Stockholm, Aug. 9(ChinaEuropeDialogue) — Since the new U.S. administration took office, it has not changed the hegemonic behaviour of its predecessor on issues related to Hong Kong, having launched at least 13 attacks against China on those issues and raved about “standing with Hong Kong people” many times.
China is opposed to the US interference in China’s international affairs.
The U.S. side has also churned out fallacies about the proper measures taken to boost the long-term stability of Hong Kong, including China’s implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong and measures to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system. Washington has also ganged up with some Western forces to launch a propaganda campaign against China, and even imposed so-called “sanctions” against Chinese officials.
The unprovoked attacks on China by the new U.S. administration on issues related to Hong Kong are listed below in a bid to restore truths through an account of facts.
After China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) adopted a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on March 11, the U.S. State Department issued a statement to attack and discredit China’s decision. The U.S. side also issued a statement with other Group of Seven members to defame China. On March 17, the U.S. State Department announced so-called “sanctions” against 24 Chinese officials, including 14 vice chairmen of the NPC Standing Committee, on the eve of a high-level strategic dialogue between China and the United States in the U.S. state of Alaska.
After the NPC adopted the decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department claimed that the decision attacked Hong Kong’s democratic process. However, it is purely China’s internal affair to design and improve Hong Kong’s electoral system, and no foreign force is entitled to interfere. In fact, the United States has its own strict laws against foreign interference in elections, and the U.S. House of Representatives had passed a bill to improve the U.S. electoral system. Why can the United States itself amend its own electoral laws any time it deems necessary but go all out to denigrate China’s improvement of such laws for one of its special administrative regions?
While the U.S. side alleged that the targets of its so-called “sanctions” have “undermined the high degree of autonomy promised to the people in Hong Kong,” the U.S. accusation was not consistent with the facts. The NPC has made decisions on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong and improving the electoral system of Hong Kong respectively. The improved electoral system has ensured the implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” which excludes anti-China, destabilizing forces from the governance structure and better guarantees the national security and the safety of the HKSAR’s body of power. It has also better reflected the extensive and balanced political participation by Hong Kong residents, which in no way weakens Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, but is more conducive to the healthy and orderly development of Hong Kong’s democratic system.
China’s measures to maintain the long-term stability of Hong Kong have also won broad international support. During the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), 70 countries issued a joint statement urging relevant parties to stop interfering in issues related to Hong Kong and in China’s internal affairs. In addition, another 20-plus countries also voiced support for China’s position and measures on issues related to Hong Kong in their respective remarks at the HRC.
The U.S. side, by choosing to announce the so-called “sanctions” against Chinese officials on the eve of the high-level strategic dialogue between China and the United States in Alaska, sought to use extreme pressure to gain bargaining chips. However, such unilateral “sanctions” were only a bluff. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said previously that the U.S. unilateral sanctions are not adopted by the United Nations, thus having no legal effect in Hong Kong. The HKMA’s position on unilateral U.S. “sanctions” is clear: Hong Kong banks have no legal responsibility to act in concert with those “sanctions.”
After the announcement of the so-called “sanctions” by the United States in 2020, anti-China and destabilizing forces rejoiced, claiming that those sanctions were “significant indicators” and “champagne corks will be opened tonight for celebration.” They also predicted with confidence that “more sanctions will be imposed in the future, not only on senior officials and middle-level officials, but also those who directly endanger the rule of law in Hong Kong.” The truth of the claim that “the United States stands with Hong Kong people” is that the U.S. side will always stand with those who create disturbances and undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.
On March 30, the amended Annex I and Annex II to the HKSAR Basic Law were passed at the 27th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC, with a unanimous vote from all committee members in attendance. On March 31, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken certified to U.S. Congress that Hong Kong remains undeserving of “special treatment” by the United States under U.S. law. On April 1, U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong Hanscom Smith raved that Hong Kong elections would not produce “meaningful democratic results.”
The designing and improvement of the electoral system of the HKSAR is China’s internal affair. The amendments enjoy sufficient legal basis and fully embody the spirit of the rule of law in governing the country and Hong Kong by law. The newly amended Annexes I and II of the HKSAR Basic Law are systematic amendments to the method for selecting the HKSAR chief executive and the method for forming the HKSAR Legislative Council, respectively. By focusing on reconstituting the Election Committee and increasing empowerment, the amendments represent an overall planning and design for Hong Kong’s electoral system, which have not only fixed the loopholes and defects of the original system in a timely manner, but also effectively enhanced the broad representation and balanced participation of the electoral system. They have optimized and developed Hong Kong’s democratic system, and have by no means “weakened democracy.”
It is of great significance to improve the electoral system of the HKSAR. By making institutional arrangement at the constitutional level, it combines adherence to the principle of “one country” with respect for the differences between “two systems,” and also combines the upholding of the central government’s overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong with a guarantee of a high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong. It has fully implemented the fundamental principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” thus ensuring Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity, safeguarding the steady and sustained implementation of the principle of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong, and giving Hong Kong people a promising future.
In any country in the world, loyalty to one’s homeland is a basic political ethic that must be observed by civil servants and those who run for public office. In Britain, the electoral system of each region is decided by the central government of Britain. For example, with the highest degree of autonomy, Scotland’s electoral system was set by the Scotland Act passed by the British Parliament in 1998 and amended in 2012.
Xulio Rios, director of the Observatory of Chinese Politics in Spain, said that the electoral reform shows the firm will of the Chinese government to preserve the stability of Hong Kong and not to sacrifice sovereignty under any circumstances. In an interview with Chinese media, George Galloway, a former member of the British Parliament, used a vivid expression to illustrate the need to improve Hong Kong’s electoral system: to remove hidden enemies in the “Trojan horse.”
Hong Kong’s special economic status is protected by the Basic Law and is generally recognized and respected by the international community. After Hong Kong’s return to its motherland, its fiscal and taxation independence, free trade, issuance of its own currency, free flow of capital, and its status as a free port and a separate customs territory have been maintained and consolidated, which fully demonstrates that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is working well. While claiming to support Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, the U.S. side has cancelled the so-called “special treatment” for Hong Kong. Facts have proved that it is the U.S. side that has undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.
Hong Kong’s development achievements stem from the continuous hard work of generations of Hong Kong people and its great advantage of relying on the motherland. They have never been gifts or charity from any foreign country. The cancellation of the so-called “special treatment” by the U.S. side will stop neither Hong Kong’s development and prosperity, nor the general trend of Hong Kong’s continued integration with the motherland to gain more space for development.
Smith denied the significance of improving Hong Kong’s electoral system, because under the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong,” U.S. agents in Hong Kong, namely anti-China and destabilizing forces, will be completely excluded from the governance structure of the HKSAR. This is a huge defeat for those anti-China forces in the United States and the West who stand with such agents.
On April 16, anti-China Hong Kong disruptors, including Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Martin Lee Chu-ming, were sentenced by a Hong Kong court according to law.
Later, Blinken tweeted that the sentences “are unacceptable,” and called for the release of those disruptors. He also added the hashtag #StandWithHongKong at the end of his tweet.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also tweeted that she was “saddened and disturbed” by the sentences, and smeared the sentences as “another sign of Beijing’s assault on the rule of law.”
Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law. The evidence for the illegal activities of those anti-China Hong Kong disruptors is rock solid, and no external force has the right to butt in.
The West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts announced on April 16 to sentence Jimmy Lai to 14 months in prison for organizing and participating in illegal assemblies on Aug. 18, 2019 in Hong Kong Island, and for participating in an unauthorized assembly on Aug. 31, 2019.
The court also heard two other cases that Lai was involved in, including suspected of violating the national security law in Hong Kong and fraud, which were adjourned to June 15 and May 6 respectively.
The prosecutor also filed charges against Lai over collusion with external forces to endanger national security and conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice.
Facts showed that such perpetrators as Lai and Lee have colluded with Western anti-China forces for a long time and raised the devil. It was also made public that Lai has built shady connections with the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. government-sponsored entity.
During the illegal “Occupy Central” movement in 2014 and the chaos over the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance in 2019, the local Apple Daily newspaper, controlled by Lai, served as a propaganda tool for the anti-China and destabilizing forces.
Even after the implementation of the national security law, the perpetrators still kept “fighting for the United States” under the disguise of media workers. Their repeated breaking of the bottom line has made them a common enemy of the Hong Kong society.
