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The West's double standard on patriotism

By Dennis Etler | CGTN | Updated: 2021-03-05 10:34
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Photo shows a view by the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, Dec 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor's note: Dennis Etler is a current affairs commentator who holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California, Berkley. He conducted archaeological and anthropological research in China throughout the 1980s and 1990s and taught at the college and university level for over 35 years. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

It seems that the West is worried about the electoral system revision in Hong Kong. Why are they so nervous about China's internal affairs? What are foreign countries afraid of when it comes to Hong Kong?

Ever since its return to full Chinese sovereignty in 1997, US intelligence agencies and their civilian surrogates such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have seen China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as a staging ground for anti-China activities. They have used its special autonomous status as a convenient fig leaf for their subversive activities.

Taking advantage of Hong Kong's former colonial legacy and the continuation of many of its institutions into the new era, the US and the UK insinuated their anti-China ideology into the minds of many Hong Kong residents. This was accomplished via the control of many media outlets and educational institutions by colonial-minded people with ties to political operatives in Washington and London.

As long as these forces operated within the law and did not advocate a change in the status of Hong Kong as an integral part of China, the "Two Systems" approach allowed them to express their views and fully participate in the civil life of Hong Kong, including election to governing bodies.

However, rather than seek to overcome the differences left over from history, these pro-Western factotums have sought to accentuate them. By whipping up anti-China hysteria they fomented the so-called "pro-democracy" movement, which is meant to forestall the change in Hong Kong's status set to occur in 2047. They agitate for Hong Kong's independence or its right to self-determination rather than its further integration into the Greater Bay Area of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

Those who have the true interests of the HKSAR and China at heart know that it is incumbent upon the residents of Hong Kong to foster a sense of patriotism for the "One Country" that they belong to while treasuring their part of the "Two Systems" that they have been guaranteed.

With "Two Systems" comes the responsibility to accept and respect the "One Country" they belong to. But that is the furthest thing from the insurrectionists' minds. They do not want to enhance the policy of "One Country, Two Systems" but destroy it. In so doing they are more than willing to enlist the overt support of foreign forces that are avowedly out to challenge China on all fronts in a do-or-die effort to reverse the verdict of history and resubjugate China to their dictates.

Pro-Western anti-China forces in Hong Kong will use any excuse to mount opposition to China, be it through corrupting Hong Kong's electoral system and Legislative Council or violent street protests. No government, be it the HKSAR or the US, tolerates insurrection. For instance, over the last few weeks, more than 300 "pro-democracy" protesters who ransacked the US Capitol Building have been arrested on various charges up to and including seditious conspiracy. Yet, you hear no hue and cry about it from Washington's allies.

The "pro-democracy" protesters in the US have been labeled insurrectionists by the US ruling party and its neoliberal media mouthpieces. The protesters, however, see themselves as defenders of "freedom" and "liberty." But it is not up to them to define their own actions. They vowed to overthrow the established order and that is exactly what the protesters in Hong Kong have been intent on doing.

A similar situation is never allowed to develop in the US or any other Western-style democracy, where patriotism and adherence to established political norms is the sine qua non. Any deviation from the status quo is considered seditious and if people take matters into their own hands, they are dubbed anti-democratic insurrectionists.

As a result, it's a prerequisite that American politicians pledge allegiance to the US constitution and proclaim their patriotism. There is no reason why elected leaders in Hong Kong should not do the same toward the one country, China, that they are part of.

The hue and cry over the national security law for the HKSAR is simply a ruse used by Anglo-American politicians to pander to a domestic electorate that has been propagandized to view China as their enemy. It is meant to generate a negative perception of China, no matter what the reality may be, in order to further Washington's anti-China agenda.

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