The US House of Representatives is to vote on the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 on Tuesday. The bill has entered the “fast track” and is likely to be passed in the voting procedure. What the US is doing is to grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs, which will prove to be futile and eventually harm itself.
It’s clear that what happens in Hong Kong is not “peaceful demonstrations” at all if one has an objective and fair position. The problems Hong Kong is facing today are not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but whether the society could maintain the most basic order and whether Hong Kong citizens could have the most basic security.
Just in these two days, a rioter used a sharp-edged object to slash the neck of a Hong Kong police, intending to kill him. Some rioters also placed a homemade bomb on the street, controlled remotely from a mobile phone. Even ordinary citizens were badly beaten by rioters with iron bars and umbrellas.
According to incomplete statistics, there have been 587 arson cases in Hong Kong related to demonstrations in the past four months. Such violence and chaos are shocking and unbearable if they happened in any other country.
In the past two days, US Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley visited Hong Kong, ignoring the bloody facts and claiming that they did not see any violence in Hong Kong. If what is happening in Hong Kong occured in the US, will they be “selectively blind” to ignore the obvious fact? Will they talk about human rights and democracy in full disregard of people’s lives? If the bill is passed, it will not protect Hong Kong citizens at all, but only the rioters.
For the US, to pass the bill is to hurt itself. Some US politicians have proposed to revoke some trade treatment for Hong Kong, which would actually hurt their own interests. Hong Kong is the single economy with which the United States enjoys the highest trade surplus. The surplus was as high as $34.5 billion in 2017 and $33.8 billion in 2018. The US has over 80,000 residents, over 1,300 enterprises and substantial investment in Hong Kong. The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is also one of the largest international chambers of commerce. Once the bill is passed, it will only stir up radical forces and rioters in Hong Kong to further disrupt Hong Kong, which will bring huge losses for the above-mentioned American companies and individuals.
Just few days ago, China and the US conducted frank, efficient and constructive discussions on economic and trade issues of common concern and made substantial progress in many areas. At such a critical stage in which China and the US are both trying to move in the same direction, some US politicians are still trying to forcibly pass the bill and grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs, which is against the expected track.
If the US insists on going its own way, it will also cause itself to fall heavily from the high ground of international morality and erode its soft power. A few days ago, protesters demanding the US government to reform its climate change policy held a massive demonstration in Times Square in Manhattan, which caused a traffic jam for nearly two hours. Local police immediately arrested 62 people. In US history, when demonstrations plunged into violence, the police never restrained.
US politicians have always been tough on violence. However, facing today’s violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, some US politicians put on "tainted glasses" and adopt "double standards". This undoubtedly sends a worrying signal to the world: when the so-called human rights and democracy touch the bottom line of the US, the US defends the bottom line; when the so-called human rights and democracy touch the bottom line of other countries, the United States defends the so-called human rights and democracy. That’s why an American reporter said that “no western nation would ever tolerate what’s happening in Hong Kong right now.”
Apart from the attempts of some politicians to gain political capital by fanning the flames on the Hong Kong issue, another important factor, which leads to this bill today, is that many politicians have been unable to look at the problems happening in Hong Kong with mutual respect, rationality and objectivity.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the policies of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong," and a high degree of autonomy have been faithfully implemented, and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents have been fully protected in accordance with the law.
The democratic rights enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong today are completely incomparable with those under British rule. In the face of tangible achievements, some people in the United States still use the empty slogans such as "human rights" and "democracy" as flags to wave around and constantly imagine the so-called "undemocratic" and "no human rights" pictures. That is arrogance if not ignorance.
For a long time, the United States has been forcibly marketing the so-called "human rights" and "democracy" around the world, disregarding the specific conditions of other countries, leaving them in wars and disputes. Shouldn’t the US side reflect on these tragedies? It would be a pipe dream if the US side mistakenly believes that China will be silent, compromise or even concede on the Hong Kong issue, which is part of the nation’s core interests. No one should underestimate the firm will and determination of China to safeguard its national sovereignty, security, and development interests, implement "one country, two systems" and safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
Our advice to the US is that it should sever its connections with the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible and not become an accomplice of rioters and a sinner of history.
(Compiled by Bao Han, Yang Yang and Chen Yingke)