How Hong Kong People View Margaret Thatcher’s Death
On Monday, Margaret Thatcher, the former British
Prime Minister, died of a stroke at the age of 87.
Although she left the political arena several years ago,
many Hong Kong people cannot forget how she fell down
the steps of the Great Hall in Beijing, 31 years ago.
Her very fall set off the negotiations for
the future of Hong Kong.
In 1984, Margaret Thatcher signed the
Sino-British Joint Declaration.
It stated that Hong Kong would be handed over to
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1997,
Did Margaret Thatcher treat the people of
Hong Kong fairly and justly?
Let’s hear the views and comments from diverse sources.
In 1982, when Margaret Thatcher visited China,
she proposed “sovereignty in exchange for the right to rule”
to Deng Xiaoping, the former CCP leader.
But, Deng declined her offer.
After several rounds of negotiations until 1984, the British
agreed to surrender its sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.
At the end of 1984, Thatcher signed the Sino-British Joint
Declaration with the Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang in Beijing.
Mrs. Thatcher said in a BBC interview that
she was saddened by the returning of Hong Kong.
Was Thatcher fair to the people of Hong Kong?
Opinions are mixed – from all walks of life.
Jin Zhong, editor-in-Chief of the “Open" magazine,
said that Margaret Thatcher was a great politician,
and she made a great contribution to one country-two
systems, democracy, and freedom in Hong Kong.
Jin Zhong:"It actually should be returning the
sovereignty over Hong Kong in accordance with the statutory official name.
In reality, the sovereignty over Hong Kong
has been returned, but not the right to rule.
The right to rule comes from the people of
Hong Kong, not from the CCP.
I believe that Hong Kong’s one country-two systems,
freedom and democracy process are inseparable from
Margaret Thatcher’s efforts and contribution.”
However, the principles of “one country, two systems",
and “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" for 50 years,
have already turned into the CCP’s
“partisan ruling of Hong Kong".
After 16 years, not even one person has been elected
by one person, one vote;
people in Hong Kong have been brainwashed;
and simplified characters replace traditional characters.
These issues made hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong
People take their protests to the streets in March.
According to a poll, Hong Kong media reported that
92% of Hong Kong people support the return of Hong Kong to the UK.
Wang Anran, columnist of the Hong Kong Economic Journal,
criticized Thatcher on Face Book, lamenting that
she is the source of Hong Kong people’s suffering today.
Having had British nationality as citizens;
In 1979, Thatcher modified the nationality law,
and Hong Kong people with a British nationality
would not be considered British citizens.
After the Tiananmen incident in 1989,
Thatcher refused to grant Hong Kong people rights
to reside in the UK.
A Twitter user: “Margaret Thatcher could have
gone down gloriously in history,
but unfortunately her actions in later years were
immoral — selling Hong Kong to the tyrants.
She will be nailed on the shame cross of history forever.”
Liu Ruishao, political commentator said that
during the negotiations with China,
Hong Kong was only a bargaining chip for the British
in order to gain the best interests for themselves.
Zhang Chengjue, independent Hong Kong writer,
points out that
judging a person should follow historical conditions,
we cannot divorce historical characters from reality.
“Residency in the UK was not significant.
People from Hong Kong want a UK residency as insurance.
They may not go or live in Great Britain.
However, for the citizens of England, it would be
a disaster if one or two million refugees suddenly flooded in from Hong Kong.”
Regarding Margaret Thatcher making a compromise to the CCP,
Zhang believes that that was an inevitable trend because
the UK could no longer confront the power of the CCP.
Zhang Chengjue: “We should confirm that
Margaret Thatcher was a very significant historical figure.
She adhered to liberty and opposed communism.
She made a great contribution to the collapse of
the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe Block.
If her actions were for the interests of the UK,
that was nothing odd.
As a leader of the country, she must first safeguard
the interests of its people, which should be beyond reproach.”
Margaret Thatcher is the only female Prime Minister
in British history.
She became Prime Minister in May 1979, was re-elected
in June 1983, and resigned in November 1990.
She teamed up with U.S. President Ronald Reagan
to fight against Communists.
In domestic affairs, Margaret Thatcher saved
the country from the ravages of socialism.
That greatly impacted many Commonwealth
countries and Hong Kong.