Author Archives: Nicholas Chan

We need to respect asylum seekers’ choice of a new home, and streamline access to safe routes

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It is quite easy to over-simplify the situation asylum seekers face. Learning from my foster child’s personal experience, I can see that complex nature, which I would never learn from my years of psychology training. Understanding refugees takes a combined effort from Westminster and the public to be in touch with the hearts and minds of the thousands fleeing to our shores.

We must accept refugees realise life challenges await in their chosen refuge even before they set off. Strange as it may sound, “a better place to live” is not the pulling factor for sanctuary. I realise my foster child is extremely perplexed each time one of her friends back home has a day in court. Self-isolating then dwells within the mind. It is why asylum seekers will try whatever means necessary to arrive at a country where they share distant relatives or a similar culture or simply an unexplainable innate feeling that they can become accustomed to the new place.

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The silence from the Government on the Winter Olympics in Beijing is eerie

When a person here at home comes forward to say they are sexually assaulted, we expect a criminal investigation. We also expect debates in our legislations and police funding why further crimes are not prevented. What we will not expect is for the victim to be disappeared and reappeared by a state media while there is neither investigation nor freedom for the person being sexually assaulted to be approached. In China, when tennis star Peng Shuai accused former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, she is confined into further danger and injustice. Our Government has stayed eerily quiet when major sporting events are held in countries with tarnished human rights records. While sources say Downing Street is mulling the diplomatic boycott we call for, the continuous inaction is fuelling legitimacy for the autocratic regime.

The Chinese Communist Party loves to portray sports. While Hollywood sometimes glorify breaking the curse of the ‘Sick Man of Asia”, Beijing is just as fascinated pushing for strengthening physique with national figureheads. Chinese leaders are shown swimming against fierce waves in the Yellow River. When President Xi does not swim, he is demonstrated to enjoy football. Probably he may also think it is not worth ending his President for life title in the Yellow River. It is interesting David Cameron played along with the Chinese leader in his portrayal, giving him a visit to Manchester City during Xi’s state visit. It is another ignorance to the fact the Chinese leadership always has a hidden agenda. The Winter Olympics simply cannot improve human rights record in China. In fact, allowing Beijing 2022 to be held normally will contribute to the Chinese party’s narrative.

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Evergrande and China’s controlled rosy picture hanging by a thread

China’s economy is heavily skewed towards property development and the policy derives from party factional wars to control wealth, power and influence. Evergrande is part of this vicious cycle. This resulted in property value accounting for 71.35% of household wealth (Li & Fan, 2020). Similarly, this out of proportion asset balance is reflected in the Chinese political system disproportionate logic of a balance of power. It is important to understand the complication of this economic model so one is not fooled by the rosy pictures when China’s economy is portrayed.

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Reflection on Vince Cable’s article “Shouting at China over alleged Uighur genocide won’t help” in The Independent

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I am at disbelief at Vince Cable’s assessment of the atrocities faced by the Uighurs people and the allusion of self-censorship based on emotional feelings in his article in The Independent yesterday.

The Uighurs are indeed facing a crisis and consequences of genocide that requires international attention. The 38th parallel between North and South Korea can sometimes be comparable to a pristine natural reserve, but one will not celebrate such as an achievement. The economic progress in China may also be a beauty. However, it is pushed forwards by the same autocratic regime that self-inflicted a famine causing the death of 1/3 of its population. Should then the fortune of economic progress be a remedy in consideration of atrocities and corruption by parties in the Chinese regime?

Vince noted he accepted sterilisation occurred to Uighurs in Xinjiang, however denies it amounts to genocide. I disagree with this interpretation. Indeed sterilisation is an occurrence to support the One Child Policy. Yet, the Uighurs population is noted to be put into forced sterilisation programmes in facilities where they do not have the freedom to venture about or out. These are the concentration camps appearing around Xinjiang noted by satellite pictures and filmed by the BBC.

Vince’s argument is that because there are other races and people of different beliefs who are caught up with the acts of sterilisation, therefore when ethnic Uighurs faced internment at facilities and then are put through sterilisation, ergo the lack of genocide. If this interpretation is correct, then one can apply a denial to Auschwitz because more than one group of people are being systematically mistreated and killed. I find the notion of denial disturbing and will utmost disagree to any denial of genocide.

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Britain’s stick – The Hong Kong Bill (Part 2)

Regardless of political affiliations, we can agree that Britain must find its voice on Hong Kong. In the last article we looked at the Hong Kong Bill correcting historic irregularities on British Nationality. The Right of Abode for British Nationals (Overseas) British passport holders is UK’s crucial response to protect all her people. It is also a tangible action, since it provides passage to these Isles. Yet, our diplomatic approach should be proactive and capable to respond to future threats.

Therefore, we move on to the next provisions of the Hong Kong Bill.

A regular report on the safety of British nationals in Hong Kong is necessary and it will provide the guidance to enact sanctions on person(s) or institution(s) if necessary. The Chinese government have made it clear that the National Security Law forced upon Hong Kong will be conducted under Chinese concepts. Special courts will be set up and legal representatives must be Chinese nationals.

So what makes ‘Chinese legal concepts’ so worrying? Under Chinese Law as simple as reporting, suggesting or researching meteorological data, outbreak of diseases like the situation in Wuhan back in December 2019 and food safety without authorisation or adhering to official lines is considered as subverting national security. China also rules by law instead of applying the rule of law. Its courts are known to protect the Party first and foremost when cases are heard.

