Thai scholar Anek Laothamatas speaks during an interview with Chinese media in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug. 28, 2019. Hong Kong young people should learn more about the history of Hong Kong as well as China to get rid of illusions about the West, Anek Laothamatas said. (Xinhua)
BANGKOK, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Some Hong Kong young people should learn more about the history of Hong Kong as well as China to get rid of illusions about the West, Thai scholar Anek Laothamatas said.
"I think many protesters forgot the history that Hong Kong was taken from China by the British empire by force," Anek said in a pool interview with Chinese media recently.
The British empire sold opium to poison Chinese to get benefit and then China fought back, rightfully, by confiscating and destroying the opium supplies in the early 19th century, which was answered by British gunboats, he said, adding that some Americans also joined the opium trade to China as well.
China, very weak at that time, was defeated and signed the Treaty of Nanking, which forced China to cede the Hong Kong Island to the British, followed by Kowloon after the Second Opium War in 1856.
The British empire also sought to expand their colony by forcing China to "lease" the New Territories, he noted.
The colonization of Hong Kong was a humiliation to China, which shows the weakness of the country with a long history at that time, he said.
"I still remembered the scene when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997, the Union Jack came down and the Five-starred Red Flag went up, I was excited then as it was very difficult to achieve the peaceful handover," Anek said.
He criticized some radical protesters for holding the national flags of the United Kingdom and the United States during those protests, pointing out that "they have no sense of responsibility."
"Hong Kong is part of China," he said. "It seems they have forgotten the humiliation of being colonized and those bad things that Western colonizers had done to the Chinese people."
Recently, Anek also posted an article in Thai on Facebook to explain the situation in Hong Kong to Thais.
Titled "Hong Kong: past, present and future," he wrote in the article that the British colonizers, who always advocate respecting human rights, only wanted profits when they shamelessly smuggled opium to China and chose to be blind to the great harm that opium had done to Chinese people.
Anek suggested that education should be emphasized to let the Hong Kong youth learn more about Hong Kong's history to get rid of the illusion among some of them about the West.
The Thai scholar also added during the interview that some radical protesters in the past two months tried to anger the Hong Kong police on purpose to make the situation worse.
Describing these radical protesters as ill-intentioned who wanted to make it a "color revolution" to ask for support from the West, he said "that could never be successful."
The Thai scholar also criticized some media that see China in a Cold War mindset as they ignored that China is now a very pragmatic country and a upholder of free trade and globalization.
He spoke highly of China's "one country, two systems" principle.
Under the "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong kept thriving, he said, the special administrative region developed in a faster speed than it was under the British rule, "so I can say 'one country, two systems' is successful."
Anek said both in his article and in his interview with the Chinese media that Hong Kong is a wonderful place for shopping and tourism in Thai people's eyes and he hoped the chaos and disturbances could end soon in Hong Kong.