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Ambassador Song Yumin's Op-ed about Hong Kong on Guardian

On 25 August 2019, Ambassador Song Yumin's op-ed about Hong Kong titled "Safeguard the Rule of Law to Retain the Pearl's Shine" was published by Guardian, the most-widely read newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago. Here is the full text of the article:



Hong Kong, renowned worldwide as "the Pearl of the Orient", is an important East-West converging hub and an international metropolis of openness, diversity and prosperity. On 1 July 1997, the Chinese government resumed exercising sovereignty over Hong Kong and implemented the basic national policy of "one country, two systems" in accordance with the law. With the Chinese central government vigorously supporting its economic development and social well-being, Hong Kong has maintained its own features and advantages of East-West fusion and unleashed even more vitality.

Over the past 22 years, the Pearl of the Orient has been shining even brighter! In 2018, Hong Kong's GDP exceeded $340 billion and has more than doubled since 1996. Its economic development and the rule of law have ranked among the best in the world. Its status of international finance, shipping and trade centers has been further consolidated. Hong Kong has been rated as the world's freest and most open economy with the most favorable business environment for many years in a row. The "Belt and Road" Initiative and "Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area" Plan underway is creating rare opportunities and long-lasting momentum for Hong Kong. All facts have fully proven that "one country, two systems" is the best institutional arrangement for maintaining long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, which has won the wholehearted support from Hong Kong compatriots as well as people in all other parts of China.

Early this June, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has tried to discuss the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. These amendments were aimed at improving judicial cooperation between Hong Kong and countries that have not signed the transfer of fugitive offenders and criminal-justice assistance agreements to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for fugitives and criminals. While some individuals and organizations with a hidden agenda maliciously spread rumors such as "the suspects could not be treated fairly" to blindfold the public and create social panic. Several parade gatherings against the aforementioned amendments took place.

On June 15, HKSAR government decided to suspend the amendments and promised to call for more comments from all walks of life. However, certain violent extremists did not stop there, instead they continued to spread rumors and ignite violent activities. They defiled the national emblem, insulted the national flag and advocated so-called "Hong Kong independence". Some radical protesters surrounded and stormed buildings of the Legislative Council, the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong and police stations. They blocked roads and halted traffic, occupied airport and harassed tourists and residents, and even brutally attacked the police. HKSAR police have raided homemade-explosives manufacturing lab in a factory building, seizing a large cache of explosives and other materials intended for use in the violent demonstrations. These activities have gone far beyond the scope of peaceful demonstrations.

All facts show that the essential problem in Hong Kong now is not about human rights, freedoms or democracy as some claim. It is, instead, about the attempt by certain violent extremists to coerce those who do not know the truth and ramp up violent crime on the pretext of opposing the amendments of the two ordinances related to fugitive transfer, seriously trampling upon law and order, threatening the security of the citizens, and damaging Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. It is about the intention of the opposition and violent extremists to overthrow the legitimate SAR government, challenge the central government's authority, and undermine the constitutional basis of "one Country, two Systems" in Hong Kong through illegal means such as violence. If this lawless violence continues, Hong Kong's economic base, including its rule of law, business environment, and social order, will be undermined as will the vital interests and fundamental well-being of the vast number of Hong Kong people.

No civilized or lawful society would tolerate rampant violence. Certain countries and media that have always advertised "rule of law" adopt double standards of selective blindness and even express "sympathy and understanding" to these extremists. These countries and media blamed the Chinese government, whilst bolstering the actions of violent extremists causing the situation to deteriorate. Clearly, these external forces colluded with domestic violent extremists to destabilize Hong Kong and split China. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and its affairs are completely China's internal affairs. The Chinese government will never allow any foreign forces to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs.

The rule of law is the core value that Hong Kong people take pride in, a foundation for a favorable business environment, and an important cornerstone for prosperity and stability. We will not sit idle and watch outrageous behaviors by a small group of people. The Chinese central government will continue to unswervingly implement the "one country, two systems"policy, resolutely safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and oppose any activities that endanger the sovereignty of the country and challenges the central government and the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR.

The most prominent task of Hong Kong at present is to restore social stability as soon as possible, and safeguard Hong Kong's good rule of law. The central government firmly supports Chief Executive of HKSAR Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government to rule according to the law, the Hong Kong police in enforcing laws rigorously, the HKSAR government and the judiciary in meting out punishment to violent criminals, and patriots and people who love Hong Kong in safeguarding rule of law in Hong Kong.

It should be noted that patriotism and love for Hong Kong are the mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong. Recently, the HKSAR Government has taken effective measures to stop the spread of violent incidents. More and more Hong Kong residents have recognized the real plots of the violent extremists. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents spontaneously organized the "I love Hong Kong, say no to violence", "defend the rule of law, defend a safe Hong Kong" parade, demonstrating determination to defend the rule of law and support "one country, two systems".

We have full confidence that, with the strong support of the central government and all the people of the Chinese mainland, under the leadership of the HKSAR government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, our compatriots in Hong Kong will do a good job in administering, building and developing Hong Kong by bravely coping with all kinds of difficulties and challenges. The Pearl of the Orient is bound to retain and renew its shine in the very near future.

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