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Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, today indicated that how Hong Kong’s people behaved now in regard to the political situation would affect its post-2047 status.
‘I have noticed quite a lot of people in Hong Kong are looking ahead to “One Country, Two System’s” fate after 2047,’ Mr Zhang said, speaking via a videolink to an online seminar about the city’s mini-constitution.
Hong Kong riot police fire tear gas as hundreds of protesters march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest against Beijing’s national security legislation on May 24
Zhang Xiaoming commitment strong national security
Mr Zhang said the stronger the commitment to national security, the more room there would be for the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement.
The Hong Kong protesters are angry with what they perceive as Beijing’s eroding of the city’s high degree of autonomy.
Beijing sees the demonstrations as a threat to its sovereignty and national security.
Mr Zhang said the new security laws, which aim to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference, would only target a small group of people and would not affect Hong Kong’s freedoms or its status as a global financial hub
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that the central government would not back down on plans for national security legislation for the financial hub, even as Britain stepped up criticism of the move.
The law could allow mainland security and intelligence agents to set up branches in the city for the first time.
What is Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement
‘One country, two systems’ is a constitutional principle under which the Communist Party of China rules Hong Kong, a former British colony.
The city was handed over from the UK to China in 1997 under the arrangement with a promise that it would maintain its capitalist economy and Western-style institutions for 50 years.
Hong Kong is ruled under the ‘one country, two system’ policy, which lasts for 50 years, and has different legal, financial and governing systems to mainland China
The ‘one country, two systems’ principle was first proposed by Deng Xiaoping (邓小平), a late Chinese leader, during the negotiations between Beijing and London over Hong Kong’s sovereignty in the 1980s. It was meant to ensure a smooth transition
The city, known as a special administrative region in China, has different legal, financial and governing systems to the mainland.
But decades before the law’s deadline, many residents in the semi-autonomous territory already feel that their freedoms are eroding due to the tight political grip of Beijing.
Millions of people in Hong Kong have taken to the streets in pro-democracy protests since June 2019, to demand democratic reforms.
Zhang Xiaoming Quick Facts
- A senior Beijing official today indicated that Hong Kong people should behave
- He said Hong Kong people should prove themselves to Beijing for their future
- A potential extension to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework was hinted
- The setup is meant to give the city rights unseen on the mainland for 50 years