Sir, – Your Editorial on the current unrest in Hong Kong asks the government of China not to take control of political disturbances in one of its cities. It is a request that Beijing cannot possibly accede to, as China, like any sovereign state, must take control of political unrest within its borders ("Beijing must not intervene", August 14th)
When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 Hong Kong became a part of the People’s Republic of China. It was agreed that there would be a 50-year period in which British and Chinese “systems” would coexist but it was also accepted that Hong Kong would become fullly sinicised after 50 years. It was never envisaged that some Hongkongers would reject sinicisation, engage in political mayhem and damage the economy and political fabric of Hong Kong.
China has inherited these rebellious, westernised Hongkongers, and it doesn’t know what to do with them. Britain had an opportunity at the time of handover in 1997 to support these Hongkongers by offering them UK citizenship but it failed to do so. China is now faced with the difficult task of bringing these Hongkongers back to Chinese ways, which is not an unreasonable aspiration or policy.
An interesting and peaceful resolution of the problem might be that Britain would reconsider its decision not to give citizenship to Hongkongers, and that these Hongkongers would then emigrate to the UK, filling the void that EU citizens will create when they leave the UK after Brexit. It would be a win-win situation. China would get rid of its westernised troublemakers and post-Brexit Britain would replenish its depleted workforce. – Yours, etc,