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Ambassador Zhou Pingjian: Hong Kong Cannot Afford to Be Torn Apart by Reckless Moves
2019/08/04

On August 4, 2019, Nigerian leading newspaper Leadership published an article written by Ambassador of China to Nigeria Dr. ZHOU Pingjian, Hong Kong Cannot Afford to Be Torn Apart by Reckless Moves. The full text goes as follows:

The situation in Hong Kong has drawn widespread attention recently. What happened? Nigerian friends may wonder.

In 1842, China was forced to cede Hong kong island to Britain after the First Opium War. In 1898, China was forced to lease the New Territories together with 235 islets to Britain for 99 years from 1 July that year. After more than 150 years of British colonial rule, Hong Kong was handed back to China and became Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997.

Since its return to the motherland 22 yeas ago, with the full support of the central government, Hong Kong has kept its distinct features and strengths and maintained prosperity and stability. Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has retained its capitalist system and way of life, and its laws have remained basically unchanged. The people of Hong Kong, now masters of their own future, run their local affairs withing the purview of the autonomy of the HKSAR. They enjoy more extensive democratic rights and freedoms than at any other time in its history. Hong Kong has been ranked 16th in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index in 2018, much higher than the 60th in 1996. Hong Kong's allure of being a vibrant metropolis where the East meets the West has remained as strong as ever. Hong Kong, the "Pearl of the Orient", has shined brightly and been the pride of all Chinese people, including the over seven million Hong Kong compatriots.

However, the radical, violent and illegal activities plotted and organized by a very small number of people recently after the government of HKSAR tried to discuss the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance have seriously affected the foundation of the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermined the security, stability and order there and damaged Hong Kong's image. This is heartbreaking and strongly condemned by people in Hong Kong.

Certain people in the US and Europe have chosen to cover up for violent radicals in Hong Kong and turned a blind eye to their violent illegal behaviors. But it is common knowledge that American and European police have never shown any mercy to violent behaviors at home. They have blatant double-standards on this issue.

When responding to a Hong Kong-related question in the Economic Club of Washington D.C.on 29 July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that protests are appropriate, and that they often see protests in the United States.

"Mr. Pompeo said that they often see protests in the US. I was wondering if he is happy to see those violent radicals using iron batons and lethal weapons to attack the police in the US, too? Maybe it will be a chance for the US to show its democracy? What do you think of that?" responded the spokesperson Hua Chunying of the Ministry of Foreign affairs of China on 30 July.

"I think Mr. Pompeo obviously failed to put himself in a right position. I'm afraid he still regards himself as the CIA chief. He said the recent violent incidents in Hong Kong are appropriate because, as you all know, they are somehow the work of the US.

"Let us think about what has happened. According to public reports, at the end of February and the beginning of March, the then US Consul-General in Hong Kong blatantly criticized the Hong Kong SAR government's bill amendment and the 'one country, two systems' principle and interfered in Hong Kong affairs. In March, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Hong Kong opposition lobbyists. In May, Pompeo met with Hong Kong opposition and made irresponsible remarks on the amendment matter. In June, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi even called the demonstrations in Hong Kong 'a beautiful sight to behold'. Some members of US Congress once again proposed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. In July, Pence, Pompeo and Bolton met with opposition personnel. In the scenes revealed on media, we saw some American faces among the violent demonstrators in Hong Kong. We even saw the national flag of the US on some occasions. We all have this question: what role has the US played in Hong Kong recently? The US owes the world an explanation."

The marches and demonstrations and violent clashes have lasted more than one month in Hong Kong, impinging on the rule of law, social order, economic and social activities, people's life and international image of Hong Kong. This has saddened all the people who love and care about Hong Kong.

We hope that people from all walks of life in Hong Kong will clearly oppose and resist violence. What has happened recently, especially the acts of violence committed by a small number of radicals, has undermined Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, challenged the rule of law and social order, threatened the personal and property safety of the residents of Hong Kong, and hit the bottom line of the principle of "one country, two systems" and will not be tolerated. Violence will not be tolerated in any civilized society and society of rule-of-law. It is hoped that the general public of Hong Kong will be aware of the seriousness of the current situation and jointly condemn the evil and criminal acts committed by the radicals so as to prevent them from sabotaging Hong Kong.

We hope that Hong Kong people will resolutely uphold the rule of law. This is the core value that Hong Kong people take pride in, a foundation for a favorable business environment, and an important cornerstone for prosperity and stability. We will not do nothing about the outrageous behaviors by a small group of people. Once the rule of law is undermined, Hong Kong cannot retain its prosperity and stability. The central government firmly supports the Chief Executive of HKSAR Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government to rule according to the law, the Hong Kong police in enforcing laws rigorously, the HKSAR government and the judiciary body in meting out punishment to violent criminals according to the law, and patriots and people who love Hong Kong in safeguarding rule of law in Hong Kong. Aware of the huge pressure that the Hong Kong police and their families are suffering, we give our solute to the fearless and excellent Hong Kong police who have been sticking to their posts, fulfilled their duties, and endured humiliation.

We hope that Hong Kong will get out of the political contentions as soon as possible, and concentrate on developing its economy and improving people's livelihood. Development is crucial for Hong Kong, and it holds the key to resolving various local issues. Although Hong Kong, endowed with favorable conditions and enjoying unique advantages, has laid a pretty good foundation for its development, it can't stand turmoil and riots, which would leave dent on its prosperity and stability. If the chaos continues, the whole society of Hong Kong will bear its brunt. The HKSAR government and the whole society should explore ways and adopt efficient measures to promote local economic growth and improve people's livelihood, especially help young people to cope with difficulties in issues such as housing, education, employment and starting businesses, so as to alleviate their grievances. The central government is willing to join hands with the HKSAR government and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong to create favorable conditions for the development of young people.

We truly appreciate that Nigerian friends care about Hong Kong's future and hope its long-term prosperity and stability could be well maintained. Enduring prosperity and stability in Hong Kong is indeed in the interest of the world, and is also what the Chinese Central Government and the HKSAR Government have been striving for all along.

As for American hypocritical comments, we must categorically say NO. Hong Kong is part of China, and its affairs are of domestic concern alone. Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the authority of the central government and the sanctity of the Basic Law of the HKSAR, or use Hong Kong as a channel for infiltration and sabotage against the mainland, is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible. The Chinese government will never allow any foreign forces to have a hand in Hong Kong affairs. Neither will we allow them to mess up Hong Kong. The central government firmly supports the HKSAR government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with law and support Hong Kong police in strictly punishing violent criminals to uphold security and stability in Hong Kong.

It's believed that, with the strong support of the central government and all the people of the Chinese mainland, under the leadership of the HKSAR government, our compatriots in Hong Kong will be bound to do a good job in administering, building and developing Hong Kong by bravely coping with all kinds of difficulties and challenges. The policy of "one country, two systems" will be bound to show its continued vitality and tenacity.

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