Cyprus Mail

The people of Hong Kong only want their freedom

I read with interest and wry amusement the September 4 article by the Chinese Ambassador regarding Hong Kong (HK) which, no doubt, was carefully prepared for him (and his many ambassadorial colleagues around the world) by his autocratic masters in Beijing.

My wife and I lived in HK during which time Thatcher signed the “Sino-British Joint Declaration”,  in which it is stipulated that China would accept HK’s Basic Law (a sort of mini-constitution) which was drafted and adopted before HK’s was returned to China.

Such Basic Law ensured that HK would retain its capitalistic economic system, its own currency, legal system, legislative system and people’s rights and freedoms for 50 years from 1997.

Thus Hong Kong (and, later, Macau) was to operate under what Deng Xiaoping called “One country, two systems”; a constitutional principle formulated by him in the eighties when he was the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

China has been quietly eating away at this freedom since 1997, but more rapidly and openly since Xi Jinping took over the reins in the PRC in 2012. One first such step was to state that while Hong Kongers could elect their Chief Executive, they could only vote for a Chief widely seen as being pro-Beijing. Indeed, the current Chief Executive, Carrie Lam was elected by the Election Committee in such a fashion.

The ambassador states that the current unrest in HK was “…sparked by a murder in China’s Taiwan” (China’s Taiwan ??). Not really ambassador. What sparked the unrest was the attempt by Carrie Lam to introduce legislation in HK whereby anyone under a criminal charge could be sent to the PRC for trial.

He goes on to suggest that what turned peaceful protests into, as he puts it, “violence and the lawless…” (sic) was western forces “that aim to disrupt Hong Kong and contain China’s development”. Not really ambassador. What the people of HK want is their freedom under the Basic Law and their “violence” is a rejection of the autocratic rule being imposed by the PRC stirred up by the use of tear gas, etc. by the police.

And so the ambassador’s spiel continues as if the world is at fault over anything connected to HK’s current disturbances, rather than the dictatorial controls slowly, but surely, being imposed by the PRC.

But don’t worry ambassador, the west will continue to cosy up to your tyrannical masters because western politicians are as good as eastern ones at being two-faced and they want to do business with you.

Brian Lait, Larnaca

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