Beijing believes the practice of the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong has reached a turning point, and it is worried that the city is becoming a hotbed of subversion that could threaten national security.
This is the view of Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the National Association of Study on Hong Kong and Macau and former head of Hong Kong’s Central Policy Unit, in reaction to the release of the State Council’s white paper on Hong Kong.
The central government thinks some people in Hong Kong deliberately misinterpreted the provision in the Basic Law guaranteeing a “high degree of autonomy” as to mean “complete autonomy” and have organized “provocative acts” such as the June 22 informal referendum on universal suffrage and the Occupy Central civil disobedience campaign, Lau was quoted as saying in a Sing Tao Daily report on Wednesday.
According to the white paper, released on Tuesday, the degree of Hong Kong’s autonomy depends on how much management rights the central government grants the special administrative region. “There’s no residual power”, it said.
Academics on both sides of the border agree that the document is of extraordinary significance, the report said.
Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a political commentator on China affairs, said the release of the white paper indicates that Beijing will substantially tighten the governing power of the Hong Kong authority in order to prevent the interference of foreign forces in China’s internal affairs through Hong Kong.
In Beijing’s view, the Hong Kong government has been unable to properly handle the challenges the city is facing, Lau Siu-kai said. He also thinks the central government will adopt a tougher attitude toward the SAR as it lowers its tolerance level for the city.
Since 1991, Beijing has published 89 white papers on various important issues, including human rights, Tibet, and relations with Taiwan, to express its official stand. This is the first time the central government has issued such a document on Hong Kong after the 1997 handover.
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