The sentences of those who organized and took part in unauthorized and illegal assemblies are based on sufficient factual evidence, with the procedure totally legal and the verdict made public according to law.
Some U.S. politicians, despite chanting the slogan of upholding international rules, have repeatedly trampled on international law and basic norms governing international relations, and wantonly interfered in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs. That fully exposes their entrenched double standards on international rules, the use of which depends on whether they conform to U.S. interests.
When illegal demonstrations broke out in Hong Kong, Pelosi called them “a beautiful sight to behold.” In sharp contrast, she unscrupulously slandered the normal law-enforcement measures by the Hong Kong police, who had shown maximum restraint.
When large-scale riots erupted in Los Angeles in 1992, the same California politician did not meet and incite the organizers of the riots.
In 2021, when the U.S. Capitol Hill was under attack, Pelosi, as a congresswoman, did not view the riot as “a beautiful sight to behold,” but instead condemned the attackers hard. The ironic contrast laid bare the true color of U.S. politicians’ “promise” to firmly stand with the anti-China and destabilizing forces in Hong Kong.
On May 7, Blinken wrote on Twitter that the country “stands with the people of Hong Kong,” while asking the Hong Kong government to immediately release multiple instigators of riots in the city, including Joshua Wong.
On May 6, four instigators of the Hong Kong riots, including Wong, were sentenced to four to 10 months in prison respectively by the District Court of the HKSAR, for knowingly participating in an unauthorized assembly. The facts of the cases are well-founded, and Wong and the others are guilty as charged. The ridiculous demand for the immediate release of the defendants does not respect the rule of law, revealing Washington’s attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
While Hong Kong’s laws always respect and protect rights and freedoms under the Basic Law, these rights and freedoms are not absolute, and shall be built upon the maintenance of public order and the protection of rights and freedoms of others. Wong and the others knew the assembly was unauthorized but still took part in it.
David Gosset, a French expert on international issues and founder of the Europe-China Forum, described certain Western politicians as hypocrites who turned a blind eye to the violence in Hong Kong. He stressed that the violent and extremist acts in the city, which damaged its people’s rights, should be condemned. John Ross, former director of Economic and Business Policy of London, said that he thinks it is a typical example of hypocrisy that certain U.S. politicians play the human rights card only when it comes to Hong Kong affairs.
British barrister Grenville Cross, who started working in Hong Kong in 1978 and served as Hong Kong’s first director of public prosecutions after the city’s return to China, pointed out that international anti-China forces are trying to undermine the practice of “one country, two systems” by destroying the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong in order to contain China’s development.
In 2019, when the Hong Kong government sought to introduce amendments to its extradition laws, anti-China forces in the United States and some other Western countries incited crimes of violence in the city from behind the scenes, insanely challenged the bottom line of “one country, two systems,” gravely undermined Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and put its people under extreme anxiety. In 2021, the U.S. side is still sparing no effort to speak for the criminals, including Wong. This demonstrates again that by claiming it “stands with the people of Hong Kong,” Washington is actually siding with criminals and treating the Hong Kong people as enemies.
On May 27, the Legislative Council of the HKSAR voted overwhelmingly to pass the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021. On May 28, Blinken made rash criticism of the bill, calling for the release of all those charged under the national security law in Hong Kong, and dismissal of charges against them.
Under the improved electoral system in Hong Kong, the composition of the Election Committee and the Legislative Council is more broadly representative, which reflects the interests of all sectors of the Hong Kong society in a comprehensive and balanced manner, safeguards the executive-led political system, ensures that the Legislative Council performs its duties in accordance with the law, and enhances the effectiveness of the HKSAR’s governance. It is also conducive to pushing forward joint social efforts to solve deep-seated problems and promoting people’s livelihood and economic development.
Before and after the adoption of the NPC’s decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR, the central government collected opinions from people from all walks of life in Hong Kong in various ways. On March 15-17, the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, together with the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, held more than 60 symposiums for three consecutive days on the implementation of the NPC’s decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR. Together with additional visits and interviews, the relevant views of over 1,000 representatives from all walks of life in Hong Kong were extensively and carefully listened to.
More than 2.38 million signatures were collected in Hong Kong in support of improving the electoral system of the HKSAR during an 11-day campaign starting from March 11. According to a survey by Hong Kong’s think-tank Bauhinia Institute, more than 70 percent of Hong Kong residents believe that the improvement of Hong Kong’s electoral system has enhanced their confidence in Hong Kong’s future. After the passage of the bill, various sectors of the Hong Kong society, including the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Hong Kong Guangdong Community Organizations, expressed support for the bill.
The United States has many electoral laws. In the past two years alone, members of the U.S. Congress have introduced more than 40 bills to improve the U.S. electoral system. On the same day when China’s top legislature announced its agenda for improving Hong Kong’s electoral system, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a “For the People Act” to improve the electoral system and ensure election security.
On March 5, Belarus delivered a joint speech on behalf of over 70 countries at the 46th session of the UNHRC, emphasizing that Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and should not be interfered by external forces. Ambassador Yury Ambrazevich, head of the Belarus mission to the UN in Geneva, said in an interview after the meeting that “we emphasized that Hong Kong is an integral part of China and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internals affairs,” stressing that China has the sole authority and responsibility to make any decisions, including on improving Hong Kong’s electoral system, to promote Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.
Judging from its call for releasing all those charged and dropping charges against them under the national security law in Hong Kong, the U.S. position is very clear: the United States stands “firmly” in opposition to the national security law in Hong Kong, which has guaranteed the transition from chaos to order in Hong Kong and effectively restored the sense of security of Hong Kong citizens.
On June 3, Blinken issued a statement on the website of U.S. Department of State, claiming that the United States will “stand with the people of China as they demand that their government respect universal human rights.” On the following day, he tweeted a call for “the immediate release” of some people in Hong Kong that were arrested.
During the disturbance in Hong Kong following the proposed ordinance amendments in 2019, anti-China extremist and secessionist groups supported by the United States did not pursue human rights, but trampled on human rights in an attempt to seize the jurisdiction in Hong Kong and subvert the state power.
From June 2019 to mid-March 2020, there were more than 1,400 demonstrations and public gatherings in Hong Kong, many of which eventually turned into serious violent incidents, such as throwing petrol bombs, vandalism, and burning shops. Rioters attacked police stations and officers, besieged innocent citizens, doxed people who expressed opinions different from theirs, destroyed subways and public facilities, paralyzed airports, blocked traffic and “occupied” university campuses, posing a long-term grave threat to public safety and order in Hong Kong.
Data showed that the number of crime cases in Hong Kong had been on a downward trend in the past years before the “Black Terror” in 2019, but the social unrest reversed the trend, as the number rose by 9 percent and 7 percent respectively in 2019 and 2020.
Luo Changqing, a 70-year-old cleaner in Hong Kong, was hit by rioters and died of serious wounds. A Hong Kong resident surnamed Lee was poured with flammable liquid and set ablaze, following an argument with rioters who were thrashing public facilities. He suffered from burns on almost half of his body, and was once in a critical condition. Chan Tze-chin, a Hong Kong lawyer, was surrounded and viciously beaten up by rioters after he berated them for thrashing shops in a busy shopping area in Causeway Bay, and suffered multiple physical injuries. More than half of the stores of Best Mart 360, the Hong Kong-based snack chain, were vandalized in the social unrest.
Yonden Lhatoo, chief news editor at the South China Morning Post, wrote in an article in 2020: “So when Americans take to the streets in an eruption of rage against systemic racism that has afflicted their country since its founding, they are ‘rioters’ who deserve to be shot dead? But when radicals in Hong Kong go on the rampage, hurling petrol bombs, destroying public property … they are mighty champions of freedom?”
The United States itself has terrible human rights records. The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 9 released country reports on human rights situation, which point out that the United States continues to grossly violate human rights both inside the country and beyond its shores. The freedom of the press in the United States, to which Washington declares adherence, is sliding into complete degradation, and the level of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other manifestations of discrimination and xenophobia continue to rise.
The human rights situation in China is at its best in history. Since the national security law in Hong Kong came into effect more than a year ago, human rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong citizens have suffered “zero damage.” If the United States really wants to “stand with” the Chinese people who “pursue” human rights, it should side with the overwhelming majority, not the other way around. (more)