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Forlorn attempt to keep G7's claws in HK

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-21 19:59

A view of the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. [Photo/IC]

The G7 foreign ministers' latest remarks on Hong Kong reveal a collective inability to come to terms with the simple fact that they have no say in the special administrative region's affairs.

Many institutional arrangements, from the Sino-British Joint Declaration to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, were worked out to make sure Hong Kong retained order and prosperity after its return to full Chinese jurisdiction.

But the post-1997 changes have, being charitable, obviously been too fast and dramatic for the G7 members to easily adapt to or, more to the point in the case of some of the group's members, they are being distorted to serve other agendas in the form of manufactured quarrels with the Chinese government.

In either case, whether as an attempt to hold back time or to create mischief, the "concerns" expressed by the G7 ministers about Hong Kong will gain no real traction because they are not born of any genuine regard for Hong Kong or its residents.

The G7 foreign ministers' so-called concerns are either a reminder of what they regard as better days or a thorn with which they hope to prick the skin of Beijing.

Thus, although the G7 foreign ministers went to great lengths to mourn the situation in Hong Kong in the joint statement they released on Friday, it was nothing more than a display of crocodile tears.

In their "Statement on Addressing Global Challenges, Fostering Partnership", they first expressed concern about the deterioration of pluralism and civil and political rights in the SAR since the introduction of the 2020 National Security Law. They then protested that the latest Safeguarding National Security Ordinance under Article 23 of the Basic Law will further erode the autonomy of the SAR and its fundamental freedoms, claiming that the new law will "make it harder to live, work and do business in Hong Kong".

Since that claim is patently untrue, it only serves to make it clear that what they are really lamenting is that the new additions to the SAR's legal framework will make their lives more difficult by making it harder for them to engage in the kind of troublemaking with regard to China that some of them have become so fond of.

Like a dog worrying a bone, the ministers urged China to "uphold its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law" and the authorities in Beijing and the SAR "to act in accordance with their international commitments and applicable legal obligations".

But fulfilling their legal obligations is of course exactly what the central and SAR governments have done in introducing the legislation.

Expressing its strong condemnation of the G7 foreign ministers' malicious denigration of the new Hong Kong legislation, the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong SAR said in a statement that not only did the legislation safeguard national security, it was also a "turning point" from overall "chaos" to "orderliness" in the SAR.

In their joint statement, the G7 foreign ministers claimed they "recognize the importance of constructive and stable relations with China". But the attempts by some of the G7 countries to use Hong Kong as a means to cause trouble for Beijing, if not a fuse for a color revolution, call into question the sincerity of those words.

Any constructive relations are built on mutual respect, which in international relations includes respect for national sovereignty.

Those Western powers that are fantasizing about living in the old colonial era in which they got to call the shots in territories where their gunboat diplomacy made the law should wake up to the reality that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and Hong Kong affairs are Chinese domestic affairs. As such, they are no concern of theirs.

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