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China still needs to be vigilant in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region held the sixth-term chief executive’s election on Sunday, with the central leadership taking all necessary measures to prevent external forces from interfering in the electoral process. 

Statesman News Service |

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region held the sixth-term chief executive’s election on Sunday, with the central leadership taking all necessary measures to prevent external forces from interfering in the electoral process. 

Hong Kong has been a leading global financial and logistics centre for decades. But the rise of Hong Kong as an exceptionally prosperous region under British colonial rule during China’s “century of powerlessness”, from the First Opium War in 1840-42 through to the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, is symbiotically connected to the suffering of the Chinese people and degradation of China at the hands of the Western colonial powers, mainly Britain and France, and Japan. It was in Hong Kong that the colossal criminal colonialist project of flooding China with opium to generate enormous profits and force its people into misery was directed through Guangzhou, Shanghai and other Chinese ports. Even after the end of World War II in 1945-as British historian Richard Overy writes in his new, monumental history of the conflict, Blood and Ruins (published in April 2020)-the British government of 

Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee, deaf to their own rhetoric preaching the virtues of freedom and democracy, were determined to keep China weak and helpless and saw their continued occupation of Hong Kong as essential to the success of that dark enterprise. “The British after 1945 preferred the idea of a weak, divided China, where regional concessions might still be extracted,” Overy writes. “The test of British intentions came with the reoccupation of Hong Kong in September 1945, carried out in defiance of an agreement with Chiang (Kaishek) to allow Chinese forces to take it back.” Ironically, at that time the British efforts were, briefly, opposed by the US-led by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a principled foe of colonial exploitation. Overy continues: “The United States objected to the fait accompli and every effort was made to ensure that Britain would not attempt to resuscitate its former status.” But unfortunately, after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, his successor Harry Truman abandoned the anti-colonial policy of his predecessor and Hong Kong remained under British colonial rule for more than half a century. Today, we see an extraordinary effort by the US, eagerly support- ed by Britain and its other allies around the world, to run the clock back more than a century and once again manipulate Hong Kong and its people as a tool to destabilize China. 

The Western rhetoric of defend- ing democracy, human rights and free trade is now familiar. It has been used repeatedly over the past 30 years to undermine and eventually destroy formerly stable and often prosperous societies around the world. 

The most striking recent example, of course, was the shameless “Maidan coup” in Ukraine in 2014, which destabilized the country and made it a helpless victim of neo-Nazis and mercenaries, and set it on course to the tragic conflict we see today. Hong Kong has now flourished for a full quarter-century under Chinese rule and its 7.5 million people continue to enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. It remains a global financial centre and shipping hub. But Western powers want to trigger continuous political agitations in their attempt to destabilize the special administrative region. 

Those duped into believing that their repeated efforts to alienate and mobilize them in witless agitations- eventually leading to violence-are good for Hong Kong should remember the remorseless outcomes of such misadventures around the world.