Hong Kong will never become an independent sovereign state in 2047, says Qiao Xiaoyang, head of the National People’s Congress Law Committee.
“It’s impossible, How would it be possible?”
The comments came after an article in the latest issue of the University of Hong Kong student magazine Undergrad proposed that Hong Kong become a sovereign state recognised by the UN in 2047.
The article argued for the city’s independence on the expiry of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which rules that Hong Kong should remain unchanged for 50 years after the 1997 handover.
“Even though Hong Kong doesn’t have the conditions to become independent yet ... whether independence is viable or not is not our main concern,” it read. “The main point is whether Hong Kong should become independent.”
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung also didn't agree with the students’ suggestion, though he added it was “a good thing to discuss Hong Kong’s future development."
“I can’t see why ‘one country, two systems’ needs any change,” says a student surnamed Yuen, an HKU law graduate, said.
Yurn also says that, “(students) seem to be exploring ways to achieve democracy. If so, I would suggest improving ‘one country, two systems'," which he says is more pragmatic and feasible way for the city to achieve democracy.
With the rise of anti-mainland sentiment among the city’s youth, the future of Hong Kong beyond 2047 has become a topic of debate. The young people of the city are saying Hong Kong's autonomy has been compromised by China’s ever-strengthening political influence.
“I do think it should be up to the Hong Kong people to decide if we should be independent or not," says YP junior reporter Joshua Lee, 17, from Sha Tin College. "Hongkongers should have a right to decide their own future, rather than have Beijing decide for us. It seems Beijing just enforces their ideas of what Hong Kong is without considering how Hongkongers actually feel, or if the ideas are applicable to the city."
Joshua also says that a poll, similar to The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill in 2014, should take place in the city.
Another junior reporter, Veronica Lin, says young people should just accept that Hong Kong is a part of China. “A stable and peaceful society is what we need, so I think we should accept the rule of the Chinese government,” the 16-year-old Hong Kong International School student says.
The University of Hong Kong student Joseph Ho Hei-chi, 20, focused more on the identity of Hongkongers after the 1997 handover. “I don’t think independence is impossible, but I hope we can emphasise the discussion of our identity and relationship with mainlanders," says 20-year-old University of Hong Kong student, Joseph Ho Hei-chi. "Xenophobic sentiments towards China shouldn’t exist. If we become independent, we will still have a close economic and political tie to the mainland."