Date
12 December 2017
Hongkongers need to have a better understanding of the 'one country, two systems', a top mainland official said after pro-democracy activists vowed to keep up their fight. Photo: AFP
Hongkongers need to have a better understanding of the 'one country, two systems', a top mainland official said after pro-democracy activists vowed to keep up their fight. Photo: AFP

China official calls for ‘re-enlightenment’ of HK people

Hong Kong people need “re-enlightenment” on the one “one country, two systems” principle, a mainland official said, also suggesting that the territory’s citizens need to gain more clarity on the Basic Law that governs the Chinese special administrative region.

At an annual conference of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies in Shenzhen on Sunday, Zhang Rongshun, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress, said there are three basic things that anyone who studies the “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law must understand.

The three things are: formation of the Nation-State concept, renewed understanding of “one country, two systems”, and pushing it forward, Zhang said, according to a Ming Pao Daily report Monday.

It is important for people to identify both with the country and the central government, he said, pointing out that some people are “yet to know where they stand” and that they do not have the feeling of belonging to a nation.

He said the opposition camp in Hong Kong had successfully been giving an “alternative interpretation” of the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”, which has led to some Hongkongers seeing things in a totally inaccurate perspective.

Therefore, renewed enlightenment is necessary, the mainland official said, adding that the White Paper issued by the State Council in June was an important step toward that goal.

Zhang’s remarks have drawn criticism from some political groups in Hong Kong.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong said Zhang is trying to “brainwash” Hong Kong people into believing that they have a wrong understanding of the Basic Law.

“Has he ever thought about the reason why the so-called alternative interpretation was successful? It is because Hong Kong people have been believing in it,” Leong said, adding that he hopes he can have a debate with Zhang over the issue.

Meanwhile, Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice, agreed with Zhang by saying that there needs to be more communication to help locals understand the true meaning of the Basic law.

The Hong Kong government has found that many existing opinions on the Basic law are flawed, he said.

Asked if Beijing will tighten its policies on Hong Kong, Chan Zuoer, a former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy” are basic policies that would never change.

Alex Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the main groups behind the Occupy campaign, said it is not Hong Kong people who need more enlightenment, but rather the high-ranking officials who are stubborn.

Beijing’s stance and ideology of “one country” will only hurt the central government in the long run, he said.

Chow believes no concrete results can be achieved if the government tries to hold talks with the protesters without any rethink on Beijing’s framework for the Hong Kong 2017 chief executive election.

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TL/AC/RC

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