Simon Jenkins (Britain can’t protect Hong Kong from China – but it can do right by its people, 2 July) powerfully ridicules the imperial pretensions of 21st-century Britain, yet at the same time expresses precisely that viewpoint in his statement that Hong Kong’s freedoms are a “legacy, however brief, from the British crown”.
On the contrary, it was only as a result of China having stood up in the world and thus having become an equal negotiating partner with Britain in the matter that the people of Hong Kong gained the right to a democratic vote on their future, something that would have been unthinkable during the century-and-a-half of British colonial rule.
I am particularly concerned by his statement that many of the over 100,000 Chinese students in Britain feel “dubious loyalty to their own regime” and are “therefore now at risk”, and that they “need encouraging and protecting from the new laws”.
As a university lecturer who teaches many of these students, I object to the implication that I should “encourage” those among them who are of “dubious loyalty” to what he refers to as their “regime”. Indeed, this explicit call to recruit students as tools of foreign interference would result precisely in exposing them to even greater risk of what, in the case of Hong Kong, Jenkins terms the “ruthlessness of Beijing’s repression” or what is, in reality, the implementation of regrettable measures that have been forced upon them by the flagrant whipping-up of anti-Chinese hysteria by such champions of democracy as Trump and his supporters in this, the former colonial power.
Dr Hugh Goodacre
Department of Economics, University College London
• While the government’s intention to introduce new routes for those with British national status to enter the UK is compassionate it is not likely to reverse the Chinese leadership’s policy. This would be more effectively accomplished by hitting China in the wallet through significantly reducing the import of goods made in China. In addition to making it clear to China that illegal actions have consequences, it would offer the double benefit of providing the opportunity for the UK and Europe to re-establish industries that once made the goods we now import, and create employment for those whose jobs will be lost through the pandemic.
• Now that Dominic Raab is opening our doors to 3 million Hongkongers, can he and the Johnson government explain the logic and morality used for this? I was told that post-Brexit the UK is to “take back its borders” and to limit immigration. The long-term Home Office policy of harm, cruelty and repeatedly broken promises continues to be practised against Commonwealth friends, particularly the rightful presence of Windrush-generation Jamaicans. How is lack of positive action for them and enthusiastic encouragement for Hongkongers balanced?
• How wonderful that the Home Office, praised by Dominic Raab, has been able to resolve the situation of those with BNO status in Hong Kong so speedily. How strange that the Home Office has failed for decades to resolve the situation of Windrush victims, most of whom are already in the UK, except for those unjustly deported to their alleged homes in the Caribbean.
• Pleased though I am that we are apparently to offer potential citizenship to over 2 million Hong Kong inhabitants, I can’t help comparing this to our inability to cater for a few hundred child refugees seeking to be reunited with their families, or indeed a few thousand Windrush citizens.
Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire