When Zhang Dejiang visited our city last month, he pledged that the central government is determined to stay the course in preserving “one country, two systems”.
Zhang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, stressed that the people of Hong Kong should always remain alert to any call for the city to secede from the mainland, because it is against the original aim of the principle of “one country, two systems” laid down by the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
Also against the original aim of the principle, he said, is any attempt to “mainlandize” our city.
Zhang reiterated that Beijing has no intention whatsoever of turning Hong Kong into just another mainland city.
That is because, he stressed, it is in the best interest of the People’s Republic of China to continue to preserve the unique characteristics and advantages of our city, as well as the existing way of life of the people of Hong Kong.
Despite the reassurance from the country’s No. 3 leader, however, many people in this city still remain skeptical about whether Beijing will really stick to its promise.
They are apprehensive about the future of “one country, two systems”.
That is because there have been big discrepancies between what Beijing has said and how it behaved over the past few years.
The fact is, contrary to what Zhang has promised, Beijing has adopted an increasingly aggressive stance toward Hong Kong and been actively interfering in the city’s internal affairs over the past few years, creating a general impression that Beijing is overemphasizing “one country” while discounting “two systems”.
Some even suspect that Beijing has as its secret agenda expediting Hong Kong’s assimilation into the mainland and that it won’t be too long before “two systems” finally becomes “one system”.
To make things worse, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the chief officials of his administration and the majority of the politicians from the pro-establishment camp have appeared too eager to toe Beijing’s line and have started to introduce “mainlandization” from within Hong Kong in basically every aspect of society.
As a matter of fact, Leung himself is a pioneer of the “mainlandization” of our city.
One may recall that the morning after Leung was elected chief executive, he went straight to Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong and met with its then director, Peng Qinghua, and his deputy, Li Gang, for more than an hour behind closed doors.
It naturally gave rise to speculation that Leung was there to thank them for supporting his bid for the top job.
Then in October 2012, three months after he had assumed office, Leung accompanied Li on a visit to the victims of the ferry collision off Lamma Island.
During the visit, Li announced to the gathered media emergency measures to help the victims, while Leung stood silent at his side.
By doing so, Leung deepened the impression that it is Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, not him, who has the final word on our city’s affairs.
The fact that Leung has continued to demean himself in front of his mainland counterparts and give our autonomy away to Beijing bit by bit not only fills Hongkongers with dismay but also constitutes a breach of the principle of “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law.
That is because under the framework laid down by the Basic Law, Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong has absolutely no constitutional role whatsoever in our city’s governance, even though it is an open secret that the liaison office has been actively “coordinating” the campaigns of the pro-establishment camp in local elections.
Last, but not least, the recent mysterious disappearance of the bookseller Li Bo and the sluggish and evasive response from the city’s government further undermined the confidence of the people of Hong Kong in the chief executive’s ability to defend our city’s autonomy or even protect the personal safety of our citizens.
How can Beijing expect the people of Hong Kong to have faith in “one country, two systems” when our own leader and his administration have continued to violate it and allow it to deteriorate?
Zhang said the people of Hong Kong must always stay alert to the rise of extreme separatism.
I believe our fellow citizens should also remain vigilant against any attempt by our own administration and pro-Beijing politicians to give away our autonomy and undermine our core values.
It is because like separatism, “mainlandization” of our city is also against the original aim of “one country, two systems”.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 1.
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]