As protests in Hong Kong continue, scholars and experts worldwide have expressed their concern over the city’s economic recession and rising violence. During an exclusive interview with People’s Daily Online, Martin Jacques, a senior fellow at Cambridge University, called for restored stability and order in Hong Kong, adding that its future lies only with China.
Jacques explained that there is a difference between the original peaceful demonstrations and attacks on police and innocent people, further noting that stability and order should be restored to ensure Hong Kong’s future development.
Jacques’ comments came after the protests in Hong Kong evolved into extreme violence, with some radicals ransacking the Legislative Council building, assaulting the police, forcing a shutdown of the Hong Kong airport with unauthorized rallies and beating up innocent people.
“I think it’s very important for them to see their future in terms of the relationship with China and ‘one country, two systems,’ because HK is now part of China, and it offers an enormous opportunity. Certainly, a section of the young people in Hong Kong seem to think that China is not the way forward… and I think they are quite mistaken in this.” said Jacques.
According to Jacques, Hong Kong should consider itself a part of China’s development, while initiatives such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area could help Hong Kong tackle its economic shortages, securing its future development.
“Hong Kong could try to be a part of what’s happening in Southern China. It can get involved, even become leaders in some area, but a positive relationship with the Chinese mainland should be maintained. Otherwise, Hong Kong will simply become increasingly less important, and in some way relatively marginalized, and that will be a very bad situation,” said Jacques.
The British scholar has also criticized support from western countries, especially the UK, for the demonstration. He noted that such supportive opinions are irresponsible, while the violence of the demonstration has often been ignored.
“If these demonstrations were taking place in the United Kingdom, the reaction would be completely different. This is a fundamental hypocrisy in the western attitude,” adding that the British government has been irresponsible because it was originally party to the agreement of “one country, two systems.”
“One of the great problems in Hong Kong when I lived there was the huge ignorance about China. They didn’t look north; they look west. In this sense, young opinions in Hong Kong are quite unusual in East-Asia, as East Asia countries are turning towards China in terms of their future, except Hong Kong,” said Jacques.
“The future of Hong Kong is not with Britain; Britain is in serious decline. Why are the young [in Hong Kong] thinking that the future for them is some kind of restoration with the West? There needs to be a big shift in attitudes within Hong Kong, and they should open their eyes to what China is,” added Jacques.
This article was published by Peoples Daily Online on the 19th of August 2019.