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Some exploit situation, seek to discredit China

By Chan Tak-leung | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-08-21 09:22
A large crowd of residents take part in an anti-violence rally organized at Tamar Park, Hong Kong, on Saturday. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Hong Kong and its 7.4 million residents have been facing troubled times over the past 11 weeks. Unlawful demonstrations and occupations by masked protesters with hard hats, makeshift weapons and laser lights targeting the police have become frequent occurrences in different parts of the special administrative region.

Hong Kong's busy international airport was targeted and air services were paralyzed, causing untold hardship to thousands of travelers, damaging the region's reputation as a "world-class city".

Despite these disturbances, some politicians in Britain, the United States and Europe have failed to condemn their illegality. Instead, they exploited the unrest in Hong Kong by expressing concern over democracy and for the law-breaking protesters, while trying to discredit China by saying the country is preparing to break away from the framework that established the SAR and will take action, military ones if needed, to restore law and order in Hong Kong.

What they have expressed is disingenuous and false. How can they condone violence perpetrated by protesters who wore masks to hide their identities with the intention of causing destruction to property and harming people?

Senior politicians from countries like the United Kingdom, the US, Canada, France and Germany, as well as the European Union, were among those who raised concerns over the protests.

In the US, for instance, President Donald Trump was happy to link the fate of the so-called pro-democracy protesters to the trade deal with China. His suggestion that a "personal meeting" between President Xi Jinping and the protesters could help resolve the crisis was nothing but empty words.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab telephoned Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong's chief executive, on Aug 9 to discuss his concerns about the situation. Despite the fact that he expressed support for the SAR's high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" principle and acknowledged that the protests were "not all peaceful", he went on to suggest that there was a "need to find a way forward through meaningful political dialogue".

Common sense dictates that one can never reason with those whose raison d'etre for illegal and inconsiderate actions is to inflict as much mayhem as possible by damaging the fabric of peace and stability.

One wonders if anyone in the Foreign Office had briefed Raab that the "one country, two systems" is a constitutional principle that facilitated Hong Kong's return to China sovereignty since 1997. Raab should realize Hong Kong is now the SAR of China.

One can compare the similarities between Hong Kong's return to China and Britain's imminent exit from the EU. As a former Brexit secretary, Raab should know that once Britain exits from the EU, he will no longer have a role to play in telling the other 27 nations how they should or should not behave.

Would Raab call French President Emmanuel Macron and share with him how to deal with the yellow vest movement in his country, or advise Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on how to deal with Catalonia's bid for independence?

One would not think so. To put it simply, those are none of his business. The time for rhetoric and half-truths is over. What needs to be done urgently is for Hong Kong's citizens to pick up the pieces and work together to ensure the region's continued unity, stability and prosperity.

The author was the first Chinese British citizen to be elected mayor of the London Borough of Redbridge (2009-10) and was a member of the Redbridge Council for 12 years. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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