Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 8 News List

Hong Kong annexed by China via subterfuge

By Sim Kiantek 沈建德

Addressing the issue of independence for Hong Kong, Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠), Hong Kong’s wealthiest man, said that independence is something that Hong Kongers would never seek and that Hong Kong does not have what is required to become an independent state.

Qiao Xiaoyang (喬曉陽), chairman of the law committee of the National People’s Congress — the organ overseeing the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China — immediately said that it is impossible for Hong Kong to become a sovereign, independent country.

However, Hong Kong was taken over by China as early as 1972, rather than at the handover from the UK to China on July 1, 1997, and if Hong Kong wants independence, all it has to do is turn to the UN.

The UN Charter, which was adopted in 1945, affirms the principle of self-determination for non-self-governing territories, and at the first session of the UN General Assembly on Dec. 14, 1946, the assembly passed Resolution 66, Transmission of Information Under Article 73e of the Charter, which designated 74 territories as non-self-governing territories. One of those territories was Hong Kong, and some of the others were Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, Malaysia and Singapore.

On Dec. 14, 1960, the General Assembly passed Resolution 1514, Declaration On the Granting of Independence To Colonial Countries and Peoples.

The resolution demanded that the General Assembly’s Special Committee propose ways in which colonial territories could be made self-governing and independent as soon as possible.

However, at the time, Hong Kong suffered from the misconception that the “status quo” would remain unchanged — much like the situation in Taiwan today — and this attitude only served to give China ample time to prepare for its annexation.

On Nov. 2, 1972, China’s long-term effort to buy up UN officials finally paid off, and at the same time as UN Resolution 2908, Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, was passed, the General Assembly also decided that Hong Kong was a “Chinese territory,” rather than a British one, following a recommendation by the Special Committee.

Britain did not file a protest against this decision until on Dec. 14 that year, when it said that “the action of the General Assembly in no way affected the legal status of Hong Kong.”

The protest was supported only by Fiji, Sweden and Venezuela.

In September 1982, then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher met with then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) in Beijing, over what remaining value Hong Kong could continue to hold for the UK following a decision that it should be returned to China.

While it is true that this cruel story is all about Hong Kong, it should nevertheless be a constant warning bell in the back of Taiwanese minds.

Sim Kiantek is a former associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at National Chung Hsing University.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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