“China will never compromise in face of foreign interventions and will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity with firm resolve.” This was stated by H.E. Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Pakistan during a Webtalk on ‘Hong Kong: Current Status and Future’ organized by China-Pakistan Study Centre at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on June 25, 2020.
Dr. Talat Shabbir in his introductory remarks stated that that in the past year violent protests have destabilized an economically thriving city, while undermining rule of law and social order. Given the large scale of demonstrations and their frequency, protests appear to be facilitated by external forces. Such actions are blatant ‘interference in internal affairs of China’ and tantamount to undermining China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong. For decades, Pakistan has consistently supported One China policy and with regards to Hong Kong Pakistan considers it as China’s internal matter in line with the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework.
In his address, Mr. Yao Jing stated that the protests in China have disturbed peace and coordination with mainland China resulting in severe consequences for the local people. The Western countries are objecting against a legislation which is purely an internal affair of China. China has every right to introduce laws and exert sovereignty over Hong Kong. Legally and historically, the Chinese central government has authority over diplomatic and security issues related to Hong Kong. He added that China respects international commitments and rights given to Hong Kong.
He went on to say that the interference in Hong Kong is part of a wider strategy to curtail China’s peaceful rise. As China is deemed as a rival by western countries especially the US, they are taking every possible measure to disrupt China’s progress. They want to project China as an irresponsible member of the international community. These countries are putting their own agendas over historical facts. The ambassador said that China values multilateralism and the main purpose of China’s foreign policy is to support peace and development across the globe. China will never take any kind of initiative to sabotage global peace and development agenda.
Ambassador Yao Jing added that the Western countries have also targeted China-Pakistan relations. They have raised baseless rumours regarding or bilateral arrangements. He said that our resources and time should be spent more on strengthening and consolidating our ties instead of clearing misconceptions raised by the West. In the end, he said that we should focus on economic revival post COVID-19.
Ambassador Masood Khalid stated that in 1997 a historic wrong was corrected after Hong Kong was handed over to China. Since then, Hong Kong has achieved remarkable economic progress. He added that China is within its sovereign right to introduce laws to normalise situation in Hong Kong and Pakistan is against foreign intervention in China’s domestic affairs.
Ambassador Khalid said that continued protests will increase hardships for locals but suggested that this could be the aim of western countries. He urged the saner elements in Hong Kong to realize that cooperation with central government will be of best interest. He emphasised that China’s peaceful rise cannot be curtailed by such negativity.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman ISSI, in his concluding remarks, stated that no other country would tolerate what is being supported in Hong Kong by foreign elements. Beijing is exercising its responsibility towards the people of Hong Kong and safeguarding its security interests. The objections of Western countries against China’s rise is evident through their stance on the situation in Ladakh, South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He added that there are clear double standards adopted by these countries who allowed India to be elected as non-permanent member of UN Security Council despite the country’s history of open violations of its resolutions.
The talk was followed by an interactive session.
Report by Sohail Majeed Butt