No liberty in Hong Kong for US Navy sailors as China tries to strangle democracy in its cradle

Analysis
USS Chafee departs Hong Kong on Oct. 6, 2017. ((U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Benjamin A. Lewis.)

Geopolitics aside, the ongoing demonstrations by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong against Red China's tyrannical rule have already produced strategic ramifications for U.S. sailors: cancelled liberty.

That's right, the godless communists have cancelled two planned port calls by U.S. Navy ships.


The amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay was scheduled to visit Hong Kong on Aug. 17, followed by the cruiser USS Lake Erie in September, said Cmdr. Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"The U.S. Navy has a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect them to continue," Christensen told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Christensen referred questions about why the Green Bay and Lake Erie sailors would not be able to spend their liberty in Hong Kong to the Chinese government.

China has been ruled by the communist party since 1949. Thirty years later, the Chinese began adopting capitalism, but so far the powers that be have refused to consider political reforms in part because they blame Mikhail Gorbachev's efforts to democratize the Soviet Union for its collapse in 1991.

A former British colony, Hong Kong came under Chinese control in 1997. The current protests there come almost exactly 30 years after the People's Liberation Army massacred students in Tiananmen Square.

As of Wednesday, the communist bureaucrats whose hands are firmly clasped around democracy's throat seemed indifferent to the fact that sailors will not be spending their liberty in Hong Kong.

The last Navy ship to visit Hong Kong was the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge in April, a defense official said. The last time the Chinese denied a port visit to Hong Kong was in September 2018, when the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp was not allowed to dock there.

When the USS Corry, an American Navy destroyer bombarded by the Nazis, sank off the coast of Normandy on D-Day in 1944, its executive officer, the second-in-command, crowded as many rescued sailors as he could on a whaler used as a lifeboat. Then he saw a body floating close by.

He told his men to tie it to the side of the boat. There was no more room on board.

He didn't know whether the sailor was alive in the cold English Channel waters, but he felt compelled to pick him up.

The unconscious teenager tied to the lifeboat was Chet Furtek of Philadelphia. He awoke, with his face covered by a blanket, on a rescue ship. He thought he had died and gone to purgatory. Heaven, he knew, was out of reach. But he soon found himself alive, surrounded by other wounded and deceased sailors and soldiers being transported back to England as solemn music played from a loud speaker.

Furtek is now 93. And the story of his rescue, which he described as a miracle, has not been forgotten.

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