China is a unitary state, so it can only have one constitution, two influential state media outlets said in a commentary published on Thursday, taking aim at Hong Kong activists who have a different interpretation of the “one country, two systems”.
No administrative region is allowed to have its own “constitution”, Communist Party mouthpieces People’s Daily and Qiushi Journal stressed, sending a message from Beijing amid a heated debate in Hong Kong over the city’s political rights.
People’s Daily, which published the commentary on its front page, said some people in Hong Kong use “constitution” to refer to the Basic Law, “reflecting their mentality that regards Hong Kong as an independent or semi-independent political entity”.
Such understanding must be corrected, the commentary said, adding that the Basic Law cannot replace the national constitution. Only when the rules in the Basic Law are put into the frame of China’s constitution, can the Basic Law be correctly implemented, said the commentary which didn’t carry any byline.
Every sentence in China’s recent white paper on Hong Kong is intended to clarify to Hong Kong people the “one country, two systems” and the relationship between the Basic Law and the national constitution, from a legal standpoint, the article said.
“Different interpretations of those concepts are not allowed to exist,” it said, accusing some people of having misperceptions and vague understanding of the principles.
The article was soon reposted on the website of Qiushi Journal, a bi-monthly political theory periodical published by the Central Party School and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
In addition, People’s Daily posted another front page commentary Friday, stressing the economic link between Hong Kong and the mainland.
“Only when backed by the mainland, Hong Kong will be able to win in the international markets,” it said, adding that the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong is a crucial part of the “Chinese Dream”.
Any commentary published by the People’s Daily is taken by observers as representing the thoughts of the party’s central authorities. There have been cases when commentaries purportedly written by the newspaper’s staff were actually written by senior party leaders.
Chen Zuoer, the former deputy director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, is meanwhile attending a forum in Hong Kong on Friday to discuss economic and other issues related to the city, including the white paper.
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