It’s been 20 years since the British government handed Hong Kong over to Chinese rule, under the condition of remaining unchanged for 50 years. But two days ago, under an overcast red-crimson sky full of Chinese communist flags and fake Hong Kong bauhinias, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced that the Sino-British Joint Declaration was “a historical document and does not have any practical significance”. According to this uninformed buffoon of Emperor Xi Jinping’s court, the Joint Declaration was no longer valid as early as 1997, basically one second after the Handover, because as soon as the Chinese assumed the sovereignty of the territory, it was no longer Britain’s business. Even if the territory was handed to them under the condition that it would be Britain’s half-business until 2047.
Britain is at fault, and no matter how, all the involved British parties, from the Queen to the last governor of Hong Kong, are responsible of Hong Kong’s current situation. The British colony was the only territory handed over to a Communist regime. Yes, a proudly democratic country, fatherland of the Rule of Law and savior of Europe during WWII allowed a communist regime responsible for the deaths of millions –from Chinese Revolution to the Tian’anmen Massacre– to take one of their colonies. But why?
Hong Kong has never been part of China. When China was founded in 1949, Hong Kong had been alive for more than one century. The true heir of Hong Kong would be the Qing Dynasty, as the British recognized when they signed a lease between the Qing Empire and the United Kingdom, the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, which allowed Hong Kong to remain in British hands until 1997. If we follow Chinese logic, as Chinese spokesperson Lu Kang does, the Convention would also be “a historical document” and would “not have any practical significance” and, then, once Hong Kong became part of the United Kingdom in the 19th century, neither Qing not an inexistent China would have any sovereignty, any governing power or any supervising power over Hong Kong. But the British honor their agreements.
In 1911 the Qing Dynasty collapsed and the new Republic of China was founded. The Qing Dynasty was a foreign government. It was a Manchu dynasty that treated Chinese as second class citizens. Chinese people had fewer rights under the Manchus than they had in the foreign concessions ruled by France, England and other countries. For this very reason, most writers and intellectuals lived in cities and neighborhoods occupied by foreign countries, and thought criminals often sought refuge there. If Britain had to fully honor its agreement about the future of Hong Kong, they should have returned the territory to the Manchu people, not to their second class Chinese citizens. Or to the Republic of China, also known as Taiwan. In any case, there is no point of connection between the country called China and Hong Kong. It has never been.
If we are to follow any kind of logic, whether it is the flawed, mentally impaired and highly sick Chinese logic behind China’s backwardness, or the rule-abiding Western logic behind the West’s progress, Hong Kong could never be part of China. It could be British. It could be Manchu. It could even belong to Taiwan. Or it could belong to Hongkongers alone. But there is no historical point of connection allowing Hong Kong to be part of the People’s Republic of China.
“Pacta sunt servanda” is the basic principle of libertarianism and international law. Meaning “agreements must be kept”, it was invented by the Romans, transmitted by the Christian Church, and introduced into the modern world by British law. China does not honor its agreements because China and the Chinese people have no honor. This 20th anniversary also marks the end of Hong Kong as an international city.