Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China, echoing earlier comments by Premier Li Keqiang that separatism would “lead nowhere”, RTHK reports.
Speaking in Beijing, Leung warned of the dangers of separatism, saying such ideas can still do damage even if they fail to take root
“Under the Basic Law — and it’s also a political and constitutional reality — Hong Kong is part of China,” Leung said. “We want to make sure that Hong Kong remains a part of China. And provided that everyone in Hong Kong takes the view that Hong Kong cannot and should not be an independent state … Hong Kong will remain a part of China.”
Earlier on Sunday, Premier Li underlined Beijing’s determination to clamp down on the independence movement in Hong Kong when delivering his work report to the National People’s Congress (NPC).
“The notion of Hong Kong independence will lead nowhere. We will promote closer cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macau,” Li told the NPC in his work report. “We have always had full confidence about ensuring lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau.”
Li’s work report also contained a new phrase that has not been seen in previous reports. It said Beijing will make sure that “one country, two systems” is steadfastly applied “without being bent or distorted”.
Hong Kong NPC delegates welcomed the Premier’s comments.
Rita Fan, a member of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, said Premier Li’s comments were appropriate, particularly after two independence advocates were elected to the Legislative Council.
She said Li’s remarks will serve as a reminder for Hong Kong people that the movement will not succeed.
She believes, however, that this will not change the minds of those who want the SAR to break away from the mainland.
Maria Tam said the central government is seeking to warn pro-independence advocates that there was no future in their cause.
“It’s just saying: ‘look, you know this has to be nipped in the bud. It’s got no way out. You’re going into a cul de sac’,” Tam said.
Michael Tien, a local deputy to the NPC, said the premier has been “pretty polite” in his wording, adding that some people preferred to ignore such controversies to avoid giving them “momentum”.
Another local deputy to the NPC, Cheng Yiu-tong said independence-linked activities had been low profile in the past, but now advocates were becoming bolder.