China

Hong Kong’s Special Status Could Be Abolished If It Threatens China’s National Unity, Officials Say

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On Saturday (29/04) Chief Executive CY Leung opened the Symposium in Commemoration of the 27th Anniversary of the Promulgation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law. Chinese and Hong Kong officials who attended the event expressed unprecedented criticism of the ‘one country, two systems‘ formula under which Hong Kong retained autonomous status after being handed over to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by the government of the United Kingdom in 1997.

The Chief Executive stated in his keynote speech that Hong Kong‘s high degree of autonomy has been granted to the Special Administrative Region by the central government in Beijing and that autonomy does not equal independence. CY Leung emphasized that the ‘two systems’ framework is subordinate to the concept of ‘one country’.

Leung further rejected the idea of Hong Kong independence.

“Recently some people have raised the question of the status of Hong Kong after 2047,” he said. “Article 5 of the Basic Law states that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will not adopt the socialist system and will maintain its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years … but it does not state that the country’s sovereignty over Hong Kong could change after 50 years.”

Wang Zhenmin, legal chief of the central government’s liaison office, slammed Hong Kong’s independence movement, arguing that ‘one country’ is the precondition for the ‘two systems’, and that if this precondition is under threat, Hong Kong’s autonomy could be “difficult to maintain.”

“Now some supporters of Hong Kong’s independence have infiltrated institutions and campuses,” he was quoted as saying. “The country is bitterly disappointed with this development.  If the ‘two systems’ make it impossible to maintain the Basic Law’s principle of ‘one country’ … if the ‘two systems’ become an obstacle to ‘one country’ and are even used as a pretext to promote independence, if the country feels unsafe and its very existence is called into question, then any country would find it difficult to maintain the ‘two systems’ arrangement.”

Wang added that in order to implement the ‘one country, two systems’ formula, there should be mutual trust between the central government and the Hong Kong authorities, and the people of Hong Kong should not neglect the principle of national unity.

One day earlier Wang Zhenmin had said at a forum in Hong Kong that “the people who insult China the most are not in America or Europe, but in Hong Kong,” adding that he hoped the Hong Kong people could “understand the logic and reasoning of the country, and show basic respect and reverence for the country’s system.”


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