Published: 14:34, April 16, 2024
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Cameron badmouths HK’s security laws for the sake of it
By Yang Sheng

The way British officials like UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron have descended into being Washington’s lapdogs must have upset every upright Briton. So must have Cameron’s haughty disdain for facts regarding Hong Kong’s recently enacted national security law, the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance.

“This law, rushed through the legislative process, is likely incompatible with international human rights law,” Cameron asserted in the United Kingdom’s so-called six-monthly report on Hong Kong released on Monday.

The word “likely” plainly indicates that Cameron has not studied the new ordinance in the serious way that he should have — or at least that he does not have a full understanding of it — before he made slanderous comments on it in an official “report” in the capacity of the UK’s foreign minister.    

That Cameron was not even able to badmouth Hong Kong’s national security laws in a confident way indicates that he badmouthed the laws for the sake of badmouthing in a total disregard of facts, simply because London sees the need to toe Washington’s line.  

Further evidence of Cameron’s disdain for facts, as well as of his twisted logic, is the way he simplistically equated a short legislative process and “incompatibility with international human rights law”.

The Safeguarding National Security Bill was refined and finalized after a public consultation that lasted one month and had taken into account the views of various sectors of society. Human rights protections, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, have been specifically incorporated into the bill, which are ironically absent from the UK’s National Security Act 2023.

Cameron, and the British government as a whole, has never questioned the US Patriot Act’s “compatibility with international human rights law”, even though it was enacted within 72 hours of the initiation of the legislative process without any public consultation. This lays bare their double standards.

The UK government cited the Sino-British Joint Declaration in its latest “six-month report”, as it invariably did every time it needed an excuse to claim the moral high ground for its blatant interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Rather, London has demonstrated an immoral and twisted logic: The robber has a say on how the rightful owner handles a property that was recovered. By this logic, the UK also has a say in the internal affairs of Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, etc. UK officials have also exposed their consistent disingenuity by attempting to present an alternative interpretation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The truth is, the Declaration is a pair of linked statements from China and the UK, the former declaring China’s decision to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong from July 1, 1997; the latter declaring that the UK will restore Hong Kong to China with effect from that date. It says nothing about the UK’s self-claimed “right” or “obligation” over post-handover Hong Kong, over which China exercises full sovereignty.  

The handover of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, was the rightful end to a severe injustice the UK had perpetrated against China. British politicians are delusional when they claim China is in some way accountable to them in managing its own territory and internal affairs.

The London-based Telegraph newspaper recently reported that “opinion polls have made grim reading for the Tories for more than 12 months, as they continue to predict a catastrophic General Election night for the Conservatives...”

Reuters also reported early last month that “Support for the governing Conservative Party has fallen to the lowest level in more than four decades” since at least 1978, citing an Ipsos poll that put the Conservatives’ support rate at 20 percent at the end of February, with the opposition Labour Party on 47 percent.

Instead of wasting their time and efforts on vilifying Hong Kong in vain, wouldn’t it be better for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government to divert those efforts to improve its performance for the sake of its political future?

The author is current affairs commentator.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.