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With Its Actions In Hong Kong, China Has Let Known Its Scant Respect For Rule Of Law
The Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong was signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher.
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With Beijing pushing ahead with its plan for the controversial security legislation in Hong Kong, it has once again become evident that China has scant regard for the rule of law.
According to a South China Morning Post report, under Beijing's proposal, the Hong Kong government will have to set up new institutions to safeguard national security and also allow mainland Chinese agencies to operate in the city "when needed". All moves were widely criticised by opposition politicians as a means to suppress dissent.
The legislation has sparked fears that it would undermine the principle of "one country, two systems", eventually leading to erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy as stated under the Sino-British joint declaration of 1997.
The Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong was signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher. The two governments agreed that China would reassume control of Hong Kong from July 1, 1997.
The main body of the treaty has eight articles and three annexes and it states that China's basic policies regarding Hong Kong "will remain unchanged for 50 years", including the promise that the city would retain a high degree of autonomy.
The move to impose security legislation in Hong Kong has come under fire from the international community, especially the Western countries who dubbed it in conflict with the Sino-British joint declaration.
Last month, the US, UK, Canada and Australia expressed "deep concern" over China's decision to impose national security law in Hong Kong, saying the move would undermine the "one country, two systems".
In a joint statement, the four countries said that direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong's own institutions as provided for under Article 23 of the Basic Law, "would curtail the Hong Kong people's liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong's autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous".
The move is also indicative of a broader trend of Beijing using its muscle power to force its will, something that China's neighbouring countries are fully aware of.
Whether it is its actions in the South China Sea where it has taken to bullying small neighbours, or belligerence in the case of Taiwan, China has let it known several times that it respects international laws only according to its convenience.
Many believe that its actions in Hong Kong and elsewhere are meant to distract from the lack of transparency in handling the coronavirus pandemic, which first surfaced in China and has eventually spread worldwide, infecting over seven million people and killing more than 400,000.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.