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Published: 21:31, February 02, 2023 | Updated: 09:49, February 03, 2023
May’s slanderous remarks on HK only embarrass himself
By Noel Shih
Published:21:31, February 02, 2023 Updated:09:49, February 03, 2023 By Noel Shih

Gregory May, the United States consul general to Hong Kong and Macao who took office last September, delivered a speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently, full of slanderous remarks about Hong Kong.

First, May made a big fuss about media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s hiring of a British barrister to defend him in his national security case. May also claimed that the interpretation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress was a worrying development for Hong Kong’s rule of law and may undermine the city’s judicial independence. Furthermore, he pointed out that 15,000 Americans have left Hong Kong in the past two years, accounting for about 20 percent of the American community in Hong Kong. He also “reminded” American companies to pay extra attention to the NSL.

May’s defamatory comments were condemned by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR. His statements are not only incongruent with his position as a diplomat but also constitute blatant interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. May’s behavior is extremely inappropriate and in violation of diplomatic etiquette. Such biased remarks expose his arrogance and prejudice.

Second, the support expressly afforded to Jimmy Lai by a United States diplomat further lay bare Lai’s close connection with foreign forces. Hong Kong’s national security mechanism needs to be continuously strengthened. After implementation of the NSL, the chaos in Hong Kong has not only been effectively reversed, social order has been restored, and the rule of law has been demonstrated. The NSL protects the freedom and rights of the general public, and provides a stable business environment for the business community. The implementation of the NSL is in the overall interests of Hong Kong.

On the other hand, the US itself has some of the most draconian national security laws in the world, including the National Security Act of 1947. However, US politicians and officials have no qualms about hurling all kinds of accusations and smears against the NSL for Hong Kong. It is a sleight of hand that Gregory May blamed the NSL for the departure of 15,000 Americans from Hong Kong over the past two years. In all major international cities, it is common for people to come and go. There are many reasons for the outflow of expatriates, such as family, job relocation, or economic reasons. Despite 15,000 Americans having left Hong Kong, there is also a large number of people from different countries coming to Hong Kong.

Third, May claimed that the interpretation of the NSL by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is to expand the power of the executive branch and may undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence. The interpretation merely clarifies the powers and responsibilities of the HKSAR authorities. These powers and responsibilities are already stipulated in the provisions of the NSL. The interpretation shows full respect for the HKSAR, the courts and the common law. It is unbelievable that the US consul general to Hong Kong cannot figure out the basic facts. It is foreseeable that the US will continue to accuse the central government of undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.

Obviously, May came to Hong Kong with a political mission. Some time ago, he staged all kinds of shows to pretend he was friendly and approachable. However, his slanderous remarks about Hong Kong have exposed his mission to carry out Washington’s strategy of using Hong Kong as a bridgehead to contain China. However, Hong Kong is no longer a place where foreign forces can do whatever they want. May’s arrogance and prejudice will not have any impact on Hong Kong, except to embarrass himself.

The author is chairperson of Young DAB.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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