Hong Kong should work toward more autonomy from Beijing given its culture, history and political and economic systems which are different from those in mainland China, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday, citing a student union magazine.
Hong Kong people don’t want independence but they can demand the “biggest autonomy rights under the Basic Law” without breaking “one-country, two systems”, the report said, citing Leung Kai-ping, former chief editor of Undergrad magazine, a publication of the University of Hong Kong student union.
Also, Leung said Hong Kong’s fight for democracy will be met with increased suppression by Beijing after it broke its promise to give its citizens freedom to choose their leaders.
Leung’s comments were shared by Kai-ping and Ming Chan, the magazine’s past and present assistant editors, respectively.
They said Hong Kong has a strong case for self-rule because of its unique culture, history and way of life which are different from those of the mainland.
“Independence is not the only solution,” Leung said. “We should fight for the biggest autonomy rights under the Basic Law.”
In February, Undergrad published a cover story on whether Hong Kong people should consider independence from China.
It was followed by an article in September about a theoretical Hong Kong nation which was aimed at “arousing people’s thinking about their identity and avoiding the pitfalls of one country, one system”, the report said.
Hongkongers did not always have a testy relationship with their cross-border cousins until mainlanders began arriving in ever increasing numbers with the relaxation of tourist permits and one-way visas in recent years.
“It seemed like Hong Kong people were being squeezed out. Suddenly, there were more jewelery shops and pharmacies catering to mainland tourists,” Chan said.
The Hong Kong government has no approval rights over China’s individual visit scheme, exacerbating the situation, he said.
Leung said less space for Hong Kong people and cultural differences are trigger points in cross-border tensions.
But the most important issue is lack of progress in Hong Kong’s democratic development.
Also, Hong Kong should not rely too much on the mainland economy and should develop its own industries such as high-tech research, he said.
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