Friday, 18 November 2016

Further Erosion of "One Country, Two Systems"

Martin Lee says "one country, two systems" has been undermined by Beijing
A former Basic Law drafter is concerned about how two localists have given Beijing license to undermine the "one country, two systems" concept.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said he was suspicious about the actions of Youngspiration lawmakers-elect Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who were disqualified by the High Court on Tuesday.

Speaking after a Commercial Radio program, Lee said the Hong Kong government and Beijing could point to Leung and Yau and say "not only do they want independence, they were insulting the people of China. Of course we should get rid of them".

Leung and Yau have given Beijing the excuse to change oath
"Then they have become good excuses for Beijing not only to attack them, because they could be removed anyway by the judge even without the interpretation, but making life very difficult for so many of us and in fact destroying 'one country, two systems', giving them the excuse to do so," Lee said yesterday.

He said Beijing's interpretation of the Basic Law had destroyed the "one country, two systems" principle as it suggested the city's public officers, including judges, had to pledge allegiance to both China and "its special administrative region".

The interpretation says "the taking of the oath stipulated by Article 104 of the Basic Law is a legal pledge made by the public officers to the People's Republic of China and its Hong Kong special administrative region".

This is different from the Basic Law that says: "principal officials and members of the Legislative Council... must swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong special administrative region."

Elsie Leung says the oath was changed to safeguard the law
Lee said this suggested officials and lawmakers had to pledge allegiance to the mainland's constitutions as well as the Basic Law.

He said this would have major consequences and questions could be raised over several lawmakers having dual nationality.

"If they have a US or British passport, how are they pledging allegiance to the country? Chinese law does not recognize dual nationality," Lee said.

However, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairman of the Basic Law Committee under the National People's Congress Standing Committee, rejected Lee's criticisms and said the committee had acted in accordance with the law.

"There is no question of it destroying the rule of law. The move is to safeguard the rule of law and the 'one country, two systems' principle."

Leung said it was the fault of the Youngspiration pair for refusing to acknowledge Hong Kong is a part of China.

She said the ruling was not aimed at "chasing dissident voices out of the Legislative Council".

The debate continues, but Lee is right. The nature of "one country, two systems" has changed in Hong Kong. The mainland continues its dragging of the city closer to the mainland...

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