My Take

Hong Kong’s relations with China are no business of the US

A proposed bill on democracy in the city by three senators is just pure anti-China posturing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 1:33am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 9:24am

A proposed US bill to protect Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy does not even pass the laugh test. It aims ostensibly to shield the city from Beijing’s interference, and is drafted by three senators who clearly have difficulty understanding what “interference” means. Just imagine Richard Nixon feigning outrage at illegal wiretapping by foreign governments on their own citizens. Perhaps that’s why Beijing didn’t even bother to respond to it beyond a one-line statement.

Why is it America’s business to be concerned about cross-border relations in Hong Kong? Britain might be interested. It claims a moral obligation towards a former colony as well as possibly a treaty obligation, depending, of course, on how you interpret the Sino-British Joint Declaration. But the US? Look at it the other way.

Should Belgium be concerned about murderous and racist police across the US? Should Australia fret about the extraordinary legal system in the US that imprisons so many of its own citizens – usually of particular racial groups – and subjects them to inhumane treatment and substandard living conditions in jails, which are often run by private, for-profit corporations?

US senators revive bill that would punish officials who curtail Hong Kong democracy and freedom

Seven of our police officers have been jailed for two years each – two years! – for roughing up a seasoned political provocateur. We have one of the lowest incarceration rates in the world. Hong Kong is as free as anywhere in the “free” world today. Sorry, Anson, Martin and Joshua; I know you disagree.

But of course, none of this matters to senators Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Ben Cardin, sponsors of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. It’s cynical anti-China posturing by some extremist politicians. How do these gentlemen define interference anyway?

On the question of rendition, Cotton thinks it’s perfectly fine for America to kidnap foreign nationals and let them rot in Guantanamo Bay. On “target killings”, or rather assassinations, he thinks Washington should expand its programme to murder foreign nationals – or even Americans – in other countries using drones and other types of bombing. He also wants to bomb Iran.

All three men are staunch supporters of Israel. This means they are perfectly fine with the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land and the building of illegal settlements on it.

Interference? It’s a funny word. Last time I checked, Hong Kong was still Chinese territory.