Sun. Sep 26th, 2021

On midnight of July 1, 1997, the United Kingdom turned over to the People’s Republic of China its rule of Hong Kong. 

The circumstance about the return of Hong Kong was not a lease agreement between China and the United Kingdom, but one of surrender to its rightful owner.  

The turnover revolved on the issue of sovereignty over a territory ceded to the British in 1841 in Convention of Chuenpi, and in the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 formally ending the First Opium War, dubbed by many as the day of infamy in the history of China. 

In 1898, Britain was granted the concessional privilege to rule an additional 99 years over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking.  

Today, the British government maintains that under the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1997, it is duty bound to monitor Hong Kong for 50 years.

China Daily said that such interpretation is misguided and wrong.  

International law says that the turnover of Hong Kong means the British was ceding the territory to its rightful owner and that involves the re-imposition of sovereignty back to China.   Consequently, the central government of China is free to enact laws that would solidify its sovereignty over what it now calls “special autonomous region of Hong Kong (HKSAR)”. 

After years of turmoil due to external agitation, a national security law (NSL) for Hong Kong was passed by China’s National People’s Congress.  The law has nothing to do with the freedom of its citizens as agitators would like to project, but the application of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. 

The NSL is designed to meet the universal standards of human rights and of the basic rights of man.  The NSC has no intention to violate Articles 27 and 29 of Hong Kong’s Basic Laws pertaining to the rights of the citizens, including of freedom of speech, or of the press and publication; or association, assembly, procession and demonstration; and the right of freedom to form and join trade unions and to strike; as well as rights under the various international covenants.  

This explains why many residents of Hong Kong residents do not find the NSL objectionable.

If there is misunderstanding to the NSL, it is essentially due to the insistence of the separatists to treat the Basic Law of Hong Kong as superior to the laws enacted and approved by the National People’s Congress of China. 

They insist on their misplaced interpretation that the Basic law is separate and cannot be abrogated or superseded by any law even if approved by the legislature of the central government.   This boils down to the separatist’s objective of treating Hong Kong as a separate political entity and not as a special autonomous region integral to China.   

Thus allegedly, any law approved by the NPC is considered “unconstitutional” and “illegal”,  for according to US State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, the NSL “infringes on international obligation, respect for Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions and civil liberties.  This is based on the fallacy that all laws enacted by China do not apply or is applicable to Hong Kong.  

This procedural protocol about the turnover of Hong Kong is now being made an “international obligation” by China to an essentially part of its own territory.    The US and its minions see the act as one of “interference into HK’s internal affairs,” and it is for this reason why NSL can never be interpreted to strengthen, enhance or widen the right of the people in Hong Kong under the Basic Law.  

Pompeo proceeded to curve his own theory saying that the decision of the NPC in approving the NSL amounted to “delivering a death knell to the high degree of autonomy that Beijing promised to its territory.”   As said, the NPC acted pursuant to its inherent right as an independent state to legislate for purposes of securing China’s sovereignty.  All acts enforceable within China’s territory over which it exercises sovereignty cannot be treated as done “arbitrarily and unilaterally.”          

The “one country” refers only to one China and all that is embraced by its exercise of sovereignty, and all are enjoined to pay respect to it. The “two systems” concept refers to the simultaneous existence of free enterprise for Hong Kong and a socialist system for China. 

The phrase is clear and cannot be made permanent to provide loophole for separatist ideas.  Conversely, the two systems model is not meant to disrupt the business in Hong Kong, acknowledged by China as the most prosperous and progressive among its territories. 

Today, the application of the two systems has become passé. There is practically no difference in the two systems existing between Hong Kong and China.  China is a free enterprise economy just as the economy in Hong Kong today. There are as many private businesses in China as there are in Hong Kong that the threat by the US of a pull out would affect more of its businesses in China than in Hong Kong. 

Rather, it was China that gave in to Hong Kong than of China imposing its socialistic system in Hong Kong.  There are state enterprises in China just as there are in Hong Kong like the supply of electricity, water, commuter trains.  China conceded its ideological principle to secure the trust of the people in Hong Kong.

But it seems this move by China is not taken seriously by these US-supported agitators because their intention is precisely to detach Hong Kong from China.

The concept of two systems cannot be extended to the idea of freedom and independence much that it will impair China’s sovereignty.  

China cannot allow the issue of sovereignty to be divided no matter how benevolent their motive may be.  

Perhaps, Pompeo’s threat is more of bluster intended to boost Trumps sagging popularity. (ia/

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