Cognitive warfare on Hong Kong continues to fail
Published: Mar 21, 2024 08:19 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/ GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/ GT

The legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has been completed. Prior to and following this procedure, anti-China forces in the US and the West have repeatedly manipulated public opinion, denigrating Article 23 legislation and continuously disparaging Hong Kong. 

True gold fears no fire. Today, most people worldwide have full confidence in Hong Kong's future. According to a survey released by HKSAR government in December last year, there were 9,039 companies in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas or on the mainland in 2023, which saw a recovery to pre-pandemic high levels. Also, the number of start-ups reached a record 4,257, up 272 from last year. These data undoubtedly serve as a powerful rebuttal to external smears, fully demonstrating Hong Kong's continued attractiveness for investment. 

The "cognitive warfare" waged by anti-China forces against Hong Kong follows a similar pattern, with mainly three types of arguments. The first claims that Hong Kong's status will be "replaced" by another region, such as Singapore, or other Chinese cities such as Macao, Shenzhen or Shanghai. In fact, Hong Kong and Singapore engage in healthy competition. Hong Kong and other Chinese cities complement each other rather than compete with each other. Hong Kong is irreplaceable, and the key lies in Hong Kong's own efforts to seize development opportunities and fulfill its role as a "super connector." With the full support of China's central government, Hong Kong, backed by the motherland and connected to the world, is far from being "replaced."

The second argument is that Hong Kong is becoming "mainlandized." In 2020, former US president Donald Trump announced that the US government will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment. In reality, it is not Hong Kong that has changed, but against the backdrop of intense geopolitical maneuvering and escalating tensions in China-US relations, anti-China forces are increasingly using Hong Kong to try to suppress China's rise. Obviously, these offensives have not been effective, and Hong Kong's uniqueness and advantages remain intact. Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, its free and open business environment and its seamless international connections have not been affected. Assessment reports from the International Monetary Fund continue to affirm Hong Kong's status as a major international financial center. In the Fraser Institute's "Economic Freedom of the World: 2023 Annual Report," Hong Kong continues to rank second in the world in terms of economic freedom. 

The third type of argument is even more exaggerated, it says that Hong Kong is "over." As a matter of fact, the city is still a major center for financial and trade as well as a shipping center in the world, and the prospects for the development of other industries are also very bright. With the full support of the central government and various unique advantages, including geographical advantages, business-friendly policies and a simple and low tax system, there is no doubt that Hong Kong has a bright future. There is no other explanation for all the deliberate smears, which are ignorant of the facts, other than ill intent.

All these arguments have only one objective, that is, to undermine the confidence of Hong Kong residents as well as global investors and talents in the city's development. Therefore, we must have a more correct understanding of Hong Kong under "one country, two systems," set the right direction of development and have firm confidence in ourselves.

At present, Hong Kong is still recovering from the disturbasnce caused by the 2019 riots and the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic development of various countries and regions is under pressure as the global economy is experiencing an overall downturn while conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip continue to drag on. In 2023, Singapore's GDP growth was only 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's was 3.2 percent. In the face of the same complex external factors, Hong Kong's economic performance is slightly better. Does this not clearly show a manifestation of the unique advantages of "one country, two systems"?

The anti-China forces in the US and the West attempted to fabricate the "China collapse" theory, however, their attempts have failed. Now they want to play the same trick on Hong Kong, but they are fooling themselves if they think the result will be any different this time. Those who smear Hong Kong will only harm themselves, while all those who attack Hong Kong will only be hoisted with their own petard.

The author is a Legislative Council Member of Hong Kong and President of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn