PEACEFUL AGAIN

China has sovereign power over Hong Kong

The new law aims to stabilise and secure HK’s social, political and economic future

In Summary

•The fact that no death was reported in the months-long demonstrations is testament that Beijing was not high handed in its approach, which is the narrative touted by anti-China elements.

•The violence in Hong Kong was engineered to follow the way of the ‘Arab Spring’ chaos that wrought irreparable damage to several North Africa and Middle Eastern countries in the early 2010s. 

Hong Kong has enjoyed massive economic, social, and political progress since it officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.
PROSPEROUS: Hong Kong has enjoyed massive economic, social, and political progress since it officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.

Finally, the Chinese government last month cracked the whip and enacted the Hong Kong Security Law.

As expected, the West, led by the US, came out guns blazing, accusing China of human rights violations against Hong Kongers.

However, the die is cast. HK dissidents brought it on themselves after instigating months of destructive violence in the former British colony in the guise of fighting for democracy and decoupling from the motherland.

The statute has 66 articles aimed at stabilising and securing HK’s social, political and economic future. Basically, its critics point out to four major areas of contention. These include: secession - breaking away from the country; subversion - undermining the power or authority of the central government; terrorism - using violence or intimidation against people; and collusion with foreign or external forces.

The chaos in Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) was a ‘suspicious’ event. For all intents and purposes, what started as a standoff against an ‘injustice’ to the extradition bill turned into a long political agenda of destabilisation.

Indeed, HK’s economy, which is its backbone, was seriously disrupted. It appeared the violence was engineered to follow the way of the ‘Arab Spring’ chaos that wrought irreparable damage to several North Africa and Middle Eastern countries in the early 2010s. Some of the countries have never recovered, and are still experiencing civil strife.

Under the 'one country, two systems' each region of China can continue to have its own system of government, economic and financial independence, legal system and external trade relations.
System established by Deng Xiaoping

Therefore, the immediate task of the governance of HK was to put an immediate end to the mayhem, and return the SAR to the rule of law. It would have been tragic if the city went up in flames after all the massive economic, social, and political progress since HK officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997, ending 156 years of British rule.

The central authorities in the motherland People’s Republic of China did not interfere, with Beijing simply offering advice to HK’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her Executive Council. Most importantly, Hong Kongers were asked not allow themselves to be incited into acts of lawlessness by forces hell-bent on sabotaging China’s increasing global geopolitical influence. 

Eventually, the artificial crisis subsided, giving time and space to both the HK SAR and Chinese government to address the crisis through coordination and consultation, a process that was actually progressing before the incited riots. It was also a perfect opportunity for HK to re-evaluate its policies, and move forward in refining its ‘one country, two systems’ mode of governance.

The “one country, two systems” model is a constitutional framework established by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s. Under the principle, each region of China could continue to have its own system of government, economic and financial independence, legal system and external trade relations.

America, and the West in general, should be the last to throw stones at China on accusations of using excessive force on demonstrators in HK. Cases of racially motivated brutality and murder by the police are well documented and publicised, which culminated in the “Black Lives Matter” movement after the brutal murder of black American George Floyd. Moreover, many Western countries also have national security laws, particularly those aimed at curbing terrorism in their countries.

Rioters beat up a plainclothes police officer at Sha Tin District of East New Territories, Hong Kong, China, July 14, 2019. At least 12 police officers were hospitalised.
Rioters beat up a plainclothes police officer at Sha Tin District of East New Territories, Hong Kong, China, July 14, 2019. At least 12 police officers were hospitalised.
Image: REUTERS

Beijing was very patient in managing the violence in HK. The fact that no death was reported in the months-long demonstrations is testament that Beijing was not high handed in its approach, which is the narrative touted by anti-China elements.

The young and gullible demonstrators were obviously acting at the behest of foreign interests, who are scared of the unstoppable and speedy progress China is making in the global space. The Chinese Government had the unequivocal right to take serious measures to curb the senseless violence, and stop the wanton destruction of property.

The release of Hong Kong’s Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) report last month exonerating the city’s law enforcement agencies from accusations of brutality or other human rights violations during the so called pro-democracy riots was definitely not music to all ears.

The IPCC report shreds the assertion that the HK police overstepped its mandate while stubbing out the six months long anti-government riots which started when protesters demanded total withdrawal of the extradition law. The 999-page report dwells on the reaction of the police in six key incidents that caught international attention for their impact and magnitude.

VERDICT ON POLICE HANDLING THE PROTESTS

 ❏ The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) report exonerates the city’s law enforcement agencies from accusations of brutality or other human rights violations.

 ❏ Police did not overstepped their mandate in ending the sponsored, anti-government riots which started when protesters demanded total withdrawal of the extradition law. 

 ❏ Use of police force was a justified response to specific acts of violence.

The IPCC report concludes that policing in HK had no systemic problem, and the use of police force was a justified response to specific acts of violence. As expected, the so called human rights groups and opposition politicians in HK dismissed what, in their view, was a politically correct, pro-China report. This, of course, is not surprising. The two groups work in tandem, and remain relevant by unjustly attacking the government at the slightest opportunity.

Basically, the police are allowed to use maximum force on extremely violent demonstrators, and in instances when their (police) lives are in imminent danger. It is impossible to expect a policeman or policewoman to be civil amidst unruly mobs.

Depending on the nature of threat, the police respond with equal measure. However, these are usually measures of last resort, where the police are left with no option but to totally neutralize a grave threat to life, and to public law and order.

After all is said and done, though, the message to all meddlers is now clear - keep your hands off HK. No country has the constitutional or moral right to interfere with the internal affairs of another country. HK has reverted to its default settings, its place of destiny.