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Basic Law

The Basic Law was drafted as part of the Sino-British Joint Declaration covering Hong Kong after its handover to China on July 1, 1997. The joint declaration stated that Hong Kong would be governed under the principle of ‘one country-two systems’ and would continue to enjoy its capitalist system and individual freedoms for 50 years after the handover.


Basic Law clear on integration

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 3:18am

Allan Woodley is right about the importance of "sound judgment and a commitment to the spirit of 'one country, two systems'" ("Basic law clear about Hong Kong's status", November 12). But what is sound judgment?

Let's start with the elimination of prejudice. It requires the courage to inspect uncritical thinking. Take the correspondent's comment on Hong Kong's relationship with China for example.

He recognises Hong Kong's scheduled integration with China. In his own words, "integration per se isn't scheduled until 2047". This recognition of the integration schedule contradicts his allegation that "the Basic Law makes no reference to integration with the mainland".

As the Basic Law is sufficiently clear about Hong Kong's scheduled integration with China, Basic Law provisions can only be understood as preparations for the eventual integration. Otherwise, there would be no need for the Basic Law and the 50-year transition.

The Basic Law stipulates that socialism will not be practised in Hong Kong and that the previous capitalist way of life shall remain unchanged. Within this capitalist framework, the Basic Law is open to changes. In order to manage changes in the normal course of the city's socio-economic development, the Basic Law's only requirement for Hong Kong is fair, that it should enact laws against subversion. Early enactment will facilitate the integration.

The spirit of "one country, two systems" is a spirit of collaboration for the two systems to prepare for integration. It requires practical and intellectual courage that is noticeably deficient in two sectors where colonial sentiment remains strong.

The legal profession that clings to ridiculous wigs and archaic paraphernalia to command "respectability" isn't prepared for integration. Neither are the defeatists, those marginalised in the capitalist system of competitions and those intellectually nonplussed by ideological challenges of the scheduled integration. They tend to be nostalgic of colonial patronage and have much to unlearn to adapt to post-colonial realities.

We must cultivate a proper sense of national dignity. We need to understand Hong Kong's relationship with China in the realistic context of international competition for economic and cultural advantages.

As an integral part of China, the city's international significance will grow if only Hong Kong people are properly confident of themselves.

Pierce Lam, Central


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Hong Kong isn't suddenly just going to become another province of China after 2047. The SAR will likely continue another 50 years after 2047, albeit with unilateral changes to Hong Kong's charter. Nobody in Beijing is seriously going to consider dissolving Hong Kong's legal system and established institutions. It would create more problems with absolutely no real payoff to the Central People's Government. Beijing doesn't need to worry because HK is already a Chinese dependency that is an inalienable part of China.
There are trillions of dollars in land values and contracts and other things that would be wiped out under a Chinese system.
There are also too many unanswered questions and uncertainties, that would seriously affect Hong Kong's economy in the run up to the second handover in 2047. Frankly, is there a real need to tear down the border, government and legal system? To serve what purpose? The big problem is that HK is going to have no bargaining position in any future agreements with the mainland….a finite constitution is the weakest link.
I will cast my vote to your letter as "SCMP Letter of the Year!"


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