Wed,Dec 17,2014

Editor's Pick

China Beware! The British Gunboats are Back!

By David Ferguson (People's Daily Online)    07:58, December 16, 2014
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It’s ok. The headline is just a joke. We’re not coming back in our gunboats. We haven’t got any left. We will have an aircraft carrier some time in the next five years or so, but as a result of the joined up thinking of our outstanding politicians, we may not have any aircraft to put on it. They don’t appear to have evolved much since the 19th century, by the way (our politicians, that is).

Now here’s a quote:

The chief executive will be appointed by the Central People's Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally.

If you are a British politician you will almost certainly have failed to understand that the first time round. So here it is again:

“The chief executive will be appointed by the Central People's Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally.”

This quote comes from the document known familiarly as the Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. It is the document by which the UK returned sovereignty to China over Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Tong, and the New Territories. It was signed by the Prime Ministers of the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom on 19 December 1984 in Beijing. It entered into force on 27 May 1985, and was registered by the PRC and UK governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985.

The Joint Declaration is an important document. As an international treaty, it imposes a set of binding obligations on China, and it confers upon the United Kingdom the legal right to ensure that China is meeting these obligations.

The 25 words in the above quote represent the full, comprehensive, unadulterated, unabridged content of the Joint Declaration, in so far as any commitment involving the election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, or any other election, is concerned. They appear in the main body of the document, and again in Annex 1. China is under a binding obligation to meet this commitment, and Britain has a legal right to ensure that it does.

There are other documents which deal with the governance of Hong Kong in considerably more detail - one is the Basic Law of Hong Kong. These documents are internal legal Acts of the Chinese government. They are not international treaties. They are not registered at the United Nations. The UK was not a co-signatory to any of them. None of them confer on the UK any right to oversee their implementation.

Now here is a different quote:

Universal suffrage by 2017 formed part of an agreement with China over the future of the former colony when it assumed sovereignty from the UK in 1997.

This quote comes from an article that was written by a BBC journalist (un-named) and published on the BBC’s website on 4th November 2014. That’s right, the BBC – the broadcaster that holds a higher opinion of itself than any other media organisation in the world. Take note of the words “Universal suffrage by 2017” which allegedly "formed part of an agreement with China". Now go and look for them in the only document that formed any part of an agreement with China – the Joint Declaration. If you are a British journalist or politician you may well think you have found them. If you are anybody else on the planet you will not, because they are not there.

The statement in the BBC article is a lie. It is a lie which to my mind is born not so much of malice, as of shoddy standards. It is a reflection of the dumbing-down of British journalism – a collection of increasingly stupid, arrogant people who are too lazy to carry out even a modicum of investigation of original sources in preparing their articles; people whose ‘research’ comprises a few minutes of skimming the internet to see what their colleagues have been saying, before regurgitating the same or similar. I very much doubt that the person who wrote the BBC article has ever so much as glanced at the Joint Declaration, or any other document.

The problem is that it is a lie that multiplies, and as it multiplies the effect becomes one of malice. Other journalists, applying the same rigour to their work as the original author, see it and repeat it. I have seen many such claims and statements in the British media over the last few weeks. I am absolutely certain that if I set my mind to the search, I would not find a single mainstream media outlet in the whole of Britain that has not made some kind of false claim about the terms of the Joint Declaration, or some kind of false assertion that China is breaching them. If anybody cares to challenge me on this, I will do it.

And the problem is that it is a lie that then multiplies further. The public forums of Britain’s media are now plastered with hundreds of commenters spluttering in fury as they reinforce the general belief that China is “reneging on its obligations…”

I am not exaggerating. Here are a few examples from the ever-liberal Guardian, the most highly frequented English-language media forum in the UK, and probably the world:

“China has clearly broken multiple articles of the treaties concerning their government of Hong Kong…

So, the UK must accept that the Sino-British Joint Declaration is as much a dead letter as the treaty that de-nuclearized the Ukraine...

