My Take

American politicians are in no position to monitor Hong Kong affairs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 May, 2015, 12:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 May, 2015, 12:31am

Hong Kong is welcoming a group of US congressmen concerned about the city's electoral reforms with open arms. The bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans plans to visit later this week. By contrast, our government snubbed a similar group of British parliamentarians during the Occupy protests last year.

The Leung Chun-ying administration has got it all wrong. I don't see why our electoral reforms are of more or less interest to the Americans than, say, the Dutch, Singaporeans or Tibetans. And if those meddlesome US politicians are genuinely interested, I am sure their diplomatic and spy stations in Hong Kong, more precisely on Garden Road, are more than competent and knowledgeable enough to brief them on the local situation.

The British MPs are a different matter. As a former colonial master, Britain, more than any other Western country, has a legitimate interest in the well-being of Hong Kong, regardless of how you interpret the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The Chinese position is that British responsibility ended after the 1997 handover. That interpretation is controversial. Many senior British politicians believe treaty obligations on both parties to the pact continue to exist today. The David Cameron government probably takes this stance as well, though it is unwilling to press it if that means upsetting Beijing.

Whichever position you take, I think it's reasonable to think the British do have a moral interest in Hong Kong, far more so than the Americans.

But of course, if it's just a moral and not a treaty responsibility, both the Hong Kong and central governments may legitimately ignore the Brits. And if that's the case, why bother with the Americans?

Given the compromised state of American democracy and society as demonstrated in Ferguson, Baltimore and other places of race riots, injustices and extreme inequalities, those congressmen may have much more to learn from us about running a low-crime, stable and peaceful society where police almost never use deadly force.

It's hard to take these poser-congressmen seriously. Why don't they take care of their own backyard first?