Editor’s note: Does China have the right to enact laws on national security? How should the world respond to the national security legislation for the HKSAR?
Robert Griffith: China has every right to pass whatever law it wishes to pass. Clearly it would be preferable if a settlement of any outstanding difficulties in Hong Kong can be reached within Hong Kong. But if it’s necessary, as it’s a part of China’s sovereign territory, if it’s necessary for the central government to step in and take the necessary measures, then it has every right to do so.
I think, so far, the Chinese government and the Hong Kong authorities have shown an enormous amount of restraint in the face of such violence and provocation in Hong Kong. I think that has been quite important in terms of what it says to the rest of the world. Because there are, you know, governments and powerful forces in the media around the world who are always looking to portray the Chinese government and the Chinese party in the worst possible light.
And yet when they were covering all of the rioting and protests in Hong Kong recently, they were not able to paint the picture they would like to paint because the security forces and the government in Beijing was showing enormous restraint.
I think it’s about time that countries in the West learned to genuinely respect national sovereignty. They demand it for themselves, but they don’t practice it when it comes to other countries.
China is a sovereign country. Hong Kong is part of sovereign China, while enjoying very substantial devolved powers. And therefore, given the history of Hong Kong and given the terrible history of British imperialism around the world and the enormous mess that we’ve left behind in so many countries, I really think a period of silence on our part, a little modesty, a little more respect for the sovereignty of China, I think would make a very pleasant change.
Hong Kong has been through a period of enormous upheaval and turmoil. By and large, I think Western interference certainly did not help the situation. It was designed to inflame the situation. I think the time really has come now that a little bit of order and stability has returned to Hong Kong. I think the West should keep out and allow the Chinese people to find a settlement that meets the wishes and aspirations of the majority of China’s people. I am quite sure that that is possible. I have every confidence that that will be done.
Joti Brar: National security is the business of the national government. And that “One Country, Two Systems” is based on the fundamental underpinning of that concept is one country. One country is what everybody has signed up to in order to allow two systems to flourish. Using the two systems as a way to divide China, they have, in fact, gone against their own commitments to “One Country, Two Systems” constantly by trying to fuel separatism. The underpinning of “One Country, Two Systems” is that China is one country. Everything else is subordinate to that.
Double standards are absolutely the word of the day. There is no shame from the imperialists in having total double standards when it comes to Hong Kong versus London, or Hong Kong versus the streets of Minneapolis.
I think the Chinese government needs to take whatever measures required to bring back peace to the people of Hong Kong, to stop the separatists from using violence and terror to destroy Hong Kong’s economy. It’s in the interest of nobody except the imperialists.
Robert Griffith, is the general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain and Joti Brar, is vice-chair of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist),