Photo: China Daily
After demonstrators stormed and vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not criticize violent protesters. Instead, he demanded that China abide by the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which has long since been fulfilled, and warned of "serious consequences" if China neglects commitments. Hunt said, "We stand foursquare behind the people of Hong Kong" and urged the Hong Kong regional government not to "repress" its people.
Hunt's statements have gone too far. Some people say that he made the strong statements for contending for the leadership of the Conservative Party to become British prime minister. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday strongly refuted Hunt's words.
Riots broke out in London in August 2011. More than 3,000 people were arrested, with at least 1,774 charged and 317 sentenced. Reports of the UK government harshly responding to the London riots are all over the internet. Then-Home Secretary Theresa May defined the London riots as a crime. There was also a Reuters report titled "UK may use army in future riots - Cameron."
If Hong Kong's recent unrest happened in London and if the UK parliament was violently broken in, we can imagine how furious the British elite would be. They would certainly require British authorities to punish the protesters.
Hunt's words, called "shameless" by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, must have been heard in Hong Kong and have exerted some influence, misleading some protesters to believe that their behaviors are justified. Indeed, there are deep internal reasons behind Hong Kong's unrest. But some Hongkongers' dissatisfaction has turned into antagonism, which has obviously been hyped by Western forces, including Hunt and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who praised the protesters' "courage."
Under the "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong maintains its capitalism. Consequently, some Hongkongers' political values echo that of the West. But Hong Kong society's interests are deeply connected to the motherland.
Some Western people tend to use ideology rifts to kidnap Hong Kong. They still have such tools and the ability to shape Hongkongers' view on certain political issues.
China cannot prevent people like Hunt and Pelosi from talking wildly about Hong Kong affairs. Thus, the key is to help Hong Kong society understand Western political elite's ill intensions. Before returning to the motherland, Hong Kong was ruled by British governors appointed by the UK, and there were no chief executive elections or demonstrations. People could not enjoy democracy and freedom as they do today.
The evil won't be able to overwhelm the just. No power can really subvert relations between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, and mislead Hong Kong society with a few ideological labels. With the support of the central government, Hong Kong's stability cannot be broken. It provides time and room to fight with external and internal forces that disrupt Hong Kong's situation.
Hunt inflamed Hong Kong's situation, which only ruins his and the UK's image. He sabotaged China-UK relations for his personal political interests. Hunt is selfish and has poor logic. The UK's diplomacy toward China will pay for his behavior.