Hong Kong people’s enemies disguised as friends


How can a measure designed to maintain law and order, safeguard national security, protect human lives and private property in Hong Kong undermine US national security?

by Martin Sieff

The latest wave of criticisms from the United States and the United Kingdom against the Chinese central government’s promulgation of national security legislation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are, to put it simply, an exercise in hypocrisy. The US and the UK both are embroiled in domestic political turmoil, protests and ever-deepening divisions. Yet both of them have chosen to interfere in China’s domestic affairs and stir up civil disturbance and worse in the SAR, which has been known for its prosperity, safety and the well-being of its people since 1997, when it returned to China.

The UK, which acquired Hong Kong after the two Opium Wars, and ruled it with an iron hand for more than a century, has no moral or legal grounds to criticize China for taking the most elementary step to maintain peace and security for 7 million Hong Kong residents, not least because more than 2.94 million residents in the SAR have already signed a petition supporting their government.

The US attitude toward China has been not only outrageous but sinister in scale, focus and intent.

Blind to the wave of protests including violence that has swept US cities following the death of African American George Floyd in Minnesota, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of undermining US national security by promulgating the national security law in the SAR. Which, despite being farcical, has further undermined the US’ already declining credibility across the world.

How can a measure designed to maintain law and order, safeguard national security, protect human lives and private property in Hong Kong undermine US national security?

Pompeo and his colleagues in the US administration and Congress are playing a dangerous game in their bid to destabilize China using Hong Kong as a chess piece. They have publicly labeled China as the US’ prime challenger for global domination in the 21st century and view even the normal measures Beijing takes to maintain or restore order and safeguard national security in Hong Kong as a threat to US national security. But why? Because they could preempt the US’ efforts to undermine China’s national security. Therefore, everything is the opposite of what Pompeo’s claims it to be.

The broader implications of Pompeo’s comments are even more worrying, as they indicate the US administration, despite its previous reassurances to the contrary, is not interested in readjusting its trade terms with China and continuing to coexist and trade with China.

Taken in this context, Pompeo’s inflammatory remarks are alarmingly consistent. The latest hysterical rant comes from Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of NATO. Stoltenberg has called for NATO’s expansion to the Asia-Pacific region to “contain” China and Russia.

A more certain recipe for the division of the human race into two increasingly hostile and mutually suspicious power blocs could not be devised. It would repeat the disastrous mistakes of European leaders 120 years ago when they allowed the continent to be split between the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy (which Italy later left) and the Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia. The result was World War I and the destruction and division of Europe. The new grand strategy of Stoltenberg and Pompeo looks similar to the design that led to that nightmare, except that both sides would be armed with nuclear weapons.

The hypocritical posturing of the US and the UK over the promulgation of national security legislation in Hong Kong must therefore be seen in the context the winds of global conflict rising around the world.

Of all nations, China has special cause to be wary and distrustful when the rhetoric of human rights and free trade is used to try and demonize and isolate any major nation from the international community. For this is what the British and French empires did in 1840 when they launched their war of aggression against the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The Chinese government and people are determined to prevent a repeat of those terrible times. That’s why they attach great importance to social unity and harmony-and the national security law should be seen in this context. The law is designed to ensure the stability of and security of Hong Kong as part of China in the long run. The very act of passing the new law is to warn the forces of destabilization and unrest in Hong Kong to desist from any activities harmful to national security and territorial integrity.

Those who pretend to be protectors of Hong Kong residents are in fact enemies disguised as friends.

The author is a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow.

Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum
Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum
Sri Lanka China Journalists' Forum was established in May 2001 as the Sri Lanka - China Young Journalists' Forum and was in force as a main association that promotes mutual understanding between Sri Lanka and China.


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