Amid rising tensions between two global superpowers, China and the US, over the new security laws imposed on Hong Kong, a Chinese expert claims that the United States-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) helped fund the riots in Hong Kong last year.
According to Timothy Kerswell, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at the University of Macao, various western governments have invested a lot of time, effort and resources into Hong Kong to destabilize the city and China.
Theoretically, NED is a private non-profit organisation set up to promote democracy abroad. The NED receives funds from the annual budget of the US which is ratified by US Congress and is subject to congressional oversight even though it’s a private organisation. NED is prohibited to fund political parties.
According to its official website, NED poured more than $642,000 in 2019 in Hong Kong. “If we follow the money, we can find NED the Solidarity Center, which the U.S. government has used since the Cold War.
But to mobilize labour unions in other countries for its political purposes, the solidarity centre then funds the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, which was one of the main forces of the 2019 chaos,” said Kerswell in an interview to CGTN.
The above mentioned Solidarity Centre donated $194,710 with an objective of “expanding worker rights and democracy, and promote the development of civil society in Hong Kong”.
In 2019, Hong Kong witnessed a series of violent protests when China introduced an extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The critics of the bill believed that it would increase China’s influence over the semi-autonomous city.
They believed that it would endanger the lives of activists and journalists. The bill was withdrawn indefinitely by Hong Kong’s Chief Carrie Lam after at least two students were killed during the clashes between the police and the protestors. The protests received global support with rallies taking place in the UK, France, US, Canada and Australia.
Recently, lawmakers in the US have introduced a bill that would allow sanctions on China against anyone violating “China’s obligations to Hong Kong under the [Sino-British] Joint Declaration and the Basic Law”. President Donald Trump has reiterated that his administration would soon “do something” about the situation.
In the backdrop of rising tensions between the US and China since last year’s trade war which has now taken a new turn after Donald Trump brazenly blamed China for coronavirus and even threatened to cut “all ties” with China.
According to the Chinese government mouthpiece, Global Times, China is determined to push forward the national security legislation for Hong Kong and has been prepared for any possible reaction from the US.
It further stated that in the face of US aggression, China should adopt a calm mentality and be prepared to engage in a long-term battle with the US. It stated that Hong Kong is under China’s sovereignty, and whatever act Washington passes is just wastepaper.
The editorial further added that decoupling is the last trump card the US has and it will not resort to a military showdown with Beijing due to China’s powerful nuclear deterrence and military strength.
“Bullying and interference is really just part of the American political DNA and nobody should really expect the United States to behave any better than this,” observed Kerswell in reference to the US-China trade war last year and the current diplomatic US relations with Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.
He further added that Australia has a habit of following the US in its foreign policy decisions even when it doesn’t serve them. “Australia is highly dependent on China economically and would really benefit a lot from a better diplomatic relationship with China, but that’s never going to happen while Australia immediately follows the US like some kind of well-trained pet,” said Kerswell.
He concluded by saying that western governments are scared of losing Hong Kong as a base where they can attack China and cause problems, whether it’s separatism or religious fundamentalism or domestic terrorism.
Penned By Smriti Chaudhary