It is Impossible to be a Conservative Whilst Denying That Hong Kong is China

There are multiple reasons why proclaiming to be a genuine conservative (note the small ‘c’) whilst supporting rioting and  separatism in Hong Kong are mutually exclusive positions. Most apparently, seeing as social conservatism is built upon the foundation of respect for law and order and a complete rejection of mob rule, it is a completely betrayal of such beliefs to support lawlessness in Hong Kong which is not only jeopardising the internal peace in Hong Kong but is likewise putting a great deal of international commerce at risk. If one would not welcome riots in London or Paris, one shouldn’t welcome such things in Hong Kong nor anywhere else in China.

Secondly,  as one of the foundations of modern conservatism is an adherence to the basic principles of Westphalian diplomacy which calls for respecting the national sovereignty of all states irrespective of one’s personal feelings about those states, it is pitifully hypocritical that those who wish their own countries to remain unmolested by foreign regimes to call for the political molestation of legally defined Chinese territory.

Most absurdly though is the reality that some people claiming to be conservatives wish that the UK government bestows upon every indigenous Hong Konger what is today oddly referred to as “British citizenship” (as opposed to the more fundamentally logical title “British subject”). The irrational rationale behind such a call is that because of Hong Kong was once part of the British Empire, Hong Kongers should even today be considered British in the eyes of British law rather than Chinese as they are considered in the eyes of the rest of the entire world. *

If this logic was extrapolated further, it would mean that in the year 2019, an Indian in India who never set foot on the British isles was somehow British. The same would ostensibly apply to those born in and living in places as diverse in terms of geography and culture as Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Jamaica, Trinidad, Pakistan and Zimbabwe among many others.

As hardly anyone is today arguing that there is no fundamental difference between an English person in England, an Indian in India or a Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe, why should different rules apply to a part of China that was once part of the British Empire?

It is worth bearing in mind that centrist and liberal opinion in both the UK and US is that white South African farmers have no automatic right to permanently return to the European lands of their ancestors whether such a land is Britain, France, Ireland or The Netherlands. Crucially, the conservative voices who have argued that white South Africans should have such a right should they seek it (as a great many do) did not make such arguments based on the premise of a shared imperial history but instead made such arguments based on the premise of a shared cultural history.

Far from being a unique or radical argument, those in favour of providing an easy way for white South Africans to return to the European lands of their forefathers base their argument on the principle of jus sanguinis nationality. Incidentally, the principle of jus sanguinis nationality forms the basis of nationality laws in virtually all of Europe, Africa and Asia. This contrasts with the jus soli nationality laws which are more prominent in the Americas.

In any case, the concept of jus sanguinis can hardly be applied in its orthodox understanding to the people of Hong Kong. The only way in which those indigenous to Hong Kong have any connection to any western country is through an imperial lineage rather than through a national or cultural lineage. As such, the people of Hong Kong’s position vis-a-vis Britain is no different than those in India or Kenya except for the fact that whilst India and Kenya are in the Commonwealth, China is (for reasons which should be obvious) is not.

Therefore, one can assume that those who believe that Hong Kongers are British rather than Chinese, but that the people of Hyderabad are Indian rather than British must have made something of a racialist determination that they would prefer to associate themselves with Chinese people born in Hong Kong rather than with Indian people born in Hyderabad, Kenyans born in Niobe or Jamaicans born in Kingston.

Either one is to have an empire or one is not and few believe that the British Empire is going to comeback any more than the Mongolian, Achaemenid or Roman Empires are going to comeback. It is therefore time for people to stop lying to themselves and to instead respect Chinese sovereignty and culture just as one in Britain or in any other country would expect China respect their sovereignty.

One can try to bend or even discard logic in order to make arguments to the contrary but if one does such a thing, he or she cannot be taken seriously as anything other than a liberal imperialist.

 

 

 

* This is so in spite of the great piece of humbug known as British National (Overseas) status. So useless is this status is that does not grant one the right to live in any single nation – not Britain and not in any China including Hong Kong.

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