Hong Kong must establish a strong sense of “one country” and firmly observe it in order to correctly handle the city’s relationship with the central government, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.
Speaking at a reception to celebrate China’s National Day at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai on Monday, Lam quoted President Xi Jinping as saying in a speech given last year when he visited Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China that “‘one country’ is like the roots of a tree” – the roots must run deep and strong for the tree to grow tall and luxuriant, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
“Now that Hong Kong has returned to China, it is all the more important for Hong Kong to firmly uphold China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. In practice, we must establish a strong sense of ‘One Country’, firmly observe the principle of ‘One Country’ and correctly handle the relationship between the HKSAR and the Central Government,” Xi had said.
“[L]et us not forget the original spirit of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and let us develop jointly and share prosperity with our country and embrace a brighter future together,” the chief executive said.
Lam’s words came after Premier Li Keqiang stressed a day earlier that Beijing will continue to implement the basic policies of One Country, Two Systems, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and “a high degree of autonomy”, and strictly follow the constitution and the Basic Law.
In her speech, Lam pointed out that Hong Kong has been playing the role of a “contributor” as well as a “beneficiary” in China’s reform and opening up.
A large number of Hong Kong businessmen and entrepreneurs were “the first to invest” in the mainland in the early days of its reform and opening up and make use of “its strengths, contributing its capital, talent and management system” to the country, while “Hong Kong’s successful transformation” later into an important bridge linking the mainland and the global market “enabled Hong Kong to establish and reinforce its present position as an international commercial, logistics, shipping, financial and professional service center”, Lam said.
She said Hong Kong has been leveraging its advantages to serve the country’s needs, developing jointly and sharing prosperity with China in the past 40 years.
On Sept. 24, the government banned the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), the first time a political group has been outlawed since the 1997 handover.
When asked if other political groups advocating self-determination should be banned as well, Tam Yiu-chung, a Hong Kong deputy of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), told media after the reception that “self-determination” implies the idea of Hong Kong independence.
Tam called on the Lam administration to enact Article 23, which requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession, sedition andsubversion, before her term ends in 2022.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun from the pro-Beijing Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, who is a member of the Basic Law Committee, told RTHK that the government would look too weak if it allowed other groups that advocate self-determination, including the pro-democracy political party Demosistō, to operate because self-determination and independence have no difference in ideology.
Demosistō chairman Ivan Lam Long-Yin, on the other hand, criticized Tam for twisting the notion of self-determination, noting that its definition is very clear.
He said society should have room and freedom to discuss independence and urged the government listen if there are voices of independence in society.
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