Don’t use Hong Kong to damage China’s security, Beijing officials say

Don’t use Hong Kong to damage China’s security, Beijing officials say


(L-R) Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, Wang Guangya the head of China’s Hong Kong Macau Affairs Office, and Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying meets Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.
Photo: SCMP

China will not allow anyone to use Hong Kong as a base for subversion against the mainland or to damage its political stability, but there can be tolerance for differences in their systems, Beijing’s top officials have said.

Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned about a fledgling independence movement in Hong Kong, and recent protests in the city.

Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said Beijing will not interfere in matters that purely affect Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Thousands march in Hong Kong against government push to disqualify lawmakers on New Year's Day

“As far as Hong Kong is concerned, nobody is permitted do anything in any form that damages the country’s sovereignty and security, they are not allowed to challenge the central government’s authority or that of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, they are not allowed to use Hong Kong for infiltration or subversion activities against the mainland to damage its social and political stability,” Zhang said.

Wang Guangya, the head of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told pro-Beijing Hong Kong magazine The Bauhinia that “under ‘one country, two systems’ there is absolutely no space for ‘Hong Kong independence’”.

“Hong Kong is an inseparable part of the country, and in no situation is ‘Hong Kong independence’ allowed. This is a bottom line that cannot be touched in ‘one country, two systems’,” Wang said.

As “one country, two systems” is new, it has no ready-made experience to draw from, and it’s normal that in this process “new situations, new problems and new challenges” will arise, he added.

“You can’t expect it to be all plain sailing,” Wang said.

“The central government has confidence in and patience with Hong Kong. As long as the ‘one country’ principle is not damaged, the differences in the ‘two systems’ absolutely can be tolerated and respected,” he added.

Anti-independence groups gather outside the Legco Building to support the Beijing's interpretation to Basic Law in November, 2016.
Photo: K. Y. Cheng/SCMP

China’s parliament last month staged a rare interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, to bar two pro-independence lawmakers from taking office.

Wang said the interpretation did not harm the independence of Hong Kong’s legal system, but that that independence could not limit the mainland parliament’s ability to interpret the Basic Law.

“It needs to be pointed out that the independence of the legal system is an important principle of the rule of law in Hong Kong, and the central government has always cherished and protected the independence of Hong Kong’s legal system.”

President Xi Jinping told outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying last month that the central government strongly supports efforts by the Hong Kong government to curb moves by some promoting independence.

Hong Kong returned to China under the “one country, two systems” agreement that ensured its freedoms and wide-ranging autonomy, including a separate legal system.

But rulers in Beijing have ultimate control, and some people are concerned they are increasingly interfering in Hong Kong. 


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