There's nothing quite as satisfying as slinging insults at one another when you're in the midst of a heated argument with some one who just won't concede to any of the points you're making, who insists that their logic is superior to yours, or who just refuses to listen or even acknowledge the point you're making.
A lot of people in Hong Kong (HK) are past the point of trying to persuade pro-Beijing, pro-CCP people that the Joint Declaration has been breached, and that protesting the loss of freedom in the SAR is the legitimate thing to do. When you look in social media, for example, at the comments made about HK Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam, it's no surprise that some critics of her and her government now frequently resort to expletives to express their utter contempt for the woman.
But should there be room for madness, for anger, name-calling and stinging invective in the realms of international diplomacy? No matter what diplomats and leaders thought about Donald Trump, for instance, should they have published their honest thoughts or been more circumspect? I am not sure if he is a good role model but Mr Trump is on record as saying that he and President Xi Jingping "love each other" (January 2020). Contrast this with the recent official HK response to the U.S. imposition of sanctions on six officials for their role in implementing the Beijing-imposed draconian National Security Law (NSL) as "insane, shameless and despicable" (WebIndia, 16 January 2021). The adjectives used were the most emotive I can recall being used by the Lam administration, though the CE herself recently talked of western "double standards" and "hypocrisy".
In the midst of conflicts and crises we are called upon to be discriminating in our choice of language, to speak and act with diplomacy to keep things civil, lest we resort to inflammatory words and violence - intellectual, emotional, psychological, or physical. Yet, we have seen from our opponents who oppose greater democracy for HK, who support the authoritarian rule of CCP over the SAR, and those who have a vested interest in maintaining the illigitimate governance of Carrie Lam and her Executive Council that they are prepared to forego civil dialogue, and take their actions and words a step further.
No, I am not talking about the current wave of mass arrests, which they justify as "upholding the rule of law", or the delay of Legislative Council elections that were originally scheduled for last year. Of course these actions in and of themselves are each bad enough to wrankle the populous, and raise the concern of democracy and human rights advocates of any nation globally.
What concerns me are the steps taken by CCP and their supporters in HK to retaliate, to enact vengeance and spite upon the dissenters in HK.
On the 12th of January 2021, Pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip actively called for curbs on dual citizenship in HK. She said that those Hong Kong citizens who obtain foreign nationality should be stripped of their right of abode in the SAR, (12 January 2021, Intellasia.net). This was a direct attack on those people considering leaving Hong Kong amidst the current climate of fear, and threat stoked by the NSL and ongoing arrests of freedom fighters.
Pro-establishment figure calls for curbs on dual citizenship in Hong Kong, saying those who obtain foreign nationality should be stripped of right of abode (Yahoo News/SCMP, 10 January 2021)
Strangely Ip once said there was hope for "reconciliation"in HK, yet her latest suggestion sounds much more like "OBEY", "BE LOYAL" or else!! She seems to have a habit of saying things that make herself unpopular. In 2019 during a lunchtime protest in Central, Ip was spotted in the area and some protesters then surrounded her, called her a "traitor" and accused her of selling out HK. The pro-government lawmaker had to be escorted to a taxi by nearly 20 riot police officers.
Many HK people already live overseas and are able to hold dual nationality. Even before the handover to China, HK people were looking to resettle in foreign lands. The latest wave has been triggered by the aftermath of the Chief Executive's attempts to legislate extradition to mainland China. Indeed, many of HK's elite including business owners, property magnates and legislators own property overseas, have investments elsewhere or send their children for study in foreign universities. Plus, as Stephen Vines said in his incisive opinion piece which appeared in Apple Daily, "Many people hold foreign passports as a form of insurance, giving them confidence to stay in Hong Kong even though they may have misgivings about their security."
Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’ (New York Times, 3 January 2020)
In February 2020, HK's financial secretary announced a HK$10,000 cash handout for all permanent residents over the age of 18 in a bid to boost local consumption and ease economic woes in light of a fiscal deficit. This meant that even those living overseas, but with bank accounts and connections to the city intact could take advantage of the payout without discrimination! However, in a radio talkshow, the financial secretary was grilled for being generous to people who had emigrated while being discriminatory to more recent settlers in the SAR.
Ip was NOT suggesting that EVERY HK person with dual citizenship be required to choose, but rather more specifically those currently choosing to depart HK under the BNO arrangement with the UK be required to do so. I guess she was making the point that emigrants are not as loyal and devoted to the CCP or 'the motherland' as she is. This was also her attempt to target and sink the lifeboats offered to HK protesters as safe haven in foreign jurisdictions (see this blog: Lifeboats for Hong Kong People).
Some people would say there was a glimmer of hope and common sense when the Chief Executive expressed her opposition to Regina Ip's proposal. (Yahoo News/SCMP, 12 January 2021). Others would say that it just foreshadows other measures against pro-democracy people that will follow in time now that HK is under much greater authoritarian communist control.
WTPOHK wish Regina Ip and CCP to note the following:
Under Hong Kong's BILL OF RIGHTS, Article 1, people are entitled to their rights without distinction due to their political opinions. Under Article 8 HK people are also to have liberty of movement.
Ip and others who wish to exact punishment upon the city's freedom fighters who spoke out against what was happening in their city in 2019-20, must understand and uphold Article 12 of the same Bill of Rights which spells out that it is wrong to legislate or enact retrospective criminal offences or penalties.
It is entirely unfair to pick on people who choose to emigrate, and also to discriminate against those who hold a BNO passport. It is also villainous to deprive people of their freedoms and rights because they support democratic ideals, most especially when those you target have NOT been convicted in a court of law of any legal offence.
Also under the UN Convention ICCPR Article 7, no one is to be "subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". What is more, Under Article 1, "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."
It is because the terms of Article 9 of the ICCPR are in question that so many people are considering leaving HK:
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
It is both shocking and sad that the city's own discriminatory legislators like Regina Ip, its illigitimate government, and its corrupted Justice system are exacerbating the problems and the tensions that pervade the city. We citizens of Hong Kong and stakeholders the world over are watching the madness and hope it will end soon.
THE BNO in the headlines:
Hong Kong: What is the BNO and what does the UK move mean?, (29 May 2020, BBC)
93 per cent of Hong Kongers with BNO passports want to emigrate to the UK in three years, study finds, (11 December, 2020, The Telegraph)
Ex-Hong Kong Democratic Party chair Wu Chi-wai suspected to have violated bail after allegedly keeping BN(O) passport, (7 January 202, Hong Kong Free Press)
Pro-establishment figure calls for curbs on Hongkongers obtaining dual citizenship, (12 January 2021, Multicultural Meanderings)
BN(O) passport holders ‘may face ban from public office in Hong Kong’, (13 January 2021, The Top 10 News/SCMP)
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam distances herself from adviser’s call to clamp down on residents acquiring foreign nationality, (12 January 2021, HongKongCityPortal.com)
The convoluted politics of foreign passports, (Apple Daily, 18 January 2021)
Please read these other relevant blogs: