Bid for outside help a failure

Updated: 2014-08-01 07:23

By Leung Kwok-Leung (China Daily)

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Hong Kong's 'opposition' camp is discovering how little support it has in the international community for its unconstitutional cause

Martin Lee and Anson Chan, two fading "stars" from the "opposition" camp in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, visited Britain in mid-July. Their London trip coincided with the release of the SAR government's public consultation report on Hong Kong's constitutional development. It also came at the same time as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's report to the National People's Congress Standing Committee regarding constitutional reform and the 2017 chief executive election by universal suffrage.

The pair's goal in Britain was to garner British support for the Hong Kong opposition's unconstitutional, unpopular cause. However, all they got was the cold shoulder and some less than encouraging comments. As a headline in the Oriental Daily News said: "Martin Lee, Anson Chan humiliated for bad-mouthing Hong Kong."

According to press reports, Lee and Chan were received by British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Hugo Swire, a minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They also attended a meeting of the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. But the British hosts' lack of enthusiasm for their visit was so obvious that the two former "favorite subjects of the crown" publicly complained about the unavailability of other UK government officials.

At the hearing several members of Parliament commented that they saw no evidence of Beijing breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This is another way of saying Lee and Chan are quite wrong. Lee and Chan were understandably frustrated. They roundly criticized their hosts when they returned to Hong Kong, declaring the British government was obviously eager to do business with China.

They claimed that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang offered many business opportunities to Britain during his recent visit, and the British government was unwilling to upset Beijing, hence the British were reluctant to let them meet more senior officials.

Maybe Lee and Chan should learn from the current British government and show more tact. Lee was asked his view of an article by Tim Summers, a researcher with British think tank Chatham House, in which Summers wrote that the recent white paper on the implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" policy in Hong Kong, published by the State Council, represented no significant change in Beijing's Hong Kong policy. This annoyed Lee. He said Summers was "a nobody whose opinions are negligible".

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