The recent article by British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire saying that Britain stands ready to help Hong Kong in its move towards full universal suffrage has brought the expected response from the pro-Beijing crowd, all indignant at the idea that China could possibly have anything to learn from foreigners (funny how many of them, including Chief Executive CY Leung, send their kids to British schools - not to mention that China officially proclaims its allegiance to a political creed originated by a German Jew).
NPC member Rita Fan, one of the many leading political figures in Hong Kong who loyally served the British for years before suddenly discovering their latent Chinese patriotism in 1997, warned people not to be naive about offers of help, saying her experience tells her that governments always have their own hidden agendas (TVB news, 5 October). So Rita, what's the hidden agenda behind all these offers of "help" and "cooperation" that Hong Kong keeps receiving from your friends up North?
In reality, most "hidden" agendas are pretty transparent. In this case, Britain has several interests: to ensure the continued successful implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the "one country, two systems" principle , lest it be accused of having sold out the people of Hong Kong; to be seen as a champion of democracy; and (most importantly) to maintain stability and the rule of law in Hong Kong in order to keep it safe for continued British trade and investment.
Meanwhile China seeks to earn the love of Hong Kong people and give them a warm cuddly feeling towards the motherland, with a long-term aim of transitioning from "two systems" to "one country" So far, many of its efforts in that direction seem to have backfired; flooding us with mainland tourists to help our economy has earned Beijing more enemies than friends here. Nevertheless, they will keep trying to balance the stick of stern warnings to behave ourselves with the carrot of economic incentives.