Xiao Ping

Says it is nec­es­sary to cor­rect the mis­take of those who have de­vi­ated from the orig­i­nal mean­ing of ‘one coun­try, two sys­tems’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his en­tourage re­turned to Bei­jing on the af­ter­noon of July 1 at the end of a three­day visit to Hong Kong. Af­ter the pres­i­dent’s plane took off, Zhang Xiaom­ing, di­rec­tor of the Cen­tral Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment Li­ai­son Of­fice in the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR), gave a speech sum­ming up six im­por­tant achieve­ments made dur­ing the visit. One of them is that the pres­i­dent had “set the record straight” on the orig­i­nal in­tent of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”. Not sur­pris­ingly, many lo­cal com­men­ta­tors echoed Zhang’s views as they used the same phrase in their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Xi’s speeches in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been back un­der China’s sov­er­eign rule for 20 years. Why did Xi re­it­er­ate the orig- inal in­tent of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” just now?

Set­ting the record straight means when the un­der­stand­ing of some­thing has de­vi­ated from its orig­i­nal def­i­ni­tion, it’s nec­es­sary to cor­rect the mis­take and bring the orig­i­nal def­i­ni­tion and its real mean­ing back for the peo­ple to fol­low. Look­ing back at the past two decades, some politi­cians and the lo­cal me­dia in Hong Kong have in­deed gone astray with the def­i­ni­tion of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, par­tic­u­larly by stress­ing “two sys­tems” at the ex­pense of “one coun­try”, to the point of mis­rep­re­sent­ing the SAR in re­la­tion to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and re­ject­ing the cen­tral author­i­ties’ di­rect ju­ris­dic­tion over Hong Kong.

As a num­ber of po­lit­i­cal in­ci­dents had rocked Hong Kong so­ci­ety in re­cent years, such as the ill-ad­vised protests against the State Coun­cil’s white pa­per re­it­er­at­ing Hong Kong’s con­sti­tu­tional sta­tus and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s di­rect ju­ris­dic­tion over the HKSAR; the op­po­si­tion camp’s un­con­sti­tu­tional de­mands over Hong Kong’s po­lit­i­cal re­form, which led to the il­le­gal “Oc­cupy Cen­tral” move­ment, and the rise of se­ces­sion­ism or sep­a­ratism in the shape of “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence” and “lo­cal self-de­ter­mi­na­tion”. If the wrongs are not righted soon, Hong Kong’s ex­er­cise of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” would go astray and even back­ward.

Now, one may won­der, how Hong Kong should go about right­ing the wrongs and bring­ing the orig­i­nal in­tent of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” back. As Xi has said more than once in Hong Kong, the most cru­cial step to take is to fully and pre­cisely un­der­stand and im­ple­ment the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple.

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