Opinion / Editorials

HK visit: A political kabuki

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-05 08:16

HK visit: A political kabuki

(L-R) Occupy Central co-initiators Chan Kin-man, professor of sociology at Chinese University, Benny Tai, law professor at the University of Hong Kong and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming attend a news conference in Hong Kong December 2, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

The motive behind the UK parliament Foreign Affairs Committee's (FAC) ongoing review on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is dubious at best. This is especially true when considering its timing - at a time when Hong Kong society is torn apart by the illegal "Occupy Central" campaign being staged by political dissidents.

The review - including a planned visit to Hong Kong by committee members - is obviously superfluous. They have had all the answers they need, literally at hand.

Ever since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, British foreign secretary has reported to the Parliament every six month on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This is considered by the British government as a move, as a co-signatory, to honor its commitment to the "faithful implementation" of the 1984 document.

In the latest edition of its report, published in July 2014, the Foreign Office concludes: "We consider that 'One Country, Two Systems' continued to work well, in general, and that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law continued to be upheld..."

The same conclusion has been consistently drawn by the Foreign Office in its previous 34 reports on the situation of Hong Kong over the past 17 years. It has been drawn based on the direct observation of UK's diplomatic personnel, intelligence agents and proxies in the city.

By launching a review of their own, are members of the FAC suggesting that the competency and integrity of those in the Foreign Office - including the incumbent foreign secretary and his predecessors - is questionable? And are they suggesting that those conclusions on Hong Kong were all faked?

Ironically, after three hours of "emergency debate" held by the Parliament in response to China's decision to ban the FAC members' planned Hong Kong visit, the chairman of this same committee arrived at the conclusion that the "joint declaration is still alive and well".

How has the FAC chairman arrived at this conclusion in such a short time? Other than the reports of the Foreign Office, what other authoritative sources could he have consulted to draw his conclusion? And how could the committee members expect to do a better job than the Foreign Office by just spending a few days in Hong Kong?

Obviously, there was absolutely no need for the planned Hong Kong trip. The only possible intention of the trip would be to help prop up the sagging morale of the "Occupy" campaign. This is a blatant interference in Hong Kong's affairs.

Alas, the whole farce is nothing more than a political kabuki orchestrated by some British politicians in an apparent bid to score political brownie points. But much to the disappointment of these nitpickers, they have inadvertently slapped their own faces.

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