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Hong Kong principles

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 pm, July 28th, 2020 - 38 comments
Categories: afghanistan, China, democratic participation, exports, Free Trade, iraq, jacinda ardern, law and "order", Propaganda, socialism, Spying, surveillance, terrorism, us politics, war, winston peters - Tags:

According to our Prime Minister, today’s announcement that New Zealand is suspending extradition arrangements with Hong Kong is because of our principles. But it is not immediately clear what these principles are, other than falling into line with our Five Eyes spying partners. Some history is important.

The Hong Kong flag bore the Union Jack because Britain annexed the territory in 1842 after the First Opium War, where Britain required China to take payment for Chinese silk and porcelain in opium rather than silver. The New Territories were ceded after the Second Opium War. Superior naval gunnery decided the issue: millions of Chinese suffered as a result.

Article 23 of the Basic Law in the Treaty of 1997 which formed the basis of Britain’s return of Hong Kong to China states as follows:

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

This was never done.

After the recent demonstrations and riots in Hong Kong protesting the establishment of a law against the possible deportation of a murder suspect to Taiwan, where there was ample evidence of foreign political interference, the PRC National Assembly passed a law to fulfil Article 23. The specific offences listed are:

preventing, suppressing and imposing punishment for the offences of secession, subversion, organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security in relation to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;

They seem unexceptional for any independent state.

In regard to Jacinda Ardern’s listing New Zealand’s principles of “basic freedom of association and the right to take a political view,” the new law says:

Human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, which the residents of the Region enjoy under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law.

Re Winston Peters’ statement that “China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,” the new law says its principal objective is:

ensuring the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the policy of One Country, Two Systems under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy;

Cue outrage from the Five Eyes, led by the US, which is where the demonising of China comes in. US official policy is to see China as a competitor and adversary. In a speech at the Nixon Institute last week, Secretary Pompeo went further:

We, we the freedom loving nations of the world must induce China to change just as President Nixon wanted. We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity. We must start by changing how our people and our partners perceive the Chinese Communist Party.

We are going to be asked – bullied – to buy in to regime change led by the US. China will never accept that, and China today is not the China of the Qing empire. Naval gunnery will not decide the 21st century issue.

Pompeo the Cold War warrior said this of China in case we were tempted to treat them as reasonable people and take them at their word:

You know, I grew up and served my time in the Army during the Cold War, and if there’s one thing I learned, Communists almost always lie. The biggest lie that they tell is to think that they speak for 1.4 billion people who are surveilled, depressed, and scared to speak out. Quite the contrary. The CCP fears the Chinese people’s honest opinions more than any foe, and save for losing their own grip on power, they have no reason to. Just think how much better off the world would be, not to mention the people inside of China, if we had been able to hear from the doctors in Wuhan and they’d been allowed to raise the alarm about the outbreak of a new and novel virus.

This from the man who told a graduation class at a military university in the US that when he was the Director of the CIA “we lied, we cheated, we stole; heck we had training courses in how to do it.” He’s a born-again Christian but doesn’t understand the mandate of heaven. He could be in for a surprise at the rapture.

I’m not sure if it is New Zealand he is speaking to here, but we are in the Five Eyes and were with NATO in Afghanistan:

Now it’s true, it’s difficult for some small countries. They fear being picked off. Some of them for that reason simply don’t have the ability, the courage to stand with us for the moment. Indeed, we have a NATO ally of ours that hasn’t stood up in the way that it needs to with respect to Hong Kong, because they fear Beijing will restrict access to China’s market. This is the kind of timidity that will lead to historic failure, and we can’t repeat it. We cannot repeat the mistakes of these past years.

If he was talking about us I think he should told where to go.

But Covid has changed everything. The US has been described as a flailing state, and unlike China it is failing the Covid test. It is the Asian nations that have dealt with it successfully, most notably because they have placed the health and welfare of their citizens first with collective solutions.

And America is not a model for democracy. It is better described as a geriatric, oligarchic plutocracy as the Federal Reserve pours trillions into propping up financial market debt and millions of citizens go jobless and hungry. It is not a model for anything and certainly not an example for us. We would be better off to think like the Chinese and take a long term view of where our future lies.

America is seeking to build another culture of the unwilling. Thus Pompeo:

Maybe it’s time for a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies. We have the tools. I know we can do it. Now we need the will. To quote scripture, I ask, is our spirit willing but our flesh weak? If the free world doesn’t change, Communist China will surely change us. There can’t be a return to the past practices because they’re comfortable or because they’re convenient. Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it, because our founding principles give us that opportunity.

All I can say is remember Iraq, and the lies that were told. We made no mistake then. I was very proud of Helen Clark when she stood up in 2002 and told the Labour caucus we would not follow the US into unnecessary and unjust war. She acted instinctively based on her principles, the same Labour principles that has kept nuclear warships out of our ports and nuclear testing out of our region.

