Viewpoint by: Chen Li, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Finland
Recently, the situation in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China drew wide attention from the international community. For a long time, Hong Kong has always been a global metropolitan city, one of the most robust economy and a center of international banking, trade and cargo. It has a beautiful name “Pearl of the Orient”, and is seen as a paradise for shopping. But today’s Hong Kong turns into a scene of chaos. What on earth has Hong Kong become?
The situation in Hong Kong now was triggered by a so-called “Extradition Bill”. Technically speaking, the SAR Government proposed an amendment to the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Bill. It was aimed to fill the loopholes and promote cooperation in justice between Hong Kong and other regions, preventing Hong Kong from being a paradise for fugitives. Anyway, the process met some controversy and the SAR Government officially suspended it. The controversy was meant to be addressed by extensive consultation of Hong Kong communities, but some radical protesters made use of this subject to provoke more protests. They surrounded government buildings, impeded public traffic, paralysed public service and even resorted to violence, including storming the Legislative Council, attacking police officers and destroying infrastructure.
Hong Kong has long been regarded as one of the most liberal region in the world and a rule of law society. It is self-evident that one cannot pursue freedom at the cost of damaging others’. The recent protests has targeted at paralysing public services such as metro, buses and airport. Local citizens’ normal lives and economic activities have been seriously disturbed. Some protesters show violence to those who don’t cooperate with them and meanwhile defend themselves with the excuses of freedom. But apparently their acts of violating others’ freedom have gone too far from the definition of “freedom”. Radical protests act destructively, and the influence is destructive, too. As a result, the communities in Hong Kong have been torn apart. The SAR Government warned that if the massive malicious destruction continues, protesters may push the city into an abyss of no return. Some local citizens, including Ms. Margaret Chan, formal Chief of WHO, expressed their worries and distress for the situation in Hong Kong now. But strangely enough, certain countries turn a blind eye to the facts. Instead, they keep encouraging the protesters in many ways and even applauded for their violence behaviour. One cannot but suspect their hidden purposes and wonder which path they intended to lead Hong Kong to?
Under “One Country, Two Systems”, the Central Government of China has always supported Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. In the past 22 years after returning to the motherland, Hong Kong’s GDP grew steadily to 360 billion US dollars in 2018, more than twice of 1996’s. Tourists visiting Hong Kong increased from 10.4 million in 1997 to 65 million in 2018. In 2018, Hong Kong’s rule of law index ranked 16th globally, improving significantly from 60th in 1996. Just as Singapore’s Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said, Hong Kong’ many advantages can be summarized as one, and that is the support of the Chinese Mainland. It is believed that citizens both in Hong Hong and the Chinese Mainland hope to see Hong Kong remains prosperous and stable. The top priority now is that the city should stop violence immediately, restore rationale and return to order.
It has to be pointed out that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and issues related to Hong Kong are internal affairs of China. The Central Government of China supports the SAR Government to perform their duties according to law. But should the situation fall out of control, the Central Government will never stand by.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Finland
This is a "Viewpoint" opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of The Helsinki Times.