The UK is failing to prevent ‘the end of Hong Kong’ – Liberal Article
I will be open and honest from the start. Most people will read this article and think it is too harsh on the UK government. With Coronavirus, Cummings and the tragic death of George Floyd, to say government and media attention is not focused on Hong Kong is an understatement. This is completely understandable.
Not to mention, what can the UK government actually do? With the likes of Donald Trump in office, the government is unlikely to get help from America.
Firstly, what is happening? During 2019, China started extraditing HK citizens. This allowed activists, human rights lawyers and other important democratic positions to be taken from Hong Kong and put on trial in China. Here, they can face unfair and unjust trials.
Despite waves of protest, China has taken further steps to control the once autonomous state. The National People’s Congress (NPC) said they wish to ‘establish and improve a legal framework and mechanism for safeguarding national security’ in what’s being called the Draconian security law.
The UK government responded with a small but semi-useless gesture. It increased the capacity of eligible HK citizens who could apply for British citizenship to over three million.
What is important here is how the British government decides to play this. It could mean the protection of HK citizens from extradition by the Chinese government through protection under UK law. Consequently, this would help prevent certain civil rights being taken from Hong Kong citizens. However, this seems deeply unlikely. More needs to be done.
There is also a reason why more needs to be done. It should be remembered that Hong Kong was a British territory for 100 years. Other than the fact most British citizens seem to agree with supporting HK citizens, the UK has a duty.
Hong Kong is not that far removed from the UK. It was built with the same morals, civic ideology and will always be an important chapter in British history. To see it succumb to Chinese authoritarianism would truly be a sad day. Additionally, there are huge economic reasons to keep Hong Kong separate from China. Not just the UK, but for most countries.
So what can the UK do? Normally, the UK would look to its US ally for support. Unfortunately, it would seem unlikely to get much of a response. The G7 conference is on the horizon and Boris Johnson must go in firmly with the backing of other members. Especially as Trump seems unlikely to even attend. Pressure at the G7 is essential!
The UK must continue to take responsibility for Hong Kong. Announcing an increase in citizens from Hong Kong is a start, but more is needed.
The UK needs to meet with HK protesters. The PM must make a statement about it, preferably in Parliament. Approach China, and start negotiations with them on behalf of HK citizens. If necessary, go further, put sanctions on the country. Finally, cancel the Huawei deal. The UK is seriously important to Chinese exports. We have the power to strong-arm them even if only slightly.
Brexiteers want the UK to be a great international power with sovereignty. Everyone else wants Hong Kong to keep its democratic rights. Businesses need Hong Kong to remain independent. It is time to stand up for Hong Kong!
Written by Liberal Writer, Max Anderson
Point of Information
International cooperation, not cheap confrontation, is the key to help Hong Kong – a Labour response
In a slack and sloppy article, the Liberal team manages to stumble roughly to the right response. However, this is for all the wrong reasons. Mr Anderson’s article fails to capture the complexities, both past and present, of the situation in Hong Kong.
To right that wrong, a short and simple response couldn’t cut it. Follow this link to read my full thoughts on the issue.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Evan Saunders
The UK is failing to prevent ‘the end of Hong Kong’ – a Conservative response
On balance, I agree with Mr Anderson on this issue. The People’s Republic of China is making a power-grab, banking on the fact that the world will just watch. I agree that the United Kingdom should act. However, this should be limited to “negotiation” and pressure.
Hong Kong is not a random island. Its history is intertwined with ours. We should certainly move beyond our colonial past, but we cannot let historical guilt preclude us from hearing the calls of the Hongkongese. This debate does not only concern abstract ideals but the lives & futures of many people.
In my view, there is no point in having an international reputation if it is not used for what is considered important. Condemnation and an offer of citizenship will not solve this problem. Revoking the special economic status of Hong Kong (should it be subsumed), targeting Chinese exports, and its international initiatives may be more meaningful. Britain’s problem is that it is becoming increasingly more irrelevant, both in terms of Hong Kong and on the international stage. It cannot aid Hong Kong on its own any longer.
On the other hand, I am not in total agreement with Mr Anderson. As commentators, we sit outside of the top-levels of government. We do not know the leverage the Chinese may have upon us. It may be that we are hamstrung, only to make surface declarations of solidarity instead of tangible aid. For example, the offer of British citizenship may help Hongkongers, but it does not help Hong Kong.
If the government is to actually stand up for the liberty of Hong Kong, it must decide whether said liberty is worth the price.
Written by Conservative Writer, Alexander Dennis.
I am currently in my second year of reading Politics at the University of Exeter. My first interaction with politics was at the tender age of four years old.
I’m a third year University of Manchester student, currently studying in Lyon on my Erasmus year (by sheer coincidence I’m writing this hours after parliament has voted to end British involvement in the 30 year programme, so just to be on the safe side I promise not to use the NHS/European Declaration of Human Rights/anything at all anytime soon).
Hello, I’m Alexander Dennis, and I am going into my third undergraduate year at the University of Exeter. I study Politics & International Relations, with a possible year abroad hanging in the balance. My particular interest in politics really started in early 2016: yes, it was ‘Brexit’. I was at once intrigued, and confused, by something so critical. From that baptism, I have become somewhat addicted to political discussion, intrigued by issues ranging from drugs policy to taxation. So I followed my nose: I applied for a degree in the subject.