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Britain's Hong Kong moves reflect its colonial mentality, says expert
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Britain's Hong Kong moves reflect its colonial mentality, says expert

London's recent moves concerning Hong Kong reflect Britain's colonial attitude towards the city and its misconception of "one country, two systems" principle, a British expert has said.

"The problem, I think, with the British attitude is ... it still thinks of itself as having some stake in Hong Kong," British scholar and political commentator Martin Jacques told Xinhua in a recent phone interview.

The China expert, who is also a historian, noted that it was the colonial mentality that made Britons believe "we have some kind of responsibility for Hong Kong."

"To some extent, it's not just responsibility," and the attitude is not new, not only with Hong Kong but also with other former British colonies, said Jacques, senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.

In recent weeks, London has repeatedly accused Beijing of violating the "one country, two systems" principle and the Sino-British Joint Declaration by passing and imposing the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

China has sovereignty over Hong Kong after it was handed over in 1997, and the "one country, two systems" principle, which is set out in HKSAR Basic Law, was introduced by China on its own territory, he stressed.

"In any case, the idea of 'one country, two systems,' which I think is a brilliant idea, had nothing to do with Britain," the scholar said.

"But they still seem to think that they have a right to determine what should happen in Hong Kong," he added.

Jacques said the enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong would never be the end of "one country, two systems," but rather the end of the era that other countries could try and undermine it.

Commenting on the situation in Hong Kong since last year, he said, "The riots were really damaging Hong Kong and damaging China as well. I don't think any country in the West would tolerate that level of violence and instability."

"Eventually, this was the only solution to try and restore some order and stability in Hong Kong," Jacques continued, referring to China's recent enactment of national security for the city.

The scholar, also the author of the best-selling "When China Rules the World," believes the effect of the legislation has been "immediately a calm of the situation."

He also said that after the order is restored in Hong Kong, the financial city will continue to prosper and even do better.

"Hong Kong's future lies not in looking westwards," Jacques said on his Twitter account, noting that Hong Kong also needs reform based on the lines of China's economic transformation: being competitive, innovative, and broad-based. 

XinhuaGu Yetao

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