SAR chief: Most back ‘one coun­try’

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH LI in Hong Kong joseph@chi­nadai­

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying said the ma­jor­ity of Hong Kong peo­ple sup­port the “One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems” prin­ci­ple — and only a small mi­nor­ity are ad­vo­cat­ing “in­de­pen­dence” for the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion.

He also dis­missed the sug­ges­tion by some young peo­ple that Hong Kong should pre­pare for a “sec­ond ne­go­ti­a­tion” for the SAR’s fu­ture be­yond 2047. “As far as the ‘One Coun­try’ as­pect is con­cerned, 2047 is a non-event,” he said.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with China Daily, Le­ung noted that Ar­ti­cle 1 of the Ba­sic Law states that Hong Kong is an in­alien­able part of China. There­fore, he said, call­ing for Hong Kong to be de­tached from the rest of the coun­try is to­tally un­ac­cept­able.

To help peo­ple bet­ter un­der­stand the Ba­sic Law, the gov­ern­ment will do more to ed­u­cate the pub­lic to make sure peo­ple un­der­stand not just one or two ar­ti­cles of the Ba­sic Law, but all its ar­ti­cles, he said.

The SAR’s chief ex­ec­u­tive said that al­though Hong Kong cher­ishes free­dom of ex­pres­sion, there is no room for “proin­de­pen­dence” dis­cus­sions. If stu­dents want to dis­cuss this as­pect of the Ba­sic Law, teach­ers should guide such dis­cus­sions within the con­text of the law, he added.

“We shouldn’t be com­pla­cent. If we do not tackle this well, this (sep­a­ratist idea) could spread,” he said.

As to whether the Ed­u­ca­tion Bureau should is­sue guide­lines to schools, he said these are not nec­es­sary re­gard­ing this sim­ple, clear pro­vi­sion of the Ba­sic Law.

He also com­mented on a reader’s let­ter to a lo­cal news­pa­per on Sept 15. The reader sug­gested the pos­si­bil­ity of amend­ments to the Ba­sic Law and changes to Hong Kong’s sta­tus un­der a mech­a­nism pro­vided in Ar­ti­cle 159 of the Ba­sic Law.

“Para­graph 4 of Ar­ti­cle 159 says that no amend­ment to the Ba­sic Law shall con­tra­vene the ba­sic pol­icy of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China re­gard­ing Hong Kong. And the ba­sic pol­icy is Hong Kong is an in­alien­able part of China,” Le­ung added.

Le­ung also said he was not wor­ried about Hong Kong af­ter 2047. “My view is that we don’t have to change that (cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem and way of life), be­cause this ‘One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems’ serves Hong Kong well to­day, and in 2047 and there­after,” he said.

Le­ung noted that the Lands De­part­ment is grant­ing leases for 50 years, re­fer­ring to a land lease granted for a site in Sha Tin. The lease will ex­pire in 2066.

Le­ung Chun-ying

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