US' HK law is farcical political grandstanding

Updated: 2019-11-29 07:53

By Wilson Lee Flores(HK Edition)

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Wilson Lee Flores writes that the insolence of American lawmakers is just political theater that needlessly damages Sino-US relations

Like the ill-advised trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump, which has caused the world economy to slow down as well as led to vast lost opportunities for both the United States and China, the so-called "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act" superciliously passed by US lawmakers and signed by Trump, is another mistake of monumental stupidity that will disadvantage all.

This act, signed into law by the US president on Wednesday, is political grandstanding of the worst kind and evidently designed to boost and encourage the Hong Kong rioters' destructive anarchy. It is similar to a case of a person's guesthouse or annex structure burning, then a troublemaking neighbor throws gasoline on the fire to further stoke the conflagration.

The act's passage is a farcical non-event, a futile exercise in vacuous and absurd political theater. This highhanded meddling in Hong Kong is wrong and an unwarranted act of blatant interference in the internal domestic affairs of another sovereign country, China. It is also a waste of American taxpayers' money. Why?

Some US politicos' infantile penchant to interlope in Hong Kong affairs and make an exercise of an annual monitoring of Hong Kong's autonomy was already built in under S.301 of the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, more commonly known as the Hong Kong Policy Act (P.L. No. 102-383m 106 Stat. 1448) of 1992, which was enacted by the US Congress.

US' HK law is farcical political grandstanding

This 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act allows the US to continue to treat Hong Kong separately from the Chinese mainland for matters on trade export and economics control after the 1997 handover from British colonial rule, as long as it remains highly autonomous. In 1992, Beijing unsurprisingly and rightly criticized this 1992 act as foreign interference in its domestic affairs.

On May 29, 2018, using as basis the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, the US State Department publicly disclosed its then-annual report, part of which said: "Hong Kong still generally maintains a high degree of autonomy under the 'one country, two systems' framework in most areas - more than sufficient to justify continued special treatment by the United States for bilateral agreements and programs per the Act. US-Hong Kong relations are based upon the continued substantial maintenance of the 'one country, two systems' framework, as established in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, as enacted by the National People's Congress." The 2018 annual report attested to the over two decades of success of China's ingenious "one country, two systems" principle by stating: "Hong Kong's strong traditions of rule of law, as displayed by its independent judiciary, low levels of corruption, and high standards for public health and safety, have continued to make Hong Kong a preferred platform for US businesses, as well as an important base for US investments and business activity in the Indo-Pacific region writ large. Hong Kong was ranked the world's freest economy for the 24th consecutive year on the 2018 Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom."

To remind the rioters and biased foreign observers about the longstanding unblemished track record of "Asia's Finest" - the Hong Kong Police Force - let me quote another part of this 2018 US State Department report: "An estimated 85,000 US citizens live in Hong Kong, while 1.3 million visited or transited in 2017. Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world, with low rates of crime, in part due to the admirable effectiveness and integrity of its police force."

It is my analysis that this US legislation is a tragic mistake, a lose-lose or no-win proposition for all. It is disadvantageous for the silent majority of people in Hong Kong because if an annual US review results in any economic sanctions, this city and its residents will suffer. However, the biggest losers will ultimately be the peoples of the world's two largest economies - the US and the Chinese mainland.

By acting in a seemingly insolent and almost colonial pro-consul manner to dictate how to govern Hong Kong, US politicians have effectively poisoned the now-already strained and fragile yet still vital bilateral relations between the United States and China. This new law is, without doubt, another insufferable and direct affront to the sovereignty and core interests of a rising China.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(HK Edition 11/29/2019 page11)