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The Successful Practices of "One Country, Two System" Policy in Hong Kong
By Chinese Consul General in Lagos Liu Kan
2014/10/29

The article is published in the leading Nigerian Newspaper ThisDay on 25, Oct.

 

I. The Successful Practice of “One Country, Two Systems” Policy in Hong Kong

"One country, two systems" is a basic state policy the Chinese government has adopted to realize the peaceful reunification of the country. Following this principle, the Chinese government successfully resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, and Hong Kong got rid of colonial rule and returned to the embrace of the motherland. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), which is a basic law formulated in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, provides a legal basis for the implementation of "one country, two systems" in the HKSAR.

After Hong Kong returned to the motherland, the central government strictly adheres to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, earnestly performs its constitutional duties and stands firm in supporting the administration of the chief executive and the government of the HKSAR in accordance with the law. The HKSAR exercises a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the law, and is vested with executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. The previous capitalist system and way of life remain unchanged, and most laws continue to apply. Hong Kong continues to prosper, its society remains stable, and full development is being witnessed in all undertakings. From 1997 to 2013, Hong Kong's Gross Regional Product (GRP) grew by 3.4 percent annually in real terms, and its per-capita GRP increased by a total of 39.3 percent calculated in US dollar. According to the 2013 statistics of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Hong Kong's GRP and per-capita GRP, respectively, ranked the 35th and 7th in the world, as calculated by purchasing power parity.

After the return of Hong Kong to China, the central government and the HKSAR government have unswervingly and steadily promoted Hong Kong's democratic political system, featuring the election methods for the chief executive and the Legislative Council. Before the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the United Kingdom designated governors to enforce colonial rule over Hong Kong for more than 150 years. Since 1997, the HKSAR government and the legislature have been composed of local residents. The chief executive of the HKSAR is appointed by the Central People's Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations held locally; the legislature of the HKSAR is established by elections. The Basic Law of the HKSAR explicitly stipulates that the chief executive and all the members of the Legislative Council must be elected by universal suffrage ultimately, making universal suffrage a legal objective.

II. Decision made by National People’s Congress (NPC) on universal suffrage for selection of HKSAR chief executive.

Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the Interpretation and Decision made previously, on August 31, 2014, the Standing Committee of the NPC made decisions on universal suffrage for HKSAR Chief Executive selection

I. Starting from 2017, the selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage.

II. When the selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is implemented by the method of universal suffrage:

(1) A broadly representative nominating committee shall be formed. The provisions for the number of members, composition and formation method of the nominating committee shall be made in accordance with the number of members, composition and formation method of the Election Committee for the Fourth Chief Executive.

(2) The nominating committee shall nominate two to three candidates for the office of Chief Executive in accordance with democratic procedures. Each candidate must have the endorsement of more than half of all the members of the nominating committee.

(3) All eligible electors of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have the right to vote in the election of the Chief Executive and elect one of the candidates for the office of Chief Executive in accordance with law.

(4) The Chief Executive-elect, after being selected through universal suffrage, will have to be appointed by the Central People's Government.

III. The specific method of universal suffrage for selecting the Chief Executive shall be prescribed in accordance with legal procedures through amending Annex I to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China: The Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The bill on the amendments and the proposed amendments to such bill shall be introduced by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law and the provisions of this Decision. Such amendments shall obtain the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive before being submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval.

IV. If the specific method of universal suffrage for selecting the Chief Executive is not adopted in accordance with legal procedures, the method used for selecting the Chief Executive for the preceding term shall continue to apply.

V. The existing formation method and voting procedures for the Legislative Council as prescribed in Annex II to the Hong Kong Basic Law will not be amended. The formation method and procedures for voting on bills and motions of the fifth term Legislative Council will continue to apply to the sixth term Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2016. After the election of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage, the election of all the members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage. At an appropriate time prior to the election of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage, the Chief Executive elected by universal suffrage shall submit a report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of Article 7 of Annex I and Article III of Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China as regards the issue of amending the method for forming the Legislative Council. A determination thereon shall be made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

III. Illegal “Occupy Central” Rally

The decision made by the Standing Committee of NPC on implementing universal suffrage for the selection of the chief executive was made in accordance with the stipulation of the Basic Law and with full considerations being given to the views of all sectors in Hong Kong community. The decision represents a historic progress in Hong Kong's democratic development and a significant change in the political structure of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The decision suits the actual situation in Hong Kong, and is conducive to safeguarding national interests of sovereignty, security and development and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. The decision, which is the constitutional basis of universal suffrage for the selection of Chief Executive of Hong Kong, is unshakable in legal status and legitimacy.

Although 17 years have passed since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, there is still a small number of people in the Hong Kong community who neither properly understand the policy of "one country, two systems", nor abide by the Hong Kong Basic Law or acknowledge the Central Government's governing power over Hong Kong. On the issue of universal suffrage for the Chief Executive, there are divergent views within the Hong Kong community. A small number of people have even raised views that are contrary to the Hong Kong Basic Law and openly advocated illegal activities.

Since the morning of 28 September, some people in HKSAR illegally gather to implement “Occupy Central” activities. The central government of China firmly opposes all illegal acts that undermine the rule of law and sabotage social stability, and fully believes and strongly supports Hong Kong SAR government's handling of the case in accordance with law so as to safeguard social stability of Hong Kong and protect the personal and property safety of Hong Kong residents.

The Central Government of China hope people from all sectors in Hong Kong community cherish and keep the sound development situation at present in Hong Kong. Hong Kong people should reach concensus to promote the universal suffrage for HKSAR chief executive selection in accordance with the Basic Law and the Decisions made by the Standing Committee of NPC of China in a rational and practical way.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Hong Kong affairs fall entirely within China's internal affairs. The Central Government of China urges relevant countries to be prudent in words and deeds, refrain from interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs in any way, neither to support the illegal activities such` as the "Occupy Central" nor send any wrong signal.



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