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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.

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Beijing to Britain: Stop interfering with Hong Kong's internal affairs

Central government joins CY and Carrie Lam in expressing 'staunch opposition' to minister's offer to help city in fight for universal suffrage

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 2013, 3:16pm

Beijing fired a volley of rebuttals at a British minister yesterday, saying no foreign government or official should meddle in Hong Kong's affairs.

The central leadership slammed British foreign office minister Hugo Swire for his remarks - published in the South China Morning Post at the weekend - that it was important for local voters to have genuine choice on the road to democratisation.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, its office in Hong Kong and English-language state newspaper Global Times all rounded on Swire on the one day, soundly rebuffing London's offer of support for a "smooth resolution" to the quest for universal suffrage.

Beijing's vigorous reaction added to the double dose of rebuffs delivered by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over the weekend.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed "strong displeasure" and "staunch opposition" during a regular media briefing in Beijing.

"The British foreign minister published an article in [Hong Kong] media, publicly making irresponsible remarks," Hong said. "The Chinese government is strongly displeased and staunchly opposed to it."

In the opinion piece published on Saturday, Swire, a minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote that Britain "stands ready to support" its former colony as it "takes its commitment under the Sino-British Joint Declaration very seriously" in protecting the rights of Hongkongers.

Hong also pointed to colonial history to reject Swire's words. "Hong Kong had been under chronic colonial rule. After the handover, the Basic Law has sufficiently protected the basic rights and freedom of Hongkongers," he said. "We urge Britain to immediately stop any form of interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs."

Hong's words echoed an online statement issued by the ministry's Hong Kong office earlier yesterday.

"Regarding the question of Hong Kong's constitutional development, no foreign government or official should meddle in it or make presumptuous comments, not to mention interfere with [it]," the statement said. "We do not need any so-called 'support' from foreign countries.

"We hope the relevant country will be cautious about its speech regarding Hong Kong's constitutional development, and not damage the city's prosperity and stability."

The Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the People's Daily, called London's act "unwise" in a front page article.

Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, an international relations scholar at Baptist University, said Beijing had "overreacted".

"According to international experience, the best Britain can do is to nudge," said Chan, also a Civic Party legislator. "A more common approach is to speak on the issue or to discuss the subject on international platforms."

Professor Albert Chen Hung-yee, a member of the Basic Law Committee under the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said London probably did not understand the Chinese government's way of thinking. "They might have talked about assistance out of goodwill, but the move backfired," he said.



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This article is now closed to comments