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Britain’s stick – The Hong Kong Bill (Part 1)

Yesterday, we provided evidence that China’s salami crackdowns are as sinister as a Tiananmen massacre crackdown. ( Article: Fallacy of reasoning from ‘crackdown’ to actions – The new TianAnMen crackdown) Some have wondered what sticks on Peking can be employed by Britain. The Lib Dem Campaigners for Hong Kong campaign for the Hong Kong Bill in 2 parts – 1. Sanctions, and 2. BN(O) rights.

Let us first look at the lighter portion of the bill – #2 BN(O) rights.

British Nationals (Overseas) passport holders are holders of a British passport and a British National. Applicants took up the nationality to agree with the British identity. While no European countries, including multi-nationality pre-unified Germany, forbids right of abode to some of their nationals; Britain created a second-class nationality for Hong Kong. China looks at nationals lightly too. From the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen massacre, and from locking up Uyghurs in concentration camps to arresting Wuhan doctors who suggested the outbreak of Covid-19; Peking never shy away from human sacrifices in return for Party order. Is it Global Britain to suggest it too cannot protect all her nationals because of political considerations? Even till early this year, the government is anxious about offending China as if considering our immigration matters is sailing gunboats up the South China Sea. Peking must be laughing now. Even with its problems in the pandemic, Peking’s leadership follows Sun Tzu’s doctrine of warfare to the latter to seek attack when all others are in crisis, for this is to emphasise superiority (敵之害大,就勢取利,剛決柔也。). Simply put, “Loot a burning house”. Peking is invalidating a race – the Hongkongers, and British interests in Hong Kong as we battle the Coronavirus pandemic. The word ‘compassion’ was never in its vocabulary. Of course, we are a nation of ethical and moral values, perhaps, only with a short-sighted government. Whether it is a Rule Britannia pride, economic greed because of the average wealth of a potential migrant from Hong Kong or honouring social liberal values; it does rest upon our shoulders to show we stand up for Hong Kong.

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Fallacy of reasoning from ‘crackdown’ to actions – The new TianAnMen crackdown

In the next few days, Peking will unitarily make the final move to complete her takeover and eliminate the ‘one country two systems’ (‘1C2S’) from Hong Kong. Throughout history, the people of Hong Kong have pushed for higher degree of autonomy and democracy because it is the best defence to their culture and race. The democracy movement was magnified by large-scale protests and aggressions, when China pinned in the final nail to liberty and freedom by getting Carrie Lam to enact the Extradition Bill through dubious legislative procedures in

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Preaching to confine Hong Kong to the Basic Law is wishful thinking

Thus we left Hong Kong to her fate and hope that Martin Lee, the Leader of the Democrats, would not be arrested

wrote HRH Prince Charles in his diaries as Britannia left Hong Kong on 1 July 1997. Prince Charles’s scepticism harks back to years of brain drain as young professionals lined up to migrate in the 1990s. The Hong Kong people will never give up in fulfilling their destiny to protect their way of life. For those who remained in Hong Kong, they tread carefully. Their only firewall now between Red China and the Island was the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the 18 April Hong Kong’s Night of the Long Knives is evident that solely entrusting Hong Kong’s future and rule of law to the Basic Law is futile.

Martin Lee is amongst the handful (literally) of liberal politicians invited to draft the Basic Law. Following the TianAnMen Massacre and years of neglect, he found his position in the Drafting Committee untenable. Indeed, in her book Underground Front, Christine Loh noted that Peking have always only wanted legal advisors who are patriotic to the Communist regime. Hong Kong was never given the opportunity of a referendum on the constitution. Crucially, a constitution should be the guiding legal principles to bind the Administration(s) to the rule of law, and based on the framework citizens can bring the Executive to justice. On the contrary, Peking and its interference on subsequent HK Chief Executives, demonstrates its view that it is the citizen’s responsibility to respect and obey the Basic Law’s power wholeheartedly based on interpretations Peking sees fit.

More importantly, the Basic Law is flawed because Peking, holding on to Reserved Powers, is a regime with no respect to the rules-based international order. FCO archives writes “NPC Standing Committee thus retains a power of interpretation of provisions of the BL which are within the SAR’s autonomy, and such interpretations will be binding on the SAR courts … would compromise the autonomy of the SAR judicial system.” Furthermore, Deng XiaoPing has been referenced to say ‘HK affairs should not all be handled by HK people.’ It is conspicuous Peking was never ready to give Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy. Verily, the Chinese Communist Party works on the utilitarianism of Party survival no matter the sacrifices of its image, social culture and people. In a power stability, Mao was ready to inflict the Cultural Revolution; Deng to roll the tanks; and Xi to cover-up on Covid-19. Besides, this is further multiplied by the ingrained Chinese belief of 山高皇帝遠 ‘the lands are vast, but the emperor is far away’. Hunger and fear and without representations are not the recipe to engage all reserved powers at the slightest dissent.

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It’s Time for Tangible Support for Hong Kong

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A famous Chinese idiom story is about Liu Bang agreeing on a truce with Xiang Yu; both then forging a treaty of brotherhood. In reality, it was a scheme against Xiang Yu, who is a better battle commander.

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