Morgunblaðið Publishes A Signed Article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian Entitled The Rule of Law in Hong Kong Must Be Safeguarded "One Country, Two Systems" Cannot Be Trampled on

On August 30 2019, the famous Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið published a signed article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian entitled The Rule of Law in Hong Kong Must Be Safeguarded "One Country, Two Systems" Cannot Be Trampled on. The full text is as follows:



The recent demonstrations and riots in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) have drawn attention from the Icelandic media and the public. Regrettably, certain voices have avoided mentioning the calls for "Anti-violence, Save Hong Kong" by the Chinese people, including most Hong Kong compatriots. Instead, they deliberately exaggerated the confrontation between the demonstrators and the Hong Kong SAR government together with the Chinese Central Government. They gave unbalanced account by highlighting democracy and freedom while sparing little words on the rule of law and justice. They turned a blind eye to the violence of radical demonstrators, expressed sympathy for the violent offenders and accused the Hong Kong police who guarded the order. Such selective reporting will do no good to help the public understand the truth but further worsen the situation in Hong Kong. In this article, I would like to clarify the truth and provide the Icelandic readers with a more objective and comprehensive view on the essence of this matter.

The situation in Hong Kong was triggered by a criminal case. In February last year, a Hong Kong resident fled back to Hong Kong after killing his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan. Because there was no mutual legal assistance arrangement or pre-existing extradition arrangement between Hong Kong and Taiwan, he cannot be sent to face trial for murder in Taiwan. In order to strengthen the rule of law, the Hong Kong SAR government, with thorough consideration and preparation, proposed to amend its Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. The Hong Kong SAR government submitted the draft application to Hong Kong's Legislative Council in February this year, and solicited opinions from all walks of society. The proposed amendments will allow Hong Kong to surrender fugitive offenders to jurisdictions with which it does not currently have extradition arrangements on a case-by-case basis, such as the Chinese mainland, Macao and Taiwan. The amendments would fill the existing loopholes in the legal system, help crack down crimes and demonstrate fairness and justice. This is a necessary move to improve the rule of law in Hong Kong and should not cause any controversy. However, this legitimate act was distorted by the opposition and some foreign forces. They used the confusion and doubts of some Hong Kong citizens who do not understand the truth, spread rumors and create panic in the society, and triggered large-scale demonstrations.

To maintain social stability, the Hong Kong SAR government has decided to suspend the amendments. But the opposition and radical forces in Hong Kong did not stop, instead they deliberately incited violence under the cover of“opposing amendments to the ordinances". They illegally stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council and the Liaison Office of the Chinese Central Government, blatantly insulted the Chinese national flag and national emblem, Hong Kong SAR emblem, and organized massive demonstrations to maliciously block roads, subways, occupy airports to paralyze public traffic, beat visitors and journalists, and assault the police officers even with the lethal weapons. Such lawless and inhuman atrocities in flagrant violation of human rights have seriously undermined the rule of law and social order in Hong Kong, which has completely overstepped the bottom line of law, morality, humanity, and the principle of“One Country, Two Systems”.

It is worth noting that certain countries are playing dishonorable roles in the complicated situation of Hong Kong. Some foreign politicians have confounded right with wrong, and slandered "One Country, Two Systems", blamed the Chinese government and backed up the violent law breakers. They themselves never hesitated to use heavy police and forces to suppress the violent movement at home while beautifying violent crimes in Hong Kong as “seeking human rights and freedoms". This typical double standard has laid bare the ill-will of these forces. For those foreign forces who want to make a mess of Hong Kong and contain China's development, China's attitude is very clear: the Hong Kong issue is China's internal affair, and it is not allowed for other countries to make irresponsible remarks. China will never allow any foreign forces to interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs. Any attempt to create chaos in Hong Kong are doomed to fail.

Over the past 22 years since Hong Kong's return to China, the Central Government of China has remained committed to the policies of “One Country, Two Systems”, "the people of Hong Kong governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy in the SAR, in strict accordance with the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been the world’s freest economy for 25 years in a row, notable for its prosperous and stable society and top economic and social development worldwide. It has been ranked 16th in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index in 2018, much higher than the 60th in 1996. Facts have proved that “One Country, Two Systems” is the best solution for Hong Kong after the handover, an excellent arrangement for the region’s long-term prosperity and stability. It is imperative to correctly understand that “One Country, Two Systems” must be seen as one inseparable concept, and “One Country” is the basis and precondition for the viability of “Two Systems”. Should the "One Country" principle be undermined, "Two Systems" would not materialize. Any attempt to question the necessity of upholding “One Country” with the exercise of “Two Systems” constitutes a challenge to China's sovereignty.

It is a basic requirement of any society under the rule of law to enforce laws and regulations and prosecute any illegal acts. It is impossible for any western country to accept democracy and freedom unbounded by law. Conniving in violence is encouraging the violation of law and undermining the rule of law. No country or government in the world, including Iceland, would sit back and watch while violence and illegal demonstrations rage on. At present, the priority is to support the SAR Government in ending violence and restoring order, which also answers the appeal of the vast majority of Hong Kong people. We believe that the Hong Kong SAR Government has the ability to restore the rule of law and order. The SAR judiciary and the police force will resolutely defend the rule of law in Hong Kong. The Chinese Central Government will continue to firmly support the SAR Government in administering Hong Kong in accordance with the law, support Hong Kong in restoring the rule of law and stability for its prosperity and development.

It is in the interests of both Hong Kong people and the international community to have a prosperous and stable Hong Kong. I hope that the Icelandic friends will support the Hong Kong SAR government and its people to say NO to the violence, to protect the rule of law and restore social order in a timely manner and to pave the way for its economic development and the improvement of people's livelihood, so that Hong Kong, the "Pearl of the Orient" will once again shine brightly in the future.

Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Jin Zhijian