Imagine there was something you were really opposed to and you really wanted everyone to know it. How would you go about telling them?
Well, if you were the government of Hong Kong, and the issue was US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, you might issue six press releases in the span of 16 minutes to let the world know how very much you denounce her behavior.
And that’s exactly what happened last night in reaction to Pelosi’s controversial decision to visit the island.
The third-highest ranking official in the US government landed in Taiwan at 10:44pm on Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking US official to set foot on the island in a quarter of a century.
Just about 1.5 hours later, officials in Hong Kong began issuing a barrage of statements in English condemning the speaker’s visit. (The Hong Kong government started releasing Chinese statements at 11:57pm on Tuesday, but since we are an English-language website, we will focus on their English press releases.)
At 12:16am on Wednesday, Chief Executive John Lee expressed his firm opposition to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan with a statement saying it “wantonly tramples on the one-China principle, seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, greatly threatens the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and gravely violates basic norms governing international relations”.
“Such a move, betting on and in contempt for the well-being of more than 20 million people in Taiwan, is extremely selfish,” he added.
“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has unwavering determination in and a clear stance against any advocacy of ‘Taiwan independence’, and fully supports the Central Government’s resolute determination in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Lee also stressed that the Hong Kong government firmly opposes any external forces interfering in the internal affairs of China, and would fully support and facilitate all necessary measures by China’s Central Government to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Just one minute later, the Hong Kong government issued another press release from a spokesman firmly opposing and strongly condemning Pelosi’s visit.
Since the content is similar to the first statement, we will not repeat it, but you can click here to read it.
Eight minutes later, Chief Secretary Eric Chan also issued a similar statement, which you can read here.
He did add a new point about how he would lead the bureaux and departments under his purview “to fully support and facilitate the country in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely handle Taiwan-related matters in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, the one-China principle, and the Basic Principles and Policies of the Central Government regarding the Handling of Taiwan-related Matters in Hong Kong”.
Five minutes later, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said pretty much the same thing in another statement you can read here.
Chan did tack some economic issues onto his spiel:
“With the global economic environment facing uncertainties and geopolitical tensions rising high amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States’ irresponsible and reckless provocation would intensify tensions in the region, and bring greater volatility and instability to financial and asset markets around the world, thus impacting on the already highly fragile global economy. It is despicable and will have dire consequences. The United States has gained substantial economic benefits in China, but at the same time seeks to supress [sic] our country’s development by creating troubles on the Taiwan issue and intensifying conflicts. It will end up reaping the consequences. We firmly oppose any interference of our country’s internal affairs by outside forces, and stand firm in safeguarding our country’s sovereignty, security, core interests as well as national dignity. We strongly condemn the irresponsible provocations by the United States!”
One minute later, Secretary for Justice Paul Lam released a statement noting that Taiwan and Hong Kong are “are both inalienable parts of the People’s Republic of China”, adding how he is “outraged by, and condemn, Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which constitutes an attempt to obstruct the great reunification of the motherland”.
Finally, at 12:32am, the Security Bureau, which handles issues of national security in Hong Kong, also chimed in, calling out Pelosi for the “arbitrary and unreasonable bullying act” that “has seriously violated international norms and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs”.
“It is the common responsibility of all the people of China, including the people of Hong Kong, to safeguard the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China,” it added.
Other ministers also made sure their opposition to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was heard.
Secretary for Housing Winnie Ho also issued a similar statement on Facebook, in which she said she condemned the visit by the speaker and “opposes any external forces interfering in the internal affairs of China, and will fully support and facilitate all necessary measures by the Central Government to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The Environment and Ecology Bureau shared the city’s leader’s statement in a Facebook post, as well as a quote by Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wai condemning the visit.
“The HKSAR Government will fully support the Central Government to firmly oppose any external forces interfering in the affairs of China,” the post added.
It’s nice to see our officials are willing to work until late into the night when it comes to certain issues, but we kind of wonder if it is appropriate for the Hong Kong government to be making these statements since the city’s laws stipulate that, while Hong Kong shall have a high degree of autonomy in most matters, they do not include foreign affairs and defense, which shall be under the purview of China’s Central Government.
In Taiwan, Pelosi said during a press conference after meeting Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday that Taiwan was a contrast to the political system on the mainland and in Hong Kong, where the “one country two systems” promise “didn’t happen”.