So the US wants to “punish” China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for “humanitarian” reasons. But the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, due to be passed by Congress this month, will have little effect. The only thing the bill will do is confirm a lack of trust by China (including Hong Kong) in its US trading partner.
The bill is all about trust. The US does not trust China in its handling of Hong Kong. Yet there is no evidence that Beijing has, nor would it ever, interfere with Hong Kong’s way of life. No evidence whatsoever — despite spurious claims by separatists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, and anti-China lobbyists Anson Chan Fang On-sang, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Martin Lee Chu-ming — that China has taken away any of the freedoms of the Hong Kong people. In fact, it has been the US that has interfered, with heavy-handed threats and very strong support for the rioters who have been terrorizing the city’s streets for more than four months.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and numerous congresspeople have openly given full support to the 100-plus days of protests in Hong Kong in the name of democracy, thus underlying their support of the bill. The protesters have crippled the city and paralyzed all major transportation systems with their wanton vandalism. They have since escalated their attacks against the police, who have tried to maintain order, with gasoline bombs, chemicals, bricks and sharpened objects, all in the name of democracy. But the Americans fail to accept that Hong Kong does have its own form of democracy with a fully elected legislature. It is not perfect, but it is there — 50 percent elected by one-man, one-vote; and 50 percent by their peers. The aim, enshrined in the Basic Law, is for the entire 70-seat legislature to be elected by universal suffrage.
The US lawmakers only listen to what they want to hear, even though they are fabrications that can easily be debunked, and not the real facts. Some US politicians are guided only by expediency and not principles of truth and morality
Hong Kong is an undeniable part of China with its traditional values intact. There has been no erosion of these values, nor human rights abuses, and Hong Kong citizens enjoy the same way of life as they did prior to the 1997 handover. China, as the sovereign state of Hong Kong, has the rightful power to interpret the Basic Law as it sees fit, and no other foreign power has the right to interfere.
The bill is based on misinformation and an inherent hatred of China. It is a shroud of fear hanging over Hong Kong because even though harmony exists between the SAR and its sovereign state, it only needs someone in Congress to pull the trigger for sanctions to be imposed.
The bill is an amendment to the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act, which set up trading agreements between the US and Hong Kong separate from mainland trade agreements. That has worked well for the past 27 years via mutual trust. Now, it says, anyone who disrupts the status quo will face sanctions. The trust is broken.
The reaction to the US plan comes from all quarters, including the 1,400-strong American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, which issued a statement that said: “We hope that parties to the debate will not lose sight of Hong Kong’s unique circumstances and its extraordinary, continuing achievements as a bastion of free expression, free flow of information, free markets, individual liberty, rule of law and judicial independence, … and we fear (the bill) could have unintended, counterproductive consequences, including on American business and its ability to continue exercising a strong positive influence in favor of Hong Kong’s traditional core values.”
Hong Kong is the US’ third-largest market for wine, at US$130 million; fourth-largest market for beef and beef products, at US$1 billion; and seventh-largest market for agricultural products, at US$4 billion.
Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said recently that the US enjoys its highest trade surplus with Hong Kong among all of its trading partners.
“The trade balance is heavily in your (the US’) favor. According to US statistics, during the past decade, the aggregate merchandise trade surplus that the US enjoyed over Hong Kong reached a hefty US$297 billion,” he said at a US Independence Day speech.
Some 1,400 US companies have chosen Hong Kong as the base for their regional offices and regional headquarters; about 85,000 US citizens call Hong Kong home; while another 1.3 million visited or transited in 2018. About 127,000 Hong Kong residents visited the United States in 2018, when 20 direct flights operated between the US and Hong Kong.
So, with such close cooperation for such a long period of time, why is the US trying to punish us? For what? Factions within Hong Kong are seeking independence and are seeking support from the US for their cause. The separatist activists and anti-China elements have united to launch a highly successful lobbying exercise on Capitol Hill and the White House to convince all and sundry that Beijing is slowly clamping down on Hong Kong’s freedoms. They cite the targeting of young "legislators" who were disqualified from taking a seat in the Legislative Council as an erosion of freedoms. But they failed to mention that those disqualified did not take the prescribed oath of office, nor that they were active separatists who worked against the Basic Law.
The US lawmakers only listen to what they want to hear, even though they are fabrications that can easily be debunked, and not the real facts. Some US politicians are guided only by expediency and not principles of truth and morality.
The author is a former chief information officer of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, and a veteran journalist.