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Criticism by UK, Australia, others only fuels China’s insolence

China’s insolence grows by the day. Its reaction to criticism by the UK and Australia over the suppression of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong underlines Beijing’s growing impudence. The Hong Kong government, which is now completely subservient to the Chinese Communist Party, disqualified four legislators on November 11 on the grounds that they threatened national security. Western democracies slammed the move. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called it a “clear breach” of the Sino-British declaration which had guaranteed Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under Chinese rule.

“China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Raab said in a statement. “The UK will stand up for the people of Hong Kong, and call out violations of their rights and freedoms. With our international partners, we will hold China to the obligations it freely assumed under international law.”

US National Security Adviser Richard O’Brien was also critical of the Chinese decision, saying that CCP had “flagrantly violated its international commitments.” Washington, he said, would continue “to identify and sanction those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom.”

The European Union is equally critical: “These latest steps [by Beijing] constitute a further severe blow to political pluralism and freedom of opinion in Hong Kong.” So also is Australia.

No prizes for guessing China’s reaction: it cares two hoots for democracy whose suppression the West is objecting to. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin lectured the UK and Australia to mind their own business: “I also have to point out that it is untenable for the UK and Australia to use democracy and human rights as excuses to interfere in Hong Kong affairs. During the British colonial rule (<em>sic</em>) over Hong Kong, Governors of Hong Kong at the time were chosen and appointed in London by the British government.”

This is a typical subterfuge that communists and other Leftists deploy on a routine basis. What the British did during the heyday of imperialism is not the moot point here; what the Chinese are doing in Hong Kong is. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is prospective, not retrospective.

We are not unfamiliar with similarly mischievous arguments: downplaying the sadism of Islamic terror by mentioning Christian crusaders hundreds of years ago; pointing out the atrocities carried out by white settlers in the Americas in order to condone Gulag. They mostly indulge in what can be called the fallacy of anachronism: willfully juxtaposing two distant periods and trying to justify one’s present-day crimes. Invariably this fallacy combines with whataboutery: okay, this is wrong but what about other wrongs. Wang just did that, comparing his own government’s doings with what imperial Britain did a century ago.

Beijing fails to realize that its shenanigans are increasingly exasperating the civilized world. Its insolence is only adding to that exasperation..