 

 

 

38 comments on “Hong Kong principles ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    China ie the CCP. is flexing its muscles around the world,even the Galapagos islands fishing grounds for rare species.

  2. Byd0nz 2

    I know 'Kow Tow' is a Chineese word, but that is what NZ is doing, bowing down to our Master, Uncle Sam and the MAGA men of the Trumpland spy machine. Shame on us, time to ditch the 5 eyes BS.

  3. Andrew Miller 3

    I’d be curious to know quite what the CCP would have to do for people like Mike Smith to not engage in a grotesque display of moral equivalence and suggest the CCP was being ‘demonised‘.
    One imagines he’d have probably queued up to perform the same trick of mental gymnastics during the Mao era.
    His willingness to take Chinese laws at face value is at least cute.

    • PaddyOT 3.1

      It's the two choices of who Pompeo thinks "we" should supposedly pick.

      It's a big ask to memorise a new anthem now. Even the last verse makes me shudder.

      Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
      Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
      Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
      Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
      Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
      And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    • Climaction 3.2

      the tibetan's were asking for it in a historical sense as well you know. then the uighurs in west china didn't understand that IT IS west china and should just STFU and practice apostasy.

  4. Byd0nz 4

    It seems like Andrew and people like him are OK with rioting and fire bombing and vandalism of public property, so would that be tolerated here in NZ ? Dont think so. The great US Trump condemns the HK authorities of using force on the Hong Kong rioters, but like the hypocritic Administration he leads, thinks its OK for Hong Kongers to cause mayhem, but its not OK for American protesters to do the same. Also will it be OK for us to take in those poor oppressed HK rioters and give them sanctury.

    • observer 4.1

      " vandalism of public property "

      Pretty much the definition of any left revolution, or any protest for progress, anywhere in history.

  5. PaddyOT 5

    Your remark " If he was talking about us I think he should be told where to go." sums it up.

    Pompeo's call to arms to beat back the Chinese peril, is not a new enlightening speech after another world crisis has sunk the US's illusions of itself.
    Pompeo's subversive statement
    " Maybe it’s time for a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies." , hangs on assumptions that nations believe the US is a great democracy and its political system is not evil, but good and true. There's that fear factor injected too inferring Christianity is under threat.
    I'm betting too any alliance with the US won't see the $$ spoils of war shared equally to uplift all the "We" Pompeo calls to join him.

    Furthermore, Pompeo is a type of bought man merely repeating another recent 'speech' , from our new kiwi guy. ( later).

    A similar call went out in 1947 after WW2 and look where this ' call' got the world.

    " when many of the values of Western civilization were imperiled, 36 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, near Montreux, Switzerland, to discuss the state and the possible fate of liberalism (in its classical sense) in thinking and practice." – ref: Mont Pelerin Society spiel.

    The society exists today still. The Society’s belief in the power of incentives and the self-interest of people led them to favour capital over collectivisation. In short led to the rise of what the left calls neoliberism.

    The Society strives to uphold these ideals globally of Pompeo's vision of a collaboration of " like-minded nations".
    The members of MPS knew better than anyone else on the planet. But they also knew no one was listening to them.

    Then with a few 'Pompeo' – like discourses, bit by bit, targetted would be leaders were influenced and powerful ' think tank' institutes were created globally.

    The ensuing think tanks created policy to pursue the ideals of neoliberalism and connected these to politicians.
    — famously Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were targeted examples. Former NZ Finance Minister Ruth Richardson, mother of all budgets, is a member of MPS.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/aug/28/comment.businesscomment

    With the new global crisis, 2020, the US pops up (after dealing punches to the UN and WHO along the way ) asking for support for a new world group with the patriotic " We, we the freedom loving nations of the world" to have us all join the US to tackle the enemy and give power to a failed MAGA agenda.

    Who is one of the 'oligarchs' supporting the Mont Pelerin Society and still funding the Republican party this election? The founder of Palantir, a good kiwi citizen no less..

    Five months ago (At 8 mins mark on video) is the same discourse to Pompeo's take on China to push the lure for nations to support MAGA agenda.

    And oh no I’m not funding that loser any more but…
    https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/7/27/21333636/peter-thiel-kris-kobach-kansas-senate-primary

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    You've made a reasonable case, Mike. Personally, I recommend not believing either of the two, which is why Aotearoa ought to be non-aligned in principle. In practice, western solidarity seems the best bet currently.

    So the coalition has got it right. Perception prevails over legalistic reality, eh? Communist China are organised liars, Capitalist America are disorganised liars, and organised malignancy is ever the greater threat.

