With geopolitics being high on the agenda of the G-7 Summit this weekend, the British government released on Thursday its so-called "six-month report on Hong Kong", lavishing aspersions on Beijing as well as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and providing much-needed ammunition for a new round of China bashing.
But British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab must have disappointed his allies again in the ongoing China-bashing crusade by merely repeating his usual empty platitudes.
There had been "clear breaches" of the 1984 Joint Declaration, Raab said in the foreword of the report－a claim he had repeatedly made without citing any article of the declaration. He has invariably failed to substantiate his claim when challenged by Hong Kong legislators and others who genuinely care for the city.
The accusation hurled once again in the report that Beijing has broken its "legal obligations" by undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and used a national security law to "drastically curtail freedoms" in the SAR must have bewildered many honest China watchers.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong, promulgated on June 30, 2020, for implementation in Hong Kong, is aimed at protecting national security and other national interests by plugging a legal loophole in the SAR. This lacuna remained for more than two decades because the Hong Kong government failed to fulfill its constitutional obligation, as stipulated in the Basic Law (Article 23), to enact a national security law due to opposition instigated by the region's political radicals, who leveraged foreign pressure and interference in their relentless fight against such legislation.
The central authorities in Beijing could not sit on their hands and allow the loophole to remain unfilled when the Hong Kong government, fully underpinned by constitutional legitimacy, was being fiercely attacked by the separatists, citizens who expressed opposing political views being savaged by rioting mobs, and public facilities and private properties being frenziedly smashed by the masked rioters at will. The monthslong insurrection threatening Hong Kong's constitutional order as an SAR of China in 2019 forced Beijing's hand, and the loophole in safeguarding national security thus was plugged.
The Joint Declaration says nothing about national security, and rightly so. National security involves China's own defense interests and is part of its sovereignty. The United Kingdom never proposed, nor did China ever agree, that, after the handover in 1997, Hong Kong would be denied the laws it needs to defend itself from subversive activities and protect national interests. Under China's Constitution, national security is a matter for the country as a whole, just as it is in the UK.