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China warns Hong Kong not to challenge

Posted May. 01, 2017 07:26,   

Updated May. 01, 2017 07:56


If the "one country, two systems principle" assuring Hong Kong’s autonomy is used to challenge China, it could be scrapped, a warning has been issued. In a seminar marking the 27th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Basic Law of Hong Kong on Saturday, Wang Zhenmin, the legal chief for the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, made the remarks, saying, “The one country, two systems principle was applied to achieve peaceful unification between China and Hong Kong. One country should prevail two systems.”

“If the principle distorts and dampens one country, its leeway and conditions will disappear,” stressed Wang, who served as dean of Tsinghua University Law College. “The Hong Kong people should accept in their minds that Hong Kong’s sovereignty has returned to China forever. If Hong Kong challenges to China’s national security (through separation and independence movement), the highly autonomous space will inevitably shrink as well," Wang said. “In Hong Kong, one country, two systems principle is a giant experiment, and if it fails, China will (only) lose face, but Hong Kong will also lose everything.” On controversy over China’s support of a pro-Beijing candidate in March’s election of the Hong Kong chief executive, Wang said, “China just exercised its sovereignty, and it is no different from the situation wherein you cannot claim that the brain is interfering with arms and legs.”

“Wang’s remarks suggest the possibility for China not to keep its promise,” said Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai who values Hong Kong’s autonomy and democracy. “Under the Basic Law on Hong Kong, the rights that the Chinese government can exercise on Hong Kong are restricted to diplomacy and national defense.”

In December 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese President Deng Xiaoping announced a "U.K. -China Joint Statement" as the two leaders reached agreement on Hong Kong’s status after its return to China. The two sides agreed that after the return, China would hold the sovereign right to Hong Kong’s diplomacy and national defense, but grant Hong Kong significant autonomy through the provision "Hong Kong holds the autonomous right" under the one country, two systems principle. In line with the joint statement, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong was enacted and Hong Kong was repatriated to China on July 1, 1997.

Following the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, a protest rally to increase Hong Kong’s autonomy, erupted in 2005, growing voices among youth and the Democratic Party groups are calling for Hong Kong’s separation, independence and self-reliance. Beijing summoned an employee of an anti-Beijing bookstore to the mainland and grilled him, which has caused controversy over violation of the one country, two systems principle. Amid this development, Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to inspect the People’s Liberation Army’ parade in Hong Kong ahead of the 20th anniversary of the island’s return to China on July 1 to express his commitment to increase control over the special administrative district.

Ja-Ryong Koo bonhong@donga.com