by Xinhua writer Gao Wencheng
In response to Britain’s suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged Britain to give up its fantasies of continuing colonial influence in Hong Kong.
The ministry also called on London to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs in any way, so as to avoid further damage to bilateral relations.
In recent weeks, London has repeatedly accused Beijing of violating the “one country, two systems” principle and the Sino-British Joint Declaration over the passage and imposition of the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Those continuous ill-founded remarks and actions have not only constituted a flagrant interference in China’s internal affairs, but also turned a blind eye to the legitimacy and necessity of the new law.
Hong Kong returned to China on July 1, 1997; Britian’s colonial rule in that Chinese city ended once and for all on that day. Today, Hong Kong is part of China, thus it falls under Beijing’s sovereign jurisdiction to plug a legal loophole in the Chinese city to promote national security there.
Prior to London’s decision, other members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group like Australia and Canada have also suspended their extradition arrangements in an apparent bid to pressure Beijing over the legislation.
Those China-bashers in the Five Eyes countries should respect the non-interference principle rooted in modern international relations. They should well understand that China, a country that once struggled for national liberation and independence during a century of humiliation, will now spare no efforts to safeguard its sovereign rights.
The new national security legislation, on the one hand, is in every way legal and necessary for Hong Kong, whose social stability and security were seriously challenged by radical acts of violence and social chaos last year, and serves as a guarantee of a steady and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems” principle.
On the other hand, the law, which only targets an extremely small group of people whose activities seriously endanger national security in Hong Kong, will protect the safety and security of lives, property, basic rights and freedoms of the vast majority of Hong Kong citizens. In the mean time, Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its role as a free market and trading hub will continue.
Moreover, it has long been a common practice for central authorities worldwide to enact laws to guarantee national security. For example, during the British colonial rule of Hong Kong, the British Treason Act was applied in Hong Kong with special enforcement agencies.
It explains why close to 3 million Hong Kong residents took part in a signature campaign over eight days to show their support for the enactment of the national security legislation.
Meanwhile, London’s recent moves concerning Hong Kong have also clearly reflected the arrogance of some British politicians who have yet to wake up to the reality that Hong Kong is no longer under the thumb of Western colonizers.
As a matter of fact, not a single word or paragraph in the Sino-British Joint Declaration gives Britain any responsibility over Hong Kong after the handover. That document is now more of a reminder of the island country’s past colonial aggression than a legal justification of its present-day acts of intervention in Hong Kong.
Right at this “twin-crisis” moment when the coronavirus pandemic and global economic recession have been engulfing the wider world, perhaps the top priority of the British government should be how to navigate its country through the turbulent waves and get ready for a strong recovery.
However, pressuring China over the Hong Kong issue will be of little, if any, help for the decision-makers at 10 Downing Street to promote the interests of their own country during this time of rising global uncertainty and chaos.
Worse, it will surely hurt the political foundation for a healthy development of the China-Britain relationship, whose vitality bears special significance for Britain in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic world.
When announcing the decision to pause extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said that “the UK wants a positive relationship with China.”
To transform his words into action, London should respect China’s core interests and work with its counterparts in Beijing to enhance, rather than undermine, the mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries. Enditem