US riots highlight the double standards in restoring peace
INTERNATIONAL - The mayhem in America, fuelled by a president who cowers behind his Secret Service in a White House bunker and defaults to pouring oil on the flames of public anger rather than speaking to his people, highlights the double standards of a country hell-bent on denying other nations their rights to restore peace and security while suppressing dissent on its own shores.
George Floyd’s death has exposed the depths of the racial divide in this “Land of the Free”, the brutality of law enforcement agencies whose militarised tactics were honed by Dave Grossman, a retired Army ranger noted for teaching officers to kill with “less hesitation”, and the consequences of not moving effectively to restore the peace.
This administration has been a vocal supporter of the Hong Kong protesters and denounced China’s declaration of national security laws in the Hong Kong Special Administration RegionSAR). But as the adage goes, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Nor should they presume to know what is best in another’s backyard.
While the riots in both Hong Kong and the US have been marked by vandalism, petrol bombings and widespread destruction of property, the protracted assault on the people of Hong Kong and their government is portrayed as justified but in the US, it’s somehow unjust.
When Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, under the “one country, two systems” model, it was intended to retain a high degree of autonomy and come directly under the central government.
In 2019, violent protests against amendments to the Extradition Bill broke out.
They’ve continued for several months but in recent times there has been a distressing escalation of radical methods including vigilante attacks, petrol bombings and vandalising state infrastructure. Hooligans in Hong Kong have attacked government forces with metal rods, petrol bombs and bricks.
These criminals are now arriving at protests wearing gas masks and body armour, hurling petrol bombs at police lines.
They’ve blocked the airport, detained frightened travellers, and caused a collapse in inbound arrivals. Government buildings have been stormed and vandalised; shops have been destroyed and shuttered, and streets wrecked by the Molotov cocktails of arsonists.
The protests have caused the territory’s worst crisis since handover. Rifts have widened in society, with activists not enjoying the sort of support often portrayed in the West.
As we know, empty vessels make the loudest noise.
Agents provocateurs have coaxed others to instigate violence against the state and ratcheted up support for Hong Kong’s independence, which simply crosses the line for the central government.
The city is in chaos and China’s national security at risk, which cannot be tolerated. No country in the world would close its eyes to such anarchy.
The central government’s hand has been forced: According to Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is authorised to enact laws to safeguard national security but it’s not done so, delaying these laws since 1997 because the opposition has tried every trick at its disposal to thwart them
China’s central government is legally empowered to govern Hong Kong, through the constitution and Hong Kong Basic Law, and the national security legislation is aimed at only a few acts, such as treason, sedition and subversion, that threaten national security.
It’s certainly not aimed at infringing the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong’s residents, nor a threat to the interests of investors, who are guided by stability, social order, the rule of law and an environment that is conducive to business.
The people of China - including Hong Kong - view this legislative change as long overdue. The central government, like all countries around the world, has a duty to safeguard national security.
President Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream of a “moderately prosperous society” is falling into place in 2020 as the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Underpinning this rejuvenation is economic development to increase Chinese living standards, exemplified by the eradication of extreme poverty, and national sovereignty as an essential element of China’s national pride.
China’s central government wants to see Hong Kong thrive and the chaos undermines the national project. Key to this project is the Greater Bay Area development plan to build a world-class mega region in Hong Kong - an investment that China will not allow to be threatened.
Instability in Hong Kong - a global financial powerhouse - is detrimental to the region, to greater China and markets in the rest of the world.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE