Andy Kim Profile picture
13 Mar, 19 tweets, 6 min read
Agnes Chow just spent 24th birthday behind bars fighting for democracy in Hong Kong. While locked up, China this week imposed law meant to extinguish democracy once and for all. Here’s why Communist Party is terrified of this 24 yr old woman and others(THREAD) #StandWithHongKong
ORIGINAL BROKEN PROMISE: When Agnes was 7 months old, China agreed to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy for 50 years until the year 2047. When skeptics questioned China’s promise during the 1997 handover, China’s premier said China “would prove her words by her deeds.” 2/19
ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS: The Basic Law agreement sets forward "ultimate aim" for chief executive to be chosen by "universal suffrage." Agnes phrases it quite simply as “We want to choose our future by ourselves.” 3/19
EROSION: China began chipping away. 2003-introduced anti-subversion law. 2012, pushed compulsory “patriotic” curriculum in schools. This brought 15 yr old Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong and other teenagers together for first time and gave many youth first taste of protest. 4/19
2014: China tried to redefine HK’s autonomy. For 79 days, hundreds of thousands took to the streets with umbrellas initially to shield from pepper spray. Agnes and others formed a full blown Umbrella movement. While they fell short, they left signs saying “we will be back” 5/19
2019: In the aftermath of Beijing trying to impose an extradition law on Hong Kong, we saw the rise of the largest pro-democracy protest since Tiananmen Square. The Communist Party was terrified. Violence erupted as police advanced carrying signs “disperse or we fire” 6/19
KILL SHOT: In some ways Communist party was saved by COVID, which brought these 2019 seismic protests to abrupt end. During the lockdown, China went in for the kill. They are now trying to do as much damage as possible before the pandemic subsided. 7/19
They passed a new security law, arrested Agnes and others, postponed 2020 local elections, and then this week passed election reforms gutting the 1997 handover agreement and Basic Law. 8/19
STACK THE DECK: These reforms place even more Beijing loyalists into the election committee in Hong Kong that selects Chief Executive. This committee is also now able to screen candidates who run for any office to make sure “only patriots” can govern. Agnes doesn’t qualify. 9/19
CHINA’S ENDGAME: China says it will still deliver universal suffrage, but their plan all along was to control all candidate nominations so HongKongers have no choice but vote for Beijing loyalists. Nothing but facade of democracy by corrupting what it means to be a patriot 10/19
Beijing probably feels pretty good this week. Their actions aimed to break the spirit, to destroy lingering hope. They wanted to show strength, but what they really showed was fear. Fear that the courage of a 24 yr old woman and other HongKongers could become contagious. 11/19
China should be scared, their push for Beijing nationalism is clearly backfiring. Survey in 2019 showed that most people Agnes age(18-29y) see themselves as Hongkonger, and almost no one called themselves Chinese.… 12/19
WHY DOES IT MATTER TO US? @SecBlinken is meeting China this week. Before he left, I told Blinken this is not just about HongKong but also about whether we can trust China’s handshake. If they break promises to their people, how do we trust on trade/military or anything? 13/19
At his speech at Davos this year, Pres. Xi called on the countries of the world to ‘uphold the common values of humanity’, including ‘democracy’. This feels like 1997 all over. China saying they uphold these values and promises, but in the end, what do their deeds say? 14/19
HER DEEDS: To repeat the Chinese premier in 1997, China “would prove her words by her deeds.” Those words meant to reassure, but China’s deeds since have proven that their word cannot be trusted. Agnes and youth saw through their hollow words. 15/19
HOW DOES THIS END? It’s hard not to feel down after China’s suppression this week. Nations around world condemned the action this week, but it will take more than that to change calculus of Chinese Gov that is also engaged in genocide against Uyghurs and feeling little heat 16/19
One development to watch is Intl companies moving out of Hong Kong. Some surveys say 4 in 10 are considering leaving. Others are rethinking their ties, but they should be rethinking about posture to China as a whole, not just Hong Kong.… 17/19
Changes made by Beijing remove some benefits for multinationals to be in Hong Kong, but divesting from HK alone won’t change Beijing’s calculus. If foreign companies step away from HK while still engaging with China as a whole, it’s the people of HK who will suffer most. 18/19
China should immediately release Agnes, Joshua, and others locked up. Suppressing voices of youth is cowardice. I remember a young HongKonger said “If we shut up then we lose completely.” To the many youth in HK and many others that join them, I hope you keep making noise.(END)

