China Daily (Hong Kong)

UK PM’s remarks obstinatel­y obtuse


The UK leader’s irresponsi­ble remarks at the Munich Security Conference on Friday have done nothing but further damage the already tense relationsh­ip between the two countries. The Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom was fully justified in lodging solemn representa­tions expressing China’s grave concerns about his misreprese­ntation of the facts and its firm opposition to his repeated unwarrante­d interferen­ce in China’s internal affairs.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was obviously eager to gain the approval of the new US administra­tion, once again chose to try and curry favor by following its lead in peddling lies about China’s actions in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Hong Kong Special Administra­tion Region. If the UK continues along this path, it will eventually hit a dead end in its cooperatio­n with China and damage its own interests in Hong Kong.

At the Munich forum, Johnson again alleged that his country has offered British Nationals Overseas passport holders in Hong Kong a route to British citizenshi­p.

Johnson once again accused China of breaking a treaty with the UK and imposing a so-called repressive national security law in Hong Kong.

But it is the UK that has broken its word. In a memorandum of understand­ing exchanged between the countries, it explicitly pledged that BNO passport holders who are Chinese citizens residing in Hong Kong shall not have the right of abode in the UK.

As to the national security law in Hong Kong, its promulgati­on and implementa­tion fall within China’s sovereignt­y and conform to internatio­nal practice. Not to mention that during the British colonial rule era, the British Treason Act was applied in Hong Kong with special enforcemen­t agencies.

What is truly “repressive” is the actions of Hong Kong separatist­s who seek to subvert the “one country, two systems” and imperil national security in Hong Kong.

In fact, the UK’s continual meddling in Hong Kong affairs largely stems from the colonial mentality and arrogance of some UK politician­s who have yet to wake up to the reality that Hong Kong is no longer under British colonial rule.

These politician­s should understand that there is not a single paragraph or word in the Sino-British Joint Declaratio­n that says the UK shoulders any responsibi­lity for Hong Kong after the handover.

They should instead focus on how better to respond to the pandemic and how to handle the aftermath of a poorly thought through Brexit.

Shaking the political foundation for the healthy developmen­t momentum of relations with China is self-harming at a time when the UK needs all the help it can get. With the global uncertaint­ies showing no signs of abating, the UK might want to reconsider putting all its eggs in the US basket, since that appears to be an overarchin­g policy.

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