China’s colonial mindset over Hong Kong | Hong Kong

Dr Hugh Goodacre’s letter (5 July) in response to Simon Jenkins (Britain can’t protect Hong Kong from China – but it can do right by its people, 2 July) claims that the people of Hong Kong gained the democratic right to vote on their future because China “stood up in the world”, which would have been unthinkable under British rule. This does not stand up to historical scrutiny.

As early as January 1958, Zhou Enlai warned the Macmillan government against supporting a “conspiracy” to make Hong Kong a self-governing dominion. In the 1960s, China insisted Britain should resist US pressure to introduce self-government, as the status of Hong Kong was to China’s benefit. Beijing continued to resist the introduction of democracy throughout the Sino-British negotiations and its current behaviour confirms its intention to act like a colonial power. Its narrative that the current protests are due to the whipping up of anti-Chinese hysteria by outside forces reflects this mindset by denying agency to the people of Hong Kong.
Prof Christopher R Hughes
Department of international relations, London School of Economics

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