    What ought to be happening is foreign policy blending realpolitik with principled judgments and a sense of acting in accord with humanity. I'm glad we're doing it. Humans are born with natural agency. Governments that use law to prevent them choosing their political allegiance must be eternally opposed.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    5 Eyes says “jump”–NZ Govt asks “how high”?

    Some pundits will no doubt try and evoke nuance in NZ’s position, to head such views off at the pass. Various US toadies and “directors” of little known “China studies Institutes” will likely be out in public too, backing up Winston’s pronouncement for weeks to come. An anonymous NZ based Hong Kong “activist” said on RNZ this morning that they feared Chinese forces would be tracking them down here!

    The most independent foreign policy possible has long been the way for New Zealand to operate, especially in these Covid and Climate disaster times.

  8. observer 8

    China is a dictatorship. It denies basic freedoms.

    (and yes, Trump is a fascist and the USA is screwed and yes, the horrible history of Western imperialism, and there's a library of books to be read … and when we've done all the what about, which would take forever …)

    It's still a dictatorship. It still denies basic freedoms. And we should use our freedom to speak up for those who are oppressed.

    It's frankly scary that anybody on a democratic "left" blog would think anything else.

    • The Chairman 8.1

      It's still a dictatorship. It still denies basic freedoms. And we should use our freedom to speak up for those who are oppressed.

      It's frankly scary that anybody on a democratic "left" blog would think anything else.

      yes

    • Mpk 8.2

      All well and good except that its difficult to escape the perception that China is being singled out. I dont believe there are any examples of an NZ minister of foreign affairs directly criticizing US policy let alone abandoning extradition treaties. Video of military attack helicopters gunning down unarmed civilians would seem to be a place for any independence to start.

      So to argue that there should be no argument about Winstons pronouncements seems a little naive given the types of events about which pronouncements have not been forthcoming. Winston has based this purely on the new law which Mike has shown has history and contains language which would not raise any complaints if enacted by a "friend"

      • Danyl Strype 8.2.1

        > I dont believe there are any examples of an NZ minister of foreign affairs directly criticizing US policy let alone abandoning extradition treaties.

        How about a Prime Minister, David Lange, tearing up ANZUS in protest at US nuclear proliferation?

        NZ ought to have suspended its extradition treaty with the US, because of Guantanamo and the horrific treatment of political prisoners like Manning and Reality Winner who have blown the whistle on its illegal surveillance. I agree that leaving that treaty in place while cancelling the HK one is a double standard, and one we need to complain about, loudly. But cancelling the HK treaty was still the principled thing to do.

        The NZ left are being asked to pick sides in a cold war between two totalitarian empires. History does not look kindly on those who sided with “the enemy of my enemy” in the last one, whichever side they chose. Better perhaps to side with all protest movements resisting totalitarian empires, whether its Extinction Rebellion, BLM, and antifa in the US or the umbrella movement in HK?

        • Dennis Frank 8.2.1.1

          Correct on all points. Amazing how many binary people try to shoehorn others into being equally simplistic, eh? They ought to be forced to write an essay on why being non-aligned is good thinking.

          Just as a general rule. We have much history when christians tortured people to death for being freethinkers. Survival sometimes does require us to recite slogans in order to demonstrate conformity. Fortunately, not currently!

        • Mpk 8.2.1.2

          I take your point and agree that protesting empire on all fronts is the best idea. I wonder however how much principal can be attached to an action that is most likely the result of arm twisting by a bully that requires a united front against a designated enemy.

          • Danyl Strype 8.2.1.2.1

            Since the new law was passed the Chinese government have already tried to extradite a US citizen (originally from HK) for normal political lobbying that isn’t illegal in the US. Cancelling an extradition treaty with an arm-twisting bully like that is just a common sense. I don’t see why it would require any arm-twisting by the US and the burden of proof is on you to substantiate that speculation.

    • Hi, Observer. A couple of things. The Standard is not a democratic blog. It's privately owned, via a trust. Nobody gets a vote other than the owners.

      Secondly, the current active authors here run the gamut from left to right. The author of this post has regularly supported the conservative regimes in Russia and China, mostly when they've done something newsworthy and usually awful, such as poisoning people in the UK or, in this case, annexing Hong Kong and removing the right to protest and the right to a free media from the territory.

      Even if the issue is pitched in this post from a conservative angle, the matter itself is worth discussing, so just think of it as a point from which to start a debate.

      For mine, I find it ironic that the post supports the removal of freedoms in Hong Kong that immediately stops any debate on the removal of those freedoms in Hong Kong. But at least it doesn't advocate those restrictions here in NZ, nor, happily on this site.

      • The Chairman 8.3.1

        But at least it doesn't advocate those restrictions here in NZ, nor, happily on this site.

