It seems that Hong Kong is at risk of losing its twin city status! Travel around almost any part of the UK and Europe and you will pass innumerable signs saying that such and such a city/town/village is twinned with a similar city/town/village in another country.
Hong Kong’s twinning is somewhat different as since the riots in 2019 it has become common in the western media and in western governments to use the Xinjiang and Hong Kong moniker to describe perceived human rights abuses by Beijing.
This twinning was pushed relentlessly by governments in Washington, London, Brussels, Canberra and Ottawa to list just the main proponents and also of course pumped out by their lackeys in the media, The BBC, The NYT, The Guardian, The SMH etc. Even in the recent much covered Paul Keating interview in the Australian NPC Mathew Knott representing the SMH and the Age could not help himself from using the Xinjiang and Hong Kong “pairing”.
But here is the thing, increasingly we start to see this twinning fraying round the edges, all of a sudden we see references to Xinjiang without the accompanying Hong Kong, which I can only presume is because it’s becoming far far harder to maintain the “ Hong Kong Gulag” narrative. Latest in this trend was the recent visit to Beijing by Ursula von her Leyen, who was happy to bring up human rights for Xinjiang but not a whisper about Hong Kong. Considering the endless anti Beijing rhetoric over events in Hong Kong emanating from the EU in Brussels, of which she is the head, this does indeed seem like a significant “de twinning”.
The west was handed a great advantage when Covid essentially shut Hong Kong off from the rest of the world for the best part of 2 years, enabling them to spin their yarn without any risk of it being exposed as some kind of fantasy. But this pile on is now being exposed for what it is as Hong Kong rapidly opens up to the rest of the world and people arrive in their tens of thousands and see for themselves that actually none of the narrative they have been fed is true.
Which of course leaves Nathan Law, Ted Hui, Dominic Rogers and the other anti Beijing fantasists who have enjoyed almost 3 years of freedom to tout their lies about events in Hong Kong, not to mention more than a few academics who also piled in along with the US NED and Australian ASPI. Abandoned by governments and the media these folks are left in a difficult situation, preaching to an ever declining audience of the “horrors” that Beijing was supposedly imposing on the innocent citizens of Hong Kong. Of course the likes of the Guardian will continue to try to blow up even the smallest perceived injustice against human rights as they chase clicks, but as the tide of the truth steadily rises their efforts look rather like King Canute!
On a personal note I would also say that back in 2019/20 I found myself like many Hong Konger’s having to explain to our overseas friends and contacts that life here was nothing like the images being pushed in the west, these days the questions don’t even come up.
In recent weeks Hong Kong has hosted multiple events including Art Basel and more recently the iconic Hong Kong Rugby 7’s. Maybe the west would like to suggest that these are staged PR events, Potemkin village affairs, with the oppressed Hong Kong citizenry herded to these events in a show of support. Or maybe if they can’t stretch themselves that far then they can at least ignore them, make out they never happened.
But here is the thing, at least from my own experience during the above mentioned Rugby 7’s. Around 30,000 people of all ages, and nationalities, HK residents and overseas visitors, singles and families, spent 3 days enjoying a world class sporting and entertainment event, completely absent any of the violence seen at other such events around the world, overseen in an unobtrusive manner by the much maligned Hong Kong police, and laid on to perfection in the usual Hong Kong “can do” spirit.
And of course the same will happen regarding Xinjiang, it will take a little longer for foreign travellers to make it to Urumqi and Kashkar, but make it they will and then to the great embarrassment, if they are capable of such an emotion, of the likes of Adrian Zenz (already seems to fade from sight) and the Australian ASPI not to mention the various governmental bodies a great deal of the Xinjiang genocide story will, as has been the Hong Kong National Security Law story, will be shown up to have been a pack of lies, no different from the Iraq WMD story.
Of course it would be irresponsible to claim Hong Kong ticks all the boxes, like almost every society there are challenges for our society to deal with, but at least our administration is now free to get on with what they do best, delivering a high standard of living to its people. It seems likely that the old adage applies: you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but never can you fool all of the people all of the time.