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  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:40pm
Beijing White Paper 2014
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Beijing's white paper 'breaches 1984 pact with Britain'

Contentious white paper effectively invalidates a Sino-British declaration that laid out terms for Hong Kong's handover: ex-Zhao Ziyang aide

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 3:36am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 9:35am

The central government's white paper on "one country, two systems" is in serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and is tantamount to degrading Hong Kong to the status of a local government under Beijing's rule, a former top aide of reformist leader Zhao Ziyang says.

Bao Tong was the most trusted aide to Zhao, who signed the Joint Declaration in 1984 in his capacity as China's premier.

Bao's criticism was the strongest yet issued against the white paper, released last Tuesday, outlining Beijing's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong.

Through the Joint Declaration, "Beijing was announcing to the whole world that apart from foreign affairs and defence [in Hong Kong] Hongkongers will manage themselves in everything else - this is [what is meant by] 'Hongkongers ruling Hong Kong'," Bao told Hong Kong's Cable TV in Beijing yesterday.

"If there was a second meaning, it should have been written in the Joint Declaration."

The document, signed by China and Britain on December 19, 1984, set out the terms of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

Bao challenged the white paper's claim that the city derived its powers solely from the central leadership's authorisation. "Can this still be called 'one country, two systems'?" he asked.

"The powers of Jiangsu and Shanghai also come from the central government … and that is 'one country, one system'.

"[The white paper] is effectively saying 'one country, two systems' is merely a joke … and abolishes the Joint Declaration."

Bao also elaborated on his views in an article published on the Chinese website of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

A government spokesman said Bao had misunderstood the Basic Law. The high degree of autonomy granted to Hong Kong gave it a much wider scope of power than any mainland region.

Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu defended the white paper, instead accusing past administrations of not doing enough to promote the Basic Law, which she said could be why Hongkongers had only a vague understanding of the "one country, two systems" policy.

Meanwhile, it emerged that high-powered talks with Beijing and local officials to discuss the white paper could be delayed until Occupy Central, which threatens to block Central roads to push for democracy, ended its "referendum" on June 22.

It was understood that Zhou Bo, deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and Basic Law Committee deputy director Zhang Rongshun were to visit Hong Kong on Thursday to attend at least two seminars to explain the white paper to senior government officials, civil servants, lawmakers, professionals and business representatives.

But the paper drew fierce criticism from pan-democrats, and it now appeared the trip could be delayed, a source close to the matter told the South China Morning Post. If that were true, Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said, it could be related to protesters' storming of the Legislative Council building on Friday to oppose new-town development.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

