The United States and the United Kingdom have never stopped meddling in the internal affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since it was officially established on July 1, 1997. That said, US and UK interference in HKSAR affairs had been mostly covert until the fifth-term HKSAR government introduced the Fugitive Offender and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Affairs Ordinance Legislation (Amendment) Bill, also known as the extradition law amendment bill, to the Legislative Council earlier this year. Their meddling in those years was focused on manipulating their proxies in Hong Kong to oppose Beijing, from time to time, with unsolicited intervention in important political matters in Hong Kong. With the extradition law amendment bill as the turning point, the US and UK governments have taken their ultimate battle against Beijing for the governing power over Hong Kong by openly directing their political proxies in the HKSAR in an all-out illegal campaign to paralyze the SAR government.
There are two reasons why they chose the extradition law amendment bill as a turning point in their disruptive Hong Kong strategy. One is their failure to seize Hong Kong’s governing power through their political proxies with “true democracy” as an excuse. The other one is the need to facilitate the US government’s updated global strategy since 2018 that regards China as its main rival. Neither the White House nor 10 Downing Street can impose their political model on Hong Kong as an independent political entity or openly support the separatists’ attempt to achieve Hong Kong independence. That is why they decided to go all out — using the extradition law amendment bill as an excuse to instigate a series of mass rallies followed by violent riots. This is a desperate attempt to effect a “virtual rule” by the US and UK through their proxies alongside China’s overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong.
On July 16, the US monthly magazine Foreign Policy published a news analysis penned by Melinda Liu with the title “Ich Bin Ein Hong Konger”. The German sentence is an obvious reference to a famous quote by then US president John F. Kennedy when he visited West Berlin on June 26, 1963: “Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner).” In the article, Liu offers her take on the reality that Hong Kong is turning into the West Berlin of the quasi-cold war between the West and China.
With the extradition law amendment bill as the turning point, the US and UK governments have taken their ultimate battle against Beijing for the governing power over Hong Kong by openly directing their political proxies in the HKSAR in an all-out illegal campaign to paralyze the SAR government
People familiar with the history of the Cold War are well aware of the fact that West Berlin was an enclave controlled by the US, UK and France inside the city of Berlin and a dagger in the stomach of the Warsaw Pact. This is apparently Liu’s personal opinion, but it nonetheless constitutes a fair warning to Hong Kong residents over US-UK intentions behind the current illegal campaign.
If the US and UK governments just wanted to block or derail the extradition law amendment legislation, they already achieved the goal when on June 15 Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the legislative process of the extradition law amendment bill had been halted. This means they should have told their proxies in Hong Kong to cease all illegal acts back then.
On the contrary, a week after rioters broke into and ransacked the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on July 1, US Vice-President Mike Pence held a high-profile meeting with Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of the Next Media Group, an “unofficial” propaganda apparatus of the opposition camp in Hong Kong, in Washington on July 8. Two days later, Lai was received by John Bolton, US national security adviser for US President Donald Trump. In a press release, the US government said its officials discussed the extradition law amendment bill controversy with Lai and also Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework. Lai was understandably overwhelmed and humbled by the attention he was given in Washington. Meanwhile, the Voice of America reported that more supportive measures by the US government for the opposition camp in Hong Kong were on the way.
Beijing has reiterated its unshakable and principled stance regarding Hong Kong affairs numerous times over the years — the HKSAR is an inalienable part of China, a special administrative region directly under the overall jurisdiction of the Central People’s Government of the PRC; and Hong Kong affairs are China’s domestic affairs beyond intervention by any foreign government.
Washington and London are using their proxies in Hong Kong as pawns in an ultimate battle against Beijing for the governing power over Hong Kong. But time is not on their side, and Hong Kong will not become the 21st century West Berlin no matter how hard Washington and London try to make this happen.
The author is a senior research fellow of China Everbright Holdings.
HONG KONG NEWS