A word of caution about irresponsible Hong Kong remarks
Yuan Sha

Editor's note: Yuan Sha is an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Amid escalations of violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, several U.S. top officials came to add fuel to the fire. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lately made a series of irresponsible statements toward the Hong Kong unrest, which is not only misleading but also ill-intentioned.

Misleading remarks

With the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong at stake, it is a prerequisite to expose the irresponsible, one-sided, and misleading nature of these remarks.

First, they are trying to reframe the Hong Kong demonstration story as a war between "democracy" vs. "autocracy". Such a binary caricature distorted the picture. In fact, the protests were initially sparked by opposition to an extradition bill, which was later shelved, showing the willingness of the Hong Kong administrative government to listen to the concerns of the Hong Kong people.

Besides, they are trying to pit some people in Hong Kong to protest against the Chinese government. They paint a picture of widespread protests in Hong Kong and widen the gap between people and the government.

In fact, the protestors are only a small part of the population and would never represent the mainstream in Hong Kong. Unlike the Western news coverage, aside from the clash zones, most places in Hong Kong remain peaceful and in order.

Moreover, they are trying to cast demonstrators as heroes and local police as villains. In fact, we can see clearly from on-site videos that it is a bunch of demonstrators who turn violent, hinder public order, and even showed signs of terrorist acts by hurting ordinary citizens and foreign travelers.

It is grossly wrong and extremely unfair to call out "police brutality", since the Hong Kong police are also Hong Kong citizens, and they are just doing their job to keep order and reacting in restraint at risk of their own safety.

A policeman on duty during a march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, China, July 7, 2019. /Reuters Photo

A policeman on duty during a march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, China, July 7, 2019. /Reuters Photo

Sinister intentions

China welcomes friendly and constructive advice from other countries, but we need to beware of ill-intentioned effort by outside influences.

"Democracy" and "freedom" are hijacked as a pretext to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China's domestic affairs. These inappropriate remarks run counter to international relations norms and etiquette, not only exposing U.S. officials' hypocrisy but also their more sinister motive to tap the unrest in Hong Kong to undermine China's sovereignty.

Furthermore, the Hong Kong unrest might be used as a bargaining chip in the U.S. "strategic competition" and the ongoing trade war with China. Pelosi talked about the "moral authority of speaking out for human rights in China instead of commercial interests". But one needs not to be an expert to know that the U.S. and China are locked in an escalating trade war, and the U.S. is seriously considering decoupling the two economies.

The unrest already hurt the Hong Kong economy, especially in the tourism, finance, and investment sectors. If continued further, it would risk an economic recession or even worse, which is to the detriment of everybody in Hong Kong.

And a wrong and dangerous signal is sent to anti-government radicals. The demonstrations are becoming indiscriminately violent when the demonstrators occupied public facilities such as hospitals and airports. They are also turning ugly when demonstrators beat tourists from mainland China.

These one-sided remarks would further fuel hatred, sow divisions, and abet dangerous behaviors.

A word of caution

The U.S. effort to smear Hong Kong's reputation and undermine China's sovereignty would be futile. But they sound a wakeup call for every people in Hong Kong to take actions and prevent Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient, from coming down a "path of no return".

Hong Kong, China /VCG Photo

Hong Kong, China /VCG Photo

It is time to return to reason. We need to understand that it is just natural to have different opinions in society. It is also understandable for Hong Kong people to experience an identity crisis after a century of colonialism. It might even be expected that some who felt left behind in globalization relish the "good old days" under the British colonial rule.

In fact, the Hong Kong government has a good reputation for transparency and good governance. It would be unwise for local people to buy into the outside narrative and follow blindly to a handful of demagogues, and even more foolish to squander the hard-earned autonomy.

It is, therefore, time to restore order. Contrary to the wishful thinking of the Hong Kong protesters, the U.S. has no genuine respect and fondness toward Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act which they are pushing in Congress is intended to dampen Hong Kong's status as an international business and financial hub, in a way to hurt China's economic growth.

It should also be cautioned that just like the color revolutions elsewhere, the U.S. is only keen at inciting anti-government unrests, but shows no responsibility for returning a torn society back to order.

We should not repeat that path. The best way to solve problems is through legal means instead of resorting to violence, and Hong Kong urgently needs to return to the rule of law and social order.

It is, thus, time to rebuild trust. The protests in Hong Kong are not "a beautiful sight to behold," as Pelosi described, but a self-inflicted wound to the home of millions of people living there. It is every Hong Kong citizen's responsibility to help the government to improve, rather than rely on the unreliable outsiders to undermine their own government.

It is time for the "silent majority", including the peaceful demonstrators, to stop antagonizing each other, stand up to outside interference, and safeguard the homeland.

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