The Western media cannot help itself. The recent coverage of the election of the Hong Kong Election Committee members by the French news agency Agence France-Presse is a classic example of total misrepresentation due to its obvious political bias. It makes a big deal about the “patriots-only system imposed by Beijing”. It ignores the fact that legislatures throughout the world, in particular the United States, require newly appointed legislators to take an oath of allegiance to their respective constitutions as a nod to patriotism.
Failure to do so means disqualification and other reprisals. AFP carried on about “patriots rule Hong Kong.” But why not? In what part of the world are there states run by openly non-patriots? This requirement is all the more imperative as some opposition parties made no secret of their intention to overturn both the central and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region governments!
AFP’s bias is magnified when it also states that Hong Kong’s “ruling classes choose a 1,500-seat election committee.” What a load of hogwash! Voters came from all walks of life, not only the so-called ruling classes, to select their representatives to the Election Committee, which has five sectors, with 40 subsectors covering the entire spectrum of Hong Kong. Interestingly, Hong Kong’s Election Committee of 1,500 represents a population of 7.5 million people. The United States, on the other hand, has an Electoral College of only 538 people representing a population of 333.3 million. This huge difference highlights the disparity of the different democratic components of the two respective systems. The transcendent power of the US Electoral College became evident in the 2016 US presidential election, when Hillary Clinton scored 48.2 percent of the popular vote and Donald Trump 46.1 percent, but the people’s majority preference be damned, as the Electoral College saw it fit to declare Trump the winner! Still, the US has the audacity to criticize Hong Kong’s electoral system!
In what part of the world are there states run by openly non-patriots? This requirement is all the more imperative as some opposition parties made no secret of their intention to overturn both the central and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region governments
From no democracy in the legislature during the British colonial era, to a fully elected legislature (50 percent by universal suffrage and 50 percent elected by their peers) about 30 years later under the aegis of the Chinese central government, was a remarkable achievement. It was heading in the right direction to birthing a fully elected legislature as promulgated in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a constitutional document. But it hit a snag when government proposals to implement universal suffrage in Hong Kong were vetoed by the so-called democrats. It was back to square one. The lack of an election mechanism preferred by the opposition became the pretext for the radical opposition elements to stoke civil unrest concurrent with news reports of foreign powers manipulating some political parties to harm China by destabilizing Hong Kong.
The 2014 “Occupy Central” campaign was the prelude of the civil unrest in Hong Kong. Two years earlier, it became publicly known that the National Endowment for Democracy, controlled by the US State Department, had made a sizable donation to the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong to train up students to agitate for “democratic change”. The unit was exploited as a platform to spread venomous ideas by then-associate law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, who later co-founded the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign, which paralyzed the city’s busy commercial district for 79 days.
The foreign influencers quickly recruited students and trade and teachers’ unions to rebel against the HKSAR government and call for strikes and protests to destabilize the government and paralyze its legislature. The protests were fine and initially peaceful, but they turned into riots and criminal vandalism, and the number of participants was nowhere near the “2 million” oft-quoted in the Western media. When the mass protests were in place, the external forces introduced the rebels, mainly young thugs drawn from the universities and schools, and various malcontents to infiltrate the initially peaceful protests and caused mayhem. The results were terrifying. The arson of train stations and shops became the name of the game. Mass Transit Railway stations were vandalized, traffic lights smashed; innocent citizens were beaten up and even set on fire simply for not sharing their politics; and an innocent bystander was hit on the head and killed by a flying stone thrown by a rioter on the streets. China’s People’s Liberation Army held back and left the cleanup operation to the local police force (often portrayed in the Western press as the “villains”).
The legislature was in chaos, according to Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a career politician and member of both the Executive and Legislative councils, on TVB’s Straight Talk. With mayhem on the streets, it was time for the central government in Beijing to intervene to protect its people and territory. It took the lead to rid Hong Kong of foreign influences by ordering the dismissal of holders of public office for being unpatriotic. A special task force of the police made multiple arrests, seized documents and weapons from underground movements, and froze the funds and assets of organizers supporting the rioters. The blitz was on and included reshaping the legislature to ensure patriotism and rid it of the black hands of the West. It will continue until all vestiges of foreign black hands and their local stooges are eradicated.
The author is a former chief information officer of the Hong Kong government, a media consultant and a veteran journalist.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.