Was hat es mit dem neuen Sicherheitsgesetz auf sich und wie denken chinesische Studentinnen in Bayreuth über die Entwicklung in Hongkong? In zwei Interviews sprechen sie über Protest, Unabhängigkeit und Chinas Art, die Dinge zu regeln.

Die ersten Proteste in Hongkong sind jetzt bereits über ein Jahr her. Am 9. Juni demonstrierten Bürgerinnen Hongkongs in der eigentlich von China unabhängigen-autonomen Region gegen das umstrittene Auslieferungsgesetz. Das Gesetz sollte eine Auslieferung von straffällig gewordenen Chinesen an China ermöglichen. Kritikerinnen sehen dieses Gesetz jedoch vor allem als Vorwand der chinesischen Zentralregierung zur Ausweitung der Verfolgung von politischen Gegnern und zur Erweiterung der Kontrolle in den Sonderverwaltungszonen (darunter auch Taiwan, Tibet und Xinjiang). Nach wochenlangen Protesten begleitet von gewaltvollen Polizeieinsätzen, erreichten die Demonstrantinnen im September letzten Jahres eine Rücknahme des Auslieferungsgesetzes. Nun griff die chinesische Regierung jedoch zu anderen Maßnahmen und erließ Anfang dieses Monats das sogenannte „Sicherheitsgesetz“. Dieses richtet sich gegen Terrorismus, gegen Unabhängigkeitsbewegungen und gegen die Untergrabung der chinesischen Staatsgewalt. Die Autonomie Honkongs ist durch das Gesetz nahezu aufgehoben und die demokratischen Grundrechte sind stark gefährdet. Kritikerinnen zufolge sind durch diese neue Form der Zensierung die Meinungsfreiheit und die öffentliche Berichterstattung weltweit bedroht.

Um einen persönlicheren Blick auf das Thema zu bekommen und die Perspektive zu wechseln, haben wir zwei chinesische Studentinnen der Universität Bayreuth interviewt.

Laura*, ist 25 Jahre alt, aus Shanghai und studiert Sprachwissenschaften im Master in Bayreuth. Momentan arbeitet sie an ihrer Masterarbeit. In dieser analysiert sie unter anderem Medienberichte Deutschlands zu den Protesten in Honkong. Ihrer Auffassung nach, ist die Berichterstattung nicht neutral und berichte immer mit denselben Schlüsselworten über die Proteste. Die Proteste werden von vornherein als pro-demokratisch verstanden und alle Informationen dazu sind dementsprechend gelabelt.

Did you, family members or friends engage in the protests in Hongkong in some way?

No, I didn’t participate, nor did my relatives participate and I don’t know any of my friends who did.

Did any one of your friend or relatives experience police violence during the protests?

No.

Do you support the engagement of Joshua Wong?

I don’t agree with his action. In my opinion it’s too violent. To beat up the police is too hard. For me private rights, as for instance, to state your opinion freely and in public, are important. But as I see the situation, China only acts if something happens, like when they are afraid that an underground movement could plan a subversion. China is so huge and hard to control that Chinese people are often scared about losing a part of the country, and so the government, too, is worried about Hongkong’s intentions to become independent.

Now that China has enacted the new security law what do you think about the future for Hongkong?

In general, I think Hongkong will me more stable. It’s good for Hongkong, it’s going to be more secure and it can’t be a region for criminals to hide anymore. Cause that is what it was all about in beginning. With this law, the Chinese government wants to prevent that criminal people who committed crimes in China flee to Hongkong to escape prosecution (because of its special legal situation).

Do you plan to go back to Germany/China or did your plans change?

Yes, I want to go back to Bayreuth to finish my master degree, but for now the flights are really expensive from Shanghai to Germany. I will have to wait.

Do you think German institutions as for example the University of Bayreuth should publicly oppose the new law?

I think they shouldn’t make a statement, because that could make it difficult for Chinese students to study in Germany in the future. If they publish a statement against the Chinese Government, it could happen that the government breaks the contract with the university as a partner institution.

Referring to a survey from the international news agency Reuters, about 34 percent of the population in Hongkong support the new law. Do you think they support the law because they fear the Chinese regime or because they support the regime in general?

I don’t think that they say “yes” to the law because they are afraid. They want security and stability. Hongkong is economically very weakened by to the protests.

Do you think that economic sanctions for China could prevent China from further interventions?

No, stupid economic sanctions won’t change anything. It’s more important that other countries understand the way China is acting. It’s not good to intervene in political decisions of other countries, without understanding the actions. The protests in Hongkong were in a really Western way of protesting with violent riots and in Chinese understanding it’s not the right way to protest. We value harmony.

Is a call for independence really the solution, considering that there is a contract allowing China to take back over?

In my opinion every step towards an independence is not good in general.

Pei-Kang (27) ist in China aufgewachsen. Sie lebt und studiert seit Jahren in Bayreuth.

Did you, family members or friends engage in the protests in Hongkong in some way?

I have only one friend from Hongkong who is currently living in Germany and he didn’t participate in the protests.

Did any one of your friends or relatives experience violence from the police during the protests?

Not that I know. But a German friend of mine who said something in a private call against the Chinese government got a call from the local police in China.

Do you support the engagement of Joshua Wong?

Yes, I do. It reminds us of the Student Protests in China in 1989 which went out of control. I support the protests, but I am not brave enough to stand with them. I think it is really dangerous and it’s hard to change.

For me it’s also important to know both sides. At the campus in Bayreuth I found some flyers with information about the situation in Hongkong. It was interesting with more contra-information. But if I would support the student movement publicly, it will definitely cause problems for me, my relatives and friends in China, economically or socially.

Now that China has enacted the new security law what do you think about the future for Hongkong?

China will take over more and more. As Joshua Wong said, until today it used to be a 1,5 system (one country, 1,5 systems) and it will be only one System. So, there will be a new equilibrium.

Do you plan to go back to Germany/China or did your plans change?

I like the multi-sides of China and its solutions to development. I am open to living in different countries.

Do you think German institutions, for example the University of Bayreuth should publicly oppose the new law?

Yes, I think it should. Nowadays, students are too busy to protest for their interest. In Bayreuth it’s also peaceful.

But at the same time I think the partnership and scholar communications between the institutions could be cancelled.

Referring to a survey from the international news agency Reuters, about 34 percent of the population in Hongkong support the new law. Do you think they support the law because they fear the Chinese regime or because they support the regime in general?

I think a lot of them are scared because of the potential risk. In general I think most Chinese people won’t dare to say “I am for it” or “I disagree with it”. A single answer makes no difference.

Do you think that economic sanctions for China could prevent China from further interventions?

No, I think it won’t change (lacht). China is really powerful and from historical examples it had more serious sanctions and isolations and it stayed.

Is a call for independence really the solution, considering that there is a contract allowing China to take back over?

Solution is a word more for chemistry. I think it makes sense because participants make their voices heard. But considering the way of thinking of most of the Chinese population and government, terms like “human rights” and “democracy” are not so frequently used. The most important topic is the fight against poverty.

Thank you very much for your willingness to answer our questions.*Die Namen der Interviewpartnerinnen wurden zur Wahrung der Anonymität geändert.

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