With enemies like them, Beijing doesn’t need friends. What the pan-democratic opposition leaders and anti-government protest movement have achieved is beyond anything Beijing’s allies could have entertained in their wildest dream – ending American leverage over Hong Kong, speeding up the city’s full integration with the rest of the country and getting the localist movement to commit suicide. Beijing shouldn’t even think about locking them up. Instead, they deserve full honour for helping the motherland turn Hong Kong into “just another mainland city” well ahead of schedule. They may not be patriots, rather the opposite, but they may have ultimately served the country better than any self-proclaimed nationalists. You think I am joking? I wish I was. By flying over to Washington year in and year out to badmouth their own city and country, the opposition has given perfect cover for American politicians to turn Hong Kong into a pawn in a new cold war struggle between the two countries. Trump says US to eliminate Hong Kong trade privileges They have actively encouraged Washington to threaten to end Hong Kong’s special trade status unless Beijing played ball. That American legislation is often, quite accurately, described as “a nuclear option”. The whole point of having nuclear weapons, of course, is not to use them, but to deter and bend your opponent to your will. Now though, Washington has pressed the nuclear button. Besides undermining Hong Kong’s economy and its status as an international hub, it will also relinquish any leverage it has had over Beijing in the territory. A wiser US president might prefer to keep that leverage. But Donald Trump seems instinctively to prefer short-term advantages over long-term strategic goals and is therefore more than happy to undermine Hong Kong just to bolster his anti-China credentials if it will help him win a second term as president. Our pan-dems thought Beijing would relent or at least soften its hardline stance over Hong Kong if Washington threatened to throw us under the bus. Now the Americans have thrown all of us under the bus. Some pan-dems still don’t realise what has happened and are even cheering the Americans. Let me spell it out. In response to your fight for Hong Kong independence, the Americans will now activate their new law to end the city’s separate trade and travel status and lump it with the rest of the country. Finally, Beijing and Washington can agree: Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China!