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Home / World / Europe

Ex-Britain MP says HK isn't UK's business

China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-09-18 09:00
George Galloway is pictured at his north London home. [Photo/IC]
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Western media accused of not reporting honestly police role during SAR unrest

George Galloway, an outspoken former member of British Parliament, said how the Chinese central and Hong Kong governments handle the situation in the former British colony is none of the United Kingdom's business.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Galloway said: "Hong Kong is no more Britain's business, than is the business of Slovakia or Romania. We are just another foreign country."

He went on to say, "For (those in) the British state, they have never accepted in their heart that their empire has gone and Hong Kong is (part of) China.

"They had to make the diplomatic withdrawal that they did in 1997 because they ran out of the ransom in New Territories and they have tried ever since to keep as large a foothold on the people, society and the economy of Hong Kong as they possibly could," he added.

Galloway drew international attention for his strong rebuttal when facing a committee of senior US politicians as part of the Senate's investigation into the Iraq oil-for-food scandal in 2005.

Galloway recalled what Deng Xiaoping, the late Chinese leader, had said before Hong Kong's handover by the UK - the days when foreign countries can order China what to do are over. "They were over when Deng said so; they were over in 1997, and they are certainly over in 2019," he added.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the British Parliament, said Britain has a role in calming the increasingly violent clashes between protesters and police, suggesting that the UK give British nationality to Hong Kong citizens.

Galloway said, "This is like events happening in a part of our empire even though that empire has largely long gone, and certainly gone in China."

He accused Britain of double standard. "The point is it's none of our business. It's no more our business surely how Hong Kong is governed than how Saudi Arabia is governed. In the latter case, we accept that," he argued.

Last week, Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, said in a press conference in London that no foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong affairs.

Liu also said the Western media have inescapable responsibility for the current situation in Hong Kong, as selective reporting and distortion have resulted in the prevalence of wrong information and have misled the public.

Galloway echoed Liu's view, adding: "This is part of a spectrum of attacks which are designed to slow China's advance, weaken China's internal cohesion, with a view to stopping China from becoming the most important economy and country in the world."

On Aug 12, the protesters marched into the Hong Kong International Airport and brought the premises to a standstill. The Hong Kong police's handling of the situation was widely criticized by the Western media, but Galloway argued that was not honestly dealt with by the Western press.

"What, in fact, is an example of light-handed police, is portrayed in the Western media as tyrannical, dictatorial policing. And that's simply, objectively, not true.

"If this was England, still more if it was in France, if Charles de Gaulle Airport was seized by protesters and had to be closed... they would be cleared violently within the first hours of such a protest," he added.

Martin Jacques, one of Britain's best-known Sinologists, recently expressed his views on the subject of Hong Kong, saying the period since 1997 was being criticized by the British that China was not being true to democracy. Jacques called it pure "British hypocrisy".

Jacques pointed out Britain ran Hong Kong for 155 years and there was never a semblance of democracy, as the British never introduced universal suffrage and there was not a word of mention about universal suffrage until after the handover agreement.

"With Chinese rule looming, then it became essential that Hong Kong was democratic in a Western-style fashion."

Galloway said he agreed with every word of that, adding: "It is a hypocrisy with a capital H."

"We are not called Perfidious Albion for nothing," he said. "We didn't maintain the world's biggest empire for as long as we did by being sincere and honest. We ruled all of India with 60 thousand people, by saying one thing to one group of people and different thing to another group of people. It's a master class in British hypocrisy."

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