On September 25, the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Relations Committee passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
The Act directs various departments of the US to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under US law. The content of the Act includes the followings:
The US Department of State shall report annually to the Congress as to whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China to justify its unique treatment.
The US Department of State shall allow otherwise qualified Hong Kong residents to obtain visas to work or study in the United States, even if the applicant had been arrested for participating in certain non-violent protests supporting human rights or the rule of law.
The US President shall report to the Congress a list of individuals responsible for abducting and torturing people for exercising internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong.
The Bill bars such individuals from entering the US and imposes sanctions on them. This Act confuses right and wrong in disregard of facts, blatantly backs the Hong Kong violent radicals up and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs.
Since Hong Kong’s return in 1997, the policies of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy have been implemented, and Hong Kong residents’ rights and freedoms have been fully safeguarded in accordance with law.
As a result, the region has maintained prosperity and stability, and its people enjoy unprecedentedly extensive rights and freedoms.
As a matter of fact, Hong Kong ranked the 16th for its rule of law performance in 2018,higher than that of the US while Hong Kong only ranked below 60th in 1996 before China resumed its sovereignty over Hong Kong.
In early 2018, a Hong Kong resident suspected of killing his pregnant girlfriend in the Taiwan area of China escaped back to Hong Kong.
Since Hong Kong court has no criminal jurisdiction in this case, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government proposed to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, so as to extradite the suspect to the Taiwan area and have his case heard there.
Such a step would have been conducive to making up for the loopholes in the existing legal systems so that relevant parts of China could jointly combat crimes and uphold rule of law and justice.
However, some citizens of Hong Kong had some doubts when amending of the two ordinances started last February, due to the lack of knowledge and understanding on the general situation and the legal and judicial systems in the mainland of China.
Since last June, there have been several protests and demonstration against the amending of the ordinance. In order to listen more broadly to the views from various walks of life on the amendment and to restore good order in Hong Kong at an early date, the Hong Kong SAR government announced to withdraw the ordinance amendment bill on September 4.
However, the situation did not subside as a result; it became more radical and violent instead. Recent developments over the past months or so have veered off the normal track.
With the instigation and indulgence of external forces and anti-China forces attempting to destabilise Hong Kong, radical forces and violent offenders in Hong Kong flagrantly disrupted social order, vandalised public facilities, attacked the police and left a trail of smashed or burned items all over the city.
These behaviours have gone far beyond the scope of marches or assemblies. They trampled on the bottom line of morality, crossed the bottom line of rule of law and challenged the bottom line of “one country, two systems”.
Ending violence and chaos and restoring order has become the widest consensus and the strongest appeal of all social sectors in Hong Kong.
The Chinese Central Government firmly supports the SAR government in governing by law, supports the Hong Kong police in strict and just law enforcement and supports the Hong Kong judicial organs in bringing violent criminals to justice according to law.
In disregard of the violent behaviour of anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong, the appeals from various sectors of the Hong Kong society to end violence and chaos and the basic norms governing international relations, the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee insisted on reviewing and passing the above-mentioned Hong Kong-related Act and openly endorsed Hong Kong’s radical and violent forces, by making groundless accusations concerning human rights and democracy.
Such behavior is a gross interference in China’s domestic affairs, which fully reveals the ill intentions of some people in the United States in wanting to mess up Hong Kong and to contain China’s development.
Hong Kong belongs to China and its affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs. No foreign force has the right to interfere. Chinese people will not be intimidated by any external pressure or coercion, and any plot to mess up Hong Kong is doomed to fail.
The writer is the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda