Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Changing the Rules -- Again

Will Hong Kong have its own autonomy by 2017?
After marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown last week, Beijing is adamant in telling Hong Kong it is the boss of the city.

The State Council released a white paper yesterday emphasizing that the central government has "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong and is the source of its autonomy.

Whatever happened to "one country, two systems" until 2047?

Or is it 2047 already?

The reason for China claiming authority over Hong Kong? Because the country's national security and interests are at stake.

The white paper was released in seven languages through Xinhua. The State Council said "many wrong views are currently rife in Hong Kong" and that "Some people are confused or lopsided in their understanding of the policy [one country, two systems] and the Basic Law."

Interesting choice of the word "lopsided".

And to add further insult to injury, Beijing claimed Hong Kong was just "one of the local administrative regions" and it was the central government's prerogative to oversee how the city runs its affairs.

"The high degree of autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong is subject to the central government's authorization. There is no such thing called 'residual power' for the special administrative region," it said.

According to Beijing, Hong Kong is just like any other Chinese city and should behave like one.

It also warned against "outside forces" using the city to interfere in China's domestic affairs. In recent days it has claimed "outside forces" are planning Occupy Central in the next few weeks.

This shows the Chinese government's paranoia over what it fears may happen in Hong Kong and is trying to use the white paper to assert its authority over the city. But this is completely arbitrary on Beijing's part.

Where in the Basic Law does it say this? Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit accused China of backtracking on its promises.

"Hong Kong and the international community will not play dumb. We will hold you to your words... enshrined in black and white in the Basic Law," Leong said. He was referring to Articles 12 to 14 where it states that Hong Kong shall enjoy "a high degree of autonomy".

Reaction has been swift -- earlier today a group of protestors burned a copy of the white paper in front of the Liaison Office in Western, while others encouraged people to vote on political reform plans in an unofficial referendum from June 20-22.

Perhaps the strongest and most credible voice of protest comes from The Bar Association. It said Beijing was mistaken to place local judges in the same category as "Hong Kong's administrators".

The Bar Association said the judiciary would remain separate and independent from the executive and legislature.

It added while courts "elsewhere" may "sing in unison" with the government, it said that is "most definitely" not the case in Hong Kong.

The association stressed that Beijing's right to interpret the Basic Law should be exercised "rarely and cautiously".

If that's not a warning salvo not to mess with Hong Kong's rule of law, I don't know what is.

Beijing is naive to believe Hong Kong people will be docile and agree with what is written in the white paper.

This in fact may add fuel to Occupy Central's cause, or at least some kind of protest march on July 1.

Who wouldn't be angry at China's assertion that it controls Hong Kong?


  1. Hong Kong is not just another Chinese city. It may be getting there but it most certainly is NOT that yet in 2014. And China really would do well to realize that. Otherwise, among other things, it will kill the goose that lay the golden egg -- and further tarnish its reputation in the world.

    1. Hi YTSL -- We shall see if Beijing heeds your wise words about the goose...