Lesotho Mainstream Newspaper Published Article by Ambassador Lei Kezhong on Hong Kong Issues
On 15 & 20 September, the Sunday Express, the Public Eye and the Nation published the article Safeguarding "One Country, Two Systems", And Hong Kong's Stability and Prosperity by the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Mr. Lei Kezhong, full text of the article is as follows:
Recently, some Basotho friends asked me about the unrest in Hong Kong and expressed their concerns. Therefore I decide to write this article, to help more friends understand the ins and outs of the situation in Hong Kong.
In February 2018, a Hong Kong suspect fled back to Hong Kong after murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan. Due to the absence of an extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, the suspect could not be handed over to Taiwan for trial. Confronted by this major legal loophole, on 15 February this year, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government proposed to the Legislative Council to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance to make Hong Kong no longer a "paradise for criminals". However, this action was maliciously discredited by Hong Kong's opposition and a handful of external forces, who misinterpreted the amendment as a prelude to send Hong Kong residents to Mainland China for trial.
Over the past three months, the Hong Kong's opposition and some radical forces have carried out various extreme violent protests with the incitement and support of external anti-China forces. They ransacked the Legislative Council Building in Hong Kong and smeared the Hong Kong SAR emblem; they blocked the Hong Kong Liaison Office of the Central Government of China and defaced the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China; they repeatedly removed the national flag of China from the flagpole and threw it into the sea. The radicals conducted many violent assaults against the police. They attacked the police with toxic liquids and powders and bit off a policeman's fingers; they burned the police by firing petrol bombs at them, causing dozens of police officers injured and hurried to the hospital. The radicals also beat and assaulted the citizens. They tied up and beat Chinese mainland journalists, destroyed many shops and fired petrol bombs at them. These atrocities are still escalating, and their serious harm and cruelty have gone into absolute lawlessness, which is intolerable in any civilized society.
A large number of facts have proven that, these violent deeds were premeditated and organized by Hong Kong's radicals under the instigation and incitement of the "anti-China" and "mess up-Hong Kong" forces and certain western powers, with its aim to undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong and disrupt Hong Kong's economic and social development. Rather than condemning the recent violent crimes in Hong Kong, some western politicians criticized the Hong Kong SAR government for its efforts to stop the violence and riots, and discredited China's "one country, two systems" policy. Some country's consulates in Hong Kong have encouraged the radicals by guiding and funding them both explicitly and secretly. Some Western media have hyped up the event and distorted the truth. They accused the Hong Kong police who tried to maintain social order of "excessive law enforcement" while turning a blind eye to the atrocities of radicals who assaulted the police. The sinister and ulterior intentions of these foreign forces are to mess up Hong Kong and make Hong Kong a trouble for China, so as to distract or contain China's development.
Hong Kong has been a territory of China since ancient times. The Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. In 1840 and 1860, by waging two notorious Opium Wars against China, the United Kingdom occupied Hong Kong and imposed repressive colonial rule on Hong Kong for more than 150 years. On 1 July 1997, the Chinese government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was formally established and became a local administrative region directly under the Central People's Government. Hong Kong eventually returned to the motherland.
Since the return of Hong Kong, the Chinese Government has, in line with the Constitution and the Hong Kong Basic Law, implemented the policies of "One country, Two systems", "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong. Hence Hong Kong has maintained prosperity and stability and was rated the world's freest economy for 25 consecutive years. Hong Kong's index on rule of law in the global ranking also climbed from 60th in 1996 to 16th in 2018. Practice and facts have shown that "One country, Two systems" is the best institutional arrangement for Hong Kong to maintain long-lasting prosperity and stability after its return. At the same time, it must be emphasized that "One country, Two systems" is a complete concept. "One country" is the foundation and premise of "Two systems". Without "One country", there is no "Two systems". Any attempt to question "One country" with "Two systems" constitutes a challenge against China's sovereignty.
Over the past three months, the ever intensifying illegal violence has seriously devastated the rule of law and the business environment in Hong Kong. The normal work and life of Hong Kong people have been interrupted. Hong Kong's international reputation of prosperity and development has been undermined. And the future of the Pearl of the Orient is being compromised. Although the SAR Government has announced the withdrawal of the amendment motion, the violence hasn't stopped accordingly. The situation in Hong Kong induced by the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance has completely degenerated and changed in nature. The radicals have showed to the world through their criminal acts that their intention had nothing to do with the amendments, but was rather to mess up Hong Kong, cripple the Hong Kong SAR Government and eventually usurp the governing power of the SAR, so as to turn Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity and ultimately make "One country, Two systems" exist only in name. It is now a critical moment to defend the baseline of "One country, Two systems" and safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. At this point, it is Hong Kong's most urgent task and the appeal of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents to stop the violence and restore order. Recently, nearly half a million Hong Kong citizens attended the "anti-violence, save Hong Kong" rally despite the rainy weather. Many associations, enterprises and celebrities have issued statements and advertisements, unanimously condemning violent activities and supporting strict and just law enforcement by the police.
We believe that the Hong Kong SAR Government is able to restore the rule of law and order, and the SAR Judiciary as well as the police will resolutely defend the rule of law in Hong Kong. The Chinese Central Government will continue to firmly support the SAR Government in its administration in line with the law and to restore Hong Kong's prosperity and stability as soon as possible. However, if the situation in Hong Kong deteriorates further and becomes turmoil out of the control of the SAR Government and even endangering China's national sovereignty and security, the central government will in no way sit by and do nothing.
Maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability not only benefits the people of Hong Kong, but also serves the common interests of the international community. We advise the foreign intervention forces to respect China's sovereignty and security, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs. Any attempt to contain China through Hong Kong affairs will be futile. I hope that our Basotho friends will support the people of Hong Kong in refusing the violence and support the Hong Kong SAR Government in its efforts to defend the rule of law and order, so as to restore the peace, tranquility and prosperity in Hong Kong.