Opinion | Hong Kong was not a British colony? The West should respect UN's voting result
By Edward Hei Leung, LegCo Member
New high-school textbooks are introduced in the Citizenship and Social Development curriculum that replaces the much-criticized liberal studies. As reported, several books declare that Hong Kong was never a British colony. The content arouses widespread criticisms against our education system, which in turn reviews the twisted mentality in western countries.
In fact, the supplement materials inside the books have already illustrated the difference between colony and colonial rule. By definition, a colony refers to a territory that surrenders its sovereignty and governance to the outsider. In Hong Kong's situation, China never relinquished sovereignty, Britain therefore exercised the colonial rule only.
A majority of western media considers such an educational upheaval detrimental to Hong Kong youth. However, it is never a grant new position of China.
The Treaty of Nanjing and Tianjin ended the first and second Opium war respectively. As a result of military defeats in Qing Dynasty, British government started the colonial rule, accompanied with the 99-year lease of New Territories in 1898. Yet, were the treaties equal?
According to article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations. The international agreement provides the ground for Chinese government not to recognize the aforementioned treaties.
More importantly, this stance was further enhanced by the UN's voting result in which China successfully removed Hong Kong and Macau from the UN list of non-self-governing territories. As concluded by our former LegCo president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, "this is not only the stance of China, but also the stance of the UN'. Under these circumstances, why is it wrong for book editors to rectify the incorrect ideas into the internationally recognized definition?
Amid the vote of 99-5 in UN General Assembly, it is important to remember that US and UK opposed the Resolution 2908 proposed by Chinese representatives. In fact, UN has to assist the independence movement in non-self-governing territories. To US and UK politicians, to recognize Hong Kong as a British colony laid down their hidden support to the city's independence and left room for future interference into Chinese affairs. The western medias and politicians do not only ignore the fact that 99 countries supported the Resolution, but also review their double standard. When the US-led western societies criticize China not to follow international order, have they adhered as well?
The lack of patriotic education is one of the reasons why political unrest prevails in recent years. The newly revised book takes the initiative to change the previously incorrect description to be in line with Beijing's official statement. Aside from new textbooks, local schools also need to raise the Chinese national flag and sing the national anthem. That is to say, all these acts should be promoted rather than discouraged.
Needless to say, Hong Kong is part of China. The West has no right to interfere our internal affairs. Given the persistent support of our motherland, the city must be better than ever.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
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