Opinion | The West is flogging a dead horse on Hong Kong interference
By Tom Fowdy
Following the election of John Lee as Hong Kong's Chief executive over the weekend, all the "usual suspect" countries were quick to voice their disapproval. Condemnation of the election rolled in from the European Union, the United Kingdom and the group of G7 as a whole (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US). Leading the statement, foreign minister Liz Truss accused China of a "continued assault on political pluralism and fundamental freedoms" and demanded universal suffrage for the territory in an attack on the nomination process.
We've heard it all before. These attacks are repeated and synchronized, but also flatly predictable and to say the least: tiresome. But it also might be best represented through the phrase "flogging a dead horse" that is hoping and relentlessly attempting to achieve a result from a cause which is ultimately long passed, and never has that been more applicable in the scenario of Hong Kong where it must be known that West's area of interference in its internal affairs is over, with such a statement disingenuously omitting the significantly important context as to why the city is where it is now.
The National Security Law of Hong Kong was a necessary contingency measure which ended a foreign-influenced insurrection designed to undermine Chinese authority and territorial integrity over the city in the name of "Pro-Democracy". If we roll back the clock to 2019, we will remember that the perpetrators of these events, although glorified by the western mainstream media, ruthlessly sought to destroy public order in Hong Kong, paralyze transport infrastructure, and attempted to provoke the authorities into extremely aggressive responses, all whilst being in the lap of American politicians who personally cheerlead the events and even met with their key leaders.
Whilst the West reserve its right to "national security" against organized, disruptive and violent dissident, two examples of note include the jailing of "Insulate Britain" protesters by the United Kingdom, and Justin Trudeau's legal crackdown on the "freedom convoy". Hong Kong is subsequently denied a presumptive right to deal with this behavior by lawful means which has extended into a campaign to smear, misrepresent and spread scare stories concerning the National Security Law, framing it as brutal and oppressive, as opposed to being a fairly restrained reaction to these events.
However, the rise of John Lee is an indication that the US and its allies will not be getting the opportunity to destabilize Hong Kong again, and this work is ultimately not yet finished. His presence is indicative of the fact that his policies have not only been necessary but also, successful. Stability, security and public order have been restored throughout the city and the so-called "revolution of our times" is no more. Building upon this, Lee's personally committed challenge is to now address the other factors in the city, in terms of society and economy, which ultimately allowed such a scenario to occur. This is why it is frequently framed as a "new era" for Hong Kong. The legacies of colonialism and the problems which they created in the city, are being dismantled.
In other words, Hong Kong will never return to the old normal. Against the posturing and whining of the West, the city will adapt and evolve to accept its identity as a part of China, even if autonomous, and to find harmony with the rest of the country whilst retaining its unique qualities. The UK and others keep demanding that Hong Kong ought to be something completely different, denying that China has a right to be there. The BBC's editorial word selection presents "China" as an intrusive and illegitimate "other" contrary to the city itself. It is both geopolitical but also ideological. But none of this changes the new reality. Hong Kong is not their property and is certainly not their playground.
Moving forwards, the West must come to terms with and accept the fact that sovereignty and national security regarding Hong Kong are non-negotiable, and that the trajectory of events is a consequence of those lines being deliberately crossed. That does not mean of course there is no room for other changes in the view of representing the people of Hong Kong and more comprehensively fulfilling the Basic law as set out, but ultimately understanding that the West's era of interference and input into this city is over, permanently. No number of statements or condemnations can change this new reality.
The author is a well-seasoned writer and analyst with a large portfolio related to China topics, especially in the field of politics, international relations and more. He graduated with an Msc. in Chinese Studies from Oxford University in 2018.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
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