I am often amazed by the ham-fisted way Chinese diplomats have gone about denouncing other countries with the formulaic “interfering with China’s internal affairs”. By playing into the hands of countries pursuing antagonistic policies against Beijing, it’s counterproductive.
It makes much more sense to patiently explain China’s policy – why it is reasonable, especially when compared to similar policies of those countries.
A Hong Kong couple heavily involved in last year’s anti-government protests have reportedly been granted refugee status in Canada on the basis that they feared persecution if they stayed in the city.
First of all, I have no trouble with Canada, or any country, accepting Hongkongers as immigrants, refugees or whatever status they acquire. Hong Kong is a free city and people ought to be able to come and go as they see fit, for whatever reason. The pair have not been charged with any crime. If they are paranoid and prefer to live elsewhere, it’s their prerogative.
Predictably, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu has denounced the couple’s acceptance in the country. Chinese diplomats should explain that the couple are perfectly safe provided they have not committed any crime in Hong Kong.
They should explain that the national security law in the city is little different from similar security laws in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, and that it’s just double standards for the English-speaking countries to denounce laws that they themselves have long established.
In fact, US security and anti-terrorism laws are even more draconian and extensive in their extraterritorial applications. Such laws have been used to go after whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange to silence critics.
Australia has gone after its own journalists for publishing supposedly classified information and raided established mainstream news offices.
European countries such as Germany have a far more rational approach to the Hong Kong issue, which is that anyone from any place can apply for refugee status through well-established legal channels with proper criteria.
But it’s just good politics for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It will silence his Conservative Party opposition, placate Big Brother America and please his party’s anti-China constituents within the Hong Kong immigrant community.
The US, Canada and Britain have all decided to play politics with Hong Kong and will fast track its people applying as refugees when there are millions around the world who face genuine life-threatening situations and desperately need shelter.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.