U.S. long-arm jurisdiction a blatant violation of international law

Editor's note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs." The article does not necessarily reflect the views of CGTN.

The United States Congress is blatantly attempting to meddle with Hong Kong affairs and interfere in China's internal affairs by passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 under the pretext of "democracy" and "freedom." The legislation seriously violates international law and the basic norms of international relations, exposing U.S. hegemony and power politics.

The Act ridiculously requires the U.S. government to assess and report annually to Congress about the so-called situation of "autonomy," "democracy" and "human rights" in Hong Kong, so as to decide whether Hong Kong should be given relevant trade and economic status. It even requires the government to impose sanctions on certain government officials or entities in the special administrative region (SAR). Such a move places domestic law above international law and reveals some American politicians' arrogance and avarice. These moves by the U.S. are firmly opposed by all Chinese people.

Since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, residents in the city have enjoyed fundamental rights and freedoms in accordance with the law, which are fully safeguarded by China's Constitution, the Basic Law and local laws in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs, and according to international law and basic norms of international relations, no countries, organizations and individuals have the right to interfere. For instance, the Charter of the United Nations says that the UN and its members shall act in accordance with such principles as "the Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members,""Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state."

A declaration issued by the UN General Assembly in 1965 clearly proclaims "No state has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any state; no state may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another state in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights; no state shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist, or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another state."

Another declaration issued by the UN General Assembly in 1970 stressed again that "No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State."

And as the International Court of Justice once explained, the principle of non-intervention was established "for, from the nature of things, it would be reserved for the most powerful States, and might easily lead to perverting the administration of international justice itself."

As the situation in Hong Kong comes to a critical point, some American politicians have gone against international law and pushed for domestic legislation to endorse the radical violent criminals, in a bid to instigate chaos in Hong Kong and contain China's development. The use of "long arm jurisdiction" will harm the interests of all relevant parties, including the United States.

In fact, it's not the first time for the United States to interfere in other countries' internal affairs by passing domestic laws under the pretext of "democracy" and "human rights." By suppressing foreign companies and detaining their executives, or meddling with other countries' affairs under the pretext of anti-terrorism, the United States conducts "long arm jurisdiction" arbitrarily to contain other countries' development, overthrow their governments and maintain its own hegemony. The international community feels a profound aversion to it and has overwhelmingly condemned such moves. Recently, 187 countries voted in favor of a UN resolution which calls on the United States to end the embargo against Cuba. This once again shows that a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds little.

Peace and development are irreversible trends in the world today. The principles of international law, such as sovereign equality and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, have long been deeply rooted in people's hearts and are now international norms. Every time the U.S. flexes its "long-arm jurisdiction" behavior it will be an overdraft and depletion of its credibility, accelerating its decline. Its intervention in Hong Kong affairs will surely be met with strong countermeasures from the Chinese side. The U.S. will achieve nothing but self-inflicted humiliation in the end.

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