On 17 August 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement on the evolving situation in Hong Kong stressing that the Kingdom respects the long standing “One China Policy” and regards the ongoing situation in Hong Kong as China’s domestic affairs.
The statement reads: “Cambodia supports necessary measures of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to maintain peace, public order, national security, social cohesiveness and harmony in accordance with its domestic laws and regulations as well as international practice”.
The statement reflects Cambodia’s consistent position on the respect for the non-interference principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter and other international legal instruments.
Cambodia is the first Southeast Asian country showing solidarity with China over the Hong Kong protests.
Cambodia has been the victim of foreign interferences for centuries since the collapse of the Khmer Empire in the late 15th century.
Hong Kong protests can be regarded as early signs of potential colour revolution- a mass protest aiming to change the regime or to delegitimize and stop the functioning of the state system.
Cambodia has its own concern over potential colour revolution. Since 2013, the government has taken strict measures to curb and eliminate potential threats to national security and public order.
In this aspect, the ongoing chaos in Hong Kong serves as a stark reminder, what could be and indeed will be if mass protests are allowed to take place unhindered as it could quickly escalate into total breakdown in law and order and social security.
In the case of Hong Kong, what started as a protest against a single legislative issue has now become full blown regime change push such as independence, resignation of the current leadership and violent protests.
Violence begets violence and the passive approach of the Hong Kong police did not see a de-escalation but rather into full blown street battles. Cambodia has seen this many times, the last in 2013 and 2014.
Prevention is better than cure. The authority must take preventive measures to defuse mass movement and large-scale protests.
Some countries have taken the opportunities to interfere into domestic affairs of others under the banner of democracy and human rights for their own narrow geostrategic interests.
China has accused the US and the UK for interfering into its domestic affairs. The US called Beijing a “thuggish regime” and the UK called for probe into Hong Kong protests. The US President Donald Trump even tied trade deal with China’s move on Hong Kong.
From the Chinese point of view such interventions aim to destabilize and humiliate Hong Kong and the whole China.
Chinese people still remember vividly the Opium War and a century of humiliation. Learning from such bitter history, China will never tolerate foreign intervention and stand firm and tall against those countries that apply double standards and interventionism.
The unfolding social unrest in Hong Kong has forced China to stay on high alert to take all necessary measures to help Hong Kong restore public order and stability. There is a thin possibility that the state of emergency will be declared if things go out of control.
Peace and stability are the foundations of development and democracy. It could fast vanish into thin air if there are no constant efforts and strong leadership to sustain peace and stability.
The countries that believe in rules-based international order should stand up to protect the basic principle of international relations: non-interference.
As a victim of foreign interference and humiliation, Cambodia stands united with those countries that share similar experiences and perspective.
- Tags: Hong Kong