HK political system will not change: official

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/1 23:48:40

‘Two systems’ should not become an obstacle to ‘one country’: official

China has no intention of making Hong Kong's system the same as the Chinese mainland's, an official with the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong said, assuring the "one country, two systems" State policy will remain in place.

Wang Zhenmin, legal chief of the central government's liaison office in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said Saturday during the "one country two systems" policy youth forum in Hong Kong that "the central government has no plan to change Hong Kong's political system into the mainland system, otherwise Hong Kong will lose its value."

"Hong Kong has many unique advantages, such as its open economy, international connections, service industries and the legal system," he said, adding that the mainland can learn from these successful experiences to improve the reform of the mainland.

A change in policy would not benefit the country to use Hong Kong's unique international characteristics to serve the country's grand strategy, experts said.

Hong Kong can play a key role in the One Belt and One Road initiative, said Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The central government supports Hong Kong in tightening exchanges and cooperation with the mainland and, at the same time, expanding international business ties, Zhang said at the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong in 2016, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

However, the past couple of years have seen the growth of political forces in Hong Kong that advocate "Hong Kong independence," resulting in the problems of the "occupy movement" and polarizing society. Many Hong Kong residents and the social elites are concerned that the increasingly radical independence provocations may force the central authorities to abandon the "one country two systems" promise and homogenize Hong Kong and the mainland.

The central government felt very disappointed that so many "Hong Kong independence" supporters could find a place in the legal system, universities and government, Wang said.

He warned that "one country two systems," which guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy, could be scrapped if it becomes a tool to confront the central government. "One country" is a basic requirement and the precondition for "two systems," Wang said.

"If 'two systems' goes too far to even become an obstacle to 'one country,' or 'two systems' is used to antagonize and undermine 'one country' or becomes an excuse for 'independence,' which makes the country feel insecure and threatens the existence of the country, no country will continue with the policy of 'two systems,'" Wang said during the forum.

Hong Kong residents who choose to confront the "one country" principle must understand the central government and the mainland are much more powerful than Hong Kong, and irrational and provocative acts can only hurt themselves and Hong Kong's future, Zhang Dinghuai, deputy director of the Center for the Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macao at Shenzhen University, told the Global Times.

No change

Former leader Deng Xiaoping, who masterminded "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, said Hong Kong's system would have "no change for 50 years" after its handover to China.

Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on Saturday that the "no change for 50 years" assurance refers to Hong Kong's capitalist system, not sovereignty, Xinhua reported.

The "no change for 50 years" is based on Article 5 of the Basic Law, which says "the socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in Hong Kong, and its previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years" from 1997.

However, "no change for 50 years" does not mean every single detail of the policy cannot be touched at all, said Tian Feilong, a legal expert and associate professor at Beihang University.

"It means that the principle and the methodology of the "one country two systems" will not be changed, but with the development of the country and the occurrence of new challenges, we can adjust and improve some details as long as we don't violate the principle."


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