A panoramic view of the financial area in Hong Kong. (Photo: Xinhua)
From the perspective of international law, any attempt by another country to interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a violation of China's sovereignty and goes against the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.
But the United States is trying to do exactly this, and that too in a more direct, gross and aggressive manner by forming a wide network comprising the US Congress, the State Department, the US Consulate-General in Hong Kong, NGOs and the US-backed opposition camp in the SAR.
During the Cold War, the US used Hong Kong, which was under British colonial rule then, to gather intelligence on the Chinese mainland and launched a cultural and psychological campaign with the help of American NGOs and religious organizations in Hong Kong to indoctrinate local residents and people against the mainland's political system.
Ironically, with the help of the British colonial rulers, the US downplayed Hong Kong's colonial status and bestowed on the city the symbolic title of "free land", in order to help turn it into a "window" to showcase Western democracy, values and way of life, and spread its ideology on the mainland.
In fact, the US has been trying to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs since the 1980s－when China and the United Kingdom started talks on Hong Kong's handover－using immigration laws, human rights, democracy and constitutional development as excuses. It even linked the "most favored nation" treatment extended to China to the human rights conditions in Hong Kong and passed the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act in 1992, which stipulates that Washington views Hong Kong as an independent political entity and therefore provides it with more "immigration quotas".
As the self-proclaimed guardian of world democracy, freedom and human rights, the US has tried to manipulate some Hong Kong residents' call of "universal suffrage" to show there was no democracy in Hong Kong, regardless of the city's actual political environment.
After the outbreak of violent protests in Hong Kong last year, the US provided the opposition camp with a lot of support, and tried to strengthen the social organization and mobilization capability of opposition forces and build them into anti-mainland forces.
From the "Occupy Central" movement in 2014 to the yearlong mayhem unleashed by the radicals in the SAR last year, Washington has been pointing the finger at the central government, while surreptitiously adding fuel to the protests and providing material support for the opposition camp, and thus blatantly interfering in China's internal matters.
But now the US has moved from the background to the forefront to openly support the radicals in the city. The latest example is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement, in which he not only criticized the SAR government for postponing the Legislative Council election but also claimed that "Hong Kong people may never vote again". Given Pompeo's sordid record, it is not surprising that he conveniently forgot to mention that the LegCo election has been deferred because of the threat the rising number of novel coronavirus infections pose to the SAR residents' health and life.
By internationalizing the SAR issue and trying to sabotage the "one country, two systems" practice, Pompeo and his colleagues in the US administration are trying to contain China's peaceful rise and its growing international influence.
Yet such US attempts in recent years have failed, which is evident from the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy. Equally importantly, China has been playing an increasingly important role in global governance and international relations, and the SAR has been gradually incorporated into China's national governance system, and become the backbone of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and an important link in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
But the foreign elements' active involvement in the SAR, and their remarks and actions aimed at separating Hong Kong from the motherland exposed the national security loopholes in the city. As such, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, implemented the national security law in the SAR to plug those loopholes.
To enact and implement a law to safeguard national security in its territorial jurisdiction is a country's internal affair, and no other country has the right to interfere in it. But US politicians, driven by their global strategy, are trying to turn the SAR into a "strategic fulcrum" against China so they can fulfill their narrow economic and political goals. In doing so, however, they have underestimated China's firm will to safeguard its national security, uphold "one country, two systems" and maintain Hong Kong's stability, development and prosperity.
The US should know that it cannot use Hong Kong as a pawn against Beijing, and any attempt to contain the mainland's development is doomed to failure.