Copy of yesterday’s comment
pslhk Sep 16th 2013
Contrary to erroneous wistful thinking of unrealistic a****ts
Sino British Joint Declaration provides no special UK-SAR relationship
It has never meant to give UK any special status in SAR
UK is singled out in two places which provide that
it “may establish mutually beneficial economic relations” [3(9)]
and “a Consulate-General” like OTHER COUNTRIES in SAR
subject to the principle that “foreign affairs are the responsibility of
Central People's Government” [Annex I(XI)]
The special mentions are only to assure
that UK won’t be excluded (despite its colonial past)
and that it enjoys no special treatment over or above other countries
Other than matters stipulated in JD [Annex I(XI)], the stated principle is that
foreign affairs are between PRC and foreign countries
and NOT sar and foreign countries
Joint Declaration specifies the setup of a Joint Liaison Group
“to ensure a smooth transfer of government in 1997”
“With a view to the effective implementation of Joint Declaration”
“Joint Liaison Group shall continue its work until
1 January 2000”
It was a horrible diplomatic blunder that Swire spoke directly to SAR public
awkwardly offering unasked for, unneeded and unwanted provocative “support
so if this refers to an article published in the same newspaper over the weekend, wouldn't it be a good idea to include a hyperlink to that other text for ease of reference?
I hope SCMP's e-interface will continue to improve so that it might one day match that of other English newspapers and magazines such as Guardian, FT.com, NYT...
It is impossible for a Chinese to hold an SAR passport as any person who is eligible to hold an SAR passport must be a Hong Kong citizen. To become a Hong Kong citizen, if you come from China you must go to your hometown to cancel your hukou, usually getting a one way permit to Hong Kong. The exception is for those who have lived abroad and came to Hong Kong on an employment or dependent visa. The aforementioned also need to cancel their hukou before becoming a permanent resident. Once they've cancelled their hukou they are eligible for a Hong Kong SAR passport. I know many Chinese who have immigrated here and they can't keep both.
The British are the last ones, who should comment on HKs Political Reforms as as a former colonial ruler over HK they denied those reforms to the HK people. So you Brits should shut you up your hypercritical mouth concerning HKs politics.
Will they include the role of a free press in openly reporting on what happens in the home country? Will they involve a discussion as to why the TV market is not open? Will they involve a discussion on why the internet does not provide open and free access to information.
The problem with you and Camel is simple: you are not patriotic, you do not care for the Chinese people. All of your arguments are built on the simplistic but wrong premise that the Communist Party = China. You do not allow or you do not think that the Chinese people are capable of thinking for themselves. For them the liberation of being able to make their own decisions based on all available information is something that you scorn as Westernized. If we follow your (Communist dictatorship) arguments Hong Kong people are not mature enough to make their own decisions. What then of the Chinese people as a whole? 64 years and counting. Do you not think that perhaps Chinese people are intelligent enough that they can find a way to run the country that is in the majorities interest. Or are they just there to serve you and yours?
Your philosophy/ideology has been found out and found wanting. Why are you so frightened of offering even the most miniscule of criticism of the Chinese Government?
How do you know what Chinese people want? They've never been given a chance to choose. Also, China IS following Western counsel. It follows a so called Communist ideology which is Western - remember Karl Marx and Lenin? And its current policies are mercantilist - also Western in origin.
Should the world conform or object to bigots’ destructive prejudice?
Consider the logic
[A] “they see a chance to attack the Communists”
[B] “Communism doesn't really mean Communist”
[C] “being a Communist means being a member of the ruling class”
By substitution
They see a chance to attack CCP the ruling class who believe in (?)
Let’s clarify “ruling class” and (?)
As you rightly observed, ruling class admissions are thru
Oxbridge in UK, Super PAC’s in the US and CCP in the mainland
which one of these has the most liberal admission?
You’re right that “the majority of the world's population
have been decieved by western dysinformation into mistaking that
CCP is “striving for control of the people's thinking
and for the control of their everyday life”
Define (?) by CCP performance which has been and will be
more respectable than that of western super-capitalists.
That’s why we must stop political foul-mouth like Mr Brock
from perpetrating dysinformation
and perpetrating hypocritical generosity.
Though so late, better than not acting so!
Here’s my reply to bmr's prejudice against CCP
Every devil is an ontological proof of godD’s existence
If CCP is a devil then there must be goG somewhere
Let’s say goD really exists and has an embassy in Vatican
What’s god like, the one most westerners unquestioningly respect?
In Hiser youthful prime, sHe used fire and water when sHe was angered
Entrapped in cycles of rage and remorse,
sHe pitted je-ws against gentiles then gentiles against je-ws
from crusades to holocaust to lies about WMD
Is goD the same goD, before and after Vatican II?
Would goD be respected the same with or without reformation?
goD remains goD, still requiring much domestication
Now let’s apply the goD metaphor to CCP the devil
Let’s keep tragedies of their making constant and compare their benevolence
In the past four decades, who has contributed more to human happiness
goD or CCP?
Why should westerners unquestioningly respect trouble-making goD
and blindly opposite CCP that’s been working hard to do good
while emerging from colonial/imperial destructions?
Oh, yes they did ask for politcal reforms, freedom and democracy in the past (some decades ago) but those who asked were dealed by the British special branch.



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