Hysteria used to be considered a condition suffered only by women. Now it seems to be exclusive to male leaders in English-speaking countries.
Less than a week since the introduction of the national security law, Britain has offered to home up to 3 million from Hong Kong. Really? Australia, Canada and the United States are drawing up safe harbour provisions. Many people here are uncertain about how the law will work, but neither their lives nor livelihoods are being threatened by it.
However, plenty of people around the world in conflict zones and drought-hit regions ” war-torn places in which Western countries, especially the United States, have a direct hand in creating ” are genuine refugees; they and their families are facing life-and-death situations. Any special legislation or plan to help them escape and find a new home in the so-called five eyes countries? No, get in line, it’s a long queue.
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The only two adults in the room are ” why am I not surprised? ” Angela Merkel of Germany and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.
The right to asylum in Germany was available to anyone in the world, Merkel said, but it had no specific measures to help Hong Kong people relocate to the country because of the new law. Ardern gives an equally measured response by expressing concerns but is not ready to commit to anything.
How threatening is the new law? It’s the end of Hong Kong, according to the Western press and the local opposition. Yet, the Hang Seng stock index had one of its best runs last week in months. Homebuyers were back in droves for the second consecutive weekend to snap up typically overpriced shoeboxes in Lohas Park, launched by bellwether developer CK Asset in Tseung Kwan O.
How concerned is the world? According to a typical headline in the BBC, “nations condemn new law”. What, all nations? At the end of the report, it acknowledged more than 50 countries supported it. Since then, another 20-plus have expressed support. Yes, they were asked by Beijing to do it. The reality is that most of the world doesn’t care because they realise the obvious: it’s China’s own business.
But the US-led Western alliance didn’t get Tiananmen 2.0 in Hong Kong, so the new security law will have to do. When the dust settles, though, Hong Kong will be back in business in no time.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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