        I point you to article 38

        https://hongkongfp.com/2020/07/01/in-full-english-translation-of-the-hong-kong-national-security-law/

      • francesca 8.3.2

        More accurately TRP the writer has challenged the wholesale acceptance of official stories concerning geopolitical adversaries. Those official stories of course are very partisan

        I for one welcome a wider perspective, which I feel is the true mission of journalism

        This dissing of someone who writes to give a fuller picture , claiming they are supporters of authoritarian regimes is an old trick, and pretty disreputable.

        Trying to characterise Mike Smith ,ex general secretary of the Labour Party as conservative and politically right does more to erode your credibility than his

        • te reo putake 8.3.2.1

          I don't know the author. I do know his current writing. It's often pro-authoritarian and anti-democratic and where there are links, they are often to right wing conspiracy websites.

          What elected posts the author held in the past are irrelevant to what he is writing now, and the same applies to me (also a former elected office holder in the NZLP).

          We all change; some of us change for the better.

          • francesca 8.3.2.1.1

            Care to link?

          • Mpk 8.3.2.1.2

            All that from the one that trashed Julian Assange? Writing that was the epitomy of authoritarian and antidemocratic. Kettle. Pot. Black?

            [Please stick to addressing the contents of the OP and comments rather than focussing on who wrote them and what else that may have written in the past about related and/or unrelated topics.

            This is a general Moderation note and not aimed at you personally 🙂

            Thanks – Incognito]

      • Mike Smith 8.3.3

        Be careful in. your personal attributions please. I don't support the information wars being waged against China and Russia by the US and UK state agencies. With regard to Russia and China, I judge them on their actions.

        • Climaction 8.3.3.1

          What are your judgements on the actions taken against ethnic uighurs?

          • Mpk 8.3.3.1.1

            The whole uighur millions in concentration camps story was kicked off by one of Mike Pompeo's religious fundamentalist nut case mates on a mission from god to bring China to its knees. He interviewed a grand total of 8 people and then extrapolated their reckons for their villages to the whole of the region.

            How many interviewees did he reject because their storiee didnt fit? We dont know but if 8 fitting his narrative is all he could muster then serious concerns surround any extrapolation.

            The second source was a guy watching Turkish tv. Its Bellingcat all over again but I guess if you swallowed it once its easier the second time around. And of course its always easier to get people to believe bad things about China.

            The Uighur story is here

  9. The Chairman 9

    If a NZ Government wanted to align with China opposed to the US, would they be able to get the NZ public on board with that?

  10. Byd0nz 10

    Just who are we protecting by opposing the Hong Kong security law. Who are the Hong Kongers who come here with shitloads of money and donate to all Political parties here to hedge their bets, well I bet too, and I bet they are not working class, so why are they so afraid, given the protests in HK have been funded from NGO's like the American NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and supplied with yankee flags to wave, and the protesters against that said law are in the minority. So these higher middle class/ upper class Hong Kongers that come here are worried about just how they accumulated their wealth at the expense of the ordinary hard working people they left behind. The John Key Government welcomed them and their money to help with the flawed economy they ran by tourism and house sales, but they were not so happy with freedom campers, otherwise they would have better catered for them. Just saying.

  11. Ed1 11

    It seems a reasonable principle not to have different international agreements on issues such as extradition with different parts of the same state. In this respect is New Zealand just recognising reality in that they are now applying the same principles to Hong Kong as were previously applied to China, since in at least this respect China has effectively overridden Hong Kong laws. Is there anything wrong with that reasoning?

    • Mpk 11.1

      Thats very good Ed1. You missed your calling. It would have been a good independent way of framing the whole question.

  12. Ad 12

    On China, right now, we should worry less and trust our track record .

    New Zealand's stance towards China has been pretty adroit for nearly three decades. We've been better at it than Australia or the United States, or indeed any of the Five Eyes partners.

    With the decline of Winston Peters, I would bring back Helen Clack into Minister of Foreign Affairs in a heartbeat. She and Phil Goff led the groundshift of the relationship.

    Both the warnings of Pompeo recently, and that of the Chinese Ambassador yesterday, are worth heeding. They are both models of governance in fast dynamic transition – and it's the smaller players like ourselves that are nimble enough to respond to those changes.

    I would strongly encourage the writer of the post to stop worrying about "lies" told in diplomacy, and worry more about actual effects.

    And FFS stop trying to discern "principles" for the same reason .Completely inappropriate in diplomacy.

    We are a kite blowing in the wind in trade terms, but in the Covid-19 world, that kite is as illuminated as that of Benjamin Franklin for all the world to see.

  13. I don't want NZ to join any empires, thanks very much, Western or Eastern. I think it's symbolic that we sit on the international date line and our timezone is ahead of everyone else. We can maintain civil relations with global powers without buying into their propaganda bullshit and especially without endorsing their imperialism, belligerence, and paranoia.

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