoin and the technology behind it, he dedicated his life to understand and write about it.

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