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
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