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More from @AndyKimNJ

6 Mar
Her name is Kyal Sin and she was brutally murdered this week. She wore this black shirt that said “Everything will be OK” when she was shot in the head by Burmese military. Know her courage. Here’s how her memory may stop this coup and help protect democracies everywhere (THREAD)
WHO KILLED KYAL? One man set this chaos in motion - Min Aung Hlaing. A General so unremarkable that colleagues once gave him a nickname meaning “cat feces” as he reminded them of "something deposited quietly but leaving a powerful stink." 2/14
UNREMARKABLY REMARKABLE: Perhaps incorrect to describe him as unremarkable because he orchestrated the Rohingya genocide. Nearly a million displaced. Tens of thousands massacred. Thousands of women and girls raped. While quiet in personality, he is ruthless in action. 3/14
Read 14 tweets
4 Mar
I just received an email from Capitol security about “new and concerning information and intelligence” about possible militia actions against the Capitol tomorrow. We are now rushing to finish our legislative work tonight under threat of Qanon. This is insane. (THREAD)
Tomorrow March 4 is being called Qanon’s true Inauguration Day. Conspiracists say that Trump will become the 19th President tomorrow. That’s right, 19th, because supposedly the last legitimate President was Ulysses S. Grant who was sworn in on March 4, 1869 as our 18th. 2/8
I began to try to understand why 3/4 matters, but I realized that it’s not worth it. Something about the gold standard and secret laws. Supposedly there will be a ceremony anointing Trump, followed by “the storm” of military tribunals/executions. It’s impossible to follow. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
3 Mar
My dear friend Anna Ruch stepped out the other day to share with us a story that is difficult to tell, especially when the whole country is watching. I called her last night. Not knowing exactly how she might be feeling, I asked How are you doing? (THREAD)…
Anna sounded strong. She always has been for the years I’ve known her and her voice was confident. We talked about why she decided to share her story. She was honest about how she struggled with the decision. Ultimately, she felt compelled to say something. 2/14
It was hearing from other women of their experiences of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse that got her to stand up and speak out. Anna did not compare her experience to those of others, but instead said she wanted to let others know that she is with them in solidarity. 3/14
Read 14 tweets
27 Feb
I just finished reading the declassified memo on killing of #Khashoggi. I’ve read thousands of intel reports in my career in national security, but this one stands out. Here’s why we need to take this seriously and why we need to do more to hold Crown Prince accountable. THREAD
HIGH CONFIDENCE: The memo starts with “We assess that…” While that doesn’t seem like a blistering opening, for me, it’s like a hammer. Lack of phrases like “low/medium confidence” is striking and rare. Unusual to have such a clear and definite assessment without modifier. 2/15
WHO WROTE THIS? The summary says questions to be directed to the NIO for Near East. This is important. NIO stands for National Intelligence Officer who sits on the National Intelligence Committee at the CIA and is the most senior analyst on the Middle East in our government. 3/15
Read 15 tweets
19 Feb
I have only one memory of my grandma and it isn’t a good one. She visited America when I was a child. Instead of embracing her I yelled at her to go home. I’ve regretted that my whole life. Now when I see these brutal attacks against elderly Asian Americans, I see her. (THREAD)
A 91 year old Asian American man assaulted. Hit so hard his frail body goes completely airborne. Another in his 80s killed by a stranger. Another slashed by a knife across his face. They could be my grandparents, your parents or grandparents. 2/19
Yes, some is covid-related discrimination inflamed by the former president, but that is not the whole story though it is what the media often latches onto. The history of anti-AAPI sentiment is long but often unseen or forgotten, representing several principles of hate. 3/19
Read 19 tweets
14 Feb
At my office in Congress I have an original ballot of Mandela’s election as reminder to never take democracy for granted. After yesterday’s senate vote, I turn back to Mandela’s first speech when released from prison 31 years ago this week. Here’s what we can learn (THREAD)
GRACE: “I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.”

Robbed of 27 years of his life, no one would have faulted Mandela if he emerged from prison with anger. But instead, with his first words of his first speech in decades, he chose grace. 2/13
HUMILITY: “I stand before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.”

Mandela was revered by millions as a leader of conscience. But in his second sentence, he made sure to set the tone for humility and service. No individuals stand above the people. 3/13
Read 13 tweets

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