30th June 1997, Governor Patten leaves Government house for the final time, this begins the marking of the end of British rule in Hong Kong.
On his exit his car went around Government house three times, a Chinese tradition, symbolising an important message; I shall return.
Yet just over 20 years since this historic occasion, this message has never been as important as now. Hong Kong is in a state of extreme protest, its international airport shut, rioting in the streets, and the Chinese Army waits in the nearby border town of Shenzhen. The catalyst for this chaos was an Extradition Bill, which would allow people of Hong Kong to be tried in mainland china, whose courts aren’t known for their impartiality and separation of powers.
But it should never have come to this, under the ‘Sino-British Joint Declaration’ Hong Kong’s autonomy should have been protected for at least 50 years, yet this has quite obviously not materialised, China appears to think Britain is a pushover and won’t actually hold its end of the legal agreement, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the legally binding Hong Kong handover treaty with Britain 'as a historical document, no longer has any practical significance’ which is an insult to Britain and more importantly, the Hong Kong people.
I am not suggesting we send Trident into the South China sea, I am suggesting we finally stand up for our values, values we seem to have forgotten ourselves, while Hong Kong protesters wave the British Hong Kong Imperial Flag and drape it across the Hong Kong Parliament as a symbol of freedom, democracy and liberty. We as a nation remain divided within ourselves, the situation may be an awakening to our own beliefs.
The situation in Hong Kong gives us the ability to exercise our newfound political independence, no longer should European consensus bother us, Britain can show the world what modern Brexit Britain believes, and that is won’t be bossed around whether that’s in trade deals, or standing up for human rights.
Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has already publicly expressed concern for the situation, but this isn’t enough, words are not actions. Hong Kong people are losing their independence and freedoms, tweeting support for the protesters won’t cause the change Hong Kong needs. For one, Twitter is actually blocked in mainland china. Britain is known worldwide for its diplomatic skill, we harbour some of the best diplomats in the world, its time we apply pressure on the Chinese Government before the situation becomes Tiananmen Square 2.0, we have a legal obligation too as well as moral one, as we signed the Sino-British Joint declaration, Trumps trade war with China provides us an opportunity to also put on tariffs, and encourage the CANZUK and commonwealth nations to also follow suit, as these also strive for the human rights we are aiming to maintain in Hong Kong, Britain’s first opportunity in a long time to stand up for itself and take action, no longer a pawn in a larger European game.
And this action would be rightly justified, Hong Kong uses a different currency than mainland China, different postal service, even separate immigration systems, it should be politically independent from mainland China, instead there is an occupation. The Chinese army waits on its border ready to destroy Hong Kong’s fight for freedom, and we must remember, freedom is not just a word to those who have lost it.
Britain must step up for Hong Kong, otherwise I fear no one else will.