British duplicity about Hong Kong's national security legislation exposed

Editor's note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Observations."

Recent remarks made by some British political figures, including the former Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten and former UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, on China's national security legislation for Hong Kong has highlighted their double standards regarding the governance of the territory.

Patten called the legislation "a betrayal of the Hong Kong people." Both he and Hunt have suggested that the legislation being debated this week at the annual session of the National People's Congress breaches the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. But they're choosing to ignore the fact that the Joint Declaration stipulates that the Basic Law would replace the joint declaration as the legal framework for governing Hong Kong, and that neither the Joint Declaration nor the Basic Law gives any foreign party, including Hong Kong's former colonists, the right to interfere in the city's affairs.

All countries have the right to make laws to safeguard their sovereignty, including their sovereignty over their autonomous regions. In the United Kingdom, numerous national security laws have been introduced over the past 200 years. These laws cover all of its territories, including autonomous regions such as Northern Ireland.

A tweet by Angelo Giuliano, a Swiss citizen who lives in Hong Kong.

A tweet by Angelo Giuliano, a Swiss citizen who lives in Hong Kong.

Part of the Treason Felony Act passed in 1848 is still valid today. The Sedition Act of 1661 allowed for the death penalty in cases of treason. The Treachery Act of 1940, enacted one month after Winston Churchill took office, facilitated the prosecution and execution of enemy spies. And the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act put in place in 2015 has detailed regulations about investigating and preventing terrorism.

But when China decided to introduce legislation on national security to protect Hong Kong and its residents, whose safety and security have been threatened by violent protesters and rioters for a year now, Patten and Hunt were quick to forget the laws that are part of the British history.

As Angelo Giuliano, a Swiss citizen who lives in Hong Kong, tweeted, the national security legislation for Hong Kong is "a priority like any other place in the World we need to be protected from foreign interference and TERRORISM." The double standards of Hunt and Patten do a disservice to the people of Hong Kong, who overwhelmingly want to see peace restored in their city's streets.

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