Of course, the British have the first responsibility in assessing whether the commitment is being adhered to (and on recent evidence it clearly is not)…

The point is that the bilateral treaty known as the 1984 Joint Declaration has been breached…

China is demonstrating very clearly that it doesn't give a rat's ass about how it's being viewed throughout this process…

In doing so she misses the point - that China agreed the integrity of the democracy at the time of change…”

Every one of these statements is false. China has not breached any of the terms of the Joint Declaration. On the contrary, every step that China has taken on the path of democratising Hong Kong politics goes far beyond the actual treaty commitment:“ The chief executive will be appointed by the Central People's Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally...” These steps include the commitment to implement universal suffrage for the 2017 elections, enshrined in the amendments to the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

You could lament the ignorance of these people – themselves too stupid and lazy to carry out the few minutes of internet research that it takes to satisfy yourself as to the facts of this situation. Or you could pity them for their foolish naïveté – still prepared to lend their trust to a worthless media that constantly lies to them.

But the mob have their pitchforks out, and they will not be denied. Try to explain any of the above to the commenters, and you will be denounced as a ‘50-center’, derided as a ‘CPC shill’, mocked as a ‘useful idiot’.

And so we reach the current impasse. The media have told us that the terms of the Joint Declaration are being breached. There is an enormous groundswell of public anger at the fact. So it is time for our politicians to become involved. A deputation from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons must come to Hong Kong to appraise itself of the situation. But the Chinese authorities do not want a group of interfering busybodies, from a country whose media is systematically lying to the public about the facts of the situation, inviting themselves to Hong Kong to posture and grandstand for the cameras and do whatever they can to exacerbate the situation there.

And now the British Parliamentarians are organising an “Emergency Debate” on the subject of Hong Kong, to make their displeasure clear: “How dare the Chinese government interfere with the internal affairs of the United Kingdom, by objecting to British politicians interfering with China’s internal affairs!

Ladies and gentlemen of the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, if you want to know whether the terms of the Joint Declaration are being respected, you have no need to come to Hong Kong. You can spare the hard-pressed British taxpayer the cost of your trip. There is a much simpler process you can follow, without ever leaving the comfortable surrounds of Westminster:

  1. Question: Will the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017 be appointed on the basis of elections or consultations to be held locally?

  2. Answer: Yes.

  3. Conclusion: The terms of the Joint Declaration are being respected.

I do see a glimmer of hope on the horizon. If there is one group of people that the British hate more than other countries’ politicians, it is their own politicians. The very fact that British politicians are now inviting themselves to become involved is creating its own backlash. Among the many voices denouncing the perfidious Chinese, there are growing numbers offering the opinion that Hong Kong is none of Britain’s business, and that our politicians would be better employed staying at home and dealing with the many severe problems we face in the UK.

Many of these voices are not particularly well-informed themselves. Few of them have read the Joint Declaration, or the other relevant documents. They may not be able to lay out the facts of the situation with as much precision as I have done above.

But they know the smell of stinking fish when it hits their noses. And something about this whole Hong Kong situation smells very fishy indeed.


Britain and Hong Kong – What say we start with an apology?

Bringing Western Depocrisy to Hong Kong

British Depocrisy and Freedom of Speech

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)
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helen at 2014-12-16175.139.134.*
The United Kingdom, United States and Japan have refused to accept New China and continue to perceive and treat China and the Chinese people as if this is still the 19th & 20th centuries. The Anglo-Americans and the Japanese militarists are still pacing the corridors of their own yesterday's imperialistic wet dreams! The United Kingdom in now reduced to a mere lapdog to the United States and piggy-backing every vile US global agenda while the US puppets - the Japanese militarists have not realised that they are now living in a nuclear age and Asians are no longer using primitive weapons of the last two World Wars.And the BBC continues to distort and spread disinformation to maintain what has always been their agenda - to maintain 'White Supremacy'!And soon the World will leave behind these evils ....

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