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Published: 00:07, August 16, 2022 | Updated: 12:09, August 17, 2022
Sanction threats against HK prosecutors expose worst of Washington politicians
By Jo Lee
Published:00:07, August 16, 2022 Updated:12:09, August 17, 2022 By Jo Lee

When it comes to spreading malicious lies about China in general and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in particular, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China has earned a special place. Given its total disregard for facts and willingness to twist everything in the service of propaganda, its commissioners would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

In their letter to US President Joe Biden to urge his administration to sanction Hong Kong prosecutors and the city’s new secretary for justice, just about the only true statement is the first sentence: “Hong Kong was once an autonomous city that enjoyed freedoms.”

It still is. But of course, commissioners such as senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley are more than happy to undermine the rule of law and the legal reputation of Hong Kong for their own hidden agenda.

They claim that since the promulgation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong in 2020, local people no longer have basic liberties, including the right to a free and fair trial. Oh please; all the basic liberties are intact, including the right to a free and fair trial. What’s different is that people are now free to walk the street without fear of being stoned, attacked or set on fire by arsonists and rioters who tried to destroy their own city back in 2019. They did so with material help and financial support from various US government agencies such as the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy and the US Agency for Global Media.

In a supreme act of bullying and hypocrisy, the commissioners argue that sanctions are warranted because Hong Kong prosecutors are guilty of “arbitrary detention” and “political prosecutions”. What? Against arsonists and rioters? You have to be joking.

The commission’s statement to Biden is not just factually untrue; it’s illogical and incoherent.

It claims “the erosion of the rule of law and human rights in Hong Kong threatens US interests” and is a “global concern”. Even if that were true when it clearly isn’t, how was it any business of the US or the rest of the world? By the same logic, US law enforcement’s systematic murders and jailing of minorities, especially blacks and Hispanics, also threaten Chinese interests and are of global concern.

We know US politicians can say anything to get votes, but there should at least be a decent respect for elementary logic, truthfulness and making coherent statements.

The commission said Hong Kong’s previous status was a model of prosperity and political stability. It still is, but efforts from those commissioners aim precisely to undermine them. Why and how? In the name of human rights and liberties, of course. This is Washington’s political “logic”. Defame an adversary before going in for the kill.

Whether Hong Kong can continue to uphold rights protection and investor confidence in the legal system is our own business, not that of those China hawks in Washington who are determined to undermine Hong Kong in their attempt to contain China.

The commissioners claim that the NSL “was implemented in June 2020 by central authorities … with no meaningful input from Hong Kong residents”.

What’s “meaningful” and who’s to judge? Rubio sitting in an office in Washington? The NSL does not undermine Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy; it enhances it. This is evidenced by Hong Kong’s strong performance in a slew of international rankings such as the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, which ranked Hong Kong 19th out of 139 countries and territories for its overall rule of law performance in the 2021 Index. But try arguing with these American charlatans.

Three years after the violent protests, order and stability have been restored in Hong Kong. Groups linked to and funded by US subversive agencies have been dismantled and neutralized, thanks to the enforcement of the NSL and related laws. This explains the hostility of those China hawks in Washington toward the NSL and their relentless smear campaign against the law.

Freedom of speech is well protected but needs to be exercised with civic responsibility. The rule of law is even more robust, partly thanks to the work of those fair and fearless prosecutors, whose great work Washington now wants to undermine and libel. Imagine how Washington would respond if Chinese legislators were to ask for sanctions against US prosecutors.

Yet, the commission and its congressional members are targeting Hong Kong’s dutiful prosecutors who have a track record of maintaining high professional ethical standards that no fair-minded person doubt about.

The Hong Kong SAR government has institutionalized national security exactly like most “democratic” countries, including the US. Police have a special team dedicated to such investigations, much like the police’s special branch and MI5 in the United Kingdom and the FBI in the US.

The new secretary for justice of the Hong Kong SAR is not even warm in his seat, and Washington already targets him for sanctions. That betrays the real intention of the commission, its actions crudely revealing itself as the chief propaganda organ of the US Congress against China. In its latest work, it invited a few China-haters from Hong Kong to testify. These are Washington’s typical puppets whose scripts were handed to them or else they already knew what they were expected to say.

What American politicians are most afraid of is that Hong Kong succeeds and prospers with the help of the central government and proper security law. The commission is a complete disgrace and betrays the worst feature of Washington politicians’ unquenchable desire to undermine and destroy societies and nations it deems threatening the US’ hegemony.

The author has worked for a number of leading Chinese-language media such as Oriental Daily News covering mostly mainland Chinese and Hong Kong issues.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 

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