U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau’s new facebook profile picture posted today (January 31) depicts the USA flag in the left upper quadrant, a red heart in the right upper quadrant, and the 2 Chinese characters for Hong Kong on the lower side. The meaning is apparent — America loves HK. This is especially eye-catching when the US-China Trade War is now so intense. As the Lunar New Year is drawing near, let’s not forget that on occasions like this, the US Consul General Kurt Tong or his predecessors would almost always deliver a message with greetings to Hongkongers in Cantonese, just like British governors of HK before 1997, something President Xi and his representatives in HK have never done. Indeed, HK is still very useful to America as an international intelligence center, an international financial center, China’s economic and logistics life-gate, an exquisite compound of Chinese and Western cultures, and a geopolitical harbor in the center of Asia. Whoever grasps HK holds China’s neck tight.
Hong Kong is really useful to the United States. Firstly, according to the Hong Kong current affairs critic, Sang Pu, Hong Kong is an international intelligence center. Note: Since the first British troops took possession of HK 178 years ago, HK has been a place where secret agents from all over the world struggle with one another. From HK, the West can relatively safely monitor China, collect China news and contact dissidents.
Secondly, HK is an international financial center with a history of at least two hundred year’s rule of law so that American and European entrepreneurs have confidence in signing contracts there without having to worry too much whether they will be honored or not. China cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen cannot possibly replace HK in this regard.
Thirdly, HK is the life-gate of China. China has to rely on HK for fund raising, financial, exchanging RMB for USD, money laundering, offshore renminbi clearing, and listing of China-capital companies. Amidst the current US-China trade war, China has to all the more rely on HK for importing embargoed goods, just as during the Korean War, certain HK businessmen got rich by smuggling copper and iron products, medicine, knitwear, and even firearms to China. In fact, Huawei has used the empty shell company Skycom in HK to ship technological products banned by America to Iran.
Fourthly, HK, which organically combines Southern China indigenous culture, traditional Chinese culture, and Anglo-American culture, is of great referential value to America in the development of its soft power in Asia.
Fifthly, Hong Kong’s geopolitical location is irreplaceable; it is situated in the center of Asia whence one can fly within four hours to anywhere in China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea. The U.S. had had a significant military presence through regular stopovers of its warships to Hong Kong, averaging between 60 and 70 ship visits annually before 1997. These port visits have been a vivid demonstration of the U.S. security interest in Hong Kong, especially its role as an important shipping center. Following the handover to China, U.S. warships have continued to be allowed to pay port calls to Hong Kong, although they have been vastly reduced.
Once the United States cancels the Hong Policy Act, the backdoor of China will be sealed and China is bound to perish. Grasping HK equals grabbing hold of China’s neck. The British were not blind when they picked HK in 1941.
(Text: Chapman Chen from Local Press)