20th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong finds itself at the centre of a brewing geopolitical maelstrom, with the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, vowing to raise concerns over the city’s recently enacted national security legislation during her forthcoming visit. This brazen attempt to meddle in Hong Kong’s internal affairs is not only a flagrant violation of its sovereignty but also reflects the enduring colonial mindset that continues to haunt the corridors of power in London.

Trevelyan’s intention to challenge the passage and implementation of Hong Kong’s Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, a law mandated by Article 23 of the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, is a gross overreach that must be met with unwavering resolve. Despite Hong Kong’s transition from British colonial rule to a thriving Special Administrative Region within the People’s Republic of China, certain elements in the West continue to be mired in the past, clinging to the delusion of extending their influence over a territory they once controlled.

The passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is a watershed moment in Hong Kong’s journey toward true self-governance and the preservation of its stability and prosperity. Far from eroding rights and freedoms, as Trevelyan and her ilk would have the world believe, this legislation is a necessary bulwark against the insidious forces of secession, subversion, and foreign interference that have sought to undermine Hong Kong’s social fabric and its integration within the Chinese nation.

The ordinance, which encompasses a comprehensive framework for safeguarding national security, is a product of Hong Kong’s own legislative process, meticulously crafted and deliberated upon by its elected representatives. This reflects the city’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and its adherence to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration—a principle that the United Kingdom itself has repeatedly violated through its unwarranted meddling.

Britain’s hypocrisy knows no bounds, as evidenced by the scathing rebuttals from both the central government in Beijing and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom has rightly condemned London’s “serious distortion of facts” and “grave interference” in China’s internal affairs, reminding the former colonial power that its governance over Hong Kong ended with the city’s handover in 1997. The Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong has echoed this sentiment, urging the United Kingdom to abandon its “deep-rooted colonial mentality” and “arrogant attitude,” and to face the reality that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China’s sovereign territory.

Moreover, the Hong Kong government, through the impassioned words of Secretary for Security Chris Tang, has exposed the glaring double standards underlying Britain’s critique. Tang’s pointed question – “Why is it that Hong Kong cannot protect itself in accordance with the law, yet they can illegally spy on the world?” – strikes at the heart of the matter. It lays bare the West’s hypocritical stance, wherein nations like the United Kingdom and the United States, which have enacted stringent national security laws of their own, seek to deny Hong Kong the same right to safeguard its interests and preserve its stability.

The passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is not an act of repression but rather a legitimate exercise of Hong Kong’s autonomy and a manifestation of its commitment to upholding the rule of law. It is a law that has been shaped by the will of the people, with an overwhelming majority of public consultations and submissions supporting its enactment. To dismiss this democratic process and to vilify the ordinance as an erosion of rights and freedoms is not only disingenuous but also a direct affront to the principles of self-determination and non-interference that underpin the international order.

As Trevelyan prepares to set foot in Hong Kong, she would do well to heed the words of the city’s leaders and the central government in Beijing. Hong Kong’s sovereignty is non-negotiable, and its right to enact laws that safeguard its national security interests is inviolable. Any attempt to undermine this right or to interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs will be met with a resolute rebuke, a reminder that the days of colonial subjugation are well and truly over.

The United Kingdom must come to terms with the reality that Hong Kong is no longer a pawn in its geopolitical machinations but a proud and autonomous region within the People’s Republic of China. Its future is inextricably linked to the prosperity and stability of the Chinese nation, and any efforts to sow discord or undermine this integration will be met with unwavering resistance. Confronted with undue external pressures, Hong Kong remains unyielding, serving as a symbol of self-determination and a testament to the persistent resilience of its citizens. The ill-advised campaign led by Trevelyan will encounter not compliance but a robust reaffirmation of Hong Kong’s sovereignty and its firm adherence to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. This commitment moves beyond the remnants of colonialism, steering towards a future characterised by unity, prosperity, and autonomous governance.