“Hong Kong is the place I got my start in the media,” Varney said on Monday. “I was a reporter for Radio Hong Kong... Back in colonial days, the place was governed by the British.”
Varney said Hong Kong in the '70s had a “vigorous” free press and a free market economy.
“I loved it,” he said.
When the British left in 1997, they handed over government to Beijing communists, he said. The agreement: For 50 years, Hong Kong could keep a separate identity and an independent judicial system.
“With that agreement in place, Hong Kong continued to thrive,” Varney said. “Free markets let people live freely and an independent judiciary kept things fair.”
But when Xi Jinping took over the government with “increasingly” authoritarian rule, he “smacked down” Hong Kong’s freedom, Varney said.
People began to riot and were met with police brutality, tear gas and rubber bullets.
“And now they’re shooting people,” he said. “It’s a war.”
Varney said those who know Hong Kong are “very sad” to see what’s happened. But he said he’s also inspired by demonstrators.
“They are fighting, against all odds, for freedom,” he said. “I think it would be true to say that those young people are the most active fighters for democracy anywhere in the world right now.”
Varney said protesters are confronting the “awesome power of a communist state,” but no one can predict how this all will end.
“But how can you not support brave people, often flying the American flag, who are prepared to risk it all for democracy?” he said.