• Mon
  • Sep 29, 2014
  • Updated: 2:47am
Beijing White Paper 2014
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

China's sovereignty takes precedence over Hong Kong, ex-official Chen Zuoer says

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 3:53pm
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 5:34pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 28%
  • No: 72%
23 Jun 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 598

The sovereignty and security of the nation take precedence over maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity, a former top mainland official in charge of the city's affairs said.

Chen Zuoer, a former deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, also said Hongkongers had failed to shake off their "mentality as colonial subjects" 17 years after the handover.

Hongkongers had not yet come to terms with the fact that they are part of "one country", Chen added as he laid out the central government's priorities in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.

What the Occupy Central referendum asks voters

He echoed the conclusions of Beijing's controversial white paper on Hong Kong affairs, insisting "one country" and "two systems" did not have equal weight.

Chen pointed to the report delivered to the Communist Party's 18th national congress in 2012, which stated that the underlying goal of Beijing's policies towards Hong Kong and Macau was to "uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests". The report also mentioned ensuring the long-term stability and prosperity of the special administrative regions but, Chen said, not with equal importance.

"Upholding the country's sovereignty and security is not on an equal footing with maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity. My understanding is that upholding national sovereignty and security comes before maintaining the prosperity of the special administrative region," he said.

Chen was in town to address a seminar hosted by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, the recently established think tank of which he is chairman.

At the seminar on Friday, he defended the white paper, which had come under fire from pan-democrats for its insistence that the central government had "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong.

Chen said some Hongkongers had not been fully prepared for the handover, and were "confused and lopsided" in their understanding of the "one country, two systems" principle.

Chen, who has been involved in Hong Kong affairs for more than 25 years, said some Hongkongers did not identify with the nation. "Resumption of territorial sovereignty was done in a second when the clock struck midnight on July 1, 1997. But can reunification of Hongkongers' hearts with the motherland be completed in the blink of an eye? It takes a long time," Chen said.

"The significant turn in Hong Kong's history involves adaptation in people's value system and outlook on life. I think the decolonisation process - Hongkongers shaking off their mentality as colonial subjects - has not yet been completed."

The Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies was formed in December, two days after Hong Kong's government began a public consultation on electoral reform that is likely to pave the way for the election of the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017. The association said the timing was a coincidence.

Chen's visit came as hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers voted in Occupy Central's unofficial referendum on the 2017 poll, an exercise the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said was illegal.

But Chen, who two years ago proclaimed himself "heartbroken" at seeing Hong Kong protesters waving the British colonial flag, said Beijing was not tightening its grip because of sporadic examples of pro-independence fervour or colonial nostalgia.

"If that's what protesters think," he said, "they certainly underestimate the central government's generosity of mind and are nothing more than self-promoters."

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This article is now closed to comments

whymak
How About:
Sure everyone is talking about Occupy Central, but what are they doing about it? That's depends on your vested interests, ideology and sense of justice.
Taking the position of a business owner in Central, your concern will be direct and immediate. One should start tallying past daily, weekly and monthly revenues time series. They will be used to assess sales figures when OC actually occurs. Damages could then be tabulated.
Businesses suffering losses probably won't get any compensation. But they could at least find justice in our court systems by suing the organizers Benny Tai and Chan Kin Man. If businesses after businesses are making known their intentions now, they could still deter the organizers.
Will these threats be effective? It would have some effects on OC leaders. They might entertain the false security of academic tenure, but they will be liable for business losses incurred from their actions. The fear of personal bankruptcy might hang like the Sword of Damocles over their thick skulls.
The ideal is for the SAR government to get a prohibitive injunction to stop this illegal OC and back it up with police action. But you can't really trust our backboneless government.
So businesses losing money might win a pyrrhic victory by taking Tai to court and garnishing his salary and depriving his children of future college tuition. It is not something I want to do.
But hostile actions under pretense of noble mission deserve their comeuppance.
321manu
You CCP stooges never learn. But that's to be expected, since you place your faith in a party that is also rather slow on the uptake.
So the Occupy referendum was getting under BJ's skin. What do they do? They throw down a white paper that is supposed to trump all, put the fear of the CCP into HKers' souls, and render the referendum a non-entity. And what happens instead? Whereas the organizers were toying with a 100k threshold for being able to make some claim of legitimacy, they're now pushing 800k instead. Yeah, that white paper sure showed those HKers.
Of course, now the pious psychologist has his own prescription. Yeah, let's threaten legal responsibility for business losses. Is there even anything remotely resembling a legal precedent for such a court ruling? Or has the HK government ever compensated business owners for lost income due to inconveniences incurred during capital project construction, for instance? Or is this just a pipe dream to silence HKers which has no legal basis?
Moreover, even if there was a legal basis for cost recovery, it won't deter anything. A little Facebook and twitter massage in the current environment will likely produce the exact same event, without the "official" name, but in furtherance of the original intent nonetheless.
But it's funny to watch CCP bootlickers spend their time trying to silence HKers with pathetic methods. The faith dies hard for CCP stooges, that's for sure.
Anti communist HKer
If Hong Kong had not yet come to terms with the fact that they are part of "one country," as Chen claims, then Beijing and its revisionist history is in willful breach of the terms of the Basic Law and the "two systems" that Hong Kong was promised.
nicolas
How could HK people recognized communist china as their motherland. Simply because of their high level of corruption and abuses of power. STOP interfering with Hongkong domestic affairs. They should rather think of how to tackle their own party members with corruption. Millions of corrupt mainland government are on the loose....
rem.meyerrochow
China should stop interfering with our property market. Let HK get back to how it was. Remove stamp duty, relax loan restrictions, let agents start selling again, and let Chinese money flow to where it likes.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
TRANSLATION: I want things easier for myself and don't care about the territorial integrity at all.
321manu
"any kind of jail sentence is an erasure of human rights."
---that is a silly and mindless position to take, although it is convenient for the goofy point whymak was lamely trying to make.
First, you need to count the number executed, and not just the number jailed. Surely, if the slammer is a way to "(erase) human rights", then execution is an even better one.
Second, you can't just look at the number jailed; you have to look at why they're jailed. If you choose to murder someone, and end up in jail, I don't think any reasonable-minded person would consider that a human rights violation. On the other hand, if you end up in jail for merely criticizing the government, or for offering legal representation to someone accused of criticizing the government, or for commemorating your child who was killed in the streets of BJ on June 4, 1989, I think most people would consider those to be human rights violations. The reason for incarceration matters a great deal.
Now, there is a point to be made for the racial disparity in the US prison system, and there can be a suggestion that the socioeconomic disadvantages that befall black youth which push them down the road of crime and punishment may represent a form of human rights violation on a societal level. But that is an argument that far exceeds whymak's intellectual capacity, and I raise it here merely for sake of fairness, and not to suggest that whymak is making it.
No, whymak is just doing the tu quoque thing, per usual.
gunzy
the US also has Gitmo...don't forget that.
OC2S
War is very different ... The rationale was that those people were enemy combatants / they were not US citizens.
gunzy
OC2S, and so a nation should suspend all sense of common decency and humanity because it is war?
.
The fact that the United States hasn't had to answer for it's crimes I agree is a different discussion for another time. My point is that all countries are guilty of human rights violations, all of it smells bad, the only difference is what we can stand more.
.
Only God knows why China thinks people can't see their sins, but then the same can be said for every nation on the planet.

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