• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:26am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 3:42am

Outsiders who stick their noses where they don't belong

Who cares what the Brits and Americans think? They can say whatever they like about democratic developments in Hong Kong. It's a free city. They can huff and puff. But in the end, outsiders will not make one iota of difference, however the fight over universal suffrage turns out. It's a tug of war between Beijing, the Leung Chun-ying government and Hong Kong people.

Well, the Martin Lee Chu-mings of this world apparently do care. They think Britain has a special responsibility to speak up for Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Sure, Martin, that was before the handover - when the Brits might have given full democracy and/or granted immigration rights to Hong Kong people. They missed their chance.

The US consul general in Hong Kong, Clifford Hart, said in July that he was looking forward to the city's move towards "genuine democratic suffrage". Whatever. Now Hugo Swire, a junior British foreign ministry official, writes in this paper that "Britain stands ready to support in any way we can". Really, Hugo, pray tell how?

Given the inconsequential nature of their pronouncements, I am amazed by the typical charmless response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which went into a paroxysm against the two men.

Obviously taking his cue, Leung offered his own communist-style denouncement of Swire. "For any foreign official who wants to participate or intervene, the past experience is very clear - it will only do the opposite for Hong Kong's political reform, including the people they wanted to support or influence," he said. I much preferred his second-in-command Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's response, which was basically: "Thanks, Hugo, but no thanks!"

Still, many people find their reactions rude and unreasonable. History might be a guide for them. How might those rebellious Americans at the Philadelphia constitutional convention have reacted if their former colonial masters offered their expertise to be consulted in setting up a new form of government? How would Jawaharlal Nehru and his gang have responded if the Brits extended a helping hand to guide the natives to create an independent India in 1947.

They would all, of course, have told the Brits - politely or rudely - to stuff themselves.


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This article is now closed to comments

The little red indicator light marked 'Over-compensation for Post-colononial Inferiority Complex Detected' is blinking enthusiastically again.
sadly, no one cares what you think and nor do you occupy any sort of senior govn't position... your views are irrelevant... more importantly, you are free to express your views, and i think the british govn't might not whine like a paranoid sissy boy as the chinese just have
We all know one thing for sure that there will be outside interference coming from north of the border so why shouldn't others be allowed to put their two cents in?
“I’m not intellectually convinced that one-man-one-vote is the best. We practise it because that’s what the British bequeathed us.”
“You’re talking about Rwanda or Bangladesh, or Cambodia, or the Philippines. They’ve got democracy, according to Freedom House. But have you got a civilised life to lead? People want economic development first and foremost. The leaders may talk something else. You take a poll of any people. What is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, schools.”
- Lee Kuan Yew
In the interconnected world with economic force driving it, politics just can’t be standing alone. Even China’s long standing in its no interference doctrine can’t be working in full steam anymore. Leave me alone is a luxury nowadays. Children may still say so but not grownups.
As Minister of State for the British Foreign Office, Swire has a responsibility towards India, the Far East, Latin America and the Falklands, as well as Australasia.
Perhaps he would like to have some friendly advice from Hong Kong residents on how to solve the British dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) ?
We could then move on to the Gibraltar issue and send our recommendations for surrender to the Spanish Consulate.
"captam" would be happy to provide some advice to the British.
Why are you so surprised by Beijing's response? This is par for the course. Foreigners attacking China. The Communist Party are here to protect you!
It must be quite strange for Hugo. Such a star and household name in China, but completely unknown in the UK.
I remember a sketch by Monty Python about a pair of bored pilots winding up passengers by saying silly things. Perhaps this is the the UK civil service equivalent. "I say Hugo, lets play a trick on the Communists, it will be a good laugh."
Sorry Alex, but your argument is nonsense and I'm sure you know it. EVERYONE sticks their noses in EVERYWHERE, including China. They just do it in different ways, and often the offending nose isn't visible to the naked eye. Your argument is myopic and self-serving, I am sorry to say.
If " communist-style denouncement" is what Mr Brock needs
It's only right for CYL to give it to him
a wake-up diplomatic slap on the shameless face
Otherwise many Brocks will be encouraged
to keep returning with affected generosity to offer grabbing disguised as giving
From the comments attracted by this topic
clearly such affected generosity appeal to many
those with a beggar mentality always in need of others' givings
and those colonial remnants who like to reminiscence lost capability.
Whom did Brock speak to, when he offered his devil-knows what "help"
the people of HK?
HK politicians?
SAR government?
He's the one who needs help
which he has been rightly given
by Mrs Lam, CYL and HL
He knew the consequence and asked for it
Now having received the help he should say "Thanks"
Mr Brock, in HK our custom doesn't require you to turn the other cheek
Well they have a right to. They are the owners...HK is the dog.




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