Sunday, June 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The not-so-famed diplomacy

The situation in Hong Kong is a mess created by the British 

Update : 08 Aug 2019, 12:04 AM

The British are proud of their diplomacy to the extent that they defend their diplomats and their statements, no matter how ingratiating they may be.

The latest example of a leaked email -- in which their ambassador to the United States used undiplomatic language such as “inept” to describe the Trump administration -- almost led to a diplomatic war of words and leaves it to the imagination as to what else might have been said. 

Britain was left licking their wounds after Sir Kim resigned his position with little tears shed and the incoming PM Boris Johnson refusing to take a stand. That their diplomacy has caused many a ruckus in the past is best exemplified by the partition of India and more recently the “handing over” of Hong Kong to the Chinese.

In 1947, in their infinite wisdom, they employed Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who had never before set foot on India, to coarsely divide a country into two and thereby stoking the embers of a fire that burns today and has since seen another separation in the creation of Bangladesh. Until today, resentment simmers at the way.

Through the strike of a pen, India was divided for the worse rather than the better and it transcended the so-called religion-based division thanks to political in-sagacity. 

They then conveniently washed their hands of the resultant turmoil, bloodbath, and unholy displacement of over a million people. In so doing, they did away with the immense potential that they themselves undid when they colonized and further emaciated after 1947.

It would appear Hong Kong is headed to a similar situation. Having painstakingly created an economic hub, they agreed to let China hold supremacy, albeit in fine print.

Over eight weeks, Hong Kong, known as one of the safest places in the world, has been the scene of general protests broken up not just by riot police but also the triads. 

And all over the issue of extradition of purported wrong-doers to mainland China for trials. 

The resultant outburst, mostly among the young population, has caused the Chief Administrator Kim to withdraw the offending bill and opened up new questions about exactly how much control China should have over the territory.

Somewhat akin to the yellow jacket protests of France, Hong Kong residents are protesting the governance they are under and seeking amendments to the democracy (or lack of it) that they are subject to.

The withdrawal of the extradition bill is apparently not enough to soothe frayed nerves. Hong Kong residents now want a democracy that suits modern day and times, in effect challenging the diplomatic agreement that the British agreed to with China. 

The journey is fraught with danger since one of the articles of that agreement -- namely number 14 -- allows for the People’s Liberation Army to intervene if there is a territorial threat to Hong Kong or if social unrest bubbles up. For now the Chinese have restrained themselves to a strongly worded protest only. 

How long their patience lasts is the question that is up in the air. It is a patience that has to be tempered by the successful capitalist economy of the territory that few want to meddle with. And it’s just another mess of British creation. 

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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