TDHK
China today - becoming the worlds largest economy this year - is a far cry from 1984 China. What disturbs though is how the other parties to the declaration are kowtowing to its every whim, versus defending universal suffrage, a milestone in history for any nation and basic human rights. Chinese consumers are content praying to Mammon and China is becoming the Mammon to developed nations putting their capital gains first in international relations with China.
chuchu59
He may be old, he may be out of power but he talks sense. Should there have been a second meaning, it would have been cited in the Joint Declaration. Now that everything is supposed to be done and dusted we are told Beijing has the final word on everything including our autonomy. I agree that HK must not be used as a place for subversion against the country but on other matters aren't we supposed to have our own say?
L.L.
ZOZ... :
5e) Een woordvoerder van de regering gezegd dat Bao had verkeerd begrepen de Basiswet. De hoge mate van autonomie verleend naar Hong Kong gaf het een veel ruimere werkingssfeer van macht dan enige vasteland region)))...
answer:
Yes, correct, Bao was not good in reading, he is too old, to know this difficult reading of the rule, maybe his mind are weakness or he can lying too? Most of CN people are liar, corrupt, nepotism? Never trust for one side talk, so I will search more prof. people from HK man, to read this paper! Second, correct, HK have more power for inside business/life/living 100% (ruimere werkingssfeer van macht )! that tell me!
6e) een bezoek aan Hong Kong op donderdag bij te wonen van ten minste twee seminars om uit te leggen en nu bleek dat de reis kan worden uitgesteld)))
answer:
No, never cancel the trip, cause it is important, we talk about 50y destiny of HK, how can u say this,"cancel"? No, go there and read the true, tell to the world, let's us know where we standing for in a life (50y)!... NO halve work, always finish u work for 100%! Agree?! Than go to vacation, u deserve this long hard work! government! hihihi... If, I have wrong, so, IT"S still Freedom of Speech...
L.L.
ZOZ... :
3e) Bao uitgedaagd het Witboek claim dat de stad haar bevoegdheden afgeleid uitsluitend van de centrale leiding vergunning. 'Kan dit nog worden aangeroepen 'één land, twee systemen'?' vroeg hij ...dat is 'één land, één systeem')))... stupid talk!!!
answer:
First, what is central leiding vergunning? For is a vergunning a paper with some rule. But if this vergunning cancel, than is gone, so, if I was government, I cancel this vergunning, because (1b) tell me I am boss of HK inside (100%), so this vergunning is gift from inside, so, inside have 100% right to destroy this vergunning (in 50y)! Agree, government?!
4e) Hongkongers had slechts een vaag begrip van het beleid van "één land, twee systemen".)))...
answer:
Not for me, one land two system tell me read (1b) 100% freedom of HK! Only I miss the Basic rule to read, to know more about the foundation, to know where u belong... it's important for me if I was living in HK, so let's citizen read all of this basic rule, so they can know where they belong or standing for in them strong life. A Democratic land/city are all the rule to be public, to read, there is no hiding, no secret, because is legal!
Freedom of Speech... zoz...
L.L.
Morning SCMP,
1e) "Beijing was aankondiging aan de hele wereld dat afgezien:
(1a) van buitenlandse zaken en defensie [in Hong Kong]
(1b) Hongkongers zal beheren zelf in alles - dit is [wat wordt bedoeld met] 'Uitspraak van Hong Kong Hongkongers'))) ...
answer:
(1a) If, I read this, it's tell me, that CN has only right too command the buitenlandse zaken (outside) and Defensive zaken (military), not policy! Correct?! Did HK have military? Yes, oke, than command, but not abuse! If No, well, CN have nothing to say to the policy, cause this belong to inside of HK life (1b)! Agree?!
(1b) It's tell me, if we talk about inside of HK life (100%), living, school, business, social media, food, privacy, etc... all of this are in the hands of HK people self, they are boss from his-self-hands city in anytime, anyway for 50 years, how they want to do with them life and living?! Correct!?
2e) Als er een tweede betekenis, is het moet hebben geschreven in de gezamenlijke verklaring))) ...
answer:
If, there are another meanings (1a-1b), u tell me what? he say! Correct!?
Freedom of speech... zoz...
sinohog
This came as a shock to me. What the mainland doesn't seem to understand, is that there is a concept called "country risk" that most American firms and investors factor in their risk assessments. The risk of the rule of law in Hong Kong being weakened just went up as this paper seemed to imply that the party as the ultimate say, regardless what The Basic Law may say. Subject to Approval seems to imply that they may change what they want in Hong Kong as they see fit. How does this apply to such matters as strict and comprehensive auditing standards that exist now but may result in uncomfortable questions being raised about mainland firms that are listed in HK? Right now the issue seems to be political demonstrations. What happens if their is a financial scandal regarding a mainland listed company that is triggered by an American auditor asking questions that aren't allowed on the mainland? Singapore has a very stable administration and is competing for regional headquarters. This just changed the equation to Hong Kong's detriment and to the detriment of those of us who have long term interests in HK.
In a worst case scenario, American firms could minimize their risk exposure such reinterpretations by moving administrative functions offshore if HK is considered the same as the mainland and relying more on mainland contractors as they did in the 1980s. That would greatly devalue the skills of those of us who know South China fairly well.
darenmiller@gmail.com
Very good insight. very worrying.
Paradox314
A serious issue that never crossed my mind before - great comment!!!!
tkruemmer
Beijing's move is political, if it has economic repercussions is of a lesser concern to Beijing. Beijing will change the status quo, whenever it deems fit. I totally agree with you, however, that Beijing simply does not seem understand the supreme importance of an impartial judiciary for the world financial business to function, and if China wants to seriously participate in it, it will have to provide such a judiciary. There is, however, little precedence of China participating in any game, rules of which it can not rig.
ejmciii
Spot on.

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