Beijing White Paper 2014

White paper 'was a failure of communication with Hong Kong'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 5:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

The reaction in Hong Kong to a white paper on the "one country, two systems" policy showed that Beijing needed to learn to communicate better with the city, said a mainland source who was involved in the document's drafting process.

The white paper was intended to explain central government policies and principles directly to Hongkongers, the source said, adding: "Judging from the reaction in the past few weeks, it has fallen short of the central government's expectations."

The source said: "A substantial number of people are worried that Beijing intends to tighten its grip on Hong Kong and even take back some power from Hong Kong. That is actually wrong.

"But there is a need for the central government to improve its communications with Hongkongers in future. There is room for improvement in how we present messages.

"How can we explain our stances in a manner and style Hongkongers deem more acceptable?"

The white paper, issued by the State Council on June 10, stresses the central government's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong, and says the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the city is subject to Beijing's oversight.

It adds that some people in Hong Kong are "confused and lopsided" in their understanding of the "one country, two systems" policy.

Alliance for True Democracy proposal wins Occupy Central poll as nearly 800,000 Hongkongers vote

It was the first time the central government had issued a white paper on Hong Kong since the 1997 handover.

The document has sparked fears in the city that the high degree of autonomy Hong Kong enjoys will be undermined.

Some critics accused the drafters of the white paper of being lopsided in detailing the support Beijing gave Hong Kong, without giving proportionate emphasis on the city's contribution to the country.

The mainland source admitted the white paper might have driven more people to take part in Occupy Central's unofficial referendum on how to elect the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2017.

Four men jump into Victoria Harbour in protest against Occupy Central movement

Nearly 800,000 people voted in Occupy Central's 10-day exercise, which ended at 10pm last night.

The white paper was the motivation for about 1,800 lawyers to march in silence on Friday in defence of Hong Kong's judicial independence. The document describes judges as "administrators" and says they should be patriotic.

A mainland academic who is familiar with the Basic Law said Beijing fully expected the white paper to cause a storm but decided to press ahead anyway.

"It shows the central government's stance towards Hong Kong is getting tougher. People in Hong Kong should not take it lightly," the academic said.