The UK government released the Six-monthly report on Hong Kong: July to December 2016 on Friday last week, noting that the period "saw a number of developments which caused concern in Hong Kong and internationally," influencing confidence in "one country, two systems." According to the report, the concern stems from "the events surrounding the Legislative Council (LegCo) elections and the subsequent oath-taking by elected legislators; and continuing concerns about the exercise of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration."
A lot has happened in Hong Kong in recent years. Constant protests and demonstrations and incidents like defiant Hong Kong legislators promoting the independence of Hong Kong during the swearing-in session for LegCo have made an utter mess of this special administrative region.
Despite the city's fruitful achievements after 1997, increasing complaints and confrontations are splitting the city now, holding Hong Kong back from achieving more accomplishments. A realistic question confronting Hong Kong people is who exactly is governing the place?
Take the judicial system. Earlier this month, seven Hong Kong police officers were sentenced to two years in prison by David Dufton, a judge of the District Court of Hong Kong, for beating an activist in the Occupy Central movement in October 2014. Some analysts argue that the heavy sentence might be revenge for the case in which two pro-independence legislator-elects were disqualified from office. More importantly, some observers noticed a major factor in the case - Dufton is judge of British nationality, and there are a lot more foreign judges in Hong Kong's courts like Dufton.
When a region's judicial power is partly mastered by foreign people, will they genuinely take a fair stance on major issues and sincerely protect Hong Kong people's interests? Being unwilling to accept defeat in negotiations with China over Hong Kong's handover, the UK secretly started to alter the city's political system during its talks with Beijing, in order to get rid of restrictions in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Some Hong Kong people only see that the UK has brought it more rights than they ever had, while failing to realize that a stable democratic system can only be established in the long-term. Any democratic style that comes abruptly is likely to result in street politics. Like today's Hong Kong, where some people tend to focus more on "two systems" while ignoring "one China," good policies are often misinterpreted and implementation of new methods always meets stumbling blocks.
The reality of today's Hong Kong is that it is influenced too much by the UK politically. If it wants to maintain stability and development, it should no longer listen to what London says, but what its own people say. The benefit of "one country, two systems" can only be felt when Hong Kong is not subject to the UK's influence and only in this way, can Hong Kong truly be governed by Hong Kong people.