President Chris opened the meeting at 12;03 and Peg Sennett led the pledge & prayer.
ATTENDANCE: 30 people were in virtual attendance.  Guests included our students of the month and our speaker Jason Buhi.
STUDENTS:  The students of the month who were present shared their Rotary experience over the past month.
Peg Sennett - shared that our Club grant amounting to $2500 was awarded to Windy Hill.
Terry Gingrow - Hanover resident Carol Granger, who many of you know, passed away last night after a long battle against his illness.
Jess Socrates - the report on the Street Village Children project in the Philippines was submitted to RI ahead of schedule.  Additionally an appeal will be made to extend the Braveheart Project to a third.  This is practically unheard of in Rotary but we will try anyway.
Chris Helt - Remember that Tastefest Takeout will begin and run for the first week of March; please support the Roots for Boots Food Drive with your non-perishable food donations; volunteer for the Ruth's Harvest Meal Packing at St Matthews Lutheran Church on thurs March 4, sign up on -line.
PROGRAM: Jason Buhi - former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship student in Hong Kong - "Hong Kong Democracy Movement and China's National Security Law"
Jason spoke about his experience living and studying in Hong Kong focusing on the changes that he saw take place.   He divided his presentation into the following segments - a brief history of Hong Kong, the Democratic Movement, the U.S. Response, China's Response, Final Comments/questions .
Hong Kong is almost 4x the size of Orlando, has 7.4 million people of largely Chinese origin with a very high literacy rate, would have 36th highest GDP in the world, and is classified as a Special Administrative Region of the PRC(People's Republic of China) under "one Country, Two Systems".  In 1979 the PRC demanded the return of Hong Kong which had been under British colonial rule since 1841.  Between 1982 and 1984 the Sino-British Joint Declaration was negotiated by the UK and PRC.
Briefly the Declaration stated that HK would have a high degree of autonomy; would be vested with executive, legislative, and independent judiicial powers; would have a Chief Executive appointed based on local elections via universal suffrage; and a guarantee that the current social and economic systems would remain unchanged for 50 yrs (to 2047).  
The PRC has been taking a series of carefully planned, orchestrated steps to undermine the original declaration and exert more and more control over HK.  For example the Legislature which once had veto power now has lost even that through PRC controlling who serves on the Legislature.  The few remaining representatives on the legislature have resigned leaving all control to PRC representatives.  The PRC is systematically cracking down on any and all opposition through threats, intimidation, extradition to mainland China and imprisonment.  The crackdown continues despite demonstrations by over 2 million of the city's 7.5 million population.
 Through the HK Policy Act in 1992 the US agreed to honor all the existing laws in force in British HK if the PRC honors its obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.  If HK ceases to be autonomous, then the US should suspend special benefits.  In 2019 the policy act was amended to include various things including the authorization of sanctions for human rights violators in HK including cancelling their US visas and seizing their US - based assets
The PRC reaction was to impose its new national security "law" on July 1, 2020 on HK.  Thislaw criminalizes vaguely-defined offenses of treason, succession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion; authorizes the PRC FBI to operate in HK unaccountable to local law or judiciary, and can extradite people to mainland China; and these laws apply to anyone, anywhere in the world, whether or not they are UK or Chinese residents!  This new law is already having devastating effects on anyone speaking or acting out against the PRC.
Jason's final thoughts/ suggestions include:  Under our current administration, HK will receive less attention; the US should clearly know what our goals are; we should practice our values at home and abroad; bipartisanship on policies related to China should continue; positive rhetoric is better but don't be naive; and we are most effective in concert with our allies.
Jason's presentation was concise, well-documented, organized and tremendously interesting.  He sparked many questions from the group.  
NEXT WEEK'S PROGRAM: Frank Kempf and Gwen Loose, Rail Trail
Update on the Hanover Trolley Trail