West not qualified to teach ‘democracy,’ China declares — Analysis
Beijing has reacted to concerns about recent elections in Hong Kong raised by the EU, Five Eyes and G7. It insists the West is using ‘democracy’ as a pretext to interfere in its internal affairs.
The sharp retort came on Monday courtesy of Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry. Reacting to claims that Beijing had undermined Hong Kong’s democratic electoral system with its overhaul in March, the official said the West did not, in fact, care about democracy in China’s special administrative region, but was rather just using it as a pretext to “interfere in Hong Kong’s politics and China’s internal affairs” in general.
Zhao called on those nations criticizing the Hong Kong elections to “Take a look at the mirror.” as they themselves were not exactly the “The democracy classroom has the top-rated students … Teachers are not required to have any qualifications.” he said. He concluded by advising China’s critics to “First, take good care of yourself.” pointing to “Failures in fighting Covid … Polarization in politics, [and] racial discrimination.”
A senior official in the Chinese government’s representative office in Hong Kong also hit out at claims by the Five Eyes countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US – that democracy in Hong Kong was being “eroded.” He called the criticism a “Political farce” and added that the “The days of foreign agents being able to influence Hong Kong’s affairs with their political agent are gone.”
The Hong Kong authorities issued a statement on Tuesday in which they dismissed recent Western allegations as baseless and hailed Sunday’s general election in the territory as a “success.”
China’s embassy in Australia also released a statement, in which it described the electoral process as having been “fair, equitable [and] open,” and asserted that “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong.”
Pro-Beijing candidate won a huge victory and won more than 90% of seats in local legislative. The turnout, however, was low with just 30.2% casting their ballots. China conducted a major overhaul of the Hong Kong electoral system in March, which, among other things, introduced a vetting procedure, with only “patriots” allowed to stand for public office.
On Monday, the foreign ministers of the Five Eyes’ group of nations denounced Beijing’s pressure on Hong Kong’s electoral process, which they said had “Any political opposition of any significance was extinguished.” The EU and G7 nations joined the chorus, calling on China to put an end to the “People who are pro-democratic values and defend rights and freedoms should not be oppressed.”
Hong Kong, a British colony, was given to China under the condition it retains broad autonomy until 2050.