HK situation can be peacefully resolved

By Tim Collard
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 12, 2014
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Photo taken on Oct.5 shows some residents gathered in Causeway Bay to criticize Occupy Central movement. [Photo: CNS]

The current unfortunate situation in Hong Kong, involving large-scale street protests with no end in sight, is not what anyone wanted to see happen as the constitutional position of the Hong Kong SAR develops after China's re-assumption of the territory's sovereignty in 1997. No one stands to benefit from an indefinite prolongation of this conflict. It could be said that this dispute represents the biggest challenge to the "one country, two systems" principle since the handover.

This is a very sensitive subject, particularly for a British commentator like myself. First of all, it must be made clear that Britain, like the rest of the world, fully understands that Hong Kong is Chinese sovereign territory. We have no wish, and no power, to intervene. Of course, Hong Kong will remain China's premier international business center, and thus it is inevitable that China's trading partners will take an interest in developments there. But surely the modern, highly developed and powerful China does not need to fear foreign incursions in the pattern of the nineteenth century. Even the United States is not in a position to subvert China on her own territory. Nor does anyone in the West want to do so: the global economy is too dependent on China's success, in which Hong Kong's continued success plays an integral part.

I think it is mistaken to assume that the "Occupy Central" movement has been somehow sparked by foreign machinations. No "gwailo" has that sort of influence on the ordinary people of Hong Kong: no one will go out on the streets and stay there in blistering heat and pouring rain because some American or old colonial Brit has told them to. The people on the Hong Kong streets, however misguided they may be, are still Chinese. That being the case, the resolution of the issue will depend on dialogue between people with differing views but who are linked by a common nationality. Surely that should be attainable.

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