How ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher Saw Hong Kong and Communism

'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative party, at a press conference on July 1, 1991 in London (Image: David Fowler via Dreamstime)

Among contemporary Western leaders, the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher was a rare open critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). On the issue in Hong Kong, Margaret Thatcher had long predicted that: “If China takes back Hong Kong, it will have a catastrophic impact on Hong Kong and destroy its prosperity”.

Today, after the seizure and clampdown of Hong Kong by communist China, Hong Kong’s economic status in the world continues to decline. Freedom of the press has been suppressed, public security has deteriorated, and uncertainty, fear, arrests, incarceration, and dissatisfaction of the Hong Kong people have risen.

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Impossible for China to compete with the US as the superpower of the world

According to Chinese official circles and official media: “The 21st century is the century of the Chinese people.” However, Margaret Thatcher predicted that before the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule and given the heavy burden of socialism, it is impossible for China to become a country that can compete with the United States as the superpower of the world.

Margaret Thatcher also firmly said to the Western allies: “You don’t have to worry about China at all, because China will not be able to provide the world with any new ideas in the next few decades.”  Someone once quipped: “There is nothing to fear about China, they can export TV sets but they cannot export TV programs.”

The reason why the United Kingdom and the United States had become respected powers in the international community is thought to have been because these two power centers provided new ideas to the world: that is, the principles of protecting individual rights, individual freedoms, and the principle of the supremacy of dignity, which is reflected in a true market economic system, and constitutional democracy, with the separation of powers. 

An American flag next to a Chinese flag on a cloudy blue sky background.
‘It is impossible for China to become a country that can compete with the United States as the superpower of the world.’ (Image: Tangducminh via Dreamstime)

No matter how China’s economy develops, if there is no democratic system, no individual freedoms, no freedom of religion, press, assembly, and no guarantee of individual rights, it is impossible for China to become a force that influences and dominates the world for long.

Some people may think that Margaret Thatcher always found fault with China, but the fact is that Mrs. Thatcher was very supportive of the Republic of China and democratic Taiwan. Taiwanese diplomat Jiang Youxin recently said in commemoration of Margaret Thatcher that during his tenure as the representative to the United Kingdom: “Mrs. Thatcher would be present at the National Day reception of the Republic of China every year to express her support for Taiwan by being there in person.”  

Margaret Thatcher openly embraced and supported Taiwan 

Jiang Youxin also said that Margaret Thatcher dared to openly support Taiwan in this way, and she is a heroine who could bring many male politicians to shame.

While many Western political leaders were trying to avoid Taiwan and even flatter Beijing, Mrs. Thatcher was looking for ways to support Taiwan. Jiang Youxin recalled that at one of the National Day receptions, Mrs. Thatcher took the initiative to mention to him that she had prepared a gift and asked him to go to her office on Christmas Eve.  He was full of anticipation to be on time for the appointment and Mrs. Thatcher told the Chief of Staff to take him upstairs to have a look.  

Taiwan Government building in Taipei
Taiwan Government building in Taipei. (Image: Seaonweb via Dreamstime)

With a little doubt and apprehension, he opened the door of the room upstairs and found the room filled with dignitaries from British political and business circles whom he used to see on the media, and they stood up to greet him.  At this time, Jiang Youxin suddenly realized that the Christmas gift that Mrs. Thatcher had prepared and given to him is the network of contacts that Taiwan needed most to expand its diplomatic relations.

As recalled by Jiang Youxin, a few years after he left the diplomatic world as Minister of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan and on his daughter’s marriage, Mrs. Thatcher wrote a special handwritten letter of congratulations. And she instructed the director of her office to personally send the letter to Taiwan. The director arrived in Taiwan and had to take a round-trip flight of 36 hours just to convey Mrs. Thatcher’s sincere blessing. Jiang Youxin shared: “Seeing a letter is like seeing a person.” At the wedding reception, when Mrs. Thatcher’s congratulatory letter was read out, all the guests present were moved and felt touched.

Margaret Thatcher: ‘The end of communism is the beginning of freedom’

The awe-inspiring Mrs. Thatcher was a friend of the Chinese and a defender of freedom. At the British Conservative Party Conference in 1982, Mrs. Thatcher clearly pointed out: “The end of communism is the beginning of freedom.”  This prophecy was fulfilled in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union.

A white dove signifying freedom and peace, flying utop the sun on a sky background.
The end of communism is the beginning of freedom.’ (Image: Alexandra Barbu via Dreamstime)

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